Monday, January 20, 2020

Testimony of How a Demon Possessed Monk Was Healed at the Tomb of St. Euthymios the Great

Life of Euthymios

Ch. 50

By Cyril of Scythopolis

In this same period a monk called Paul, who came from the village of Tomessus in the first province of Cilicia, and who was grievously troubled by an impure spirit, was brought along from the monastery of Abba Martyrius and placed in the burial vault by the tomb of our holy father Euthymios. After a few days Euthymios appeared to him in the middle of the night and expelled the impure spirit. Going to the church at the hour of the night office, Paul made confession to God in the presence of all, announcing the miracle that had happened to him. Hearing of his cure, the members of his own cenobium came to fetch him; he, however, did not consent, but with eagerness joined in the labors of the cenobium. Once, when we were outside in the desert to collect faggots, we asked Paul about the nature and cause of his complaint and how he had been cured. Deriving confidence from his frank love for us, he gave us the following account:

"Being entrusted with a task in the cenobium, I took the keys from the holy sanctuary and, dismissing fear of God, I purloined some sums, while others I contemptuously squandered, ignoring the fact that all the goods of monasteries and of other holy houses are dedicated to God, as coming from offerings. When I had completed the task and returned the keys to the holy sanctuary, I was invited by some of the brethren to a meal and, after drinking wine to excess, I went to bed. Impure thoughts suddenly assailed me and, finding me welcoming, disturbed my mind so dreadfully that I reached a state just as if a woman was with me and was lying down with me. While I was harboring these thoughts, suddenly I saw the power of the demon coming against me like a dark cloud; darkened in my wits by this, I continued being punished and tormented by the demon for many days. Seeing that the demon was daily growing in insolence towards me, the members of the cenobium brought me here.

I was placed (he continued) right next to the holy tomb and, immediately recovering my senses, I begged the holy father with tears to free me from the demon afflicting me and cleanse me from his operation. On the night when you saw me confessing in the church, as I was praying with groans and tears at about the fifth hour of the night, I went into an ecstasy and had a vision as if I was in a glorious and awesome place, whose glory no one could describe, and I seemed to be wearing on my head a black woolen cowl, which was an instrument of thorns (as in Scripture) with a flock of wool that pricked me keenly and tortured me horribly. I opened my mouth and said, 'Have pity on me, holy father Euthymios, and free me from the misfortune that oppresses me.' Immediately I saw the saint, radiant with light, with grey hair and dwarf-like build, a great beard, a round face and eyes full of joy, wearing a cloak darker and shorter than a habit, and holding a staff in his hand. He said to me, 'Why are you bothering me? What do you want me to do for you?' I said in fear, 'I beg you to take pity on me.' He answered me harshly, 'Are you now convinced that nothing can escape God? Have you learnt from your sufferings how wicked it is to despise the service of Christ and to behave carelessly in a monastery?Are you now fully aware that everything in monasteries is sacred as coming from offerings? Just as those who make offerings to a monastery are giving to God and receive reward from him, so those who make an improper use of what has been given to God are wronging him and receive an appropriate punishment from him. If the famous Ananias and his wife, for purloining some of their own property which they had given to the community, received so severe a condemnation that they died as a result for the theft, what pardon will he win who purloins the offerings of others? But if you give me your word never again to misappropriate something belonging to a monastery, and also guard yourself from harboring impure thoughts, God will relent and cure you; for he is merciful and desires not the death of a sinner but that he should turn and live. This has happened to you because, when entrusted with the care of sacred things, you did not keep trust with God, but gave yourself up to avarice, by purloining what had been entrusted to you, and to vainglory, by shamelessly squandering the things of God, and to lust, by letting yourself be defiled by impure thoughts. This is why, deserted by the grace of God, you have been so buffeted by a towering wave of wickedness as to fall victim to a most terrible shipwreck at the hand of a demon.'

On hearing this (he continued), I gave him my word never to wrong a monastery or other house of prayer. Then the saint in a fit of indignation grasped the black cowl and tore it with difficulty from my head. In his hand it took on the appearance of a small Ethiopian darting fire from his eyes. Peering down, I saw in the ground in front of him an extremely deep and terrifying pit, into which pit the saint hurled the Ethiopian. Turning towards me, he said to me, 'See, you are well! Sin no more, but attend to yourself, lest anything worse befall you.' Coming to myself, I gave thanks to God, and from that time no evil has approached me."

Having heard this from Paul, we glorified God and expressed amazement at the grace of the wonderwoking father Euthymios.