– Father, I have a thought that the devil, especially in our present times, possesses significant power.
– The devil carries wickedness and hatred, not power. God’s love is omnipotent. Satan may try to appear all-powerful, but he ultimately fails. While he may seem formidable, he is completely powerless. Many of his schemes for destruction crumble before they even come to fruition. Would a loving father ever allow wild animals to harm his children?
– Father, I am fearful of the devils.
– Why should you be afraid? Devils hold no power. Christ is Almighty. The tempter is feeble. Don’t you carry a cross? The devil’s weapons are weak. Our Lord has equipped us with His Cross. Only when we relinquish our spiritual weapons does the enemy gain strength. An Orthodox priest once displayed a small cross to a sorcerer, causing the devil summoned by the sorcerer’s spells to tremble.
– Why does the devil fear the Cross so greatly?
– Because through His endurance of spitting, slapping, and beatings, Christ shattered the dominion and rule of the devil. How did Christ achieve this triumph? “With a reed, He crushed the dominion of the devil,” says a certain Saint. This signifies that when they struck Him with a reed on His head, He shattered the dominion of the devil. Hence, patience serves as our spiritual defense, while humility becomes the most potent weapon against the devil. The ultimate victory of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross lies in His triumph over the devil. Following Christ’s Crucifixion, the devil resembles a snake whose venom has been extracted or a dog whose teeth have been removed. The snake has been stripped of its venom, the dogs have been disarmed, symbolizing the disempowerment of the devils, while we are armed with the Cross. The devils, possess no capability whatsoever unless we grant them authority. They merely create commotion but hold no dominion.
Once, while I was at the Cell of the Holy Cross, I experienced a very beautiful vigil, for during the night, many devils gathered in the attic of the cell. At first, they struck forcefully, as if they had iron bars, and then they made noises as if rolling large logs, tree trunks. I made the sign of the Cross on the ceiling and sang, “To Your Cross, we bow down, O Lord…” . As soon as I finished, the noises of the logs would start again. “Now,” I said to myself, “we will have two rounds. One will be theirs with the logs up there, and the other will be mine down here.” When I started, they would stop. Once I sang, “To Your Cross, we bow down…” and then, “Lord, You have given us the weapon against the devil, Your Cross…” . I spent the most pleasant night with psalmody, and whenever I paused for a moment, they continued with their amusement. Each time they presented a different chant.
– When you sang for the first time, didn’t they leave?
– No, as soon as I finished, they would start again. Yes, we had to have a vigil on both fronts. It was a beautiful vigil. We sang with fervor. I spent pleasant days…
– Father, what is the devil like?
– Do you know how “beautiful” he is? Well, something extraordinary just to see him. Oh, how good it is that the love of God does not allow humans to see the devil! Because most people would die of fear. Imagine what would happen to a person if they saw him in action, if they saw his “sweet” face! However, some would have the best amusement. You know what amusement? What’s it called? Cinema?… But to watch such a film, one has to pay a lot… and I don’t know if they would even be able to see it!
– Does he possess horns and a tail?
– Yes, all the accessories!
– Father, did the devils become so repulsive after their fall from being angels?
– Absolutely! Their appearance has become incredibly grotesque, as if they have been struck by lightning. Just as a tree struck by lightning turns into a charred log, the devils have undergone a similar transformation into beings of darkness. I once remarked the devil, “Come and let me see you, so that I may avoid falling into your clutches! If simply looking at you now reveals your wickedness, imagine the harm you would inflict upon me if I were to be ensnared by you!” To Your Cross, we bow down, O Lord, and we praise and glorify Your Holy Resurrection. Troparion of the Feast of the Venerable Cross.
–  Sticharion of the Resurrection from the praises, tone 8.
Excerpt from “With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man” – Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, Evanghelismos Publishing House.