~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

The mysterious power of the Cross, however inexplicable, is true and indisputable. St John Chrysostom speaks of the custom that obtained in his time, of placing the sign of the Cross ‘on the imperial diadem and the soldiers’ accoutrements, and of making it on parts of the body: the head, the breast and the heart, both at the table of sacrifice and on lying down in bed.’ ‘If’, he says, ‘we are striving to drive out demons, we use the Cross, and it is also of aid in healing sickness.’ St Benedict made the sign of the Cross over a glass containing poison, and the glass shattered as if struck by a stone. St Julian made the sign of the Cross over a cup of poison brought to him, and drank the poison, suffering no bodily harm from it. The holy martyr Vasilissa of Nicomedia protected herself with the sign of the Cross and stood in the midst of the flames, remaining completely untouched. The holy martyrs Audon and Senis crossed themselves when ravening wild animals were let loose on them, and the beasts became docile and meek as lambs. The sign of the Cross has been the most powerful weapon against great temptations from demons, from the early ascetics down to the present day.

The most ferocious of the devil’s devisings are dispersed into nothing, like smoke, when a man signs himself with the Cross. Thus it was the good will of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that the erstwhile sign of wickedness and shame, the cross, should, after His crucifixion on the wood of the cross, be the vehicle of all-conquering power and might.

~ St Nikolai Velimerovic, The Prologue from Ochrid


Filed under Readings, Wisdom of the Church Fathers

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