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Author Topic: The Demon and Monk Abba  (Read 2737 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jetavan
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« on: December 15, 2008, 12:21:12 AM »

Quote
...With the Sign of the Cross, the old monk Abba
Joseph trapped in his cell a dark and miserable demon
who had come to tempt him. "Release me, Father, and let
me go," pleaded the demon, "I will not come to tempt you
again". "I will gladly do that, but on one condition,"
replied the monk. "You must sing for me the song that
you sang before God's Throne on high, before your fall."

The demon responded, "You know I cannot do that; it will
cause me cruel torture and suffering. And besides, Father,
no human ear can hear its ineffable sweetness and live,
for you will surely die." "Then you will have to remain
here in my cell," said the monk, "and bear with me the
full struggle of repentance." "Let me go, do not force me
to suffer," pleaded the demon." "Ah, but then you must
sing to me the song you sang on high before your fall with Satan."

So the dark and miserable demon, seeing that there was
no way out, began to sing, haltingly, barely audible
at first, groping for words long forgotten. As he sang,
the darkness which penetrated and surrounded him began
slowly to dissipate. The song grew ever louder and
increasingly stronger, and soon the demon was caught
up in its sweetness, his voice fully lifted up in worship
and praise. Boldly he sang of the power and the honour
and the glory of the Triune God on High, Creator of the
Universe, Master of Heaven and Earth, of all things visible
and invisible. As the song sung on high before all ages
resounded in the fullness of its might, a wondrous and
glorious light penetrated the venerable Abba's humble cell,
and the walls which had enclosed it were no more. Ineffable
love and joy surged into the very depths of the being
of the radiant and glorious angel, as he ever so gently
stooped down and covered with his wings the lifeless body
of the old hermit who had liberated him from the abyss of hell.

So, if I understand correctly, there are two kinds of hell: (1) the hell that exists right now, but which is not permanent, and can be entered into, and departed from; and (2) the Eternal Hell that will exist after the Very Last Judgement, which will occur at some undetermined point in the future. Since #1 exists now, and since #2 does not exist yet, no one -- at this point in time -- is eternally trapped in hell, and all are open to repentance. (Quote comes from a Father Ambrose post on a forum in Catholic Answers, a forum which has been summarily erased.)
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2008, 12:45:51 AM »

Quote
the hell that exists right now, but which is not permanent, and can be entered into, and departed from; and (2) the Eternal Hell that will exist after the Very Last Judgement, which will occur at some undetermined point in the future.

It is my understanding that it is correct to say that hell does not exist yet, though I have seen this "hell #1" referred to as a part of hades to avoid confusion. This belief seems to be Biblically supported:

"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." - Rev. 20:10-15

Regarding people escaping from this hell/hades after the particular judgment (but before the great white throne judgment), that's a topic I've seen debated before, but not a topic I feel qualified to hazard a guess on.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2008, 12:48:33 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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prodromas
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2008, 07:10:58 AM »

Jetavan this is not really a commentary on your post but just a minor correction. Abba means father in arabic (like a preist/pastor or a dad), he is the monk Father Joseph or Monk Joseph.
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(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
Myrrh23
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 05:21:54 PM »

Can the Good Angels also trap demons as Father Joseph did? If they can, can they not also make them sing the Heavenly Song they once sang, and so free them? Undecided
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All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2008, 10:52:24 AM »

Interesting story...

I have been told that the Satan and his demons can not repent.  This story seems to suggest that a demon can repent.  Any comments?
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2008, 12:47:00 PM »

I'll bump it up, and hopefully the more knowledgable roamers will answer. Smiley
I have been told that as well, Chacci. I wonder where that belief came from?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 12:47:41 PM by Myrrh23 » Logged

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All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 10:54:46 AM »

I was told that having a body is necessary for repentance.  Angels and demons are bodiless - thus can't repent.  That is why after our death, when our souls are separated from our bodies, we humans can not repent either. 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 10:58:39 AM by Chacci » Logged
Myrrh23
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 11:04:21 AM »

I was told that having a body is necessary for repentance.  Angels and demons are bodiless - thus can't repent.  That is why after our death, when our souls are separated from our bodies, we humans can not repent either. 

Kinda like the story about the Rich Man and Lazarus?
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We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2008, 11:08:51 AM »

In protestantism we seem to go with the lack of the body being an issue, only in the sense of Jesus redemptive actions being applied only to humanity- perhaps grudingly tied into with the early notion (I think at least discussed in one of the early councils) that: that which is not asumed cannot be redeemed.

However, stepping back from my western sensibilities, really how do we know? Is the justice of angels and their eternal standing before God limited to our understanding of such things? We say too, that they don't have a body, but that's with the constraints of our understanding of what a body is; there is, after all, that whole unpleasant business in Genesis 6 (I think) where the Nephilim came from...

I'll be curious to see what the bigger guns here have to say.

That story is amazing.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 11:10:15 AM by ironsiderodger » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2008, 11:29:18 AM »

Perhaps the angels only have a body if they choose to have one, as the two angels did who accompanied God when They went to see Abraham and Sarah. They also ate with them, but it was only an illusion, I think? Perhaps it's like a man who puts on clothing in that the man is more than the clothing he puts on. The angels are more than the bodies they assume.
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We all have a Black Dog and a White Dog inside of us. The One you feed the most eventually eats the Other.

All are tempted, but it is the courageous person who clings to God during the storm. For the Ego is a prison, but Christ is the Liberator
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2008, 05:33:46 AM »

Interesting story...

I have been told that the Satan and his demons can not repent.  This story seems to suggest that a demon can repent.  Any comments?
That story about the demon comes from some obscure Russian Patericon which even such scholars as Lisa Bitel have tried to track down, without success.  It is not necessarily true.  In fact I think that an ecumenical council has laid down that the wicked angels cannot be saved?  Does anyone have the reference for that?

However the Orthodox have always been attracted to the idea of "universal salvation", that all will finally be recapitulated in Christ, both the earth-born and the demons.  You will find this in the Early Church.  We know from Saint Augustine that it was a widely held teaching of what he calls the "fathers of the Church."  As you may imagine Saint Augustine was inclined to the opposite belief.   It resurfaces in the writings of the Parisian school of Russian theology.  Russia's young theologian-bishop Hilarion of Vienna is sympathetic to the teaching and has delivered lectures on it, drawing on Saint Isaac the Syrian.

I would think that the story is apocryphal.  However it is beneficial because it jolts us into the realisation that God's mercy and compassion cannot be fitted into the small box to which we often think we can confine Him.  As Saint Isaac the Sryian said, in various ways,  His compassion exceeds His justice.
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2008, 09:03:38 AM »

I was told that having a body is necessary for repentance.  Angels and demons are bodiless - thus can't repent.  That is why after our death, when our souls are separated from our bodies, we humans can not repent either. 

Just to put some meat on that bone:

It is through our bodies that we are connected to the rest of the human race (our parents generate our bodies, but not our souls, etc.).  Hence how the Incarnation saves us.  Angels are demons have, in comparison to God, a physical existence, but they are separate universes each unto themselves (hence how they do not marry), so when they fall, there is nothing to hold them back from going down that free fall.
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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 02:09:06 AM »

I was told that having a body is necessary for repentance.  Angels and demons are bodiless - thus can't repent.  That is why after our death, when our souls are separated from our bodies, we humans can not repent either. 

Praying for those in hell...

I was reading an article recently by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev called "Orthodox Worship as a School of Theology", and I came across the following quote:-

Bishop Hilarion: "Several years ago I came across a short article in a journal of the Coptic Church where it stated that this Church had decided to remove prayers for those held in hell from its service books, since these prayers “contradict Orthodox teaching”. Puzzled by this article, I decided to ask a representative of the Coptic Church about the reasons for this move. Recently I had the possibility to do so, and a Coptic Metropolitan replied that the decision was made by his Synod because, according their official doctrine, no prayers can help those in hell.

"I told the metropolitan that in the liturgical practice of the Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches there are prayers for those held in hell, and that we believe in their saving power. This surprised the Metropolitan, and he promised to study this question in more detail."

Here is the original article ...

http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/12/1.aspx
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« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2009, 02:20:19 AM »

In the Evergetinos there is a similar story about a nun who trapped with the power of the cross a demon who rang the bells of the monastery in the middle of the night.
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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2009, 04:01:09 PM »

I was told that having a body is necessary for repentance.  Angels and demons are bodiless - thus can't repent.  That is why after our death, when our souls are separated from our bodies, we humans can not repent either. 

Just to put some meat on that bone:

It is through our bodies that we are connected to the rest of the human race (our parents generate our bodies, but not our souls, etc.).  Hence how the Incarnation saves us.  Angels are demons have, in comparison to God, a physical existence, but they are separate universes each unto themselves (hence how they do not marry), so when they fall, there is nothing to hold them back from going down that free fall.
So who will save the demons?
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
Tags: Hell demons repentance angels apokatastasis universalism 
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