Deliver us “from evil” or “from the evil one”? The last word of the Lord’s Prayer

 
deliver us from the evil one

Deliver us “from evil” or “from the evil one”? The last word of the Lord’s Prayer

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In our Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, on the eve of the great feast of the Lord’s Epiphany (Jan. 5, 2016), we were honored to have a visiting bishop presiding our assembly. Surprisingly, the main thrust of his impromptu homily centered on a topic totally off the expected subject on this solemn day, occasioned by an “incident.” In this post I will make a few remarks on his comments.

What happened? At the end of the service our esteemed hierarch said that he heard a few people adding at the end of the Lord’s Prayer the word, “one” (“but deliver us from the evil one”). He said that he was moved to correct these people. How come, he said, there are always those who want to be disobedient to the Church by not following the official version of the Archdiocese? “Who are these people?” he asked. A few voices were heard, admitting to their infraction—my and my son’s were not among them, although—I’ll admit, but not confess—we were the main culprits.

The quotations in the Appendix to this article should convince anyone that the Eastern Orthodox Fathers unanimously understood τοῦ πονηροῦ as masculine, referring to the devil.

His comments were along these lines: Why aren’t people obedient? Why do they want to be free spirits? The Holy Synod approved a version to be recited in our churches. The Archbishop that heads the synod is a reputed scholar and a Harvard professor. Does anyone think he knows better? The devil is not the only evil we need to be protected from, but all the evil that exists. We ask God to deliver us from all evil, which includes the devil.

I was fully aware that the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America had been diligently working to produce a new English translation of the Divine Liturgy, and had already released its official version of the Lord’s Prayer and of the Symbol of Faith (Creed). I had expressed my disappointment about this purported “new” translation back in 2008, in my book, The Heavenly Banquet: Understanding the Divine Liturgy. 1

“the generally received opinion [is] that the rendering of the last clause should be ‘deliver us from the evil one’…”
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

In that text I had quoted three patristic witnesses who interpret τοῦ πονηροῦ as masculine, “the evil one,” the devil. You’ll find their quotes, and those of many other Fathers and more modern authorities in the Appendix to this article. I think that the examples included there should convince anyone that the Eastern Orthodox Fathers unanimously understood τοῦ πονηροῦ as masculine, referring to the devil. When it comes to the Western, Latin Fathers, a number of them dissent. Why?

It seems to me that the western understanding that takes πονηροῦ as neuter goes back to the Vulgata, which renders it, “Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo” (from malum, neuter). Thus Pope Benedict in his book Jesus of Nazareth (p. 146) interprets it as the evil thing. We should, nevertheless note that in the Nova Vulgata (the official Latin Bible of the Catholic Church), malo is capitalized, referring to Malus (the Evil One), not to malum (the evil thing). Noteworthy is what is stated in the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, that “the generally received opinion [is] that the rendering of the last clause should be ‘deliver us from the evil one’, a change which justifies the use of ‘but’ instead of ‘and’ and practically converts the two last clauses into one and the same petition.” 2

“Quite certainly this petition of the Lord’s Prayer should be translated not, ‘Deliver us from evil,’ but, ‘Deliver us from the Evil One.’”

William Barclay (d. 1978)The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 1, p. 225.

A highly respected non-Orthodox contemporary biblical scholar and minister of the Church of Scotland, William Barclay (d. 1978), also stated: “Quite certainly this petition of the Lord’s Prayer should be translated not, ‘Deliver us from evil,’ but, ‘Deliver us from the Evil One.’ The Bible does not think of evil as an abstract principle or force, but as an active, personal power in opposition to God.” 3

But there is more interesting “stuff”: orthodoxwiki.org offers the following commentary:

But deliver us from the Evil One. In the final petition, we ask that we be protected against and saved from Evil and the Devil, who is a murderer from the beginning and works for our destruction. As St. Peter says, the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Remembering the Enemy of our salvation, the Lord urges us to be vigilant and sober of spirit, to have courage to accomplish a feat, teaches us to pray for one another, and by prayer to the Heavenly Father, to fortify ourselves spiritually and free ourselves from misfortune and disaster. 4

Even of more interest, and perplexity, is the commentary offered in the official website of the Orthodox Church in America. After posting the Lord’s Prayer, with the “usual” ending “deliver us from evil,” it goes on to say the following:

“Deliver us from evil” says literally “rescue us from the evil one,” that is, the devil. The meaning is clear. There are but two ways for man: God and life or the devil and death. Deliverance from the devil means salvation and redemption from every falsehood, foolishness, deceit, wickedness and iniquity that leads to destruction and death.5

Then I looked up a few websites of the Antiochian Church to see how they understand the word under discussion. It reads “the Evil One,” exactly as orthdoxwiki.org does (so we know its source). 6 Also, in an online study of the Divine Liturgy endorsed by Metropolitan Philip, he recommends the translation “the evil one.” 7

An obvious question arises: why don’t we Orthodox put our act together and come up with an Orthodox rendering of the Lord’s Prayer in English?—which would say “the Evil One”?

As I stated at the outset, the official translation adapted by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is not an “Orthodox” translation, but an adaptation of an existing version found in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church 8, which is also in use by the Roman Catholic Church.

It seems to me then that the real reason our Archdiocese adapted this version is so that the three largest bodies of Christendom can pray together “the Lord’s Prayer” in their ecumenical encounters. With great sadness let me also note that, for the first time, during the Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of the Waters service this year (2016) representatives of Christian denominations were present. This is precisely the reason for us not to use this version, so that we avoid praying together with non-Orthodox Christians, which, in any case, is prohibited by the Church Canons.

To recap: we definitely have a consensus patrum that the word τοῦ πονηροῦ is of masculine gender and refers to the devil. Every Orthodox source I have looked up confirms this. It is not biblical scholarship that brought us, Orthodox, to adapting this “official” text, but ecumenism. So, I have a suggestion for our eparchial synod, and the patriarchal synod: let us Orthodox recite the Lord’s Prayer in our churches and gatherings asking God to deliver us from the “evil one,” and let those who want to intermingle in ecumenical dialogues and prayers with non-Orthodox use their version—if they are unwilling to be obedient to the Church and to the holy Fathers, whose intercessions we ask.

APPENDIX

St. Cyprian of Carthage (+ 258)

The Lord’s Prayer 27

“all adversities which the enemy undertakes against us in this world… once we seek protection against evil, having obtained this, we stand secure and safe against all the works of the devil and of the world.”

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+ 386)

Catechetical Lecture XXIII.18

“Now evil is our adversary the devil, from whom we pray to be delivered.”

St. Ambrose of Milan (+ 397)

“Ὁ Κύριος, ποὺ σήκωσε στούς ὤμους Του τίς ἁμαρτίες μας καὶ συγχώρησε τὰ λάθη μας, εἶναι ἱκανὸς νὰ μᾶς προστατεύσῃ καὶ νὰ μᾶς φυλάξῃ ἀπὸ τὰ τεχνάσματα τοῦ διαβόλου, ποὺ μᾶς πολεμάει, ὥστε ὁ ἐχθρός, ποὺ γεννάει συνεχῶς τὸ κακό, νὰ μὴ μᾶς κατακτήσῃ· ὅποιος ἐμπιστεύεται στὸν Θεό, δὲν φοβᾶται τὸν διάβολο.”

“The Lord, who took upon His shoulders our sins and forgave our mistakes, is capable to protect us and to keep us from the tricks of the devil who fights against us, so that the enemy who gives birth to the evil, does not conquer us. Whoever trusts in God is not afraid of the devil.” (Source)

St. John Chrysostom (+ 407)

Homily XIX on the Gospel of St. Matthew, ad loc.

“And here he calls the devil the wicked one, commanding us to wage war against him… And he is so called pre-eminently, by reason of the excess of his wickedness, and because he, in no respect injured by us, wages against us implacable war. Wherefore neither said he, ‘deliver us from the wicked ones,’ but, from the wicked one, instructing us…to transfer our enmity from these to him, as being himself the cause of all our wrongs.”

St. Germanos of Constantinople (+ 740)

On the Divine Liturgy, “Explanation of Our Father” 42

“‘But deliver us from the evil one.’ He does not say ‘from evil men,’ for they do not wrong us, but ‘the Evil One.’”

St. Theophylact of Bulgaria (+ c. 1108)

The Explanation, Vol. 1, pp. 58-59

But deliver us from the evil one. He did not say, from evil men, for it is not they who do us harm, but the devil.”

St. Symeon of Thessalonica (+ 1429)

Treatise on Prayer 28

“‘But deliver us from evil’: Save us from evil, from the Devil who is our mortal and untiring enemy…since we have no power to resist an incorporeal enemy…You alone save us from him!”

Quotations in Greek

St. Gregory of Nyssa (+ 395)

“Ὅπως ὅµως αὐτός πού ἀποφεύγει τίς δυστυχίες ἀπό τά δεινά τοῦ πολέµου εὔχεται νά µήν µπλεχτεῖ στόν πόλεµο καί ὅποιος τρέµει τήν θάλασσα εὔχεται νά µήν βρεθεῖ στήν ἀνάγκη νά ταξιδέψει, ἔτσι καί ὅποιος φοβᾶται τήν προσβολή τοῦ πονηροῦ νά εὔχεται νά µήν βρεθεῖ µπροστά του. Ἐπειδή ὅµως, ὅπως εἴπαµε προηγουµένως, ἡ Γραφή λέει ὅτι ὁ κόσµος βρίσκεται µέσα στόν πονηρό καί οἱ ἀφορµές τῶν πειρασµῶν βρίσκονται µέσα στά πράγµατα τοῦ κόσµου, πολύ σωστά καί ταιριαστά ὅποιος εὔχεται νά σωθεῖ ἀπό τόν πονηρό παρακαλεῖ νά βρεθεῖ µακριά ἀπό τούς πειρασµούς. Δέν θά καταπιεῖ κάποιος τό ἀγκίστρι, ἄν δέν θελήσει νά ἀποσπάσει µέ λαιµαργία τό δόλωµα» (Λόγος 5ος, ΕΠΕ Τόμ. 8ος, σσ. 122-23) (Source)

St. Maximos the Confessor (+ 662)

“Πειρασμόν δέ λέγει νῦν τόν τῆς ἁμαρτίας νόμον· ὅν οὐκ ἔχων ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ἦλθεν εἰς γένεσιν· πονηρόν δέ, τόν τοῦτον ἐμφύραντα τῇ φύσει τῶν ἀνθρώπων διάβολον, καί πείσαντα δι᾿ ἀπάτης τόν ἄνθρωπον, ἀπό τοῦ συγκεχωρημένου πρός τό κεκωλυμένον τῆς ψυχῆς μετενέγκαι τήν ἔφεσιν, καί πρός τήν τῆς θείας ἐντολῆς τραπῆναι παράβασιν· ἧς ἔργον γέγονεν ἡ τῆς δοθείσης κατά χάριν ἀφθαρσίας ἀπόθεσις.” (Εις την προσευχήν του Πάτερ Ημών, προς ένα φιλόχριστον (PG 90:904) (Source)

St. Makarios Notaras of Corinth (+ 1805)

Πονηρὸς κυρίως, ἀδελφοί μου, εἶναι αὐτὸς ὁ διάβολος, διότι εἶναι αἴτιος καὶ γεννήτορας κάθε ἁμαρτίας καὶ δημιουργὸς κάθε πειρασμοῦ.” (Source)

St. Nikοdemos the Hagiorite (+ 1809)

«Πονηρός κατεξοχήν, αδελφοί μου, είναι ο ίδιος ο Διάβολος, διότι είναι αίτιος και πατέρας κάθε αμαρτίας και ο δημιουργός κάθε πειρασμού, από του οποίου τις ενέργειες και επιβουλές διδασκόμεθα να παρακαλούμε τον Θεό να μας ελευθερώσει, πιστεύοντας ότι δεν θα μας αφήσει να πειρασθούμε περισσότερο από τη δύναμή μας.

(Quoted by Θεοφ. Ἐπίσκοπος Κυκλάδων Σάββας (born 1971)

Προσεγγίζοντας τον Γνόφο της Θείας Λετουργίας: «ἀλλά ρῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπό τοῦ πονηροῦ») http://ec-goc.gr/leitoirgika/arthra-dimosieiseis/leitoirgika/proseggizontas-ton-gnofo-tis-theias-leitoirgias-d

Additional, more recent, witnesses.

Archim. Seraphim Papakostas (+ 1957)

“Παρακαλοῦμεν [τὸν οὐράνιον Πατέρα μας] νὰ μᾶς σώση ἀπὸ τὸν πονηρόν· νὰ μᾶς γλυτώση ἀπὸ τὸ ἀπαίσιον αὐτὸ ὂν ποὺ λέγεται πονηρός. [Σὲ ὑποσημείωση ἀναφέρεται στὸν Ἱερὸ Χρυσόστομο]· νὰ μὴ μᾶς ἀφήσει ἀβοήθητους καὶ ἀπροστατεύτους ἀπὸ τὴν κακοποιὸν ἐνέργειάν του.” (Ἡ Ἐπὶ τοῦ Ὄρους Ὁμιλία τοῦ Κυρίου, σσ. 350-51).

Prof. P.Ν. Trembelas (+ 1977)

“Γλύτωσέ μας ἀπὸ τὸν πονηρόν, ποὺ μᾶς πολεμεῖ.” “Ἐνταῦθα τὸ ῾ἀλλά’ ρῦσαι… ὑπονοεῖ, ὅτι τὸ πονηροῦ εἶναι ἀρσενικόν.” (Ὑπόμνημα εἰς τὸ Κατὰ Ματθαῖον Εύαγγέλιον)

Ἀρχιμ. Χαραλάμπης Βασιλόπουλος (+ 1982)

“Πονηρὸν ἐδῶ ὀνομάζει τὸν διάβολον, διδάσκοντας ἐμᾶς νὰ ἔχωμε ἄσπονδο πόλεμο πρὸς αὐτόν.” (Τὸ Κατὰ Ματθαῖον Εὐαγγέλιον)

Ἰωάννης Κολιτσάρας (+ 1989)

“Γλύτωσέ μας ἀπο τὸν πονηρόν.” (Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, 1963)

Ἀποστολική Διακονία τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῆς Ἑλλάδος

“Καί μήν ἐπιτρέψεις νά παρακινηθοῦμε στήν ἁμαρτία, ἀλλά προφύλαξέ μας ἀπό τόν πανοῦργο διάβολο.” (Προσευχές γιά κάθε μέρα) (Source)

Μητροπολίτης Σερβίων καὶ Κοζάνης Διονύσιος Ψαριανός (+ 1997)

“Καὶ μὴ μᾶς ἀφήνεις νὰ πέφτουμε σὲ πειρασμό, ἀλλὰ γλύτωσέ μας ἀπὸ τὸν πονηρό.” (Ἡ Θεία Λειτουργία, σ. 383)

Μητροπ. Γόρτυνος Ιερεμίας

“καί μή μᾶς ἀφήσεις νά πέσουμε σέ πειρασμό, ἀλλά σῶσε μας ἀπό τόν πονηρό (δηλαδή, τόν διάβολο)”. Γιατί σέ σένα (καί ὄχι στόν πονηρό) ἀνήκει ἡ Βασιλεία καί ἡ δύναμη καί ἡ δόξα στούς αἰῶνες. Ἀμήν”. (Σύντομα Σχόλια στὸ Κατὰ Ματθαῖο Εὐαγγέλιο, Ἡ ἀληθινή προσευχή, Τό «Πάτερ ἡμῶν» 6,7-15) (Source)

Arch. Vasileios (Gontikakis), Abbot of Iveron

“…ἀλλά ρῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπό τοῦ πονηροῦ”. Ἡ τελευταία φράση αὐτῆς τῆς προσευχῆς εἶναι ὁ πονηρός. Ἡ πρώτη φράση τῆς προσευχῆς εἶναι τό “Πάτερ ἡμῶν”. Ὁ Θεός εἶναι ἡ πρώτη λέξη, ἡ πρώτη πραγματικότητα, τελευταία δέ εἶναι ὁ πονηρός. Ἡ ζωή μας κινεῖται μεταξύ τοῦ πονηροῦ καί τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ὁ πονηρός δέν ἄφησε κανένα ἀπείραστο· οὔτε τόν πρῶτο Ἀδάμ στόν Παράδεισο οὔτε τό δεύτερο Ἀδάμ, τόν Κύριο Ἰησοῦ Χριστό, ὅταν βγῆκε στήν ἔρημο. Καί λέει ὁ Κύριος πάλι, ὅτι “τό γένος τοῦτο ἐν οὐδενί δύναται ἐξελθεῖν εἰ μή ἐν προσευχῇ καί νηστείᾳ” (Μαρκ. θ´ 29). Δέν μποροῦμε νά ἐλευθερωθοῦμε ἀπό τόν πονηρό παρά μέ τήν προσευχή καί τή νηστεία. Δέν φεύγει ὁ πονηρός μέ τή λογική ὅπως δέν φεύγει τό καρκίνωμα μέ τίς ἀσπιρίνες. Δέν φεύγει ὁ διάβολος μέ τίς ἐξυπνάδες. Λέγει καί ἕνας μοναχός, ὅτι ὁ μεγαλύτερος δικηγόρος δέν μπορεῖ νά τά βγάλει πέρα μέ τό μικρότερο διάβολο. Γι’ αὐτό δέν πρέπει νά ἀρχίζομε συζήτηση μέ τόν πονηρό. Ἄς τόν ἀφήνουμε καί νά φεύγουμε. (Source)

Γιαννάκης Μ. Ιωάννου

“Είναι διπλό το αίτημα αυτό. Πρώτα, παρακαλούμε το Θεό να μην επιτρέπει στη ζωή μας πειρασμούς δυσβάστακτους κι ύστερα εκφράζουμε την επιθυμία μας να κατανικηθεί ο μισόκαλος Διάβολος, που προσπαθεί με μανία να απομακρύνει τους ανθρώπους από το Θεό για να απαλύνει τη δική του δυστυχία. […] Το τελευταίο αίτημα της προσευχής είναι η έκφραση της έντονης επιθυμίας μας για την οριστική και τελεσίδικη εκμηδένιση της εξουσίας του Διαβόλου, η οποία θα γίνει με τη Δευτέρα παρουσία του Κυρίου. Ο Διάβολος έχει βέβαια την ισχύ που εμείς του επιτρέπουμε να έχει αλλά δυστυχώς η δική μας αδυναμία οπλίζει συνεχώς τη δική του κακία. Γι’ αυτό και φαίνεται να ζούμε σ’ ένα κόσμο που υπηρετεί με επιμονή το διαβολικό θέλημα. Διακαής πόθος, λοιπόν, κάθε Χριστιανού είναι η αποδυνάμωση του μισόκαλου Εωσφόρου καθώς αυτός αποτελεί το μεγαλύτερο εμπόδιο στο έργο του Θεού. Ο πόθος αυτός εκφράζεται μέσα από την τελευταία ικεσία της Κυριακής προσευχής. Επειδή δε η πλήρης καθυπόταξη του διαβόλου θα γίνει με το τέλος της παρούσας μορφής του ιστορικού, κοσμικού χωροχρόνου έμμεσα αλλά σαφέστατα η θεοδίδακτη προσευχή κλείνει, όσον αφορά τα αιτήματα, με την ικεσία να έρθει όσο πιο γρήγορα γίνεται η Δεύτερη Παρουσία του Κυρίου. Αυτή θα σημάνει την αρχή μιας νέας ζωής στην οποία δεν θα υπάρχει θάνατος, δεν θα υπάρχει πόνος, λύπη και στεναγμός αλλά θα πρυτανεύει αδιάκοπα η ατελεύτητη ζωή, η αδαπάνητη χαρά, η αναλλοίωτη αλήθεια, η παντοδύναμη θεϊκή αγάπη.” (Κυριακή Προσευχή) (Source .doc file)

A rendering of the Bible in Modern Greek

«Πατέρα μας, που βρίσκεσαι στους ουρανούς, κάνε να σε δοξάσουν όλοι ως Θεό, να έρθει η βασιλεία σου· να γίνει το θέλημά σου και από τους ανθρώπους, όπως γίνεται από τις ουράνιες δυνάμεις. Δώσε μας σήμερα τον απαραίτητο για τη ζωή μας άρτο. Και χάρισέ μας τα χρέη των αμαρτιών μας, όπως κι εμείς τα χαρίζουμε στους δικούς μας οφειλέτες. Και μη μας αφήσεις να πέσουμε σε πειρασμό, αλλά γλίτωσέ μας από τον πονηρό» (Η Αγία Γραφή, Μετάφραση από τα Πρωτότυπα Κείμενα (ΜΠΚ) ή Νέα Μετάφραση Βίβλου (ΝΜΒ))

Η «Κυριακή Προσευχή» Ανάλυση

“Η φράση «από του πονηρού» θα μπορούσε να είναι γενική ουδετέρου (το κακόν) ή γενική αρσενικού (ο κακός). Αν και δεν αποκλείεται η περίπτωση του ουδετέρου, οπότε το “κακό” θα μπορούσε να σημαίνει οποιοδήποτε κακό, με όποια μορφή αυτό μπορεί να συμβεί στη ζωή μας (ασθένεια, ατύχημα, θάνατος, οικονομική καταστροφή κ.λπ.), μάλλον το αίτημα αναφέρεται σ’ εκείνον που είναι η πηγή παντός κακού, δηλαδή στον Σατανά.

Είναι άξιο απορίας πώς οι πιστοί συνήθως ζητούμε από τον Κύριο να μας φυλάξει από τα διάφορα “κακά” (=δεινοπαθήματα), αλλά αδιαφορούν για τον κίνδυνο του ΚΑΚΟΥ, με τον οποίο μάλιστα είμαστε πρόθυμοι και να συζητήσουμε τις προτάσεις του, γι’ αυτό και στο τέλος πέφτουμε στις παγίδες του, όπως και η Εύα.” (Source)

  1. P. 307, Note 1032, where I stated the following: “We express our disappointment in the “new” translation furnished by the Greek Archdiocese, which is essentially the same as the one contained in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.Here follow a few brief comments as to the meaning of certain words in the original Greek:Ἐπιούσιος (epiousios, usually rendered as “daily”) means essential, necessary, needed, sustaining. It would therefore be preferable to render the original Greek τὸν ἐπιούσιον as “the bread we need” (together with Today’s English Version).Ὀφειλήματα (ofeilemata) is best rendered with a simple “sins.” Besides, in the Lukan version we do have ἁμαρτίας (hamartias), sins.Μὴ εἰσενέγκης (me eisenegkes), after much thought, it was left “do not lead us.” How can God lead us into temptation, put us in harm’s way? The Scripture is clear: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and He Himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:13-14). We nevertheless know that this life is a test, full of temptations. God allows them in order to strengthen us. How else will we merit the crown unless we become victorious over the temptations of life? (more below)Τοῦ πονηροῦ (tou ponerou), as in many other New Testament (e.g. 2 Thes. 3:3) and patristic contexts (St. John Chrys., Hom. XIX.10), is of masculine gender, referring to the cunning one, the devil (see also note 1060 below).

    Also on p. 312 you will find the following comments:

    but rescue us from the evil one (in Greek ῥῦσαι (hrysai), from ῥύω (hryo), pass. ῥύομαι (hryomai): to rescue, to save, to deliver.) – The more precise meaning of “rescue” is to free one’s own from grave danger. We are God’s property that became enslaved to sin, and thus came under the captivity of the Devil. Christ, however, rescued us from the power of Satan (Acts 26:18). In fact, “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8), “that through [His] Death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).

    “Evil one is our adversary, the devil, from whom we pray to be delivered.” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Myst. Cat., V, 18.) We admit that we are weak, that we cannot overcome the insidious devil on our own strength. Thus we ask God to protect us. No harm will come to us, unless God allows it in order to strengthen us. Many Christians are preoccupied with the evil eye and bewitchment. The Church will read the prayer for the evil eye over souls on account of their weakness. They should, however, understand that Christians have been freed from the demonic influence, and therefore they should not allow the demons to exercise any authority over them. Instead of running to quasi-witches to have the “spell” removed they should go to confession, be under spiritual direction, and receive the Holy Mysteries.

    Our prayer is that we may be delivered not from an impersonal evil, but “from the devil who is our mortal and untiring enemy.” (St. Symeon of Thessalonica, Treatise on Prayer, p. 41.”) Yes, the devil and the demons exist! The devil is the author of evil, although he is not identified with evil. We do not have two equal powers in perpetual confrontation without a clear victor. Christ is the stronger One (see Lk. 11:22), who will ultimately place everything and everyone under the feet of God the Father (see 1 Cor. 15:24-25).

  2. The Lord’s Prayer, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09356a.htm
  3. The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 1, p. 225.
  4. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Lord’s_Prayer
  5. https://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/prayer-fasting-and-alms-giving/the-lords-prayer.
  6. http://www.stgeorgeto.org/the-lord%E2%80%99s-prayer/.
  7. Understanding The Orthodox Liturgy, A Guide for Participating in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, by the Very Rev. Michel Najim & T.L. Frazier, 1995, p. 103). In a few other Antiochian websites the text given is “evil.”
  8. This version seems to me to be identical to an older version found in Ordo Administrandi Sacramenta dated 1759, in use by the Anglican Church, which draws from a Roman Book of Sacraments, and to an even much older version found in the Book of Common Prayer (1549).

Article graphics and editing: Tony Hatzidakis

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