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Command of the demons

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#1 Ryan


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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:27 AM

In the life of St. John, Archbishop of Novgorod, it is recorded that he was assailed by a demon in his cell. By the sign of the cross, he was able to bind the demon and then he compelled it to take the form of a horse and bring him to Jerusalem, where he reverenced the holy sites and relics.

Are there any other examples in the Church's literature of demons not only being expelled but actually commanded to accomplish tasks for saints?

#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:48 AM

I read a story of a demon who rang the monastery bells in order to get the new nun into trouble. All the sisters were furious at her for doing this every night. So one night she stayed up to see what was going on. She saw the demon ring the bells, made the sign of the cross and told the demon not to move in Jesus' name. He stood there frozen. She went and got all the sisters and said "see, I told you it was not me." He begged her to release him and they said only if you sing the cherubic hymn (I think that was it). He said if he did it, they would all melt. They all said they did not care and ordered him to sing it and as he did, he became white as a pure angel and rose into heaven.

True story? Don't know.


#3 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:24 PM

St. John Chrysostom, is his homily On the Power of Man to Resist the Devil, certainly suggests that we have such power over them:

Thou hast seen that a weak man is hurt on all sides, but the strong is benefited on all sides. For in every case, the purpose is the cause, in every case the disposition is master. Since the Devil, if thou wouldest understand it, is even profitable to us, if we use him aright, and benefits us greatly, and we gain no ordinary advantages; and this, we shewed in a small degree from the case of Job. And it is possible also to learn this from Paul: for writing about the fornicator he thus speaks “Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved,” (1 Cor. 5:5). Behold even the Devil has become a cause of salvation, but not because of his own disposition, but because of the skill of the Apostle. For as the physicians taking serpents and cutting off their destructive members, prepare medicines for antidotes; so also did Paul. He took whatever was profitable of the chastening that proceeds from the Devil, and left the rest alone; in order that thou mayest learn that the Devil is not the cause of salvation, but that he hasted to destroy and devour mankind. But that the Apostle through his own wisdom cut his throat: hear in the second epistle to the Corinthians, what he saith about this very fornicator, “confirm your love towards him,” “lest by any means such an one should be swallowed up by over much sorrow.” And, “we be taken advantage of by Satan,” (2 Cor. 2:8,7,11). We have snatched beforehand the man from the gullet of the wild beast, he saith. For the Apostle often used the Devil as an executioner. For the executioners punish those who have done wrong, not as they choose, but as the judges allow. For this is the rule for the executioner, to take vengeance, giving heed to the command of the judge. Dost thou see to what a dignity the Apostle mounted? He who was invested with a body, used the bodiless as an executioner; and that which their common master saith to the Devil, concerning Job: charging him thus, “Touch his flesh, but thou shalt not touch his life;” (Job 2:5,6) giving him a limit, and measure of vengeance, in order that the wild beast might not be impetuous and leap upon him too shamelessly; this too the Apostle does. For delivering the fornicator over to him he says “For the destruction of the flesh,” (1 Cor. 5:5) that is “thou shalt not touch his life.” Dost thou see the authority of the servant? Fear not therefore the Devil, even if he be bodiless: for he has come in contact with him. And nothing is weaker than he who has come into such contact even though he be not invested with a body, as then nothing is stronger than he who has boldness even though he bear about a mortal body.

#4 Jason H.

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:50 PM

There is also a book by Evagrius Ponticus called Talking Back:A Monastic Handbook for Combating Demons

#5 Michael Demin

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 04:23 AM

In the life of Hieromartyrs Theodore and Basil of the Caves (in Russian http://www.saints.ru...Pecherskie.html) there is a moment when demons prevented Theodore from carrying logs for building the monastery: they were throwing all the logs brought during the day back from the hill. So Theodore commanded them: in the name of the Jesus Christ who commanded you to enter the pigs I, His sinful servant, command you to carry all the logs from the bank of the river to the hill, so that brethren working for God whould not turn away from their work and without your machinations could build the church of the Holy Mother of God and the cells for themselves; then you will know that God exists at this place. In that night demons carried all the logs and put them in order at the hill so in the morning everyone was surprised because that amount of work was beyong human powers.

Also I remember that I read once about a case when a monk was dying and had a forgotten sin so demons wanted to take him. And he began to pray. After that one demon said that the Mother of God forces him to help to the monk and revealed the sin so that he could confess it.

Also I whould like to comment on a comment below about a demon turning into an Angel. I read about such very recent case of a spiritual delusion. One young unexperienced person was praying and saw a demon and convinced him to repent so he visibly turned into an Angel and began to thank him, with all the consequences. I do not remember details, it may had ended in a mental hospital as a usual consequence of accepting false visions.

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