The Power of Satan and His Demons According to the Holy Fathers of the Church

Martyr Eugene of Melitene

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,



Lord, Lord, having delivered us from every arrow flying by day, deliver us also from every evil that may be lurking in the night. Accept the raising of our hands as an evening sacrifice. Make us worthy to pass blamelessly through this night without the influence of evil; deliver us from every disturbance and cowardly fear that comes upon us from devil. Grant contrition to our souls, and a vigilant discernment over our thoughts concerning the exactitude of Your fearful and just judgment. Pierce our flesh with Your fear and deaden our members that draw us to earth, so that, even in the peacefulness of sleep, we may delight in the vision of Your Righteous acts. Remove from every inappropriate fantasy and harmful desire. At the time of prayer, raise us up again, strengthened in faith and resolve to observe Your Commandments, through the good will and goodness of Your Only-begotten Son, through Whom You are Blessed, together with Your All-Holy, Good and Life-Creating Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.




Saint Athanasios the Great:

"Whence it is quite fitting that the Lord suffered this death. For thus being lifted up He declared the air of the malignity both of the devil and of demons of all kinds" (The Incarnation of the Logos (Word) of God).

Saint John Chrysostom:

"...a soul which departs from the body does not fall under the tyranny of the devil...For if while the soul dwells in the body the devil cannot bring violence upon it, it is obvious that when it departs he likewise cannot." (Homily two on Lazarus and the rich man, P.G. 48:984)

Saint Isaac the Syrian:

"The demons, though they are extremely polluted, are not concealed from one another in their orders; howbeit they do not see the two orders [human and Angels] that are above them."

Saint Diadochos of Photiki:

"The Grace of God, on the other hand, dwells in the very depths of the soul...and it is not perceptible to the demons." (On Spiritual Knowledge)

Saint John Cassian:

"But the demons cannot possibly come near to those thoughts which have not yet come forth from the inmost recesses of the soul. And the thoughts too, which they suggest, whether they are actually or in a kind of way embraced, are discovered by them not from the nature of the soul itself, i.e., that inner inclination which lies concealed so to speak in the very marrow, but from the motions and signs given by the outward man." (First Conference of Abba Serenes, para. 15)

Saint Antony the Great:

"We ought not to fear the demons or even Satan himself, for he is a liar and speaks not a word of truth...and with him are placed the demons his fellows, like serpents and scorpions to be trodden underfoot by us Christians...and let us not fear his visions seeing that they themselves are deceptive...Doubtless they appear, but in a moment disappear again, hurting none of the faithful...Wherefore it is unfitting that we should fear them on account of these things; for through the Grace of Christ all their practices are in vain. From the beginning the devil is a murderer and a father of vice" (St. John 8:44); while we, though this is so, are alive, and spend our lives all the more opposing him; it is plain that they [the demons] are powerless. For place is no hindrance to their plots, nor do they look on us as friends that they should spare us; nor are they lovers of good that they should amend. But on the contrary they are evil, and nothing is so much sought after by them as wounding them that love virtue and fear of God. But since they have no power to affect anything, they do naught but threaten...If they had the power, they would permit none of us Christians to live...But since they can do nothing, they inflict the greater wounds on themselves; for they can fulfill none of their threats. Next this ought to be considered that we may be in no fear of them...But the demons as they have no power are like actors on the stage...from which they ought rather to be despised as showing their weakness."(Life)

"But if the demons had power not even against the swine, much less have they any over men formed in the image of God. So then we ought to fear God only, and despise the demons, and be in no fear of them."

Saint John the Solitary:

"The devil cannot touch the nature of the soul, nor can he draw nigh it at all to harm it. The devil does not touch or see the soul, but the members of the body only...and by harming one of the members he disturbs the thoughts which are active within them. For indeed, if he could draw nigh the soul so as to harm it, then he would also be able to harm it after it departed from the body, but this he would have to do while being unable to see it and having no power over it, because his power extends only as far as the body." (Sixth Dialogue with Thomasios).



"In speaking of prayer I drew your attention above all to the means of raising prayer to the level to which it belongs. It might seem strange to you that, since we are speaking of unseen warfare, and you wish to know in what way prayer can help in it, all you have heard of was how to make prayer real prayer. Do not be surprised, for prayer can become a victorious weapon in unseen warfare only when it becomes real, that is, when it takes root in the heart and begins to act there unceasingly. From that moment it becomes an impenetrable, unconquerable and insuperable barrier, protecting the soul from the arrows of the enemy, the passionate assaults of the flesh, and the enticements of the world with its prelest. Its very presence in the heart cuts off the unseen warfare. This is why you were advised to make haste and graft the action of prayer on to your heart, and to see that it should remain in ceaseless movement. For this is the same as to say: do this and you will conquer, even without struggle.

And indeed this is how it actually happens. But until your prayer reaches such power, enemies (demons) will give you no peace and you will have no moment of respite from war, or threat of war. Does prayer help at this stage?

Assuredly: and more so than any other weapon of spiritual warfare. It always attracts Divine help, and God's power repulses the enemies (demons), so long as it is practiced with zeal and with surrender to God's will." (Source: Unseen Warfare)



The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George