Sie sind auf Seite 1von 19

On Dreams, Superstitions and the Evil Eye .

Astrology, Fortune-Tellers and Mediums . On
Magic, Spiritualism, and Demonic Possession .
Demonic Possession or Mental Illness? . Ways Of
Inviting and Repelling Demonic Influence .
Another Weapon Against the Devil : Exorcism
On Dreams, Superstitions and the Evil Eye

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

A Greek proverb says The devil has lots of legs. He can walk many paths, some of them very
torturous. So he is perfectly capable of trapping you at any time.
Mediums, the occult, astrology and so on, are paths that the devil treads. Just how and why, we will
have a look at now.
Should we believe in dreams? If you have a dream that suggests something bad is going to happen to
you, should you take it seriously or not pay any attention to it? There are human, diabolical and Godsent dreams. The only ones that are valid are those sent by God.
Human Dreams
The poor man dreams of crumbs, says a Greek proverb. Now what does that mean? Well, it means
that what the poor man has on his mind (food, in this case), is what he sees in his dreams. In other
words, whatever weve got on our minds, whatever is bothering us in our subconscious, might come out
as a dream. As Karen Horney, the internationally famous psychiatrist, says in her book Self-Analysis,
dreams are the voice of our aspirations.
Diabolical Dreams
The devil sows all sorts of thoughts in our brains. The Evil One doesnt confine himself to this task only
when were awake, but continues when were asleep. So its perfectly possible for us to see things in our
dreams that actually come from our enemy.
And naturally, through our dreams, our enemy will try to do us harm, to terrify us, to threaten us and so
on. This is why we ask the Lord every evening to preserve us from every Satanic fantasy.
Divine Dreams

God, too, can speak to people through dreams. There are plenty of examples of this in the Scriptures,
such as the dreams of the Pharaoh that Joseph interpreted (Gen. 41).
How To Tell Them Apart
Saint John of the Ladder advises and urges us: Believe ONLY those dreams that have to do with Hell
and the Judgment, though if they make you despair then they, too, are from the devil.
Therefore: Diabolical dreams terrify us and make us despair. Divine dreams (the only ones which are
valid) show us Hell and the Judgment. We awake from them concerned, positively concerned, about the
salvation of our souls. Human dreams neither terrify us, nor cause us to despair, nor bring us to
repentance and the salvation of our souls.
In the old days superstitions were rife, especially in country districts. Now that life in general has
changed so much, many of these superstitions are dying out. Some are still going the rounds, though,
and its with them that well deal now.
New Year
Everybody hopes that the New Year will get off to a good start and continue in the same vein. Indeed,
we pray for this. Some people, however, take a superstitious view and resort to charms.
They bring in the New Year by eating, drinking and having a good time. Theyd think it bad luck not to
welcome the New Year with feasting and revelry. Theyd be worried that the whole year would be
They play cards or gamble for the same reason: if theyre lucky at New Year, the whole year will be
lucky. They go to church on New Years day for luck (not out of due piety). They even take communion
for luck (not for the remission of sins and life everlasting).
However, a New Year enters our lives every moment. Every minute that we live is also a new year. So
what happens at New Year also happens every minute of the day. Every moment is New Years day.
If you want the New Year to go well, then use this everyday continuous New Year to the best
advantage. Do good here and now.
Unlucky Encounters
If youre on your way to work first thing in the morning and you happen to meet a cripple, a blind person
- or, in Greece, a priest! - you take it as a bad sign.
In fact, the bad sign isnt the meeting at all. Its your own faith and superstitiousness. It is a sure sign
that youre deeply deluded.
St John Chrysostom says that the way your day goes doesnt depend on whom you meet first thing in
the morning. Your day goes badly when you live in sin. So when you leave your house, beware of an
encounter with sin.
At Weddings
When the superstitious are about to marry, the first thing they make sure of is that the wedding does not
take place on an unlucky day, such as Friday 13th. This, according to St John Chrysostom, is not only
stupid thinking, its actually diabolical. Happiness for them depends on dates and not on their personal
struggle. A Greek proverb says Every day is Gods and this is the way to look at it. Some people ask:
Is it all right for two siblings to get married at the same time?
What matters here is what the Church says, and the Church doesnt forbid it. Is it all right they ask, for
the same family to have a memorial service and a wedding in the same month (or six months)? The
same thing applies here: the Church doesnt forbid it.
After Childbirth
There are all sorts of superstitions regarding women after childbirth. For example: a) it doesnt do for
new mothers to travel before the fortieth day, b) It doesnt do for new mothers to go out at night, and so

The only thing the Church lays down is that the woman is not permitted to enter a church, nor, of course,
to take communion, before the service on the fortieth day.
At Funerals
Some of the superstitions associated with funerals are: a) Some people thinks it is a bad sign to look
back when a dead person is being brought out of a house, b) Some will break an object, often a plate, to
drive away bad luck (as if death would be afraid of the odd broken plate!), c) Others will cut themselves
off from the Church for a year! - again, as if cutting yourself off from the Church for a year is going to
avert evil.
And thats how evil does, in fact, come. Evil brings evil. St Nikodemos the Hagiorite says: What are you
doing, you thoughtless person? Dont you know that by not going to Church, youre making an enemy of
God and His saints. Youre in conflict with them because one of your relations has died? And who are
you to war against God, Who does everything for our good, both in our life and in our death?
THE EVIL (JEALOUS) EYE: Action of the Devil
When an envious person sees something good about another, he or she will suffer. The same is true for
the cunning devil. The devil and the envious are jealous of other people doing well. Thats the trait they
have in common. The devil exploits this. He uses it to pass on his wickedness to people. In other words,
an envious (jealous) look becomes a conduit or a conductor through which the devils poison is
distributed. The evil eye says St Basil the Great, is an action of the devil which is committed by
envious people ... dispel every action of the devil, every satanic onslaught.
This means that the evil eye is NOT, for example, an ordinary headache, an ordinary dizzy spell or
whatever. Its definitely something EXTRAORDINARY, something dreadful, something unbearable,
something SATANIC. Eyewitnesses report that a villager had a fine horse. Some envious person looking
at it, said, What a fine horse, and the animal dropped dead on the spot. Thats obviously an action of
the devil.
Which People Have the Eye?
The story above reveals that the evil eye belongs to those who have evil within them: Dispel every
poison of corrupt and envious people. (From the Prayer Against the Evil Eye). In older times, it was
common for people to spit if they admired, for example, a beautiful child. In this way, they would
symbolically get rid of the poison, i.e., any trace of envy that might do the child harm.
Whom does the Eye affect?
Obviously, since the evil eye is an action of the devil, it can affect anyone whos not equipped with the
weapons to combat the devil and his machinations, which are prayer, fasting, confession and Holy
Communion. This is why: a) Saints arent affected, b) Priests arent affected either (because of the
priesthood), c) Neither are those affected who take part in the sacramental life of the Church.
Dispelling the Eye - THE PRAYER
Given that the evil eye is an action of the devil, a special prayer is required to exorcise him. The
Orthodox Church has adopted a special prayer against the evil eye which exorcises the devil. This
prayer is to be read only by a priest.
Sinful Attempts at Exorcism
Suppose youve had the evil eye put on you, and instead of going to a priest you go to a woman who
specializes in such cases. If you do this both you and the woman are committing a sin.
You are sinning because you are scorning Gods appointed servant (the priest) and going knocking at
the door of a stranger, and the woman is usurping the position of the priest.
To be more precise: Lay persons, because they arent ordained, dont have the right to make the sign of
the Cross over other people in a sacramental way. Why dont you just make the sign of the Cross over
yourself? Whats so holy about these peoples hands?
Since theyre not priests, they obviously cant perform a sacrament, such as, for example, Holy Unction.
Yet these women dare to do just that. They sanctify a bit of oil themselves and then make the sign of
the Cross with it! Have you ever wondered why they dont use oil from an icon-lamp?
In their rituals, they mix up words from the Church and from elsewhere (i.e. the devil). Do the prayers of

the Church really need fortifying by those of the devil? In the end, which words will be effective, those of
the Church or those of the devil? It is likely that the Lord will pay any heed to defiled prayers?
And dont say: But just as soon as the woman exorcised me, I felt well again because it could be
psychological or it might have been the devil who has made you well.
An Instructive Event
On 2/3/1998, a certain gentleman from Patras, Greece, told me about something that had happened to
him about 15 years earlier.
In brief: From the age of 14, his family would take him along to be exorcised every so often. But this
was just the handle the devil wanted. He himself began to have the power of the eye. Something bad
happened to anyone he admired. He might, for example, look at a woman walking down the street and
at once shed stumble or twist her ankle.
On Great Thursday, 1983, he attended the evening Passion Service at the Church of St Spyridon, in
Aigaleo. Suddenly, at the most holy point of the service, he felt unwell. His mind went completely fuzzy.
The congregation began reeling before his eyes. At the same time, he broke out in a cold sweat. Unable
to stand it, he went outside. Hard on his heels came a woman he knew, who had often exorcised him.
She went up to him and asked what was wrong. She began to exorcise him again, saying some
strange prayers, which were invocations of demons. At that very moment, this gentleman noticed
something which shocked him deeply. The face of the woman was transformed. She had become really
horrible to look at. At the same time, her face took on a weird grimace. Her mouth looked more like the
muzzle of a wild beast. She pulled from the folds of her dress a good luck charm. Take this, she told
him. Wear it and youll come to no harm.
And with her satanic invocations (i.e., the help of the devil) he recovered
After this unforgettable experience, the man lost no time in going straight to confession. He regained his
peace of soul, and whats more, he stopped putting the evil eye on people.
From the book Confronting the Devil, Magic & the Occult, Orthodox Book Centre, Athens 2003

On Astrology, Fortune-Tellers and Mediums

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

This can be divided into two categories: a) The Zodiac: this has to do with the month in which we are
born and b) Horoscopes: these are our everyday almanacs that depend on the position of the stars.
The Zodiac
Description: There are twelve signs (one for each month). They are called Libra, Scorpio, Aries and so
on. People who concern themselves with these believe that: depending on the month in which you were
born, you will belong to a certain zodiac sign. And depending on the sign you belong to, youll have the
particular character that goes with it. In other words, what you are doesnt depend on you but on your
zodiac sign. The influence of each sign begins on the 21st of each month and runs through to the 20th

of the following month. Scorpio, for example, belongs to November. Its reign begins on October 21st
and ends on November 20th. So if you were born during that period (even at one minute past twelve on
the morning of October 21st), then youll have the character associated with Scorpio, the main feature of
which is treachery! Naturally, its hardly your fault that youre like this. Youre the victim! Your sign is to
blame, the moment of your birth. If only your mother had gone into labour a bit earlier and you would
have been born at one minute before 12 on October 20th, and you would have been a Libra. Then you
would have been different as a person and had a different character. You would have been
straightforward and kind, all because of your good zodiac sign.
If a friend of yours has the same sign, then he or she will have the same character as you. If there are
any differences, they will be due to the fact that you were born on different days and different times
(horoscope comes from the Greek and means to look at the hour).
Questions: What about twins, who have the same zodiac sign and the same horoscope but are
nonetheless different? One might be patient, the other rash; one might be devious, the other
straightforward, and so on. What does that make of the claims of the zodiac and the horoscope?
On the other hand, some people have quite different zodiac signs, yet display very similar
characteristics. How can that be explained in terms of the zodiac?
Lets say there are identical twins with the same zodiac sign and the same horoscope and the same
characters. The one is just as grasping and impious as the other. Then one of them sees the light and
becomes a generous, believing Christian, even a monk or nun. Yet the other one remains just as he or
she always was. How can that be explained?
If, for example, youre a Scorpio and you want to rid yourself of the supposed treachery associated with
this sign, do people really believe that the zodiac sign itself could prevent you from doing so?
In brief: Our personality is not formed by outside agencies, but internal factors such as our way of
thinking and our will power. Woe betide us if we were controlled robots dependent on inanimate objects
(zodiac signs and horoscopes)!
Those who deal in astrology believe that your horoscope determines the everyday events in your life,
and even your future! In other words, that whatever might happen to you in the course of your life is
written in your horoscope. So theres no point in worrying about or striving for a better future. Astrologers
who delve into your horoscope can tell you your fortune. There was one in Greece who used to
advertise: Through your horoscope, I can foretell the course of your life. Hogwash!
Now be careful. Would you, a logical, reasonable person, entrust your future to an inanimate thing like a
horoscope, and NOT to Gods Providence? If the horoscope brings you something bad, you wouldn't
quibble and you wouldnt reject it. But if God brings you something bad, you grumble and complain.
You might even reject God! But not your horoscope
How about that for a shining example of faith! How about that for an admirable example of rationality! Its
people who are neither faith-filled nor rational like that who believe in horoscopes.
Is It Possible?: Stars are inanimate. And thats not all. Theyre millions of light years away. If they had
eyes, they would see the enormous earth as a tiny speck, if at all. Imagine how they would see you, who
live on this tiny speck. They would see you as minute: Are we really being asked to believe that
INANIMATE, dead stars could be bothered with the future of something so minute?
Furthermore, heres practical proof:
At the end of 1987, astrologers told the fortunes of some prominent people for 1988.
- For the then all-powered Mikhail Gorbachov they said: In 1998, he will divorce his wife, Raisa. Well, it
didnt happen. They were still a devoted couple when Mrs Gorbachov passed away in 1999.
- For Christina Onassis they foretold: In 1988, shell remarry. In 1988, Christina Onassis died!
- Girolamo Cardano (15011576) was an eminent mathematician, physician and please note, an
astrologer. He cast horoscopes for many famous people and then for himself. Having predicted that he
would live 75 years, and being still in robust health when the time came, he saved his reputation by the
simple expedient of committing suicide!

Although it was common in Cardanos time for scientists to believe in astrology, it is not so today. One
hundred ninety-two leading scientists from all over the world, including nineteen who have been
awarded Nobel Prizes have come out against astrology, describing it as mythology. Yet some poor
souls still think its wisdom.
The Seers
Mediums and people who tell the future from cards, tea-leaves or coffee-grounds all declare that they
have the gift of tracing a certain person, or that a particular family has been cursed and they can find
out who cursed them. In truth, though, arent they really just making fools of ordinary people?
The late Archimandrite Haralambos Vasilopoulos was confessor to a great many such tricksters who
had repented, and he asked them:
Why did you get involved in the devils work?
For the money, they replied.
When your clients asked you something, what did you tell them?
We just made monkeys out of them.
They confessed, in all sincerity, that they had deceived people. Behind mediums (and so on) you will
find deceit and greed, as the late priest notes from his experience as a confessor.
These dabblers in the occult also proclaim that they can find a certain person or object for you. Really?!
Since they are so clever at finding people, why dont they use their powers to help the police locate
people who are a menace to society? There are plenty of rewards for finding people who are on the run.
This could be a very lucrative business for them!
No doubt they would like to, but they cant. All they can do is make people look like fools.
In 1969 there was a man in Athens who was smitten in love for a married woman. He was absolutely set
on marrying her, but she wouldnt hear of it. One day he tricked her into getting into his car. He took her
up onto Mount Parnassos. No doubt, he tried everything he could think of to get her to change her mind,
but it appears she remained adamant. The upshot was that at some point he wrenched the steeringwheel over and drove off a cliff, sending them to their deaths on the rocks in a ravine 700 metres below.
At home, the family awaited the womans return. One day went by, then another. There was no sign of
Her mother had recourse to a medium. She paid handsomely. All she wanted was to find out where her
daughter was. The answer was: Your daughters alive and well. At this very moment shes walking
along a street near Piraeus. When you visit these seers, it costs you. They make a fool out of you
and, on top of that, you pay them. You give them a lot of money and it doesnt seem unreasonable. You
think nothing of it. But if a priest comes and reads a service for you, you give him something tiny and
then never stop complaining about having to pay him.
People who read tea leaves, coffee-grounds or cards and so on, say that they can tell your future. As if it
were possible that your secrets and your future could be contained in a cup or a pack of cards (a pack of
lies, more like it)!
They cant even find out whats happened in the past, so how on earth are they supposed to tell the
Remember: if you visit them you pay. So they want money. What for? Why dont they use their powers
to foretell the winning number in a lottery, or to bet on the surprise outcome of a football game or horse
race? If they did that, they wouldnt need to ask for money from their clients.
Theyd love to, of course, but they cant. All they can do is to be on the watch for simpletons.
St John Chrysostom says to those who believe in such nonsense: "Bring me one of these fortune-tellers
and have him tell me whats going to happen tomorrow."

What Happened to One Medium:

As Fr Haralambos said above, Behind mediums (and so on) youll find first deceit and greed. Thats
the first point. But there are other points as well.
Victor H. Ernest, a well known former medium, at a spiritual sance asked a wicked spirit whether it
believed that Christ was the Son of God; that He was the Savior of the World; that He had died on the
Cross; and that He shed His blood for our sins. All at once, one of the other mediums, who was in a
deep trance, sprang up from his chair. But that wasnt all. He then collapsed in a heap on the floor
groaning loudly as though he were suffering unbearable pain. Ernest goes on to reveal that he was
given first aid and managed to come round.
Why was this medium (the devil in him) so upset? Why did he have a panic attack? Why did he faint?
Why did he suffer so much?
It was because the others were talking about his enemy, namely Jesus Christ and the Cross.
After this, Ernest had nothing more to do with spiritualist sances. Whats more, he repented and
returned to Christ.
Conclusion: Behind mediums and the like, first and foremost theres Satan. In other words, all these
fortune-tellers and seers are at work for the devil. They blindly do his bidding.
From the book Confronting the Devil, Magic & the Occult, Orthodox Book Centre, Athens 2003

On Magic, Spiritualism, and Demonic Possession

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

If a prophet rises among you....
The Lord said if a prophet (i.e., charlatan) performs signs and wonders, dont get excited about it (like little
children). Dont get carried away like a leaf on the wind. Dont believe in other gods. Stay true to the Lord.
The Lord is testing you to see if you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

So its possible that mediums and so on can, as a concession by God and with the power of the Evil One,
work wonders. Here are some of them:
Communication with the Dead
There are some people who are so heartbroken by the loss of a loved one that they go to a medium (i.e., the
devil), in order to hear the voice of the departed person, to talk to them, to find some kind of relief. Do they
really hear the voice of the dead? Victor H. Ernest, the former medium, gave a blunt answer. The voice they
heard isnt that of their loved one but of a devil. And the poor unfortunate people are left with the illusion that
theyre in contact with the soul of the person who passed away!
There are two kinds of telepathy.
A) Reading other peoples thoughts: According to Victor H. Ernest, this happens when a persons
intelligence is working hand in glove with an evil spirit, or when the whole person is actually under the control
of an evil spirit. Doreen Irvine, a former prostitute and stripper who was actually crowned Queen of the
Witches of Europe, had no difficulty, as a Satanist, in reading other peoples thoughts.
B) Seeing something thats happening far away in a dream or in a trance: Two people at the sance
attended by Victor H. Ernest were able to read the headlines of morning newspapers while they were still
being run off at the printers, hours before they were delivered to the town. Some, who are even more
advanced, can see into your house as if with a camera and can find hidden objects, etc.
Miracles with Fire
In Kalamata, some years ago, an occultist did the following in front of the audience: He drew lines on his hand
with a lighted cigarette without feeling any pain at all.
Something similar happens every year in the village of Agia Eleni in Northern Greece on the day of the feast of
Sts Constantine and Helen. A group of people holding icons of the saints dance in their bare feet on burning
charcoal without getting burnt.
Victor H. Ernest comments that this is not an illusion. He says that fire-walkers really do walk on burning coals
or sometimes on molten lava. Behind firewalking, he maintains, is the total surrender of the practitioner to the
forces of darkness.
Soap Bubbles
A while ago, in the main street of the town of Patras, in Greece, a magician, with the aid of evil spirits, was
doing tricks. Through a variety of invocations, chairs and tables were lifted into the air as if made of paper. A
crowd of people rushed to see this devilish spectacle. But by Gods providence a certain priest of the city, Fr
A. K., was passing by and he made the sign of the Cross over these flying chairs and tables. They fell to the
ground and remained there no matter what the occultist tried to do to move them. The power of the Cross had
deadened that of the evil spirits.
No matter how impressive are the wonders performed by the agents of Satan (mediums, magicians, etc.),
they cant stand up to the power of the presence of the Cross. They disperse. They burst just as if they were
soap bubbles. As indeed they are.
The Devil: Demonic Possession

The best proof of the existence of the devil is a person who is possessed. To anyone who doesnt believe in
the existence of the devil, we would say, Come and see. Come and see the devil alive within a possessed
Possessed people (when the fit is upon them) become unrecognizable: the face becomes distorted, the head
twists, the mouth gapes. The tongue is thrust out and the victim howls. It is truly a horrible sight.
In this state, a possessed person is capable of revealing all your achievements (i.e., sins). It is not just
general and vague, either, but specific and in detail. Without knowing you, they can tell you for example, your
name, where you were and what you were doing the previous evening, and who you were with. (Its worth
noting that if youve confessed to a priest, the possessed are unable to do this).
- How do they manage to know your secrets?
- Why is it that sins confessed arent able to be seen?
During their fit, however, they show other symptoms.
- At the Divine Liturgy they feel as if theyre burning (although when they see fire they dont).
- Before the Precious Cross, they feel as if theyre being cut to ribbons (although when they see a butchers
knife they dont).
- When a priest makes the sign of the Cross over them with the spear used in the Divine Liturgy by the priest
to cut the Communion Bread, they feel as if their flesh is being pierced. One priest did this and the possessed
person howled: Why are you sticking that spear into my flesh. Why are you pulling at the spear and tearing
my flesh? (Yet the same person was able to bear the touch of a sharp knife without howling).
- When they look upon holy relics, they feel as if they themselves are on fire.
- Why should the possessed fear the Divine Liturgy yet not fear, for example, heart surgery?
- Why do they fear the Precious Cross, which, after all, is only two bits of wood, yet dont fear a sharp
butchers knife?
- Why is it that they feel theyre being cut open when the sign of the Cross is made over them?
- Why do they fear the relics of saints such as St Gerasimos, a poverty-stricken little monk who was full of
love, yet dont fear the remains of bloodthirsty Lenin, who slaughtered millions of his fellow-citizens?
All the above show us that theres something about the possessed person that is very badly disturbed by the
Precious Cross, the Divine Liturgy, and the relics of our saints. And this something is the same thing that can
reveal your secret sins, unless youve confessed them.

For us Christians, this something is the devil. What about unbelievers? Do they just put it down to
parapsychology and be done with it?
There are of course, those scientists who declare that all of this will one day be explained by the goddess of
science. Theyre sure of this. Yet this may not be the case, since its still in the future, so why are they so
sure? What sort of logic is that? But never mind. If in the future science demonstrates that this something
really is the devil, will they then believe it?
The Devils Bloodthirstiness
The possessed show just how bloodthirsty the devil is and how cruelly he tortures people. Here are a few
The father whose son was possessed said to Christ: Every time the devil bothers him, it throws him down,
foam comes from his mouth and he gnashes his teeth and becomes catatonic" (Mark 9:18). Some know-it-alls
explain this by saying the boy was epileptic. But so was Julius Caesar, who lived before Christ. People in the
ancient world were familiar with the difference between epilepsy and possession. They werent as backward
as we like to think.
Another possessed man never stayed at home, but went wandering around the deserts and graveyards.
Summer and winter he walked around stark naked (Luke 8:27-39).
Another threw himself into the fire to be burnt and yet another into the water to drown (Matthew 17:16). The
two possessed men of the Gaderenes were exceedingly fierce. They were so wild and aggressive that no
one could approach them They were the bane of peoples lives (Matthew 8:28).
Unnatural Strength
If a criminal is arrested by the police and is handcuffed, then no matter how strong he is, he cant
break his bonds. His hands are tied, as it were. This isnt true of people possessed. If theyre handcuffed, for
example, even if theyre paralyzed, theyre capable of breaking open handcuffs. St Luke tells us in the Gospel
that the Gadarene man who was possessed was kept bound in chains and fetters, and he broke the bonds.
He was completely immobolized, but despite that he broke the chains!
It wasnt the man who broke the chains, but the devil who was in the man. This demonstrates quite clearly that
the devil has superhuman strength. So, he can work signs and wonders. If he wanted, he could:
- Bring up a hurricane to destroy houses and uproot trees.
- Whip up a storm that would sink all the shipping in the area.
- Drown men and beasts.
- Make an earthquake that would level towns and cities.
But he refrains from this. Why?
Wouldnt he like to turn everything upside down? Certainly he would, if he could. Hes prevented from doing so
by God. If God didnt keep the mania of the demons in check, wed see them playing with the world like a ball.
How Does He Fight Us?
The misanthropic devil doesnt fight us with weapons that can be seen and which make a noise (stones, clubs,

etc.), but with silent, invisible ones. ONE of these is THOUGHTS. He puts (bad) thoughts into our minds in
order for us to put them into practice. If the bad thoughts dont take root, then hell fight us with supposedly
good ones, in order to trap us. Given this, you should be concerned and should ask yourself:
- Is what you have in mind perhaps seed sown by the devil? Is it perhaps misleading you towards seemingly
good thoughts?
- Is, perhaps, your philosophy of life and death (which you think is correct), really a set of thoughts from the
- Are even your thoughts on spiritual matters, as an Orthodox Christian, perhaps really thoughts of the devil?
One thing you can be sure of: the devil hasnt made an exception of YOU.
From the book Confronting the Devil, Magic & the Occult, Orthodox Book Centre, Athens 2003

Demonic Possession or Mental Illness?

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

The Common Symptoms
It is certainly possible for a person who is mentally ill or suffers from nerves to display the same symptoms as
someone who is possessed. For example: The possessed person might not want to say Lord have mercy or
to go to church, to confess or to take communion. (An unbeliever might also refuse to do these things, but that
doesnt mean that the unbeliever is possessed).
It is possible, according to psychiatrists, that someone who is mentally ill, faced with the Precious Cross or the
relics of saints, or in attendance at the Divine Liturgy, might shout Im burning, Im burning, without that
meaning that they are possessed. We know of such cases. Any sins which they might have committed, the
psychiatrists go on to say, in conjunction with their stricken conscience, would suffice to make the sufferer feel
as if he or she were burning when brought face to face with the sacred objects of our Faith.
Imagine, a case like that, in which a sufferer needs the immediate attention of a specialist practitioner and we
are trying to do what we can with exorcism!
When the prayers of exorcism are read over a person whos mentally ill, that person feels a certain temporary
relief, because something has been done to alleviate their illness. Unfortunately, this can be taken as a sign
of or symptom that the sufferer is possessed.
The Difference

Possession is one thing and mental illness another. They may have the same surface symptoms, but these
symptoms cause very different underlying behaviour.
When possessed persons are faced with the Precious Cross or the relics of a saint, they are seized with a fit
and become unrecognizable. Their heads turn right round, their tongues stick out and they begin to howl. It is
the reaction of Satan. Mentally ill people, however, react very differently. They are neither distorted nor
altered. They always retain their human countenance.
In addition, during their fits people who are possessed:
*Break chains, escape from restraint etc.
*Reveal secrets.
This, of course, is utterly impossible for people who are mentally ill.
Bewitchment or Psychological Problem?
Witchcraft may also produce the same symptoms as certain psychological problems.
A spouse who is bewitched may not be able to enjoy conjugal relations with his or her partner. This can also
happen to someone who has a psychological problem in this area.
Someone who is under a spell may lose their appetite and suffer from constant weight loss. This may also be
true for someone who has a psychological problem.
How are we to tell the difference?
If the sufferer continues to be a member of the Church, with a conscious sacramental life, then his or her
problem is not due to bewitchment. Magic doesnt affect pure and conscientious Christians. The problem is
psychological and requires the assistance of a specialist practitioner.
If the person is outside the Church and living in sin, then the sickness may be due to witchcraft, although,
again, we must not rule out a psychological problem. But a proper diagnosis will require cooperation between
a priest and a God-fearing doctor.
The Ruler of This World
The prince of this world (Jn 12:31).
We live in a sinful world. Every day a thousand and one evils are committed (theft, robberies, murder), not only
in one place but all over the earth. They happen so frequently that these terrible things have become common
And its not only today that they are happening. It has always been like this, from the beginning of humanity
right down to now. In other words, in the many thousands of years since the Fall there hasnt been a single
period when love, justice, peace and altruism reigned in this world. It would seem, then, that the prince of this
world is the devil. Hes the ruler of the world!
Well, he may seem to be, but he isnt.
The Cause of Evil

Let us remind ourselves that the Devil simply puts the idea of evil into each of our minds. From then on, it is
each of us individually who undertake to carry the idea out. To be more specific: the devil puts it into your mind
that you should steal. But you are the one who plans where, when, how and what you are going to steal. You
may plan one thing today, another tomorrow and something else entirely the day after. Furthermore, you may
have laid your plans to perfection and have started out to commit the robbery, yet on the way, you may have
thought of something else and put the whole operation off. You have gone home, making new plans. Now,
what if you set out again and this time you actually do steal? Was it the devil that made you steal, or yourself?
Was it he who laid your plans, who opened your hands so that you would take something that did not belong
to you? Or was it you?
You were in charge of the game. You stole, not the devil.
The same is true for any action you perform, as well as for any bad things you do. You do it. The same thing is
true for your friend, for any acquaintance and for people youve never even heard of. In other words, its not
the devil that does evil, but you in your weakness. If the devil did it, you would be innocent and then, of
course, you wouldnt be punished. No matter what crimes you had committed, you would go to Paradise. And
only the devil would go to hell.
The All-powerful Devil
Weve seen how the devil torments the possessed. But there is something we have not paid much attention to,
namely that he does not torment his victims night and day, but only at intervals. In most instances he leaves
them alone and does not bother them. Why? Why such mercy, such sympathy?
He does not do it out of mercy, nor out of sympathy, but out of weakness. In other words, he does not torment
his victim whenever he feels like it, but only when the Lord permits him to. Without the Lords leave, the devil
cannot bother anyone. Before he tormented Job the Righteous, he had to ask permission from the Lord.
He cant even bother dumb animals without getting permission from the Lord! Remember how the demons
asked His permission to enter the Gadarene swine. And once they had done so the swine did not merely
wander off, but rushed headlong over the cliff into the sea. Theres mania for you!
The devil does not have any score to settle with swine, though he does with people, especially Christians,
because they believe in Christ, Who is his enemy. Now, if the devil exterminated the swine so abruptly, just
imagine how much he would like to exterminate people. He would love to enter each one of us, to make us
rush headlong over cliffs and into seas and to go to our perdition, so that not a single person would remain on
earth, particularly a Christian, to worship his enemy. And yet ALWAYS, throughout all the ages, people have
survived, including Christians. So the Lord of All keeps the devil confined. In that case, who is really the Prince
of this world?
God is Good
Since God holds in check the all-powerfulness of the devil, it means that He Himself is all-powerful, and thus
more powerful than the devil. Therefore: He is able at any moment to do wonderful things. He can make the
whole earth tremble for hours with one glance and the whole world will bow down before Him as Lord and
God. He can immobilize the thief who is on his way to steal. The same can happen with the murderer and so
on, so that evil would disappear from the earth once and for all. He could make the world a paradise on earth.
But God does not do this. He can, but does not want to while the devil wants to but cant! He does not want
to because He is a good God. He wants us to do good freely, not under pressure from Him. He leaves
everything up to us.
From the book Confronting the Devil, Magic & the Occult, Orthodox Book Centre, Athens 2003

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

An Invitation to the Devil
When you want to invite an acquaintance of yours to a wedding, a baptism and so on, you send them an
invitation. The invitation is a way of showing that you want this particular person to be present.
Invitations are also sent to the devil.
Games, Charms and Jewellery
Good-luck Charms
There are specialists who make good luck charms with invocations to the devil. Unsuspecting people
then wear these and, in ignorance, invite the devil into their souls.
To the same category belong bats bones, horseshoes, the pentagram and so on.
The former queen of black magic, Doreen Irvine, says, from her experience, that there are games, such
as the ouija board, which are exceptionally dangerous for children. The former Satanist Sean Seller also
speaks from experience when he remarks that there are things like jewellery and games, which,
unfortunately, are often considered harmless. Now this is worth noting. Here are two people who
formerly worked for Satan telling us from their experience that not all these games are what they seem
to be.
Some years ago, an Athenian visited India. On his return, he brought a native game back as a souvenir
for a friend of his. One day, as his friend was gazing at it curiously, it gave out a strange noise and all of
a sudden, Satan himself appeared before the man!
Sean Seller tells us that behind every idol worshipped in India theres a hidden devil.
What is the Cross? It is simply inanimate material (wood, metal, etc.) in a particular shape. But its this
shape that repels the devil. An idol is similarly an inanimate object in a particular shape. And just as the
shape of the Cross repels the devil, the shape of the idol attracts him. So jewellery in the form of idols
attracts the devil.
There are some vain women who, to create an effect, decorate their homes with all sorts of objects of
unknown provenance. How can they be sure, poor things, that by doing this they arent inviting the devil
into their homes?
St John Chrysostom was quite clear about this: ...For if you decorate your house in another way (i.e.,
not Christian), you invite the devil and his company.
Even the meditation practiced by gurus and adherents of the New Age is an invitation to the devil.
Through their prayer and concentration they communicate with him. In the autumn of 1989, for

example, I was told the following by a young girl:

She had been led astray by a group of young people who followed a guru. While they were all sitting
cross-legged, holding hands and meditating, she did a test. She had a New Testament with her and said
the Lords Prayer, silently and in repentance and contrition.
The result was that no one in the group could concentrate or meditate! The leader of the group smelled
a rat, became thoroughly unpleasant, and got rid of her.
The New Testament, the word of God, along with the Lords Prayer, tore up the invitation they were
sending to the devil through their meditation.
Foul Language / Blasphemy
St John Chrysostom also teaches that foul language is another form of invitation to the devil: Foul
language also besmirches and invites demons. Songs with dubious lyrics and certain kinds of music
are also invitations to the devil.
If you tell somebody to go to hell, thats an invitation to the devil.
An inhabitant of a village in Achaia, Greece, related the following to me.
His married daughter, who lived in the nearby town of Patras, lost her temper and told her son to go to
the devil. Satan promptly appeared in her house. From the waist down, he had the body of a man, but
from the waist up that of a jet black goat, with horns! And he had his mouth open.
Another eye-witness told me that, in his village, a father became very angry and said to his child: May
the devil enter you. And suddenly there was the devil before them. You called me and Ive come, he
said to the father.
Studying Magic Books
At the time of St Dionysios of Olympus, there lived in Verria a learned Christian. One day, a book of
magic came into his possession. Out of curiosity, he began to read invocations to the devil. The result
was that night, he saw, as in a dream, a gigantic demon.
I came because you called me, said the demon.
Come on, then. Bow down before me, if you want me to serve you.
I bow only to my Lord, and He alone do I worship, replied the terrified Christian.
Since you wont bow to me, why did you call me? answered the enraged demon, who began to beat
his victim relentlessly.
The Christian awoke in a cold sweat. He felt unbearable pain about the face. He started shouting and
crying. His condition worsened. His face was so bruised and swollen that his eyes were closed. In the
end, he was healed by the prayers of St Dionysios of Olympus.
Recently (August 1998), the following happened in a suburb of the town of Patras, in Greece:
A high school student heard that she could invite the devil into her home if she lit a candle, bound the
Holy Scriptures with a rope, held them upside down and muttered some prayers. If the Scriptures
began to swing backwards and forwards, that would be a sign that Satan was on his way. The young
16-year-old followed the prescribed ritual. The hanging Scriptures did, indeed, begin to swing, the table
oozed blood and there, suddenly, was the devil himself.
Any kind of magic, however innocent and harmless it may appear to be (spells and so on), is an
invitation to Satan. In the book Miracles of our Lady the Eikosifinissa, we learn that an Athenian
woman, a Mrs Xanthaki, was having trouble with her husband. He was deceiving her. In order to find a
solution to her problem, she visited a good woman who was a medium. The latter read some magic for

her and gave her nine chickpeas to put in her house, so that her husband would come to his senses.
(What childishness!) The woman did as she was told. But from then on, every night, she had
nightmares. She dreamt of a savage man with hideous features (the devil), who kept telling her, Im
going to kill you. In the end she was cured by the intervention of the Mother of God.
Weapons against the Devil
Fasting and Prayer
The Lord said: This kind will not depart except by prayer and fasting. Fasting concerns the body,
prayer the soul. So we have body and soul, the whole person, against the devil.
The power of the devil lies in the belly. In other words, when people eat and drink without restraint, this
becomes a weapon in the hands of the devil, which is turned against them. So, fasting disarms the devil.
This is borne out by the experience of the hymnographer who wrote, For not even the wanton insults of
the demons dare to be brought against those who fast (Triodion, Vespers on Monday of Cheese-fare
Week). We have many instances in the lives of the saints in which the devil is put to flight by the weapon
of fasting.
Lets recall how the evil spirit was thrown into a panic at the name of Jesus. The medium, despite being
in a trance, leapt up from his chair and then collapsed in a dead faint.
Its also typical of the possessed that they cant actually say the name Christ. When they talk about the
Lord, they say Him or That one, but never Christ.
Tell a possessed person to say the word Christ and they'll certainly refuse.
Thus, the prayer Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me brings fear and trembling to the demons.
Taking Holy Water
Water that has been blessed by a priest through special prayers is a receptacle of Divine Grace and, as
such, is fire that burns the devil.
In 1925, a possessed person visited the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou on the Holy Mountain. Fr
Vessarion, a monk of the monastery, gave him a glass of water, into which he had secretly poured some
holy water.
Have a little drink to quench your thirst, he told him.
The possessed man took the glass and had no sooner wet his lips than he howled:
Youve burned me, monk! And he spat out the water that was in his mouth.
A certain resident of the province of Achaia, in Greece, told me that he himself had once sprinkled a
possessed person with holy water and the latter had shrieked, Youve scalded me! Youve scalded me!
From the book Confronting the Devil, Magic & the Occult, Orthodox Book Centre, Athens 2003

Another Weapon Against the Devil : Exorcism

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

What a Tibetan Occultist Saw
In 1970, an occultist from Tibet visited Athens. As he was walking along the street, he saw, by
divine dispensation, devils who had attached themselves to people.
There was a devil on the neck, another on the ears, another on the nose, another on the mouth
and so on. But the occultist also saw something that set him thinking, namely, that the devils were
unable to approach priests. They went all around them, circling to find an opening, but 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.
He went to the Holy Mountain, where the monks directed him to Father Paisios (+ 1994). As a
result, the occultist became aware of certain things. He repented. He was baptized . He became a
Christian and took the name Theodore.
Why couldnt the devil attach himself to priests? Because they belong to Christs priesthood. And
through this office, they perform sacraments, which, as we shall see, cause the devil to tremble.
Three things I Fear
Our holy Fathers fought the devil hand to hand. 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, what the Christians hang about their necks (the Cross). Second, the bath they
take in church (confession), and third, what they eat and drink in church (Holy Communion). Now
note this: he feared these things so much that he wouldnt even refer to them directly. And the
devil added to the holy 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 communion (says St John
Chrysostom). As lions breathing fire, so do we depart from that table, having become terrible to he
A message
Three things I fear, said the devil. Yet these three things are all part of Christianity. Its 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 by 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 heathens are devils, but the Lord
made the heavens" (Ps 95:5). And, They sacrificed to demons, not to God" (Dt 32:17).
Another very important weapon against the devil is exorcism.
At Baptism, according to the Holy Fathers, the devil is at the centre of the soul of the unbaptized.
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 exorcism prayers was a separate and impressive
There were special priests who read the prayers, the exorcists.
They were read many times: Absorb yourselves in the exorcism prayers, St Cyril of Jerusalem
urged those under instruction 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 the exorcism prayers of St Basil the Great and St John Chrysostom, which are
read over all those who are suffering from possession of curse.
The late Father Porphyrios, who knew much about demons, used to say about the 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).
Self-appointed exorcists, and those who read the prayers aloud in public, he berates.
When the exorcism prayers are not read when and as they should be, then the devil assails the
victim, the priest and those present.
Satan Infuriated
When the exorcism prayers 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, who is bombarded by the prayers, is challenged to depart from his victim. He is called
upon to do something 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 town of Patras in Greece and asked the priest
(who later told the story) to read the exorcism prayers of St Basil the Great. The priest was willing
and did as she requested.

As he made his way back home, stones began flying around him. He looked back but could see no
one. Then, at midnight, something terrible happened. The whole 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 began
Holy God and the wickedness stopped.
Its quite clear. The demons were infuriated by the exorcism prayers and attacked the culprit.
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 among themselves. St John, who was an expert in the wiles of the devil, addressed his
Arent you worried, now that youre making this noise, 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 dont care about
your possessed brethren, take pity on yourselves. Close the door of your soul against the evil
So, when you attend an exorcism without due attention, you could become possessed yourself!
The experience of our holy Fathers teaches 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 but, in accordance with the Lords commandment, he offered the other cheek as
well. This attitude of his (humility) was a blow to the demon. At once it began to cry: Im being
driven out by the Lords commandment. The possessed girl was made well again. Thereafter, the
elders glorified God and said, Nothing annihilates the pride of the devil so 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:
Get out of Gods creature, he said to the demon.
Im going, said the demon, but tell me, who are the sheep and who are the goats?
Im the goats, said the Elder, brokenly. 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 a possessed person to Anthony the Great, he also, great saint though he was,
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!
From the book Confronting the Devil, Magic & the Occult, Orthodox Book Centre, Athens 2003