Dear People in the Living Christ,
The moral code for humanity as revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai is being challenged throughout the Judeo-Christian world today. It appears that this movement is more prevalent in America than in any other nation in the western world. It is called by World Net Daily the “New Sexual Revolution. It is about how the gay rights movement has become a Trojan horse for totalitarianism in the western world. In view of these drastic and fast-moving changes that are taking place before our very eyes, how does a traditional Christian survive in such a world? I have been a priest for fifty-five years through the grace of Jesus Christ and I cannot remember a time during those years that I feel the way I do today as a Christian. I feel that the world of Holy Orthodoxy in which I was nurtured is being assaulted from every side by the forces of Satan. It appears that Satan and his minions are winning the battle for the souls of billions of people on our planet. How do Orthodox Christians survive in a world of unbelief? My response to these questions is they survive by taking up the Cross of Christ and prepare to do spiritual battle with the forces of darkness that are overwhelming the world.
The amazing dialogue between the Elder Iakovos Tsalikis and the demons that you will read further on in this article clearly shows us with whom we are doing battle. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is against powers and principalities. Saint Paul writes to the Ephesians: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the ruler of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). The contemporary holy men and women of our Church tell us how to survive in the days in which we are living. They tell us to intensify our spiritual lives with prayer, fasting, confession of sins and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ frequently. These are the spiritual weapons that will protect us against the onslaught of Satan’s plan to enslave the whole world. And you will read in the stories of the Elder Iakovos Tsalikis that Satan fears most the Cross and the name of Jesus Christ. We are helpless without the power of Jesus Christ to fight the good fight. The prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son God, have mercy upon me, a sinner” should be on our lips constantly night and day. Holy Orthodoxy has given us the spiritual tools to fight the fight of salvation and we should have no fear for God is with us.
Fr. Iakovos Tsalikis was born in Livisi, Asia Minor on November 5, 1920. He was one of nine children that his mother Theodora gave birth to. His father Stavros was taken captive by the Turks in the catastrophe of Asia Minor when the Greeks lost the war. The father was later released and joined his family in Greece. Because of the difficult times in which the Elder’s family lived only three of the nine children lived beyond infancy. Young Iakovos lived through the upheaval of the Orthodox Christian population of Asia Minor in 1922. Initially the family settled in the village of Saint George in Amfissa where the living conditions were appalling. In fact the conditions there were close to starvation. In 1925 the family moved to Farakla in Northern Evia, Greece. The Elder Iakovos was educated in the village Church School of Saint Paraskevi. Young Iakovos expressed from a young age an inclination for monastic life. He was known as the monk in the village because of his monastic practices of fasting and prayer. While still a young boy he had a visitation from Saint Paraskevi who revealed to him in detail the religious life that he would follow in his life. His fervor for the Church from a young boy was so profound that he learned by heart the whole text of the Divine Liturgy at age seven. He became seriously ill at the age of fifteen but survived. The Second World War broke out five years later. His health was impaired again during the war and he lost his mother in 1942. During the German occupation of Greece he and many of his fellow villagers were taken prisoner by the Germans. They were taken to the village Strofilia. He and his fellow Greeks suffered terribly during the German occupation of Greece and later with the civil war that broke out with the communists. He was drafted into the Greek army in 1947 and was discharged in 1949. In 1949 his father passed on to eternal life.
The Elder’s sister got married in 1951 and so this released him to enter monastic life that same year. He chose to enter the Monastery of Saint David in Evia which at that time had only three monks. The conditions at the Monastery were very difficult at the beginning. The Monastery had been almost abandoned and the monks that lived there did not do anything to improve the facilities. Because of these difficulties that he encountered the Elder returned to Farakla for a while. He returned to the Monastery again and was tonsured a monk on November 31, 1952. The following month he was ordained a deacon on the 17th of December in Halkida and two days later he was ordained a priest. He was chosen to be the Abbot of the Monastery of Saint David in 1975. But prior to this the Elder had become well known and beloved by the faithful in that part of Evia. The faithful would visit the Monastery for the sacrament of confession and for pastoral counseling. The number of faithful Christians visiting the Monastery increased drastically and the income of the community was increased dramatically to the point where many improvements were made to the Monastery.
The Elder Iakovos Tsalikis is a contemporary of the Elder Porphyrios. Both men were miracle-workers. Elder Tsalikis died November 21, 1991 and the Elder Porphyrios died December 2, 1991. They have had a great spiritual impact upon the contemporary Orthodox Church. This impact has continued even more profoundly after their departure for eternity. What is unusual in the life of Elder Tsalikis is his visible battles with demons that assailed him and how he was able to subdue them. Following his experience with these spirits of darkness, he then was given the grace to become a very effective exorcist. He was able with the sanctified skull of St. David, the founder of his Monastery, to banish many demons from faithful people of the Church who were possessed. It was early on in his monastic life that the demons would attack Fr. Iakovos physically to the point of knocking him out cold. On the heels of these merciless attacks by the demons Fr. Iakovos was given the grace to banish demons from people. The demonic method of attacking people is well known from Holy Scripture and in the history of the Church. They are able to inflict such demonic influence on human beings that they become blind followers of Satan. It was especially during the 1980’s that possessed people were brought frequently to the Monastery for the prayers of exorcism. Father Iakovos would read the prayers of exorcism over them and then bless them with the blessed skull of Saint David. The Monastery was established by Saint David in 1550. The relics of Saint David are very fragrant to this very day.
On the 13th of September, 1987, a demon began terrorizing George L., a 23 year old young man. His condition worsened with every passing day. During the month of October his mother and his brother brought him to the Monastery. They asked Father Iakovos to do an exorcism for him. While the prayers were being read in front of the Church, the demon became violent. He was mouthing vile words while making irreverent hand motions and threatening those around him. When they took him into the Church he continued his violent behavior. Father Iakovos opened up the reliquary and took from it the skull of Saint David and began to read the prayers of exorcism. At that moment, the mother of the young man also entered the Church and yelled out in disbelief at what she was seeing: “My God, what are my eyes seeing? May my son be healed!” When the prayers of exorcism finished, George was freed from the demon’s powers and he became calm. When his mother exited the Church, she explained to a monk why she cried out in amazement. She said that as long as Fr. Iakovos was reading the prayers of exorcism, he was levitating a half meter above the floor while standing on a black midget that had horns and a tail.
The faithful would bring demon-possessed people to the Monastery on a regular basis. They would also bring psychotic people who were suffering from various forms of schizophrenia. It is very difficult most of the time for someone to distinguish between schizophrenia and demon-possession. Father Iakovos had the grace to be able to discern the difference and he would say: “That person is psychotic and he should see a doctor. That other person, my child has a demon and he needs an exorcism.” Many people would observe the exorcism and would take notes of the dialogue that would take place between Father Iakovos and the demon. The demons would speak through the mouth of the demon-possessed person and they would often swear fiercely. The demons would express an understanding of certain things which the people did not know about. A demon-possessed person named Panagiota was thrashing around one day and did not want to go to see Father Iakovos. This demon threatened to blind Father Iakovos so that he would not be able to read the prayers of exorcism. In the morning the Elder asked what her name was and she answered: “Osmond.” Another demon-possessed person responded that he was called Beliar.
Then the Elder said: “You Beliar and your father are liars. Your father is Beelzebub.” The demon verified this fact and then said: “yes, that is what he is called and he torments me to do bad things and I can’t stand it anymore.” The Elder said to the demon: “I command you to leave Panagiota.” The demon answered: “I will leave. Will Panagiota let me go?” “I will leave you emaciated old man.” The Elder continued saying: “You will go to the mountain.” And the demon responded adamantly saying, “I will not go to the mountain, I will go to other people.” The Elder then took the skull of Saint David and put it on her head. The demon complained: “You are breaking my horns. I have been battling you for sixty years. I have not been able to entice you to sin so that I can take you into hell. You should pray with thanksgiving to that Elder (Saint David) otherwise I would annihilate you.” The demon then changed its tactics by referring to the Elder as: “You are a saint. You have a saint in your midst here and you do not realize it.” The Elder immediately responded: “You are saying that in order to distract me but I am not listening to you. I am just earth and ashes. I am humble.” The demon agreed with him for he admitted this and he responded by saying: “That humbleness of yours, you rascal, burns me, leave.”
Parents one day took their daughter to the Monastery but she would not enter the Church for the prayers. The Elder came out of the Church holding the skull of Saint David when suddenly the demon-possessed girl yelled out: “Get lost, I do not want to hear you old man,” and she was hitting herself violently. “I am the ruler of this world (yelled the demon from the girl’s mouth). “I hold Athens in my hands. That which I desired has happened. I have cut the hair of the priests. I have been battling the Monastery for many years. The great one in here protects you. I cannot trick you. Look at your legs. Your legs have become rotten. (In truth the Elder had bad veins in his legs and the circulation was bad). May you lose your determination and say that you are a saint and I will send you to hell.” At that point, the Elder intervened. “I am not a saint for the Lord has said: you are to become saints. I do whatever I can do. I am simply a man made of the earth.” With renewed indignation the demon-possessed girl said: “What shall I do with you, you goat of a priest. You are humble and you have Christ within you or else I would have obliterated you. I have given you so many sicknesses and yet you persist in your battle with me.”
Another demon-possessed person informed them at the Monastery with pride: “I have eight thousand sorcerers under my control.” The Elder asked him how he entered the bodies of people and he responded: “I enter those people who do not have faith. I enter them like this, like smoke.” Another time the Elder was reading prayers over a demon-possessed woman. Her husband, a police officer, had taken her to the Elder. It appeared initially that she was calm and the Elder offered her his hand to greet her. She then said with anger: “Do the demons grasp the hand of a priest who performs liturgies?”
Two young men brought their demon-possessed mother to the Monastery from Veria, Greece. It happened that at that time the Metropolitan of the Island of Samos was present. Initially she appeared calm and she was saying playfully: “Emaciated Iakovos, Father Iakovos is a saint. The faithful honor you as a saint.” In response to this the Elder said with a loud voice over and over again: “I am a sinful man of the earth.” After a while she began to be aggressive and she injured the faces of many people near her with her finger nails. She tried to do the same thing to the Elder. He stopped her with the skull of Saint David. Another demon-possessed man who was objecting to the prayers of the Elder yelled out trembling: “Shut up Iakovos, shut up you emaciated man. Like smoke I enter the bodies of people and like smoke I come out of them. I fear and tremble before the Cross. When they make the sign of the Cross I leave. When the grace of God leaves people, I enter them.”
In all instances of demon-possessed people the Elder would read the prayers of exorcism while holding the skull of Saint David. He was able in this way to protect himself from possessed people. They could not say that the Elder himself banished the demons since he always offered the skull of Saint David as his helper.
It became a very dramatic scene one day for all those present when the demon-possessed took on different forms. Fearful and disheartened by the prayers of Father Iakovos, some of the demons suddenly would take on the form of an angry black dog, a fearful wolf or a flesh eating bird. At other times they would howl and growl like beasts and spread fear everywhere.
All demon-possessed people who were freed from the clutches of the demons frequently visited the Monastery in pilgrimages of thanksgiving. The only problem with this is that it was not always an easy thing to offer thanks. The monks of the Monastery were astounded one day when the Elder refused to accept a thank offering from a mother whose son was freed from a demon. The Elder explained the reason for refusing the offering; he said the demon had transferred itself to the money. He said: “I banished the demon from your child and you now attempt to bring him back to me! This grace, which frees people from demons, is a triumph of great importance. It reveals to us the clear evidence that the authority of Satan in the world, with people and with nature, is temporary and it can be abolished. And since the miracle of Saint David abolishes demons it indicates to us that Saint David is living the Kingdom of God while here in the world. This means that the Kingdom of God exists and it can be revealed daily, if only in a small way.”
GLORY BE TO GOD IN HIS HOLY SAINTS