Orthodox Church Ought to Perform Exorcisms

To the Editor:

The Greek Orthodox Church ought to develop a ministry in active exorcism. Although the topic of exorcism may be a topic for discussion in the next Synod, most clergy are reluctant to give any response.

I submitted this letter to be published in the Orthodox Observer, but my effort was for naught. To my understanding, Archbishop Demetrios would not allow it to be printed. I also sent a copy of my article to my priest and to Metropolitan Gerasimos. Neither one has responded to me.

The fact remains that the Greek Orthodox Church has no ministry in exorcism like the Roman Catholic Church and several Protestant Deliverance groups do, and I believe that it ought to.

I know an Orthodox Christian who suffers from mental illness. I called his parish priest but never heard back. I feel his illness is severe enough to call for an exorcist. Two years ago, I combed through California and Arizona to find a Greek Orthodox clergyman who could perform an exorcism. I spoke to Father John Roll, Father James Adams, Father John Constantine, and also to St. Nectarios Church in Covina, CA. I was bounced back and forth from clergy to clergy and the only direction I got was to bring my friend to St. Nectarios for a general spiritual service. How do you get a paranoid schizophrenic to travel 50 miles – or any distance, for that matter – when he insists there is nothing wrong with him? Schizophrenia is a mental illness that requires professional and highly-skilled help. Not all schizophrenia is demonic possession, but many cases are and only a skilled exorcist can tell.

On April 13, my church, Sts. Constantine and Helen in Cardiff By the Sea, CA had a seminar on mental illness. At the end of the seminar I stated that the Greek Orthodox Church does not have an exorcist that could visit people at home. Someone suggested that I call St. Anthony’s monastery in Florence, AZ. Again, virtually no one appears to be interested in transforming talk into action.

Some say that the end times are here, during which “all hell will break loose.” It seems prudent that the Greek Orthodox Church establish a ministry in exorcism to address and counter the threat in a proactive manner.

George Mavrik

Bonsal, CA