Monday, April 27, 2020

Of the Death of the Old Man Heron, Who Was Deluded by the Devil

By St. John Cassian

(Conferences, 2.5)

And so by the judgment of the blessed Anthony as well as of all others it has been laid down that it is discernment which leads a fearless monk by fixed stages to God, and preserves the virtues mentioned above continually intact, by means of which one may ascend with less weariness to the extreme summit of perfection, and without which even those who toil most willingly cannot reach the heights of perfection. For discernment is the mother of all virtues, as well as their guardian and regulator.

And to support this judgment delivered of old by the blessed Anthony and the other fathers by a modern instance, as we promised to do, remember what you lately saw happen before your very eyes, I mean, how the old man Heron, only a very few days ago was cast down by an illusion of the devil from the heights to the depths, a man whom we remember to have lived for fifty years in this desert and to have preserved a strict continence with special severity, and who aimed at the secrecy of solitude with marvelous fervor beyond all those who dwell here. By what device then or by what method was he deluded by the deceiver after so many labors, and falling by a most grievous downfall struck with profound grief all those who live in this desert? Was it not because, having too little of the virtue of discernment he preferred to be guided by his own judgment rather than to obey the counsels and conference of the brethren and the regulations of the elders?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Holy Martyr Athanasios Who Was a Sorcerer, Converted by Saint George

St. Athanasios the Martyr (Feast Day - April 23)


Athanasios the sorcerer was beheaded,
The ailing soul found a strange medicine.

During the trials of the Holy Great Martyr George, Dadianus the governor wrote a letter in which he thus said, "I write to the whole world, greetings. Let any sorcerer or magician who can put an end to the magic of this Christian come here to me, and I will give him much wealth and any territory that he shall ask for, and he shall be second in the kingdom."Saint George had miraculously emerged unharmed from his tortures by divine grace, and because of his miracles the stubborn pagans believed he was a magician, and only another magician could defeat him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene and the Exorcism of Theodora in the Year 2000

By Athena Peglidou
Department of History, Archaeology, and Social Anthropology, 
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

During the winter of 2000, Theodora, thirty-eight, a housewife and mother of a thirteen year-old daughter, having undergone psychiatric observation for four years, and been diagnosed as suffering from depression, finally decided to have herself exorcized. It was her confessor, whom she had consulted for five years, who suggested it. During her treatment — it was a difficult case — the priest contacted the abbess of the Saint RaphaĆ«l convent on Mytilene, an important center of pilgrimage, in order to ask her to pray for Theodora. The abbess soon came to the conclusion that the convent’s three saints (Saint Raphael, Saint Nicholas, and Saint Irene) could help to cure her soul. The personal diary kept by Theodora, to which she gave me access, was a particularly interesting document as far as following the conflict between the different treatments as she experienced them was concerned. Her husband, Giorgos, always accompanied her to the Mytilene convent.