On the Possessed

Venerable Parasceva of Serbia

Venerable Parasceva of Serbia

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

ON THE POSSESSED
by Saint Paisios

Geronda (Elder), how many demons were dwelling in the possessed man of the Gadarenes? (cf. St. Luke 8:26 f.)

---According to the Gospel, there were many devils (cf. St. Luke 8:30). This is why the possessed said that his name was legion (Legion: A Roman military unit consisting of three to six thousand soldiers). You see, in the same way that many demons can dwell in a possessed person, so many Saints can fit into the heart of a believer. Since Christ can dwell in the heart of the believer, you can imagine how much more room there is for the Saints. These are great mysteries.

Once, when I was in the Kalyvi (hut) of the Precious Cross, someone rang the small bell. I looked out from the window, and what did I see! There was a man being followed by an entire phalanx of demons, a dark and sinister swarm of them! It was the first time I had seen so many demons over one human being. He was a psychic who had mingled the prayers of the Church with invocations of demons, and had combined Christian books with books on magic and sorcery; and then, of course, he was ruled by the demons. It was horrible! I was very saddened by this.

Some psychiatrists are confused and consider even the possessed to be psychopaths. By the same token, some priests consider some psychopaths to be possessed by demons. A psychopath must seek medical help, while a possessed person must seek help elsewhere. How can a psychiatrist help one who is possessed by demons?

--Geronda (Elder), can someone possessed realize how he sinned before he became possessed?

--Yes, he can, unless his mind has also been affected, in which case, it's very difficult to help him. If he is possessed yet still rational, you can communicate with him and help him more easily, but he must be obedient. Otherwise, how can he be helped?

Once, someone from southern Greece, who had gone to some Indian gurus and had become possessed, came to the Lalyvi (hut). He was uttering awful curses, and foam was coming out of his mouth. His eyes were wide open and wild. I told him, "Don't utter those blasphemes, because you're only invoking the demons to come upon you", but he wouldn't listen to me. But at the same time, he wanted me to help him. "Help me," he would say, "only you can help me." "But how can I help you?" I told him; "You want me to pray so that you can be delivered by the Grace of God, but you call on the demons. Go first to make you Confession and have the priest read exorcisms over you, and the come to talk with me." But he again resisted, "I won't go." "Well then, come inside so I can anoint you with oil from the vigil lamps," I told him again. "I don't want to. I want you to help me." He then went a little further and started talking with someone. Later, as I was telling a group of people that God allows us to experience certain difficulties for the sake of our salvation, he started shouting form a distance, "Hey you, why are you saying that God works for the salvation of the people? We have one father on earth and one in the sky, and a little higher there is one ruler with authority (he meant the devil). I told him, "Stop all this demonic talk!" and continued saying the Jesus Prayer. Then he said, "Now you've confused me." "Go away!" I told him and gave him a shove. He was really messed up. "Who are you with?" he asked me. "I am with Christ," I told him directly. "You're lying," he told me. "You can't be with Christ, because I am Christ and you are striking me." The devil presents things to him in a distorted way.

--Geronda (Elder), was it the devil who was saying such things?

--Yes, it was the devil. Even so, God gave this man the strength to come all the way to the Holy Mountain. It's no small matter for him to set out from the other end of the country and come to Mount Athos! But he doesn't listen and is just getting worse. If he had listened, he would have been helped.

One Can Become Possessed Through Satanic Pride

Someone who has a lot of pride is confused. His mind is muddled, as though it's filled with exhaust fumes. He makes serious mistakes but isn't even aware of it. One such person told me, "I love everybody; I even love the devil; he is not bad..." "What are you saying, you foolish man," I told him. "If God had given free range to the devil, he'd have destroyed us all by now. Who has ever seen any benefit from the devil that you too expect some?" But this person has reached such a level of confusion that no matter what you say to him, he just doesn't understand. He complains that you're pressuring him! Is this pressure? You just can't change his frame of mind...He is not crazy, for his mind is working just fine. He simply needs to understand that when he says such words, it is a rejection of God, a blasphemy.

And this is how they slowly turn towards the worship of Satan. When you see satanists, it's obvious that they're subjugated by the devil. You see this demonic influence all over them. And they lead young people where they want through the use of satanic music. Young people even come to evoke Satan. I've even heard that when certain records of rock music are played backwards, they're actually words that invoke Satan. They even have doxologies to Satan: "To you, O Satan, I commit my life!" It is a terrible thing!

--In other words, Geronda (Elder), excessive pride can lead someone to demonism?

--Yes it can. Let's say that someone makes a mistake and goes on to justify himself. If people try to tell him something helpful, he complains that they're being unfair, starts believing that he is better than them, and goes on to condemn them. After that he begins to condemn the Saints themselves. He starts off with the newer Saints and then moves on to the older ones. "That one didn't perform any miracles, the other did this or that..." And then he will go on to criticize the Ecumenical Councils of the Church. "Even the Councils, the way they reached their decisions..." In other words, even the Councils, in his opinion, cannot be trusted on matters of doctrine, and so forth. And finally, he says, "Now why did God do that this way?" Well, when a person reaches this point, he doesn't become crazy, he becomes possessed. (Source: Spiritual Struggle by Saint Paisios)

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MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU

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.

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!'

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

+Father George