Monday, April 18, 2022

Christ the Bridegroom and the Demonic Monster

Metropolitan Athanasios giving confession next to the icon of the Bridegroom

 By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol

I remember something that took place in Cyprus. When I first came to Cyprus from Mount Athos, in the first years, a teacher of transcendental meditation and yoga came to me. As a yoga teacher he was initiated into all these delusions of Satan along with Sophiology and Islam. He was in England, traveled around, and was a student of great gurus and various other delusional teachers of that time.

After a meeting with Elder Sophrony in Essex, his whole being was shaken. He was a Cypriot. He came to Cyprus with his wife and they confessed and laid the foundations of a spiritual life. But he had many demonic energies within him. Satan fought against him hard, with many thoughts and with a hardness of heart. This is because meditation - or "devilization" as Elder Paisios jokingly called it - is based on human egoism, arrogance, selfish ambition. So he cultivated arrogance inside him for years. He was a teacher, he had his own school with hundreds of students where he taught them meditation, esoteric philosophy and more. So there was a battle in his reasoning, in his thoughts and he could not allow his heart to be crushed to repent. He came to the monastery, he confessed, but he was fighting. As I was confessing, I had next to me an icon of the Bridegroom Christ, this modern icon which is the Bridegroom Christ with the red cloak and the rod in his hand. I found the icon in the monastery, would light a candle before it, and people would confess.

He saw the icon and wondered: "Why is this icon needed?" The night after the confession ended he went home and prayed. In a state of dizziness, "drunkenness" of thoughts, and so forth, he fell asleep for a while. He thinks he had a vision, he could not understand himself, but he saw Christ as a Bridegroom surrounded by that cloak and looking with the rod through the garbage and the grass and the bushes and on the cliffs. He said: "Why this is Christ! What is Christ looking for? What is He looking for?"

He took courage and went to Him and said to Him: "Lord, what are You looking for?" And Christ said to him: "I am looking for some monsters like you." And He turned and looked at him sternly. Then his heart was crushed and for a long time he cried. He understood that Christ had been looking for him for so many years and he, with all these demonic things he did, had made his heart a demonic monster. But Christ was looking for him!

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.