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Author Topic: Ghosts and paranormal activity  (Read 3650 times) Average Rating: 0
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epicspice
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« on: January 29, 2006, 05:07:59 AM »

I have been trying to find the opinions/teachings of the Church Fathers on Ghosts and paranormal activity. I would appreciate it if anyone could point me in the direction of appropriate information.



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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2006, 05:38:17 AM »

A place to start may be the book "Orthodoxy and The Religion of the Future" by Fr. Seraphim Rose. Although probably needing revising, he quotes many of the Fathers to explain how many paranormal phenomena are actually demonic activity.
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2006, 10:51:23 PM »

Thanks for your reply, ozgeorge, but "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future" is a place I've already been some years ago and I wasn't impressed. What I am actually looking for is something from the Church Fathers themselves. 
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2006, 10:57:47 PM »

Hmm!  Sounds like a new episode for "The Book of Daniel"   Undecided
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2006, 10:58:24 PM »

Thanks for your reply, ozgeorge, but "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future" is a place I've already been some years ago and I wasn't impressed. What I am actually looking for is something from the Church Fathers themselves. 

Why weren't you impressed by Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future? As a former dabbler in the occult who suffered through some of the things Fr. Seraphim described in that book, I have to say it's right on the mark.  The older Church Fathers don't address modern "paranormal activity" in any specific detail; it's all lumped under demonic activity.  Any gift that the Spirit can provide like clairvoyance to an elder can be perverted by the demons, so often times from what I have read of the older Church Fathers on this issue, they merely compare the gifts as God gives them to what the demons pervert these gifts to be.  That's about as much as you will get from the older Church Fathers.  I wouldn't be surprised if Fr Seraphim is one day considered a Church Father, as he was in the mind of the fathers on this issue and showed the truth of the older Church Fathers in the more modern context.

Anastasios

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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2006, 11:49:10 PM »

Regarding ghosts, books on life after death, such as The Soul After Death by Fr. Seraphim Rose or Life After Death by Met. Hierotheos might be of some help. From what little I've read, and seen in quotes brought up in debates over the years, the Church Fathers did not seem to have a consistent teaching on this subject, but some said the soul lingered on the earth for some time, some said it lingered around the body a certain number of days, some said it went straight to God, etc. It's probably one of those mysteries that is impossible for us to get a firm grasp on, but the above books and others might give enough information to get a grasp on the range of tenable or at least expressed beliefs.
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I would strongly recommend Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future by Fr Seraphim Rose.
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2006, 12:34:08 AM »

Why weren't you impressed by Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future?
I was impressed by it. It's just that the UFO Fad which a lot of it dealt with is pretty well over. Notice how, since everyone has a camcorder, no one talks about UFO's as much? Wink The information is valid, but I think transferrable to to the new fads of today: ("Angels", "Bleepers", etc.) That's what I mean by needing revision.
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2006, 12:40:57 AM »

George,

That's interesting, because I think it is quite the opposite case (and said so in my Amazon.com review of the book  Grin ). Even leaving apart all the E.T. and U.F.O. specials I see on TV all the time, you can hardly watch a plain old astronomical special on TV (say, the Discovery Channel) without hearing at least a few times in the program how there just has to be other life out there, how no rational person can think otherwise today, etc. I believe it is worse today, because of shows like the X-Files and whatnot (which I loved), the ideas have become mainstream. They are not merely the beliefs of kooks anymore, but rather the idea of alien life is probably accepted by as many scientists today as the idea of a personal God is accepted.
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2006, 01:00:39 AM »

Well, I would have thought that "aliens" had been relegated to the same level of mythology as dragon and fairy's. I don't watch much TV, but I thought everyone was in to "reality TV" now. And I also think there is a vast difference between believing there may be life on other planets and believing aliens are popping in for regular visits and are watching us.
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2006, 02:05:34 AM »

What I think Fr. Seraphim Rose was most perceptive on was seeing the unity of all of these idealogies that at first glance appear to have nothing in common.  Whether it be a belief in aliens that will come to save earth, evolution that will produce a super human, communism that will create a utopia, etc. they all seek to create an earthly humanism without God. 

Another point to be raised is the issue of wanted to find an ancient church father.  The same Holy Spirit that inspired the Apostle Paul inspired Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory Palamas, Saint Paisius Velichkovsky, Saint Nektarios of Aegina through the very modern fathers.  You can't claim any true connection to the ancient fathers if you aren't connected to their living links. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2006, 03:03:05 AM »

Quoting Nektarios

Another point to be raised is the issue of wanted to find an ancient church father.  The same Holy Spirit that inspired the Apostle Paul inspired Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory Palamas, Saint Paisius Velichkovsky, Saint Nektarios of Aegina through the very modern fathers.  You can't claim any true connection to the ancient fathers if you aren't connected to their living links. 

Perhaps I have misunderstood your point here, but if you are under the impression that I was interested only in the opinions of "ancient" Church Father, you will notice that I specified no such thing. And whilst you are correct that the same Holy Spirit inspires all Church Fathers, that doesn't make any of them infallible.

Anyway, thanks to you all for your contributions.


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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2006, 04:08:04 AM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8070.msg105856#msg105856 date=1138946734]What I think Fr. Seraphim Rose was most perceptive on was seeing the unity of all of these idealogies that at first glance appear to have nothing in common.  Whether it be a belief in aliens that will come to save earth, evolution that will produce a super human, communism that will create a utopia, etc. they all seek to create an earthly humanism without God.[/quote]

Indeed. The interesting thing, as Asteriktos was hinting at, is that these ideas are brought to us by the same scientists who preach evolution. Not to say that that is good or bad, just an observation. To quote myself (I love doing that Grin):

"I trust science completely.
It is the scientists I doubt."
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2006, 09:15:30 AM »

Well, I would have thought that "aliens" had been relegated to the same level of mythology as dragon and fairy's. I don't watch much TV, but I thought everyone was in to "reality TV" now. And I also think there is a vast difference between believing there may be life on other planets and believing aliens are popping in for regular visits and are watching us.

I don't know how it is in Australia but this belief--that they are "watching us" is very pervasive in this New-Age inspired culture. "Alien abductions" are regular topics of discussion on talk shows here, for instance.

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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2006, 02:01:01 AM »

Dear epicspice
returning to your original question, all I can suggest is that you plough through the Nicene, post Nicene father's series (which is available online at WWW.ccel.org).  Though I have a feeling you will find that the majority of the fathers will put such phenomena as ghosts and the paranormal down to daemonic activity.

One piece of information that might interest you is that the Church of England has unofficial official exorcists.
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2006, 09:03:21 PM »

Quoting Red Deacon

"One piece of information that might interest you is that the Church of England has unofficial official exorcists."

Red Deacon,

Now that's an interestingly confusing piece of information. lol



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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2006, 09:06:34 PM »

Out of curiosity, do Anglicans exorcize demons, or ghosts? Orthodoxy also performs exorcisms (when receiving someone from another religion or Christian group), but I've never heard of it applied to ghosts or human spirits wandering the earth. Then again, I've never looked much into it! Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2006, 09:49:35 PM »

Epicspice
yes, sorry that is a bit confusing, it was a title at that a priest monk friend of mine from my Anglican days gave himself.  The thing is officially the Anglican Church in England does not acknowledge the existence of ghosts ect; however, unofficially it recognises the reality of the situation and have certain people appointed for carrying out exorcisms hence," unofficial official exorcist".

Asteriktos
from what I can remember of what my friend said they do both; however, from what I can understand in a lot of cases, in what one would describe as being a ghost related haunting there is some underlying daemonic activity attached to it.  Sadly my friend died number of years ago so it is not possible from me to check with him.  I did, however, learn one major lesson from him and that it is that it is unwise to delve too deeply into this subject without having a deep and secure spirituality.
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« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2006, 09:30:58 AM »

Hi and Welcome....

I have read many of Fr Seraphim Roses books and I would recomend them all....He has a way with words and it is very easy for anyone to read and understand his writings...
''Orthodoxy and the religion of the Future'' by Fr Seraphim Rose , was the first book that i read and came to understand that Seances/Spirits of the dead and Aliens/U.F.O's are in fact all cunning ways of the ''prince of the air'' the Devil and his demons to Deceive all mankind...Using todays MODERN technology and views of people , the Devil has found a way to cunningly DECEIVE man.....
The Church says that the soul remains 40 days on earth....there are many articles on this......and how the Church prays for the 40 days and then monthly and yearly.....it is an old teaching and it is not a modern concept on prayers for the dead....prayers for the dead began in the Old Testament and continued with the New Testament ''The Gospel" .........here are two articles.........also, the movie GHOST with Demi Moore and Patric Swaize is based on DEATH and how the Soul is received by demons, when one is not REPENTED....

LIFE AFTER DEATH ARTICLE.....
http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b24.en.life_after_death.05.htm#pu

Life After Death
by St. John Maximovitch
A description of the first 40 days after death........................
http://www.orthodox.net/articles/life-after-death-john-maximovitch.html

Movie Review: Ghost...........
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/ghost_movie.aspx

And more articles ...........''Modern Views & NDEs''
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/dfl_modern.aspx

,we must ALWAYS be careful when dealing with the Paranormal because the Devil and his demons await for our foolish minds to attack us...
When we are at our weakest , the devil strikes hard, and he has MANY ways of doing this....our Weakness is his strength.....

HUMBLE.....when we are humble we make ourselves a SINNER and do not judge others and condemn them....we understand that WE cannot be without sin and therefore are not WORTHY to see Heavenly things.....
I remember an article i read about a monk who prayed and an angel appeared......this angel(angel of light///demon disguised as an angel)told the monk that God favoured him and that he (the angel)was sent to pray instead of the monk.....kept the monk busy doing other things rather then humble prayers....
If i find the article i will post it..... 

I too was into the paranormal......... ''Orthodoxy and the religion of the future'' opened my eyes...
Glory be to God for all things...

helen



 
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« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2006, 11:39:00 AM »

I actually met an Anglican exorcist once. My 13th birthday (so I know the exact date) happened to fall on a Sunday and, being at military school, we were forced to go to Sunday church services, in this case Anglican. There was a guest preacher who looked perfectly innocuous during most of the service, then got up into the pulpit and thundered (no other word would do him justice) "I am... an exorcist!" It was a very strange experience. He challenged any of us who didn't believe him to go with him one day and witness what he did. I and a couple of others tried to take him up on this but he refused point blank. At the time I thought his refusal was an obvious cop out. Having seen certain things since then (particularly in Bucovina) I'm not so sure, but I do wonder at his judgement. He was preaching to 300 or so teenage boys. How could he possibly have believed that nobody would take him up on his offer? He did talk to us, however, and it was quite obvious that he did indeed excorcise demons (or at least attempt to). I've never come across another one since then, though, and it hardly fits in with the faith of most Anglicans I know, so I should think that they are few and far between.

James
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« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2006, 07:23:38 PM »

Red Deacon - thanks for your postings. I don't intend to "delve" into the paranormal in any way. I have, however, noticed an increase in TV programmes on the subject and simply wondered what was the general thrust of the opinions of the Fathers. Regarding ghosts, it seems they are fairly diverse (from the little I have read) on what happens to the soul after death.

Helen - thanks for your comments and the links. Sorry to hear that you were "into" the paranormal - so many people seem to be. Because it's such a grey area, it's always something I have instinctively steered clear of - though I love spooky movies.

I found this whilst surfing the net...

http://www.domestic-church.com/CONTENT.DCC/19980901/ARTICLES/GHOSTS.HTM

It's a summary of a book by a Catholic theologian. Anyone have any comments?




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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2006, 02:18:09 AM »

Personally, as far as ghosts, until I find an actual Church teaching against them, I'm willing to give it a miss.  It would probably seem odd that I'll do the same for dragons and fairies.  I'm open to the idea of aliens, though I certainly think that Fr Seraphim is probably right for the most part.  If you've read Chesterton's Orthodoxy you may understand where I'm coming from.  While there's a good bit more to it, that book includes several good reasons, the first of which I'll mention.  Dragons, fairies, and ghosts have most commonly been reported by the common man.  I do not just mean recently, but throughout history.  Such things are most often seen by the "dependable working class" sort of person, and not by any scientist, mystic, etc.  I will most often side with the common experience of the common man as opposed to that of any other, excepting special circumstances like the saints.
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« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2006, 09:39:53 AM »

hi Epicsspice///


Quote
These ghosts would seem to be the ones who just barely made it to Purgatory, who feel little or no joy yet and who need to learn many painful lessons about their past life on earth."
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« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2006, 10:02:24 AM »

hi Epicsspice///


Quote
These ghosts would seem to be the ones who just barely made it to Purgatory, who feel little or no joy yet and who need to learn many painful lessons about their past life on earth."

Taken from the link that you gave......In the Early church, there was no MENTION of Purgatory.....there is also no mention of Purgatory in the Bible..This I believe was a misunderstanding amongst the Latins Fathers...(As you will see in the link I gave below)
Therefore,these Ghosts are not from God...they are actually most likely to be on this earthly realm of HIGHER PLACES......''Prince of the Air'' whom Jesus Christ said that Demons rule....
Out of body experiences(OOBE) and the many ''go toward the light'' actual true occurances are in fact Tricks that demons use to capture our minds .....

Quote
"Second, there are malicious and deceptive spirits - and since they are_deceptive, they hardly ever appear malicious. These are probably the ones who respond to conjurings at seances. They probably come from Hell. Even the chance_of that happening should be sufficient to terrify away all temptations to necromancy."
I must say, that i entirely do agree with what is written here.......but these GHOSTS do not always appear at seances only, they can appear as your friends (my own experience.....voices of friends calling)and make you believe that you are somewhat special in seeing or hearing the supernatural....can make a person  seem SPECIAL and somewhat all high and mighty......eg/conjuring up spirits to talk with and get answers from......

Quote
"Third, there are bright, happy spirits of dead friends and family, especially spouses, who appear unbidden, at God's will, not ours, with messages of hope and love. They seem to come from Heaven. Unlike the purgatorial ghosts who come back primarily for their own sakes, these bright spirits come back for the sake of us the living, to tell us all is well. They are aped by evil spirits who say the same, who speak 'peace, peace, when there is no peace'. But the deception works only one way: the fake can deceive by appearing genuine, but the genuine never deceives by appearing fake. Heavenly spirits always convince us that they are genuinely good.
Dont entirely agree with this one....
Demons can appear as angels of light and decive very much the elect.......as was the case with a monk who was deceived himself.....
Because we are not sure of what we see, we are best to not beleive any spirits or ghosts ....and our Lord God will not be hurt by this...
Demons can deceive us by appearing as our relatives and friends and make us think that our existing life is all good and God forgives us if we ONLY BELEIVE.
this is not the case!
Works without faith is dead..and faith without works is dead.....its better not to trust our OWN judgement.

Quote
The Church prays at first for the sinners, who have been imprisoned in hades, "that they may gain some small comfort, even if not complete release". Prayers are said mainly for those who have died in faith "even if they are very sinful". Indeed there are also cases of saints who have even prayed for the ungodly, but "the church of God by no means prays for such"64. The sinners and those imprisoned after death in hades benefit from these prayers on the one hand because they have not been definitively condemned and do not yet have the final decision of the tribunal, on the other hand because they have not yet fallen into hell, which will happen after the Second Coming of Christ.
http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b24.en.life_after_death.05.htm#pu

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« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2006, 04:35:26 PM »

Hello Eleni,

Thanks for taking the trouble to reply so comprehensively. Smiley

The link I posted was, of course, from a Roman Catholic source, but I was interested to see that the Catholic theologian, Peter Kreeft, it at least had some concrete answers to the question of ghosts. (That's not suggesting that they are realiable answers!) I'm tempted to buy the book, but have so much Orthodox reading to plough through I would probably regret the time involved in reading it.

Anyway, on the point of purgatory....this is going to be off-topic and I apologise in advance for that. Bishop Kallistos Ware in his book "The Inner Kingdom", suggests that "the Catholic and Orthodox views on the "middle state" after death are less sharply opposed than appears at first." He does make it clear that whilst Orthodox theologian express reservations about the doctrine of purgatory as developed in medieval and post-medieval Roman Catholic teaching, most of them allow for some sort of purging or purification after death. I have tried to obtain his book and article on the topic which he references, but haven't had any luck so far.

Thank you once again.

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

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