Prayer, Fasting and Spiritual Power . . .

Prayer, Fasting and Spiritual Power…
The nineteenth century Russian Saint, Theophan the Recluse, once wrote, “The demons can sense a faster and man of prayer from a distance, and they run far away from him so as avoid a painful blow.”

The opposite is also true as we read in Sotos Chondropoulos’ life of St. Nectarios of Aegina: “One time there was an archimandrite from Egypt who found himself in Athens on some religious business. Although he was a cleric, he was one only by profession… When he performed the Divine Liturgy he did it mechanically, without the faith and humility which is required…” 
[Told about a girl supposedly possessed by an evil spirit, he asserted confidently “There are no demons today” and declared that girl must be a schizophrenic. He would see for himself. When he arrives the possessed girl addressed him laughingly] “My dear priest, how beautiful and playful you seem…” Seizing him she shouted “You dirty, filthy worm… Isn’t it you that hasn’t left a girl or woman in Alexandria untouched? You dare to insist that I do not exist? Then I will make an account of all the ‘good works’ you have done as a mocker of sacred things.” [She told of one scandalous incident after another. The archimandrite collapsed and had to be taken away. The girl was eventually freed from the spirit after being anointed with oil from a lamp at St Nektarios’ tomb.]