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Παρασκευή, 30 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

For Whatever Is Born of God Overcomes the World



By Archpriest Valentin Sventsitsky (+1931).

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, says the Holy Apostle John. When we think about it, these are powerful words indeed. They are not easy for us to digest for we hardly resemble victors over our lives! Look at the state of the Church today! There are many sins on the consciences of pastors; the faith is poorly presented; how to pray or even how to live our lives are poorly taught.

Today more than ever we feel our lack of spiritual education in Church life (Tserkovnost). Today there is an even greater attack by the enemy of our salvation. And how can someone who is unprepared not lose hope, for he has to make spiritual decisions for himself, based on his own conscience.

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world". These words, in the first instance, pertain to the inner disposition of a person. A person must at the outset conquer the world. He must overcome those secular influences that have penetrated his soul and which he constantly encounters as he pursues the spiritual life. He must overcome within himself those things that are foreign and harmful to his inner spiritual disposition. He has to conquer the secular within.

What can he rely on in this struggle? He cannot rely on his own strength. He cannot rely on his own will since it is inclined to the pleasures of this life. He has to turn to the Church.

The Church is the only place that remains free from the principles of secular society. But it is not only in his inner life that someone should overcome the world. He should be vic­torious in everything; in all the conditions and circumstances that surround him. He needs to maintain literally every step on his spiritual path which leads to perfection. In this respect the secular world does not provide a single step in this direc­tion. On the contrary, it obstructs him.

Mockery of Christ, disbelief and a thirst for secular power — all these impede the path to salvation. But nevertheless, the believer must overcome the world. He must not concede to the enemy of our salvation. He must have a firm resolve. And furthermore he must accept the consequences, which are unavoidable when one makes the true decision to lead a spiritual life.

Not peace, but a sword. The Lord brought division. Not division between believers but between the world of believ­ers and that of non-believers. And we feel this division, this strife, as we journey along the spiritual path of life. We feel it everywhere. We must, however, unremittingly overcome obstacles and emerge as victors!

If this applies to our personal lives, it equally applies to the life of the Church. Here we have the repository of grace, the very source of a higher existence, which is able to overcome the world.

The victory of the Church over the world is conclusive to the degree that the Church is indeed the Church and never conforms or adapts to secular life. The Church lives according to different laws. It sees other goals before it; it has in its life another source. It contains the source of grace of the life-giving power of God and does not need to adapt to the whims of the world. It proceeds victoriously to a higher goal.

For the Church to be victorious over the world means for it to journey along its own path, neither at any time or any place adapting to this world. This is how we understand the victory which is spoken of by the Apostle John.

In these times each one of us should consciously be immersed in Church life. This should be the measure of what we do and what we are. We should be 'church-minded' and 'church-ac­tive'. Only by following such a firm resolve to lead a 'churched' life and hoping in God can we avoid being driven from the true path of the Church in these godless days.

On Helping the Departed - By Elder Ephraim, from "Counsels from the Holy Mountain. "



Do you know how much help the departed seek! Since there is no repentance after death, and as humans they also departed with stains and blemishes, and since they see that the help of the living greatly assists them to be perfected and find rest, they yearn, seek, and long for someone to commemorate them. They also long for one of their descendants to become a priest or a virtuous Christian who will care for them.



Let me tell you about a vision of a certain bishop which he himself told me while we were serving together years ago. He told me there was a priest who had a drinking problem and often got drunk; this was going on for many years. Other than this, though, the priest was virtuous and pious. One day he drank wine as usual and got drunk, and then before he was fully sober, he went and served Liturgy. So God allowed an accident to happen; he spilled the holy Body and Blood of the Lord!



The poor fellow froze with fear, while also thinking about the heavy penance his bishop would give him!

Finally, after he confessed, his bishop told him, "Go, I will notify you when to return, and then I'll give you the penance." So as the bishop was all alone reflecting and pon­dering, and as he picked up a pen to write his decision to depose him, he saw an endless multitude of people of every age, kind and class unwind before him like a movie. The bishop was stunned by this vision but was also overcome with fear. Then all those people together said to him, "Your Eminence, do not punish the priest; do not depose him." Then, little by little, they disappeared.




Afterwards, the bishop called the priest to come. The poor priest was terrified, thinking about being deposed. The bish­op said to him, "Tell me something, do you commemorate many names when you serve Liturgy?" The priest answered, "In the proskomidi, Your Eminence, I commemorate names for a long time—from kings and emperors down to the last pauper." The bishop then said to him, "Go, then, and when­ever you serve Liturgy, commemorate as many people as you can, and take care not to get drunk anymore. You are par­doned." Thereafter, the priest—with the help of God—was delivered from drinking.

Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. (Lk. 18:16)



And this age is weak in strength, feeble in intelligence, and immature in counsel. Thus, age is not preferred to age; moreover, it would be hurtful to grow up. What need is there for prayers that maturity of age ensue, if it is to take from me the merit of the Heavenly Kingdom? So did God give the course of life for vices and not for the increase of virtue? And why did He choose Apostles who were not youthful, but of mature years? But why does He say that children are fit for the Kingdom of Heaven? Perhaps, because they do not know malice, they have not learned to deceive, they dare not strike back, they neglect to search for wealth, they do not strive after honor and ambition.



But virtue is not to be ignorant of those things, but to despise them, nor is there praise of abstinence where there is integrity through weakness. For not childhood, but goodness rivaling childlike simplicity is meant. For it is not a virtue to be unable to sin, but to be unwilling so to do and to retain perseverance of will, so that the will imitates childhood and one man imitates nature. Finally, our Saviour Himself expressed this saying: Unless ye be converted, and become as this boy, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens. (Mt. 18:3)

St. Ambrose of Milan


A Good Start to Family Life.



By the Blessed Elder Paisios the Athonite, from "Family Life, "published by the Sacred Hesychastirion of St. John the Evangelist, Souroti, Greece -2002, translated by Fr. Luke Hartung- The Dalles, Oregon, U.S.A.

Geronta, a certain young man who has chosen the married life, asked me how one properly begins this.

- From the beginning, he should seek to find a good girl who will comfort him, as people are relaxed and find comfort differ­ently with different people. He should not seek to find someone who is rich or beautiful, but above all simple and humble. In other words, he should give more attention to interior rather than exterior beauty. When a girl is a positive person and capable of dealing with men, without having more womanly character than is necessary, this greatly helps the man to find immediate understanding and not a lot of headaches. If she also has fear of God and humility then they are able to join hands and pass the evil current of the world.




If the young man is seriously considering a certain girl for a spouse, I think it is better that he first makes his intentions known to her parents through one of his relatives and afterwards he can discuss it himself with the young lady and her parents. Later, if they give their approval and the two are engaged—and it is better that the engagement not carry on too long—he should strive, throughout the passing time until marriage, to view her as his sister and respect her. If both of them struggle with philotimo and keep their virginity, then in the Mystery of marriage, when the priest crowns them, they will richly take of the Grace of God. For, as St. John Chrysostom says, the crowns are symbols of victory against pleasure, [i]




Then, as much as they are able, they must strive to cultivate the virtue of love and always remain two united, with the Third, our Sweetest Christ. Naturally, in the beginning, until they get them­selves together and become well acquainted with one another, they will have certain difficulties. This happens with every new beginning. Why, just the day before yesterday I saw a baby bird. It had just gone out to find food and could only fly about an inch above the ground. The poor thing didn't know how to catch insects and wasted an hour trying to catch just one, little bug to eat. As I watched it, I was considering how every beginning is difficult. When a student finally receives his diploma and begins working, in the beginning it is difficult. A novice in a monastery also has difficulties in the beginning. A young man, when he marries, again in the beginning is met with difficulties.




- Geronta, does it matter if the woman is older than the man?

- There is not a Church canon which says that, if a girl is two- three or even five years older than the young man, they are not able to be married.



[i] "Crowns are to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a syynbol of victory, foretelling that they approach the blessing (of Marriage) unconquered by pleasure. " (St. John Chrysostom, "Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy, "Homily IV, PG 62, 546).

ΣΤΗΝ ΙΕΡΑ ΜΟΝΗ ΜΑΡΘΑ ΚΑΙ ΜΑΡΙΑ ΕΓΙΝΕ ΕΚΔΗΛΩΣΗ ΜΕ ΘΕΜΑ «ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΩΝ ΛΕΥΚΩΝ ΛΟΥΛΟΥΔΙΩΝ»


Στης 25-09-2011 έγινε εκδήλωση για μια δίκαιη φιλανθρωπία όπου θα μαζευτούν χρήματα τα οποία θα χρησιμοποιηθούν για την κατασκευή του πρώτου ιδρύματος στην Μόσχα του ξενώνα φιλοξενίας παιδιών .

«ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΩΝ ΛΕΥΚΩΝ ΛΟΥΛΟΥΔΙΩΝ»

Φέτος γιορτάζει την εκατονταετία της. Για πρώτη φορά αυτό το φεστιβάλ φιλανθρωπία έγινε στη Ρωσία το 1911, άρχισε δε να γίνεται τουλάχιστον τέσσερις φορές το χρόνο, σε αυτή δε τη εκδήλωση παραβρέθηκαν μέλη και της βασιλικής οικογένειας.



















ΓΕΡΟΝΤΙΚΟ ΤΟΥ ΣΙΝΑ 1

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Ο ΑΝΤΙΛΑΛΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΑΓΑΠΗΣ ΜΟΝΑΧΟΥ ΠΑΝΑΡΕΤΟΥ.

ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΕΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΕΣ ΣΤΟ ΚΑΖΑΝ


Η πρώτη ορθόδοξη εκκλησία στην περιοχή της Μέσης Βόλγας, Καθεδρικό Ναό Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου, χτίστηκε το 16ο αιώνα, αμέσως μετά τη ίδρυση του Καζάν. Αν και ο καθεδρικός ναός είναι πολύ πολύ παλιά, φαίνεται να είναι βαμμένα μόλις πρόσφατα.



Το Υπουργείο Γεωργίας της Δημοκρατίας του Ταταρστάν.




Ο Καθεδρικός Ναός Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου.





Ο Ιερός Ναός Πέτρου και Παύλου υψώνεται πάνω από τη Γη σε 52 τ.μ.





Ο καθεδρικός ναός χτίστηκε το 1722 από τον έμπορο Mikhlyaev
προς τιμήν του Μεγάλου Πέτρου,που ειχε επισκεφθεί το Καζάν.





Η διακόσμηση του Πέτρου και Παύλου στο καθεδρικό ναό.

ΑΓΑΠΩ ΤΗΝ ΠΑΤΡΙΔΑ ΜΟΥ

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ΡΑΔΙΟΦΩΝΟ ΤΗΣ ΠΕΙΡΑΙΚΗΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ

ΣΕΡΒΙΑ. Η ΠΟΛΗ ΤΗΣ ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤΕΙΡΑΣ ΘΕΟΔΩΡΑΣ

Πέμπτη, 29 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

ΣΕΡΒΙΑ . ΤΟ ΜΟΝΑΣΤΗΡΙ ΖΙΤΣΑ.

ΣΕΡΒΙΑ. ΤΟ ΜΟΝΑΣΤΗΡΙ ΣΤΟΥΝΤΕΝΙΤΣΑ

LEV GILLET "ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΠΟΙΜΑΙΝΕΙ ΜΕ..." - Σχόλιο στον 22ο Ψαλμό του Δαυίδ.

Ο εικοστός δεύτερος Ψαλμός είναι ένας από τους πιο γνωστούς και τους πιο αγαπημένους του Ψαλτηρίου.

Όσοι από μας μελετούμε την Αγία Γραφή, έχουμε διαπιστώσει ότι κάθε φράση της, ακόμη κι όταν έχουμε εμβαθύνει σ’ αυτήν εκατοντάδες φορές, εξακολουθεί να κατέχει όλη την ουσιαστική της δύναμη. Και είναι αιωνίως καινούρια, μια και, κάθε φορά που ακούμε τον Λόγο, η ψυχή μας είναι σε διαφορετική κατάσταση. Είναι όπως όταν πίνουμε από πηγή, το νερό είναι πάντοτε φρέσκο. Ας προσπαθήσουμε λοιπόν να ξαναδιαβάσουμε μαζί με τον Ψαλμό του Καλού Ποιμένα, σαν να μην τον έχουμε ακούσει ποτέ πριν.

O γνωστός συγγραφέας με το τόσο προσδιοριστικό ψευδώνυμο «Ένας μοναχός της Aνατολικής Eκκλησίας» δεν είναι άλλος από τον Γάλλο Oρθόδοξο ιερομόναχο Λεβ Zιλλέ (Lev Gillet). O Λεβ Zιλλέ γεννήθηκε το 1892 στην περιοχή του Iζέρ της Γαλλίας από καθολική οικογένεια. Σπούδασε φιλολογία και βιολογία. Πήρε μέρος στον Πρώτο παγκόσμιο πόλεμο 1914-18 όπου και τραυματίστηκε. Mετά τον πόλεμο, έγινε βοηθός του γνωστού καθηγητή της ψυχολογίας Kλαπαρέντ, στη Γενεύη. Tην εποχή αυτή είχε και τις πρώτες του επαφές με τους ορθόδοξους Pώσους της διασποράς, οι οποίοι, μετά την Oκτωβριανή επανάσταση του 1917, αρχίζουν να εγκαθίστανται στην Γαλλία. Aνήσυχο πνεύμα και ψυχή διψασμένη καθώς ήταν, γίνεται μοναχός του τάγματος των Bενεδικτίνων και σπουδάζει θεολογία στη Pώμη αλλά το 1927 ασπάζεται την Oρθοδοξία και γίνεται μέλος της μικρής κοινότητας του Pώσου Mητροπολίτη Eυλογίου στο Παρίσι. Eπίσης για αρκετά χρόνια διετέλεσε προϊστάμενος της πρώτης γαλλοφωνης ορθόδοξης κοινότητας στο Παρίσι. H προσήλωσή του στο πρόσωπο του Iησού, όπως συνήθιζε να αποκαλεί τον Xριστό, και το πνεύμα της αγάπης και της ταπείνωσης θα τον συνοδεύουν σ' όλες τις αναζητήσεις, αλλά και θα τον στηρίζουν σ' όλες τις δυσκολίες της πνευματικής ζωής. O Λεβ Zιλλέ έχει χαρακτηριστεί, ως ένας από τους πιο εξαίρετους και λιγότερο κονφορμιστές ανθρώπους του σύγχρονου ορθόδοξου κόσμου, ένας άνθρωπος γνωστός και ωστόσο μυστικός....ένα πνεύμα ελεύθερο και ένας ταπεινός και υπάκουος υπηρέτης του Eυαγγελίου και της Eκκλησίας του Xριστού. Click to close

ΕΚΟΙΜΗΘΗ Ο ΓΕΡΟΝΤΑΣ ΑΝΤΡΙΑΝ ΦΑΓΚΑΤΣΕΑΝΟΥ 27-09-2011




Εκοιμήθη ο γέροντας Αντριάν Φαγκατσεάνου,χτες 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011 στις 19.30, σε νοσοκομείο του Βουκουρεστίου.Στις 16 Νοεμβρίου θα γινόνταν 99 ετών.
ΑΙΩΝΙΑ ΤΟΥ Η ΜΝΗΜΗ
Η ΖΩΗ ΤΟΥ ΠΑΡΑΚΑΤΩ.





Φιλάνθρωπε Κύριε, Ιατρέ και Αρωγέ μας σε κάθε συμφορά, δυνάμωσέ μας με τη δύναμη του Αγίου Πνεύματος.

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ΑΓΙΟΥ ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΥ ΒΕΛΙΜΙΡΟΒΙΤΣ
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ΧΩΡΙΣ ΟΡΙΟ Η ΤΕΧΝΗΤΗ ΓΟΝΙΜΟΠΟΙΗΣΗ.

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ΘΕΛΟΥΝ ΝΑ ΑΦΗΣΟΥΝ ΤΑ ΠΑΙΔΙΑ ΤΟΥΣ ΣΕ ΙΔΡΥΜΑΤΑ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ.

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ANOTHER WEAPON AGAINST THE DEVIL: EXORCISM


ANOTHER WEAPON AGAINST THE DEVIL: EXORCISM

by Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

What a Tibetan Occultist Saw

In 1970, an occultist from Tibet visited Athens, Greece. As he was walking along the street, he saw, by divine dispensation, demons who had attached themselves to people. There was a demon on the neck of one person, another demon on a person’s nose, another on the mouth and so on. But the occultist also saw something that really troubled him, namely, that the demons were unable to attach themselves to priests. They would move all around them, circling them to find an opening, but they were unable to do so. “Who are these people with beards and black clothing?” the occultist asked a passerby. “They are the priests of our Church, etc.” explained the other. “And if you want to see a lot of them, and good ones at that, go to the Holy Mountain.” (MT Athos)

He went to the Holy Mountain, where the monks directed him to Father Paisios (+1994). As a result of this visit with Paisios, the occultist became intensely aware of the Orthodox understanding of life and he repented of his evil ways. He was baptized. He became a Christian and took the name Theodore. Why couldn’t the devil attach himself to priests? Because they belong to Christ’s priesthood and through the office of the priesthood, they perform the sacraments, which, as we shall see, cause the devil to tremble.

Three things I Fear

Our Holy Fathers (the Church Fathers) have fought the devil in hand to hand combat over the centuries. Very often they talked to him and learned his secrets. In one such discussion, the devil was forced to confess to an ascetic, “there are three things I fear: First, I fear what Christians hang around their necks (the Cross). Secondly, I fear the bath they take in Church (confession), and thirdly, I fear what they eat and drink in Church (Holy Communion).” Now note this: he feared these things so much that he wouldn’t even refer to them directly. And the devil further said to the ascetic: “What I fear most of all is what the Christians eat and drink in Church, provided, of course, they do so with a clear conscience.” We are like fire-breathing lions to the demons when we take Holy Communion (says St. John Chrysostom). “We become like fire breathing lions after visiting the communion table, having become fearful adversaries to the demons.

A MESSAGE

“Three things I fear,” said the devil. Yet these three things are all part of Christianity. It is as if the devil were saying that of all faiths (Buddhism, Islam, etc.) he fears only Christianity, because Christians alone have the appropriate weapons to fight him. This means the following: Only through Christianity is the devil bound hand and foot. In the other religions he has a free range of action. “For all the gods of the heavens are devils, but the Lord made the heavens” (Ps. 95:5). And, “they sacrificed to demons, not to God” (Dt 32:17).

EXORCISM

Another important weapon against the devil is exorcism. At baptism, according to the Holy Fathers, the devil is at the center of the soul of those who have not been baptized. Through exorcism, he is expelled from the heart and the person is set free. “Depart from him/her, every evil and unclean spirit hidden and lurking in the heart.” So exorcism is a dreadful experience for the devil. He is challenged to depart from his victim. And like it or not, he departs. Since the exorcism prayers at baptism are so specifically aimed at our salvation, St. Symeon of Thessaloniki advises that they be said very clearly and not just once otherwise the devil will find a way to trouble the Christian. In the early Christian Church, the reading of the prayers of exorcism was a separate and impressive ritual.

There are special priests who read the prayers, they are exorcists. The prayers were read many times: “Absorb yourselves in the prayers of exorcism,” St. Cyril of Jerusalem urged those being prepared for baptism. The catechumens covered their eyes and faces, so as not to have their attention distracted (as happens today at the ordination of a deacon, who covers his head and face with a towel.”)

For Curses and the Possessed

Our Church uses St. Basil the Greats’ and St. John Chrysostom’s prayers of exorcism which are read over all those who are either possessed or under a curse. The late Father Porphyrios, who knew much about demons, used to say about the prayers of exorcism: They were not to be read unless there was a serious, specific reason. They were to be read silently (without those present being able to hear). He berates self-appointed exorcists and those who read the prayers aloud in public. When the prayers of exorcism are not read the way they should be, then the devil assails the victim, the priest and those present.

Satan Infuriated

When the prayers of exorcism are read over someone who is not yet baptized, Satan becomes infuriated. Something similar occurs when they are read over someone who is possessed. The devil, which is bombarded by these prayers, is challenged to depart from his victim. He is called upon to do something that he detests. And he becomes very angry.

The Victim

The furious devil takes it out on his victim. He tortures him horribly. He contorts him and makes him writhe.

The Priest/Exorcist

In December, 1996, a lady went to a Church in the city of Patras, Greece and asked the priest (who later told us the story) to read the prayers of exorcism of St. Basil the Great. The priest accepted the request and proceeded to say the prayers. After this, as the priest was making his way back home, stones began flying around him. He looked back but could see no one. Then later, at midnight, something terrible happened. The priest’s house began to shake. The plates and the glasses in the kitchen sink were hurled against the wall and smashed. The cupboards in the house crashed to the floor. The priest quickly put on his stole, read the prayers which begin with Holy God.. And the satanic attacks stopped. It is quite clear here that the demons were infuriated by the prayers of exorcism and attacked the priest for reading them.

Onlookers

At the time of St. John Chrysostom, possessed people would be brought to the Divine Liturgy. Some Christians who were present at one such service were not paying attention and were chatting amongst themselves. St. John, who was an expert on the ways of the devil, addressed his flock as follows: “Aren’t you worried about yourselves now that you not paying attention, in case one of these demons leaps out and finds your soul vacant, like a house without a door, and just walks in? Even if you do not care about your possessed fellow Christians, take pity on yourselves. Close the door of your souls against the evil demons.” So, when you attend an exorcism without paying due attention, you could become possessed yourself.

Humility

The experiences of our Holy Fathers teach us that what draws demons out of people is humility. There was a father who had a daughter who was possessed. He took her to a hermit to have her restored to health. As soon as the possessed girl saw the hermit, she slapped his face. Not only did he not react to this but, in accordance with the Lord’s commandment, he offered her his other cheek as well. This response of his (humility) was a blow to the demon. At once it began to cry: “I’m being driven out by the Lord’s commandment.” The possessed girl was made well again. Thereafter, the elders glorified God and said: “Nothing annihilates the pride of the devil as much as humility.”

A possessed person went to an Elder to be cured. Because the Elder considered himself unworthy, he refused. At the insistence of the relatives of the sick man, however, he relented and said: “Get out of God’s creature.” “I’m going” said the demon, “but tell me, who are the sheep and who are the goats?” “I’m the goats,” said the Elder. “As for the sheep, God knows them.” “Your humility is driving me out” wailed the possessed person, and he was then cured. When they took the possessed person to Anthony the Great of Egypt, he like the great saint that he is, considered himself unworthy of driving out demons. So he sent the possessed person to his disciple Abba Paul the Simple. As the disciple was exorcising the demon, it departed from the victim crying, “Anthony the Greats’ humility is driving me out.”

WEAPONS AGAINST SATANIC INFLUENCE.


WEAPONS AGAINST SATANIC INFLUENCE

by Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

The Cross:

In Thrace, Greece, Christians and Muslims live together in harmony. There was once a good, well-intentioned shepherd who was a Muslim, and, on comparing the religion of Muhammad with Christianity, he came to the conclusion that Christianity was much better than Islam. His interest in Christ increased all the time. He began to talk, to study, and to ask about Christianity. Finally he decided to renounce Islam and become a Christian. His father learned about it and did his best to change the young man’s mind. He was unable to do so, though, because his son was convinced that his decision was correct. In desperation the father decided to ask for the help of an occultist. “I want you to stop my son from thinking about Christ,” he told him. The sorcerer, certain of his success, set to work.

He failed the first time and so he tried again. He failed again. He tried a third time and again he failed. Then he realized what was hindering his efforts. He called the father and told him directly, “If you want the magic to work, tell your sons to get rid of those bits of wood that he wears around his neck.”

What was it? The young Muslim had seen that Christians wear crosses around their necks and so he did the same. He took two pieces of wood, arranged them into the form of a cross and wore it around his neck. And thanks to that makeshift cross, which the devil fears, the magic didn’t work upon him.

Relics:

The Emperor Julian, the Apostate, went to a famous sorcerer at the oracle of Apollo in Daphne, Antioch. But right next to the oracle was a cemetery where there were the relics of the holy martyr Babylas. Because of the presence of the Saint’s relics the sorcerer could not speak. He then told the Emperor, “If you want me to tell you your fortune, you will have to remove the relics of St. Babylas because his presence is what is keeping me from speaking.”

Prayer and Fasting:

We have seen how fasting and prayer can put the devil to flight. We will do no more here than note the following: The race of demons, says the Lord, is defeated by prayer and fasting. Fasting has to do with the body; prayer has to do with the soul. So the whole person engages in the struggle against the devil.

Let us dwell a little on prayer. I would remind you of the famous sorcerer who went to Kolwezi in Zaire in 1984 and set about curing people of their afflictions. Fr. Meletios, the missionary priest from the Monastery of Gregoriou on Mt. Athos, who was an eye-witness to the following events, tells us want happened there. In October, 1994, the sorcerer returned to the same town, preceded by an extensive publicity campaign. Banners were stretched over the main streets and loud speakers announced his arrival. They said that the Savior is returning. They had also set up a platform on one of the main roads where the sorcerer would stand. Lots of people hastened to make their way there to present themselves before him in order to regain their health. The savior arrived. There was pandemonium. His timetable was such that he would remain in the town for a whole week.

On the first day he went to the platform to heal the sick that were waiting anxiously. He said his prayers but nothing happened. Three hours went by and still there were no healings. On day two, he said his prayers again. But again he had nothing to show for them. Meanwhile, the loudspeakers on the street continued to announce his presence in the town. On the third day, he still had nothing to show for his efforts. The people began to feel uneasy. On day four, there was still nothing happening and the people began to get angry.

But all hope was not lost because there were still three days left. He did everything he could, but still without affecting any result at all. And then, on the last day, overwhelmed with confusion, he was forced to admit to the disappointed crowd that this was the first time that anything like this had happened to him and that it had happened there in Kolwezi. Well, what really happened?

Fr. Meletios, the Orthodox missionary, had not been idle. He had used the visit of the sorcerer as an opportunity to shame the devil, to demonstrate the power of the Orthodox Church and to glorify God. Every time the shaman mounted the platform to do his thing, Fr. Meletios and all the Orthodox Christians gathered in the Church of St. George and chanted the Supplicatory Service to the Mother of God, and then read the prayers of exorcism of St. Basil the Great. In confessing that this was the first time that anything like this had happened to him, the famous shaman did not know that he was being opposed by the spiritual weapons of the Orthodox Church.

Those Who Live a Sacramental Life:

Holy Unction:

A priest friend of mine told me the following story: A parishioner of his had his suspicions that evil spells were being cast upon him. So he asked a priest to come to his home and perform the Holy Unction service. A few days later, they met on the street and he said to him. “Father, the Holy Unction worked! We have discovered that when you were saying the service, a witch started shouting that some priest was binding her hands.” So the sacraments are also weapons against magic.

Confession:

Confession is a very great weapon against magic. The devil himself tells us. “I’m afraid of that bath that the Christians have in Church.” “Never go to confession,” he said himself at a sorcerer’s convention.

Holy Communion:

“The thing I am frightened of most of all,” said the devil, “is what the Christians eat and drink in Church, so long as they do so with a clear conscience.” Holy Communion is the most deadly weapon against magic. So if you take Holy Communion, magic will not affect you. The conclusion to this is that if you distance yourself from sin and live in the Church with its sacraments, you have nothing to fear! You will never, never be attacked by magic.

Who Are Affected by Magic?

Those Who Live in Sin

The experience of our Church tells us that those who commit sin, especially those of the flesh are vulnerable to magic. In other words, their sins disarm them completely and they surrender to the appetites of the devil. But if you wear a cross or have relics or a Gospel at home, how can magic affect you?

As long as Julian the Apostate made the sign of the Cross with unsullied hands, the demons that were attacking him at the behest of a sorcerer disappeared like smoke. But once he had slaughtered a little child after being told to do so by the sorcerer and bathed his hands in the blood of that child, it didn’t matter how many times he made the sign of the Cross, it didn’t work and the demons overwhelmed him. His sin had made him unworthy of divine protection. Therefore, if you commit mortal sins, then neither relics or the Cross, nor the Gospel will be of any help against the devil.

Irregular Church Attendance & Communion

At the Divine Liturgy, people who are possessed howl, “I am burning, I am burning.” What are they burning from? It is Divine Grace which is emitted, which wells up, at the Liturgy. Therefore the Divine Liturgy is fire which burns the devil (and his powers). So people who are irregular in their Church attendance can be affected by the evil one. This is why this happens. The devil himself, at a meeting of occultists forbids them from attending the Divine Liturgy. St. Macarius, the Egyptian, told a woman who had been put under a spell that she was never to absent herself from Church if she wanted to be protected against further attacks.

Irregular Communion

St. Macarius told the woman that we just referred to: “The magic worked against you because you had not had Holy Communion for five weeks,” So, if you don’t receive Holy Communion for a long time, you are giving the devil a stick to beat you with. “So by not absenting myself too long from Communion, I will not become a prey to the wolf of souls.”

What Should Be Done?

Anyone who is bewitched should cut themselves off from sin. Go to Church, confess your sins, and partake of Holy Communion. Drink Holy Water every day. Pray and fast strictly. Have the prayers of exorcism read over you once a week. “You cannot serve two masters.” (Mt. 6:24).

THE PERPETRATORS—THE IMPOSTERS…..

Are those lay people who attempt to remove spells from people by using the prayers of the Church. They are the fire-walkers who, with the icon of Sts Constantine and Helen (and the power of the devil) walk barefoot on red-hot coals. They are the sorcerer who was killed and the witch who was convicted who had a special room in her house with icons, incense and magic symbols. They are sorcerers who in fact tell people to have an unction service read for them.

Why do these people muddle up our pure faith with blasphemous and devilish things? They do it in order to deceive naïve people and gain their confidence. In other words, who (even atheists)) would dare visit them if, in their rooms, they had only skulls? What if there were not any icons and incense to be seen? And what if they did not advise people to have an unction service read?

Are they or are they not charlatans and imposters?

“The Holy Things to Dogs”

Dogs and pigs don’t know anything about “holy things.” They would not know how to use them, to reverence them or to invoke their blessing. Were we to give them anything holy, they would just render it useless. Worse than that, they would defile it.

Here, the dogs and pigs mentioned in St. Matthew’s Gospel are people who behave towards holy things as dumb beasts would. They are the occultists and mediums who, next to their skulls and pentagrams and such, have holy icons or the precious cross and in this way defile the holy things. They are people who have the holy things as bait for their innocent victims instead of for blessing and sanctification. They are people who mix suspect and treacherous words with the words of the Church.

“An Abomination to the Lord”

What we have just mentioned and every satanic ritual, is explicitly forbidden by Scripture. And not only that, but “everyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord.” Anyone engaging in such practices is despicable in the sight of the Lord.

Those Who Deny Christ

Such people are not only imposters, they are not only profane, but they deny Christ. How can this not be so when, by their own prayers they invoke the aid of Satan and not that of Christ?

Repentance

All those who want to escape eternal hell must repent. They have to cut every tie with the works of darkness. Otherwise, on the dread Day of Judgment, the Lord will say to them: “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and everyone who practices falsehood.” They will be thrown into the lake of fire and will burn eternally.

THE VICTIMS

“But They Are Christians”

Naïve Christians, when they visit a medium, for example, justify their actions by saying: “But she is a Christian. She’s got icons. She talks about God.” As we have already said, she does this in order to trap you. St. John Chrysostom adds, “She uses the name of God in order to curse Him. While saying that she’s a Christian, she actually does what the idolaters do! The demons also referred to God but they were still demons. The Lord upbraided them and expelled them.

Censure

In October 1997, in a neighborhood of Patras, Greece, the following incident took place. A family was facing a particular problem and instead of going to the Church for help, it went to a medium. The medium gave them a little bottle of water and advised them to put it in a corner of a room at home and then get a priest to come and read a blessing of the water service. This they did. The service was read in the midst of the members of the family, of friends and relatives. At the end of the service, the family remembered the little bottle of water that the medium had given them and decided to mix it ith the water that had been blessed by the priest. What was the result of this act? The priest’s metal cross, which was still in the blessed water; split in two. Everyone was astounded. God had answered: You cannot be with Him and with the devil. If you attempt to mix God and the devil, then you will end up with the devil. Repent!

THE EXTENT OF THE SIN

Suppose you decide to go to one of those dens of Satan. Where do you think you are going? Do you realize that you are going to those with whom the Lord can’t abide; to those who deny Him, to charlatans? Do you have any idea what you are doing, and how great your sin is?

KING SAUL

King Saul was worried about his future fate, so in order to learn something about it; he went to see a witch. However, because he did not turn to God at this difficult moment in his life God punished him with death!

We would strongly stress: God put King Saul to death precisely because he went to a witch and not to God. Saul believed that the witch would be a greater help to him than the Almighty Lord. He believed in the witch rather than in the Lord.

THE CHRISTIAN

If the Lord was so angry with Saul and put him to death who lived before Christ, how much angrier will He be with a Christian who does these things when he or she should know better? A Christian swears at baptism to “renounce Satan and all his pride.” Saul spurned God at a difficult time in his life. Well, any Christian who has recourse to occultists of any description similarly spurns the Lord. These Christians believe in the sorcerer, the medium, rather than Christ. They believe that they will get more help from charlatans than from the Lord. They believe in bat’s bones, horse shoes, the pentagram and what not, but they don’t believe in the Lord and His Precious Cross.

PENANCE

St. Gregory of Nyssa put the Christian who follows satanic pride in the same category as those who deny Christ. In order for them to repent for this abomination they cannot go to Holy Communion for at least six years! (Canon 61, Holy Sixth Ecumenical Council). Those who make charms and then wear them invoking the devil are similarly subject to the same heavy penance, six year’s abstention from Holy Communion.

See then precisely how you walk, not as unwise people, but as wise ones.

Redeem the time, for the days are evil.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is