`Father, how many demons were in the possessed from Gadara[1]?`

`The Gospel says there were a lot[2]. For this reason the possessed said that his name was legion. [3] And see how in a possessed may live a lot of demons and in the heart of the faithful may find room all the Saints. If Christ has room, with the Saints it happens just the same as well. These are great mysteries. Once when I was at the hut of the Holy Cross somebody rang the bell

I looked on the window and what did I see ? A man who was followed by an entire legion of demons, a black swarm. It was the first time when I saw a man possessed by so many demons. He was a medium. He mixed prayers of the Church with invocations of the demons, the Chritian books with the witchcraft ones and afterwards the demons possessed him. It was dreadful. I was terribly upset.

Some psychiatrists consider the possessed are mentally ill and some priests consider some mentally ill possessed. While a mentally ill person for being helped has to go in a certain place and the possessed in another one. How can a psychiatrist help a possessed?[4]

`Father, a possessed is able to realize what he did wrong to become possessed?`

`Yes, he may realize it, unless something wrong happened with his mind, cause then it is very difficult to be helped. If he is only possessed you can understand with him easily and you can help him, but he must be obedient. Otherwise how to be helped?`

Once there came someone from the South of Greece to the hut and he had been at the Hindus and

had become possessed. He said blasphemies and his mouth was frothing. His eyes were opened widely and wild. I told him: `Don`t say such blasphemies cause in this way you call the demons`, but he didn`t listen. And in the same time he was asking me for help.

`Help me` he said. `Only you can help me`

`How to help you` I asked him. You want me to pray to be freed with the Grace of Christ and you call the demons. Go and confess, let them read for you exorcisms and afterwards come back to talk`

`I am not going` he said.

`Then come inside to anoint you with oil from the vigil lamp`, I told him.

`I don`t want that. I want you to help me!`

Then he went a bit further and started to talk with someone. At a certain moment while I was saying to a group of people that God allows trials for our salvation he started to yell from a distance:

`Why are you saying that God works for the men`s salvation? We have a father in the sky, one on earth and above there is a headman.[5]

`Stop with your demonic talk !` I told him and I started to say the Jesus prayer.

`Now you upset me` he said.

`Go away!` I said and pushed him away. He crouched.

`With whom are you?` he asked me.

`I am with Christ` I said

`You tell me lies, he said, you are not with Christ, I am Christ and you beat me.`

The demon showed him everything in a wrong way.

`All these were said by the devil?`

`Yes, the devil. But see God gave him courage to come to the Holy Mountain. To come from the other end of Greece to the Holy Mountain in such a state, that is quite an effort. But he doesn`t listen and his state becomes worse and worse. If he were obedient, he could be helped.`

[1] see Luke 8, 26

[2] Luke 8, 30;

[3] Roman military unit which comprised from three up to six thousand soldiers

[4] The elder said that the mentally ill needs the medical help of a good and faithful psychiatrist and of the spiritual help of his confessor priest, while the possessed, as long as he still has his mind, needs to realize where he was wrong, why he became possessed, to repent and confess to be freed of demons.

[5] He referred at the devil.

Excerpt from Spiritual Strife – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing

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