Thursday, April 22, 2021

An Exorcism With a Full Stomach? An Incident from the Life of Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos


Father Ephraim of the Skete of the Holy Apostle Andrew in Serai near Karyes of Mount Athos recalled the following story from the life Elder Gervasios Paraskevopoulos (+ 1964):

On one particular Easter Sunday evening, Father Gervasios Paraskevopoulos retired to his room to break his long and strict fast of Great Lent and Holy Week by eating some avgolemono soup, cheese and a paschal egg. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and it was a certain mother who came to him seeking help for her daughter who was demon possessed. Having eaten half of his soup, he took his epitrachelion and followed the mother to her house.

Entering the house, the daughter was lying in bed in another room when she cried out without having even seen him: "Hey Papa-Goat, you dare come and remove me with a full stomach? You dope, I'm not coming out by any means!" Hearing this, Father Gervasios decided it would be best to come back another day to exorcise the demon.

The days went by and the mother grew more and more anxious as she waited for Father Gervasios to return. The entire Pentecostarion period passed, the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost, and he had still not returned. However, the next day, the Monday after Pentecost, Father Gervasios was seen approaching the house of the mother with the afflicted daughter, but he was being carried by four men due to his great loss of strength from fasting the previous fifty days, from the time he left the house on Easter till the Monday after Pentecost, which typically is a period when fasting is greatly decreased. One could only imagine what he put himself through those fifty days, combined with prayers, vigils, tears and so forth.

The Elder wanted to show the demon that by mocking him for having a full belly, he would come armed with one that was completely empty.

Entering the house, the afflicted daughter immediately cried out: "I can't stand even looking at you, you dope! I'm leaving! I'm leaving! I don't even want to look at you!"

With the demon having finally left the girl, the Elder humbly said to the mother: "Why read the prayers now, since the demon has left?" 
Indeed, no prayers were needed after such a fast. The exorcism took place in the Elder's cell over the previous fifty days, so that it wasn't even necessary when he finally entered the house. This shows what great love the Elder had for the salvation of just one soul.