VISIONARIES

              The psychics and the people who predict the future using tea leaves or coffee grounds claim out loud that they have the “gift” of detecting some persons or the fact that a family was cursed and that they can find out who cursed them. Let’s be serious, aren’t they simply making fun of the ordinary people?

          The deceased Archimandrite Haralambos Vasilopoulos was the confessor of such type of deceivers who repented; he used to ask them:

  • Why did you partake in the devil’s work?
  • I did it for money, they answered.
  • When your clients asked you something, what did you answer to them?
  • We simply fooled them.

          These confessed very honestly that they cheated the people. “Behind the psychics (and so on) you will find nothing more than deception and avarice”, wrote down the deceased priest in his notes.

          These amateurs in the occultism are also proud of the fact that they can detect a missing person or object. Is that so? If they are so clever in finding people, why don’t they use their powers to help the police find those who represent a danger for the society? There are lots of awards for finding the wanted people. This could be a very prosperous business!

          Surely they would like it, but they cannot. The only thing they can do is to deceive people.

          In 1969, in Athens was a man who passionately loved a married woman. He was very determined to marry her although she did not even want to hear about that. One day, he set her up and convinced her to join him in his car. He brought her to Mounta Parnassus. Of course he tried everything to make her change her mind yet she was very adamant. The consequence was that he suddenly steered the wheel as such that he went into a cliff that sent them to death on the rocks of the 700m abyss.

          At home her family waited for her to come back. A day passed, then another one… No sign from her.

          Her mother went to a psychic for help. She paid him generously. All that she wanted was to know where her daughter was. His answer was the following: “Your daughter is alive and is doing fine. In this moment she is walking on a street close to Piraeus.”

          When you pay a visit to these “visionaries”, you will pay a price… They fool you and in addition to that you also pay for it. You pay them generously and everything seems to be fine. You don’t even take that into account. Yet if a priest comes to your house and ministers a service for you and then you give him, “a small” amount” of money then you won’t stop complaining that you had to pay him.

  1. His book, “Is there magic?”, p 18
  2. p. 18
  3. There are also psychics used by the police for solving difficult cases. The policemen ask they help and they are interested by all means to find out the author of a crime or burglary. They don’t even realize that the devil will play the role of redeemer when he knows that people fall into his trap.

The hidden happiness

At the beginning of time, tangalaki, as the devil was called by venerable Paisios the Athonite, gathered with his servants and decided to play a prank to men.

One of them said:

”What would you say if we made some fun of people, robbing them of something?”

”And what can we steal from them?”

After they thought for a long time, the youngest one said:

”Let’s steal their happiness. The problem is where could we hide it so that they won’t find it?”

”Let’s hide it, one of them proposed, on the top of the highest mountain.”

” No, said another. Men have a huge power. Somebody could find it and then everybody would know where to look for it.”

”Then let’s hide it in the depths of the sea”, another devil suggested.

”No, cause they have ultramodern submarines and they would find it very quickly.”

”Let’s hide it on another planet.”

”Spaceships come and go one after the other. They will find it and will pique themselves like some great conquerors.”

A devil who sat quietly and weighed carefully each proposal said in the end:

”I think there is a place where people would never look for it.”

They all startled and looking at one another they asked:

”Where is that place?”

”Deep inside their souls. There we will hide happiness. Men will be so busy seeking it outside that they would never find it.”

All the devils agreed.

Since then man spends his life seeking happiness, without knowing that it lies within himself.

”The kingdom of God is within you”[1]

[1] Luke 17, 21.

 

About spells and how they can be broken

The enchantments are of many kinds. They are made for breaking apart a family or for making a couple split or being unable to have children or just for making a certain person get sick.

Usually the people who suffer because of magic have the following symptoms:

very bad headaches, either on the back of the head, or on the forehead, or between the eyes. Palpitations, numbness of the heart, hands or feet, misunderstandings in the family for unsignificant things, restlessness when you’re at home, heavy head, indisposition, idleness, no willingness to cook or clean the house, the feeling that something strangles you, a weight on the chest, the feeling that something moves fast through your body, to get sick and suffer while doctors don’t find anything wrong, to have physical infirmities, to lose weight when you eat normally, to have fears, suffer of melancholy, etc. These are just a few of the symptoms from which the victim of some black magic may understand if they touched him.

Symptoms for those who suffer from magic spells

The described symptoms must not be considered as precise effects of the spells. If someone has a heavy head or feels a weight on his chest he must not think immediately that some spells were made against him. Just as some don’t want to believe at all that they were made charms (even if they find at their doorstep certain traces – dead frogs or other signs)in the same way others are obsessed that there were charms made against them and confound the fatigue or physical indisposition with signs caused by charms. Only the priests who keep the straight faith are able to say if someone is or not under the influence of magic (the other priests, who open the Book or use other magic practices try to convince the people that they have spells made, just for increasing the number of their clients)

Who breaks spells

The only method for breaking spells and for healing demonization is our sincere return to Christ, through confession, repentance, Eucharist and all the other things recommended by the priests of Christ.

”Don’t deceive yourself, Christian, I tell you that no wolf would ever become a sheep, according to the saying,  nor the devil would ever become a doctor and it would be easier for the fire to freeze and for the snow to burn than to see the devil healing for true, because he is always helpless. And if we presumed that he might heal you, know that he does not want this because human health is something good and the devil always hates the good things, that’s why he is called ”the hater of all good”, Saint Nikodemus the Hagiorite said.

For breaking the spells made against you, Christ must enter your heart and your house for true  and then the priest will come to sanctify your house and read the exorcisms of the Church, of Saint Basil the Great, of Saint John Chrysostom, that are written in the Euchologion of our Church.

How the spells are broken

Those against whom the priest found that there were made charms, must not go to any sorcerer, enchanter or fortune teller etc because the situation would get worse. The spells are broken if:

  • You make a sincere, general confession from childhood till the present time
  • You make a confession at every 40-50 days or every time the soul becomes heavy
  • You take Eucharist as much as it is possible, if your confessor allows it
  • It is mandatory to go to the church on every Sunday
  • You take antidoron and drink holy water every morning
  • You fast on every Wednesday, Friday and in all important fasting periods
  • You hallow your house and ask to be read for you the exorcisms of Saint Basil the Great
  • You sprinkle with the blessed water from this service all the places of your house daily
  • You say prayers in the morning and in the evening
  • You burn incense daily and light the votive candle
  • You read a chapter from the New Testament every day
  • You forgive from your heart those who made the spells and destroyed you

 

The statement that evils were created by God is a denial of God, Who is Good and the Goodness itself

God being good could not have placed inside the human nature the evils that are seen inside it now. „Being the work of God’s hands, who in His kindness created this being, no one from those who judge righteously would ever suspect the One who created him out of His love that He, his Creator, would have thrown man from the beginning in a world of evils.  There is  another reason for being now in such a state and stripped of the goodies of yesteryear.”

To consider that God is the source of evil it means to negate His kindness. ”Evil does not come from God – says Dionysius the Areopagite – for He is not good then, does not make good and does not create good things.”

But to deny God’s goodness it means to deny God Himself, for He is the Goodness itself. Saint Basil the Great considers as pagan the one who thinks that God is the creator of evil: ” Who says that there is no God is mad, mindless and irrational.

Exactly like him and just as crazy is that one who says that God is the creator of evils. I say that both of them commit as much of a sin, because they both deny the Good One, one of them saying that there is no God and the other one deciding that God is not good.

Because if God is the source of evil, then obviously He is not good and both statements lead  to the denial of God.”

JEAN-CLAUDE LARCHET

Source: ganduridinierusalim.com

The Ascension of the Lord

The image of Christ’s Ascension is majestic. The disciples remained stunned by amazement and watched joyfully and with bewilderment the Ascension of the Lord into heaven.

Saint evangelist Luke writes in this respect: And after he said this he was taken up before their very eyes… and they were intently looking up into the sky, as He was going… (Acts 1,9-10).

According to the words of saint Athanasios the Great, the disciples did not see Christ ascending to heaven, but looked all the time carefully, which means that „they gazed continuously upwards, towards Christ”. Therefore it was a continuous focus of their look. We could say that they stood pinned to the place and watched Christ who was ascending to heaven.

Above the feeling of magnificence of the image with Christ who was ascending to heaven, this focused look has also the meaning that those who are true Christians have permanently the eye of their soul, namely their thought – turned to the sky.

In this context we must analyze the urge ”let us lift up our hearts”, said by the priest or ”let us lift up our mind and hearts”, from the holy liturgy of Jacob, brother of the Lord. These words are relevant because, as Saint Apostle Paul says, our homeland is not on earth, but in heaven. Our citadel is in heaven, from where we wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philip 3, 20). On another occasion Saint Paul recommends:

”Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Col. 3,2). This focus of the sight towards Christ and the elevation of the mind up to Him is in connection with the hesychia of the mind, namely with the hesychast life, which means the detachment of the mind of any wordly desire and its reference only to Christ. Of course in accordance with the hesychast and neptic theology, this means the return of the mind in the heart, through Christ; in this way, the thought ascends to God. Therefore it is not a deflection of the natural course of the mind, but a purification and an enlightment of it.

While the disciples were looking into the skies, the Angels, about whose participation at the Ascension we will discuss below, said that in the same way Christ ascended to heaven, he will descend: This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1,11). This means that, though they did not see Christ anymore, the disciple remained with their look focused to heaven, in ecstasy and bewilderment.

Analyzing more carefully these angelic words, saint Athanasios the Great says that actually the Angels revealed to the disciples that Christ remains God-Man for ever and He will come back with His Body, because he did not take flesh from The Holy Mother of God only for using it, but for remaining for ever in creation. He did not incarnate only for a while, but for ever. Christ remains God-Man for ever.

The word of the Archangel refers at the Second Coming of Christ in His glory to judge the living and the dead. Referring at His Second Coming, Christ Himself said: ”When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him…” (Matthew 25. 31). Actually, the teaching of Saint Apostle Paul relating to the fact that the saints would be taken and lifted up for welcoming Christ, Who will come with plenty of glory refers exactly at this coming. That’s why in the Creed we confess:

”And He shall come again with glory”.

The words used by the Angels for referring at the Second Coming of Christ are found in the Old Testament as well,  in the form of a prophecy.

The prophet Daniel says: ”In my vision at night I looked and there, before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heanven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.” (Daniel 7, 13). At this coming refer as well Christ’s words: ”and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (Matthew 24,30).

From the moment of Christ’s Ascension till that of His Second Coming there is no empty space, for between these two moments exists the Church, through which we become members of Christ’s Body and through which we are in communion with Him.

Those who are an organic part of the Church and true members of Christ’s body, will be able to live, according to the level they reached, both Christ’s Ascension and the glory of His Coming.

Whom does the devil torment more?

The devil fights everybody, because he wants to take them all to hell. But he torments the most the virtuous ones, those who fervently pursue „the good fight of faith”[1], those who have a rich spiritual fruitage. Just as the children throw stones in the nut trees with fruits, in the same way the devil throw stones at those who have spiritual fruitage. And just as the thief goes to steal where are found earthly treasures, in the same way the devil goes to steal from places where are found spiritual fruits.

Saint Hrisostom says that „ the thief does not come where is rush and grass, but where are the gold, the silver and the pearls. He does not go to rob straw huts or wodden barracks. Cause there are no valuable things. He goes instead to the rich homes, with plenty of money, silver, gold or other precious things.

He goes to tables and… where he would fill his sack. Likewise the devil „does not enter where is the lewd, the foul, the rapacious, the covetous”. (EPE 33, 406).

He does not go to fight those lacking virtue, the foul, the rapacious, the covetous, for they are possessed by that addiction and he cheats them easily. He has to strain more when he goes to fight with the struggling monks, who walk faithfully on the path of sanctification or the Christians who struggle full of zeal and awareness.

In another homily, the saint with golden words remarks that the pirates do not attack the ships that carry sand, cause sand is a cheap and heavy material, that no one bothers to carry on his back. The pirates attack the ships that carry uncountable fortunes or very valuable goods.

In the same way the devil attacks the Christians who have virtue and holiness[2]. From  the Holy Scripture we find that the devil sent his hound dogs and tried to kill the fire prophet Elijah.

He imprisoned and cut the head of the preacher of repentance, the honored Forerunner!

He threw his poisoned arrows at the wise and handsome Joseph, who was a spiritual diamond, a foreshadower of Christ!

He tormented the long-suffering Job, who was a righteous, God-fearing man and who receded from everything was evil and deceitful.

He is such a relentless, unwavering tempter that he went in the desert to entice even our Lord!

How does he attack our lives?

The men hater does the same with us. If he sees that we walk steadfastly on the path of God’s commendments, he tries to divert us. If he sees that we confess Christ, he tries to silence us. If he sees that we do good, he brings us obstacles for stopping us. If he sees that we pray ardently, he brings us yawns and drowsiness for ceasing our prayers. He watches how we worship God.

If he sees that our thoughts fly far away or are filled with the noise of the wordly worries, the devil is very content.

But if we attend the Divine services, he starts fighting us. He brings back memories from our childhood, works we left unfinished, urgent calls we had to make and so many others of this kind. And if he does not succeed to divert our attention, he calls other demons to help him. He watches how we study the Holy Gospel.

If he sees that our mind does not understand in their depth the divine words, the devil does not worry much. But if we are a good ground and listen to the word of God with a good grace and study it ardently day and night and hide it deeply in our heart as a treasure and make a life advice from it, the devil makes the impossible become possible in order to stop us reading the divine word and do something else.

From what’s been written we understand how sly is the enemy, how deceitful are his crafts and how hard he tries to cheat us by this means, how furiously he accomplishes his devilish work and how skillfully he uses any opportunity for diverting us. But we should not fear him,

Because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4, 4). We should learn to discover his decoys and take precautions in due time, in order that Satan might not outwit us, for we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2, 11), Apostle Paul writes. But more than anything else we should humble ourselves, cause the devil does not bear humility. As soon as we humble ourselves, he goes away.

Therefore, we should not leave our ramparts, no matter how hard we would be tormented by the devil.

The soul that’s not idle stirs the devils against himself.

But when temptations multiply, the rewards multiply as well, saint John Climacus says.

[1]see 1 Timotheios 6, 12.
[2]Homily at Job.

Some miracles of the holy relics of Saint Maria Magdalene, from the Holy Monastery Simonos Petras, The Holy Mountain

Saint Maria Magdalene

            A special place among the holy relics found in the Holy Monastery  Simonos Petras from the Holy Mountain is occupied by the left hand of the holy prude and equal to the Apostles, Maria Magdalene . This hand of the saint is incorrupt, with its skin and tendons and spreads a heavenly scent. Moreover, those who kiss it with piety and faith find that it’s warm.

            In the Holy Monastery Simonos Petras from the Holy Mountain, due to the numerous miracles made by the Saint until today, she is considered and revered by the monks as the second founder of the Holy Monastery.

But let’s see some of them:

In 1945, a big fire broke out in the forest of the Holy Monastery Iviron. The wind blew hard and in a few hours the fire reached the ridge of the mountain, where the forests of the monasteries Iviron, Filotheu and Xiropotamu neighbors ours. Everybody thought that the forests would be destroyed. The fathers of our monastery were announced in time and ran to the fire place.

Then the hieromonks Neofit and Panteleimon, moved by the great piety they had for the holy relics of the Saint, took them there.

Nobody could approach the fire, because he would have been in danger of being caught in by the burning flames.

Nevertheless – thanks to your miracles, oh, Christ, our Lord – as soon as the two priests approached the fire with the holy relics, the fire stopped and till they finished the service for blessing the water and the oratory dedicated to saint Maria Magdalene, the fire quenched completely, to the great amazement of the fathers gathered there.

*

            A similar miracle took place in the forest of the same monastery with the holy relics of saint Maria Magdalene in 1947.

*

            In 1911 in the locality Galatista near Thessaloniki some worms appeared and destroyed the plants. The people from that place asked from the monastery the holy relics of  Saint Maria Magdalene and immediately after the fathers finished the service for blessing the water, the worms disappeared.

*

            Likewise, in 1912, in the locality Epanomi near  Thessaloniki appeared a lot of locusts. Then the people of the town asked the fathers to send them the holy relics of  Saint Maria Magdalene.

 After they read the oratory dedicated to the saint and performed the service for blessing the water, the locusts disappeared completely. The people from Epanomi have a special gratitude for the saint  Maria Magdalene.

*

            And the saint has made and continues to make many more miracles with those who call her faithfully.

Source: Archim. Haralambie Vasilopoulos, Saint Maria Magdalene, ed. Orthodox Press, Kanigos 10, Athens 1984, pp. 42-45.

ASTROLOGY – The occult and the contemporary idolatry

An interview given by father Arsenios Vliankoftis to the reporter Theodor Duca.

Not long time ago we went to the Holy Monastery of Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian from the locality of Vatopedi – Halkidikis and we had the opportunity to talk with  father Arsenios – an expert in subjects about heresies – relating to astrology. We had a cogent discussion of high concern for all of us.

Father Arsenios, in the past years astrology entered people’s lives for good. What’s the opinion of your holiness?

Considerable effort is being made for pushing it into our lives and for sure this is not coincidentally. It is a real problem and the media has a great responsibility. The public is overwhelmed by advertising messages on astrology, in the true sense of the word.

You said that considerable efforts are made so that  astrology enters our lives and that it’s not coincidentally. What do you mean?

Astrology is not neutral if talking in religious terms, but fully integrated to the wide space of occult. It believes in the so-called karma and in reincarnation. It is important that on the relevant ads we read: „psychic, astrologer, parapsychologist, tarot cards”. Therefore, all these go together, „in a single pack”, according to a modern cliché. In the same time, we must not forget that the antichristic movement of the „New Era of the Acquarius” is based on astrology. So this dark circle pushes astrology forward, pursuing to make people believe in it. First, we have to stress it out  that the belief in astrology is incompatible with the Orthodox Faith. Meaning that a real Christian cannot believe in the same time in astrology. And the Holy Scripture tells us this. Those who persist in being interested in astrology, magic and fortune telling are subject to heavy canons of repentance, in accordance with the Holy canons of our Church. They separate themselves from the Church.

Father Arsenios, we’d like you to tell us what does astrology believes more specifically?

Astrology believes that when someone is born, the position of the stars puts an indelible mark on his personality. The position of the stars decides his future. But it does not tell us how it happens. What kind of influence is this the stars exert upon us.  You saw it, we say „believe”. And it is indeed a belief in the occult and the ancient idolatry, which denies God and deifies nature. They don’t believe that there is a God  who takes care of man, nor that the man is free, but believe that everything is coordinated by a blind and impersonal fate.

Something similar to the Muslim kismet[1]-…

Exactly. Of course it’s a superstition. Besides this, astrology since the years of Renaissance in the West (XVIth century) separated itself from the science of astronomy. Astrology remained  stuck to the geocentric system, that is not accepted by any scientist, while astronomy adopted the heliocentric system. There is no scientist to accept astrology, on the contrary, there are some decisions of certain international  congresses that condemn astrology as a superstition and a quackery.

Despite these, many times the astrologers show diplomas.

It’s mere quackery. There is no recognized university in the world  to teach astrology or grant diplomas of astrologer. But it happens the following thing: Astrologers found associations with stilted names in Greece and other places, calling them institutes, academies, colleges. They become presidents, general secretaries etc. And then they give each other titles and diplomas.

How is it that sometimes the foresights of the astrologers „come true”?

Your question is opportune and I shall answer it. It’s not true that the predictions of the astrologers come true. Apart from the cases of fraud, we have the situations when the „prophecies come true”. Meaning that the astrologer tells you that you would get sick and you start behaving like a sick man. You adjust your status and the „prophecy” comes true naturally. But even in the case when it doesn’t come true, the astrologer tells you that the prediction didn’t come true because you had a negative attitude. Meaning that either white or black,  rightness is on their side.

You mean something like Pythia’s oracle[2]?

Exactly. The astrological language (that of the horoscope) is full of safety valves, so that the astrologer may be right in all cases. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that the words „is possible”, „maybe”, „you tend to” are commonly used in horoscopes. They also mention certain truths that might be accepted by anyone. The astrologer in the horoscope pursues to flatter someone and uses a very friendly tone with him. We have to say as well that astrology is based on a rational and scientifical error. Here we have what in Logic we call: „vicious circle”[3]. Meaning that the astrologer seeing some stars in the sky, with no real connection between themselves (one may be relatively close to us and the other one much farther), interconnects them and according to his imagination, he gives them shapes and names. For instance, he tells you that now we are in the sign of the Leo and the man who is born in a period when the sun passes through it is a lion and will have the attributes of the lion. Meaning that the astrologer assigns them qualities and then says that these represent the characteristics of those who belong to this astrological sign. You see, there is an obvious logical error and „a vicious circle”?

   However, anyone can give other names to the same groups of stars. For example today, when we don’t use the bow and arrow anymore, we cannot call the constellation of the Saggitarius in this way. We will give it another name.

In essence is about a kind of primitive magic thinking. In astrology there is something else that helps the astrologers to convince their victims. It’s the so called technique of multiple factors. So he analyzes you and notices certain traits of character he assigns for instance to the sign of the Aries and he tells you: „I think you’re an Aries”. If you say you’re not, he asks you: „Where is your moon positioned?” (meaning the position of the moon in the moment when you were born). If from what you tell him it turns out that it was positioned in the Aries, he tells you: „You see, I’ve found that out?”. But if you tell him: „I don’t know”, he would tell you: „I think you’re in the Aries”. If he doesn’t succeed he goes on by saying: „Actually very few know the precise time and place of their birth, so that they could give the astrologers all the information they require for making what they call a «scientific horoscope»”. Of course  it’s „scientific” just in their opinion.

In the end, can someone predict the future, to make all this discussion have a sense?

The belief of our Church is clear: Future is known only by God who is omniscient and this does not cancel human freedom.

Neither Satan, nor the demons or the astrologers know the truth.

Being initiated into the occult, the astrologers may be announced by the demons with whom they collaborate – there are times and words used for calling a certain demon –for facts from the past or the present. The „masters” of astrology are in reality magicians and satanists. In its common form, astrology acts a a light „spiritual narcotic”, that introduces the enthralled man in the wide occult space, for passing afterwards  through  maybe tougher „spiritual narcosis” like magic.

What do you mean by „spiritual narcotic”?

It’s a common expression and is used because the supporters – just like in the case of the common narcotics – are gradually led to total addiction. The true follower of astrology cannot make a step further in his life without consulting his astrologer beforehand.

Therefore, the consequences of the preoccupation for astrology are hard and dangerous.

That’s why who wants to start studying it out of mere curiosity, has to think well before.

We can’t play with the fire.

There’s involved the producer of the deceit as well, isn’t it so?

Of course it is. Let me give you a clear proof. There are TV shows with astrologers where while the show is on (assuming that’s a live show )it’s used a trailer announcing: „You’re watching the show (so-and-so) with recorded exemplary phone calls”. They do the same at the shows with fortune tellers. In this way the shrewd get money from the high costs of the phone calls.

What do you think? What’s the cause that pushes the people towards astrology?

I wanted to say exactly the same. When the man feels the need and desire to give a meaning to his life and find answers for the so-called existential questions (where do I come from, where am I going, what’s the meaning of life) and he doesn’t choose the right path, he doesn’t find the right answers, but gets tangled in the dangerous ways of the occult. Then  for sure this man would get interested in astrology too. Many people want easy solutions, for others freedom is a burden and others prefer to let the stars decide for themselves.

Father Arsenios, what would you recommend for dealing with this phenomenon or problem?

Only when someone is consciously and deeply present in the space of the Church, he is protected of all the occult and dangers.

But the state must assume its responsibility as well.

It’s harmful to allow advertising the occult even on the national TV channels.

Another question. What means what’s called by some people the moving of the astrological signs?

This as well as the so called third astrological sign have put the astrologers in difficulty lately, because they ruin their rookery.

This means that the people who according to the astrologers belong to a certain astrological sign, actually belong to the next one. It is commonly called mill.

This is bad news for astrology, but despite that, it irresistibly continues its journey.

And this thing is caused by the fact that it is part of an entire context of interpreting the world that addresses to the confused people who live far from God.

Many say: „I won’t fall victim to the magicians and astrologers. As for those who fell victims and were ruined, that’s their own business”. What do you say about this?

It’s not like this. This is a very serious matter. Besides the fact that indifference towards our neighbour and his problems is not a Christian behavior, I would tell those who say such things: let’s say that the teacher of your children is a follower of astrology.

Then he won’t take as much into account the conclusions of pedagogy in educating your children but would study their horoscope.

Of course, your children might be attracted in the space of astrology and occult by such a confused teacher. Something similar happens when you fall into the hands of a doctor who is a follower of astrology. He won’t study that carefully the blood tests and radiographs, but your horoscope.

And it happens the same with the politician who believes in astrology.

One like this would take stands in serious matters related to home and foreign policies only after studying the horoscope and consulting his astrologers.

So, you see that astrology raises serious problems with consequences not only for the fools who fall as its victims, but for all of us.

What recommendation would you make in the end of this interesting discussion?

When someone would ask us the question: „What’s your sign in the horoscope?”, let’s give him this answer: „I am not an animal, I am a human being” (In the ancient Greek zodio means a small animal) And let’s also take into account the following thing: If the time the astrologers waste on reading their newspaper: „What do the stars say about you”, with the consequence that they become enslaved from free, they would have spent it for reading a page from the Holy Scripture or any other book useful for our soul or they would have dedicated it to prayer, their life would have changed and they would have become actually free.

„PARAKATATHIKI” Magazine, May-June 2003.

[1] Faith, destiny.

[2] Pythia was a priestess of  Apollo who made forecasts in the Oracle from Delphi.

[3] In Logic, the circular reason, also known as circulus in probando, petitio principii or vicious circle, is a logical error in which the sentence to be demonstrated has already been stated implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises. As a notion of Logic, the circular reason was defined for the first time by Aristotle, in his book intitled Analytica Priora in Latin, around the year 350 b.c.

What else do we know about the Christians from Syria?

In the „Black Book on the condition of Christians in the World”, coordinated  by the French journalist Samuel Lieven, it is mentioned that 150 millions of Christians are persecuted nowadays in the world. „Center for the study of Global Christiany” estimates that over Christians are killed annually for their  faith, meaning one at every five minutes. The wars of the last years and the recent development of the Islamic State in Irak and Syria are followed by strong persecutions against Christians.

Two Syrian high ranking clerics from Aleppo, the Orthodox metropolitan Paul Yazigi, the brother of the Patriarch of Antioch, John the X-th, and the Coptic metropolitan John Ibrahim, have been kidnapped since 2013 and nothing has been found out about them. A Lebanese Arab wondered: „In Irak and Syria Christians are persecuted, killed, the churches are bombed and burnt. All this is happening and the free world is heedless to their agony and pain. So I am asking: aren’t they human too? Don’t they deserve to be helped by the organizations for human rights and the states that support them? It seems that the world sides with the mighty, not with the righteous.”

What do we know about the Christians from Syria? What are we doing for them? In the following lines there are some sequences from the life of some Orthodox monasteries, related by a nun from Syria.

The Jihadis occupied a village with 200 families of Christians. I went to the Muslims and told them: „Patriarch John helps all the refugees, Muslims and Christians alike. Help us to liberate the people of the village”. These men talked with the Jihadis and the people were saved. They let them leave their houses just with the clothes they had on them.

The Muslims from Persia (Iran) are educated and there aren’t so many fanatics. But the Muslims from other countries, where women are not even allowed to drive are fanatics. They believe that whoever kills the non Muslims, will go straight to heaven. They threaten you: either you become Muslim or I kill you. They cut even the heads of the children who refuse to become Muslims. They kidnap girls and keep them for themselves or sell them in the market.

They declare that the war is jihad (n.n. – in Arabic the term means fight, resistence and refers at the religious duty of any Muslim to fight till the entire mankind would become Muslim or under the authority of the Muslim state).  The husbands discuss this matter in the family, the man decides to go to war. He says: „Run, do whatever you want. I go to the holy war”. The governmental army knows from what villages are coming the Jihadis and attacks them. Then the families of the Jihadis are forced to leave their villages and ask for help from Christians. They have many children. They all come to the holly abbess to ask for help.

When they kidnapped the nuns of the monastery from Maloula, for ten days a mullah went to them and talked to them about Islam, trying to persuade them to become Muslim. He told them: „Maybe your parents forced you to become nuns. If you become Muslims and marry, you are free”. The nuns didn’t say anything. Because they couldn’t convince them, then they sent some women to persuade them. The women told them: „Bring the Bible and the Koran to compare them”. But the nuns didn’t say a word to them. They stayed ten days more with the women and afterwards they were kept in some houses for three months and a half.  When they were kidnapped, the Jihadis took from the monastery the books, the icons and the money. When they took them to those houses, they gave them back their money, but they didn’t give them back the icons and books. How could the nuns pray without the prayer books? Every day, for three months and a half they said only the prayers they knew by heart. After they were liberated, the nuns went to Lebanon.

They burnt the church of the monastery from Maloula. At saint Tecla’s grave they took out the ground. The home for orphans and the cells of the nuns escaped. Now the government rebuilds the monastery and the Patriarch hopes that in three months the nuns could go back.

At Cherub Monastery the army came before arrived the Jihadis and defended the area, so the monastery was not occupied. But now there isn’t any more monk there, just the army.

We have electricity two hours per day. We have a power generator, but we don’t have any fuel. In February we didn’t have diesel fuel for the car. There are many thieves who steal, taking advantage of the entire situation – the people are poor, they have to steal in order to survive.

Who helps us with money? The holy mother of God. We cultivate flowers and send them to Lebanon and they are sold there. In this way we are able to aid the people who come and ask for our help. We couldn’t receive in the monastery all the families that came here. We preferred to pay rent  for them in houses from the villages, otherwise they would have created big disorder within the monastery. We must keep our monastic ordinance. A man is sick with diabetis and he doesn’t have a fridge to keep the insulin for the injections there. We gave him the fridge we had. Nobody can afford buying a washing machine or a fridge now, cause they cost much more.  The nuns are kind-hearted and they give to the poor all they have in the monastery.

A family from Aleppo that was rich before, now took shelter in our area. The woman came and asked for only two plates, two spoons and two knifes. But two of the nuns went to see how they live. They live in a very poor house : without floor or beds, there is nothing in it. The nuns came back and said what they saw and they were crying. We gathered a carpet, a bed and other things and took them to that family.

Every Sunday the nuns go by car and pick up all those who want to come to the Holy Liturgy, then drop them back home. We take care that all of them find work.

We don’t get out of the monastery. After sunset we stay with a big fear. We don’t send nuns in the city by car. Every night, the nuns hold a vigil for those who fight in the war. They send us letters: „Do pray for us, please! Light a candle. They came against us”. Once we gave small icons with The Holy Mother of God, Trihierusa. A soldier put it on his chest, he was shot there, but he didn’t die.

We feel sorry to leave the monasteries. We see young people who put all their hopes in us: „Here is a monastery, they pray for us”, they say. It means an aid, a hope for them. We cannot leave. Many put their hopes in our prayers. The Muslims who go in the army come and ask for our blessing: „Pray for us! We are not Christians, we are Muslims, but do pray for us, please!”.  When they get a two days leave from the front, they don’t go straight home, they come to us. They make the sign of the cross, even the Muslims, then go to their homes and back to the war. In the memorial prayers there are so many names of soldiers! They ask us to mention them in our prayers daily. Mothers come, cry and ask us to pray for their sons.

A young soldier told us: „I can’t kill anybody – he could be my neigbour”. He doesn’t use his gun. He goes to war because it’s compulsory. God has been protecting him for three years. He neither killed anyone, nor was killed.

The fakir’s „miracle” and the Jesus Prayer

Eye witness of the case described below,  archimandrite Nicolae Drobianzkin is one of the countless martyrs from the revolutionary times of Russia. In his wordly life he had a brilliant career, being IInd rank captain in the military marine and alongside with this he got deeply involved in occultism, editing the occult magazine Rebus. After being saved by saint Seraphim of Sarov from a certain death in the sea, he planned a pilgrimage to Sarov. Coming back from his pilgrimage, he gave up on his career and on occultism and became a monk. He was ordained priest and served as a missionary in China, India and Tibet, ministering at different churches and being adviser  for some monasteries. After 1914 he lived at the Lavra of the Caves from Kiev. He ceaselessly spoke to the young people who went to him in those times about the influence of the occultism upon the facts happening on the political scene of Russia. In the autumn of 1924, at a month after he had received the visit of a gentleman called Tonholz, the writer of the book „Black magic”, he was killed in his cell by some „unknown men” with the obvious consent of the Bolsheviks. The murder weapon was a knife with a special handle, having the shape of an occult symbol.

The happenstance related here by father Nicolae, reveals the true nature of the spiritual phenomena found in various Eastern religions. It took place shortly before 1900, it was recorded around the year 1922 by the doctor A. P. Timofenghievici and published by him in a Russian magazine from the diaspora („Orthodox Life”, 1956, nr.l).

One wonderful tropical morning, our ship cut its way through the Indian Ocean approaching the island of Ceylon. The lively faces of the travellers, in their majority Englishmen, who were going with their families to their jobs or business from the Indian colony, were turned towards the horizon, looking about the fascinating island that was for almost all of them linked with so many stories and interesting, mysterious descriptions of the travellers.

Before they saw the island, the ship began to be more and more intensely veiled in a smooth and ravishing fragrance brought by each waft. Finally a long, narrow shape of dark blue color showed up lying on the horizon. Its dimensions grew bigger as the ship was approaching it swiftly. You could already distinguish on the shore the wide-spread buildings, hidden in the green of the majestic date palms and the colorful crowd of natives who were waiting for the arrival of the ship. During the journey, the passengers befriended very easily. They stayed on the deck where they talked and laughed heartily, admiring the amazing view of the magical island which unfolded before their eyes. The ship made some slow maneuvers, preparing to anchor at the quay of Colombo harbor.

There it had to station for stocking with coal, that’s why the passengers had enough time for descending on the shore. The day was so hot that many passengers decided to stay on the ship till the afternoon. A nice chill replaced the burning heat of that day. A group of eight people that I joined myself, chose  colonel Elliot as their guide. He had lived before in Colombo and knew well the island and its surroundings. Then he made us a tempting proposal:

  • Ladies and gentlemen, would you like to go a few miles away of the city and visit a magician fakir? I think we are going to see something interesting.

We all accepted enthusiastically his proposal.

The evening had already fallen when we left behind us the noisy roads of the city and stepped on an enchanting path that was crossing the jungle. On our right and left side were glittering millions of dragonflies. To its end, the path widened unexpectedly and we found ourselves in the middle of a small clearing surrounded by the jungle. At one of its edges, under a big tree, it was something like a hut and near it was burning a small fire. An old, thin man, with a turban on his head was sitting down, cross-legged and with his gaze focused on the fire. Despite the noise caused by our arrival, the old man continued to stay absolutely motionless, without paying any attention to us. From somewhere out of the dark showed up a young man, who approached the colonel and asked him something in a whisper. After a short time he brought some small chairs and our group sat in a semicircle close to the fire. A thin, scented smoke raised to the sky. The old man continued to sit in the same position, showing that he didn’t pay attention to anything. The full rising moon somehow drove away the darkness and at its pale light all things took bizarre shapes. They all became silent and waited to see what was going to happen.

  • Look! Look there at the tree!, whispered uneasily miss Mary.

We all turned our heads towards the tree. And indeed, all the  huge foliage surface of the tree under which was sitting the fakir it was like waving quietly in the pale moonlight, while the tree started to fade away slowly and lost its shape. So to speak more precisely, I could say that an invisible hand threw over it a thin veil, which in time became thicker and thicker. In a short time, in front of our amazed eyes it appeared the waving surface of the sea. With a slight roar, the waves were coming one after another, forming a white foam. Bright clouds were floating on a sky that  turned blue. Stunned, we could not take off our eyes from that amazing sight.

Then a white ship showed up at the horizon. A heavy smoke was coming out of its two big flues. It swiftly drew cloer to us, cleaving the water. In great amazement, we recognized our ship, that had brought us to Colombo. A murmur of astonishment crossed the audience, when we read on the stern of the ship, written with golden highlighted  letters, the name of our ship: LUIZA. But what caused our biggest amazement was the fact that up, on the deck we saw ourselves. Let’s not forget that in those times the cinema had not been invented yet and it was impossible for someone even to conceive something similar to it.  Each one of us saw himself on the deck of the ship, among the people who were talking and laughing. What was absolutely amazing it was that I saw not just myself, but the entire deck of the ship, in its slightest details, like in a panoramic plan – thing which, of course, is impossible in reality. At a certain moment I saw myself among the passangers, I saw the sailors who were working in the other end of the ship, the captain in his cabin, I saw even Nelly, the monkey we all loved, who was eating bananas up, on the main mast. In the same time, all my companions, each one in his own way, were getting terribly excited because of the things they saw and they externalized their feelings by quiet exclamations and anxious whispers.

I had completely forgotten that I was a hieromonk and for sure I had no reason to attend such a show. Seduction was so powerful that both mind and heart had got silenced. Then my heart started beating so fast, like a warning signal. All of a sudden I felt like losing my control and a fear overtook my entire being. My lips started to move and utter: „My Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me the sinner!”. I immediately felt a relief. It was like some mysterious chains were falling down from me. The prayer became more and more intense and together with it, peace came back into my soul. I continued to look at the tree and suddenly, as if driven away by a wind, the image blurred and disappeared. I was not seeing anything else except the big, moonlit tree and the quiet fakir sitting near the fire. My companions continued to externalize their feelings, looking at the sight that for them had not disappeared.

Then it happened something with the fakir too, cause he lost his balance and fell on his side. The young man ran to him scared. The spiritual gathering interrupted all of a sudden.

Deeply influenced by their experience, the viewers got up, sharing passionately their impressions, without understanding why everything  interrupted so abruptly and unexpectedly. The young man attributed this to the exhaustion of the fakir who was sitting at that moment like before, with his head bent and without paying any attention to the people around  him.

Our group, after generously rewarding him, by means of the young man, for having the chance to witness such an amazing sight, got quickly ready for going back. At departure, involuntarily, I turned back to look again, in order to infix better in my memory all that scene. Suddenly I startled, having a bad feeling. My gaze met that of the fakir, who looked at me with such a hate. That lasted just a moment, then he resumed his usual posture. But that look opened the eyes of my soul for ever and I realized immediately whose power was that which caused such a  „miracle”.

LORD JESUS CHRIST HAVE MERCY ON ME!

 

source: „ATHONITE WITNESS”, Quarterly magazine of the Holy Monastery Xiropotamu, no. 5