On the Power of Love and Faith in the Soul

St. John of Karpathos ca. 7th cent.

When the soul leaves the body, the enemy advances to attack it fiercely reviling it and accusing it of its sins in a harsh and terrifying manner. But if a soul enjoys the love of God and has faith in Him, even though in the past it has often been wounded by sin, it is not frightened by the enemy’s attacks and threats. Strenghtened by the Lord, winged by joy, filled with courage by the holy angels that guide it, encircled and protected by the light of faith, it answers the malicious devil with great boldness: ‘Enemy of God, fugitive from heaven, wicked slave, what have I to do with you? You have no authority over me; Christ the Son of God has authority over me and all things. Against Him have I sinned, before Him shall I stand on trial, having His precious Cross as a sure pledge of His saving love towards me. Flee far from me destroyer! You have nothing to do with the servants of Christ.’ When the soul says all this fearlessly, the devil turns his back, howling aloud and unable to withstand the name of Christ. Then the soul swoops down on the devil from above, attacking him like a hawk attacking a crow. After this it is brought rejoicing by the holy angels to the place appointed for it in accordance with its inward state. (Philokalia Vol I, pg. 304: Texts for the Monks of India 25)


  1. Beautiful. I needed to hear this today. God grant us all such boldness and faith and love at our death.

  2. People don’t realize how full of hope the patristic teaching on the afterlife is. This demonic confrontation is not the end of the story, and look at the power of repentance! Even a soul often wounded by sins is able to rebuke (and even menace) the demons on that day if it has fled to Christ in contrition and taken steps to follow the commandments of God once more.

  3. That is what I have been saying, Isaac! Rather than just taking the quasi liberal stand on eternity, by stating “we just don’t know anything about judgement” stand firm by admitting what we DO know, that the only way to salvation is through the Church and that the Church does extend “herself” into eternity, to offer prayers of mercy. In other words, we should be aware of what a person needs in the afterlife. Christopher Hutchins….he is certainly going to need prayer of mercy because according to his own words – which Christ says we are judged by ever word we say – he is not in a proper eternal state, and thus needs a very generous amount of prayer to “effectualize” what may have been buried deep in his soul. The Russian Church, as you may know, has a solid explanation of how we can pray for people in the temporal state of Hades: http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/10/1.aspx#51

  4. Amen brothers! We wrestle against the spirits of the air, no denying that. These confrontations are the last temptation for the soul. Rather than deny this tradition because it seems unpleasant, we must acknowledge this reality and see how they are overcome. Faith in Christ, hope, love, participation in the Mysteries, a life of righteousness, and the prayers of Church in heaven and on earth. Great points guys, you both really brought out the meaning of that post.

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