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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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60.

 In view of the fact that the Apostle loudly proclaims that “he that cleaves to the Lord is one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), it is obvious also that he that makes himself intimate with the adversary becomes one with him by association. As touching, therefore, those who pretend to be possessed with demons, and who with their vileness of manners are wont to sham the habits of those persons, it has seemed best to penalize them by all means and to subject them to such hardships and pains as those who are really possessed with demons would be deservedly subjected to for the purpose of ridding them of the demon’s energy.

 

Interpretation.

Some persons, because of the vileness of their frame of mind and with an eye to making a profit, were wont to pretend that they were possessed with a demon, and to go through the gesticulations of persons under the control of demons and make irregular motions by pretense while going about the cities and causing people a disturbance and making a theatrical show of themselves. Hence the present Canon commands that such persons be penalized by all means and be subjected to such great hardships and pains as would be inflicted upon persons really possessed with demons in order to free them from the demon accompanying them, with which these men too who feign themselves to be under the control of demons have become familiar and have become one with them, just as he that cleaves to the Lord and becomes intimate with the Lord becomes one spirit with Him, as St. Paul says. Balsamon states that such persons at various times were actually chained and shut up in prisons by many Patriarchs and Bishops. See also Ap. c. LXXIX.

 




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