Greek Orthodox Baptism

In lieu of the experience at the deliverance ministry, I interviewed Father Evan Armatas of  the St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Loveland, CO. When I first heard from Fr. Evan from a family friend I didn’t think that it would be worth contacting him because I was under the impression that exorcisms were not a common practice in the Greek Orthodox church. However, I was quick to learn that during the holy baptism services a number of exorcisms are performed on the individual in question.

Fr. Evan had this to say:

There are a series of exorcisms performed during the holy baptism. The first of the 3 exorcisms performed is one that is directed toward the devil himself, for he must be cast out from the place that we perform the service. The second exorcism is still directed towards the devil himself but focuses on the light of God and his good nature. The third is an exorcism directed towards the community, towards humanity, that focuses on sharing God’s love with all of us.

In terms of the actual actions that are performed, the priest will breathe on the individual’s forehead while saying the final prayer. The individual will be unclothed and facing West with their “hands upraised to the lord”. Then the priest asks three times: “Do you renounce Satan?” and the individual must respond 3 times saying so.

Exorcisms also occur in the form of “Vaskania”, also known as the evil eye. According to Fr. Evan, the church is somewhat divided. Apparently, in the orthodox tradition:

they used to believe that certain people have such powerful feelings of jealousy and envy, that when they looked on some beautiful object or individual it brought destruction. Vaskania is recognized by the Church as the jealousy and envy of some people for things they do not possess, such as beauty, youth, courage or any other blessing.

Overall, my conversation with Fr. Evan was informative but brief and I learned a lot more about the orthodox tradition.

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