Orthodox Web


Orthodox Web


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Orthodoxy - 1


The sandpiper cannot serve two beaches 
(Irish proverb)


Let us accept another as he is

Blessed Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery, Holy Mount Athos, Greece (+2019)

Let us accept another as he is. One will insult me, of course. Another will praise me, certainly. Another will offer me half a glass of water, doubtlessly. Let us not meddle in the life of another. When they will ask for our love, let us give it as God gives it, “over both the righteous and the unrighteous.”




Celtic Orthodoxy
Orthodox City Hermit

Orthodox Christian Faith and Life


Saint John Maximovitch in the Netherlands

By Abbot Adriaan

Netherlands Orthodox Church

Saint John Maximovitch is honored as the Founder of the Netherlands Orthodox Church, and the first Life of him to appear after his death was in the Dutch- language periodical of this Church (their article that follows appeared in the same issue).

Later, the major Life to date of Vladika (The Orthodox Word, Nov.-Dec., 1966) was translated in full into Dutch and printed in the same organ. The veneration and love of the Orthodox Dutch for Vladika was summed up in Bishop Jacob’s Foreword to their Life of him: “I have no spiritual father any more and shall indeed find no other, certainly not one like him, who from up in the middle of the night to say: Go to sleep now, what you are asking of God will certainly be all right. Vladika, thank you for everything, and remember us, your Dutch Church, at the Throne of God.”

VLADIKA JOHN, nicknamed Shanghaisky, was a person of the type one longs to meet, even if it is only for once in a lifetime. When then such a meeting has become reality, the remembrance remains unforgettable. He was literally a unique personality, completely his own type, because many characteristics, in themselves already rare, were united in him to an exceptional degree. 

Still ever do I see before me how he came to look us up in our church about fifteen years ago. To the eye he made no great impression: small, a dumpy figure, an irregular face in a mess of tangled head- and beard-hairs. A serious speech impediment made him extremely difficult to understand, even though he spoke German, French, and English. But he did not say much. Very calm, without taking any notice of the people who were waiting for him, he inspected the whole church. He went to kiss the altar and looked in detail at and into everything that was on it. After 3PM he studied by one the surrounding icons and the books, the printed as well as the handwritten ones. After a full hour he made his 
departure: he had wanted to make acquaintance with the Dutch priests, and when we had difficulties we had only to make our way to him.

A year later we indeed had serious ecclesiastical difficulties.. After having for a long time made fruitless attempts in various directions, we decided to hazard a chance with him also. That was the beginning of a long and friendly relationship that has been full of blessing, both for us personally and for the Netherlands Church, which he then took under his omophorion. For with him this meant that he really took us under his protection as well, and he generously defended us against all the attacks which from lack of understanding and sometimes even out of ill-will were leveled at the young and vulnerable community.

In this way we also received the opportunity of learning to know him better, including his unbelievable way of life. For he often came visiting, and during his visitations of the Russian Church in the Netherlands he always used to stay with us in she monastery, where he felt completely at home. Furthermore, we were repeatedly with him in France, in the monastery of Lesna or in his room at the Russian Cadet Corps in Versailles.

What struck one first of all was his unbelievably strict asceticism. It was as if a desert saint out of the first centuries had come to life again. Never did he go to bed; he even possessed no bed. On some occasions, during heavy illness, he was nursed somewhere else. He slept in short snatches, sometimes for a few minutes while standing praying, at night for a few hours sitting upright in a chair and–very disturbing for many-for a few minutes also during a conversation which did not interest him, but of which he nevertheless never lost the thread of the discussion. He used to walls barefoot, even over the sharp gravel of the park at Versailles. Later this was forbidden him by the Metropolitan, after serious blood-poisoning through a piece of glass. He took only one meal a day, towards midnight — at least when that was looked after for him; otherwise he omitted that also.

But still much more impressive was the living example of his prayer. He celebrated the Divine Liturgy daily, however few people there were present. At this service he took much time over the preparation of the Gifts. The diskos was full to overflowing because of the many commemorations. From every pocket he pulled out pieces of paper with names, and every day new ones were added out of letters from all parts of the world in which people asked for his prayers, especially for the sick. In addition, be kept a sharp image in his memory of each of the many people whom he had met in his active life. He knew and understood their needs and that was already a comfort. At the Great Entrance with the Gifts he began again, with the commemorations that had been sent inside to him in the meantime, so that the choir sometimes had to repeat the Cherubikon three times. After the Divine Liturgy be was still for hours in the church. With minute care he cleansed the chalice and disk, the table of preparation and the altar. At the same time he ate some prosphora and drank much hot water.

He did the different Hours of Prayer of the day aloud, wherever he happened to be, often standing in the train or on a ship, in between the other passengers (for he traveled much). He read the morning mail in the afternoon, after the Divine Liturgy, but a trusted person had to open his letters in order to see whether there were any urgent intentions. Sometimes he gave announcements of the contents beforehand, even of affairs about which he had heard nothing for a long time. He took strict care that in church and especially in the altar nothing was said about anything else than what related to the service.

His attention went out in the first place to the sick and the lonely, whom he visited even in the remotest places. For this he carried on a strap around his neck a flat leather case with a heavy icon of the Mother of God, a copy of the wonderworking Icon of Kursk, which the emigrant Church had brought with it out of Russia. There he sang with his broken voice at the sick man’s side the little office of the Mother of God (Moleben) and eventually brought the Holy Communion as well.

His preference went for children, whom he so readily had around him. He always informed himself about them, he catechized them, sent them cards and brought presents for them with him. He could look at them in their eyes for minutes at a time with that warm, radiant look, which encompassed you completely, as a mother puts her arms around her baby.

This look is something unforgettable for everyone who came in contact with him. As badly as he could express himself in words, so were his eyes full of meaning. A chance bodily contact made one think of something hard and massive, like a knotty tree trunk. But if he looked at you, then you knew yourself for that moment to be the most loved person in the world.

Naturally, many who only knew him superficially were offended at his appearance. He knew no way of outward worthiness, he was under all circumstances only himself: the monk who thought only of prayer and the needs of those in trouble. But much greater! is the number of those who admired him indeed for that and loved him, even though he was tiresome to them with his requests. The story is famous of how he stayed in Washington for many days in succession in the waiting of the ministry of external affairs until he extracted the entry permit for his thousands of Russian refugees from China, including the sick, which no one had managed to do previously. Everywhere he went people appeared who wanted to speak with him. If he walked in Paris, then people hurried to him from all sides to ask his blessing and to kiss his hand. Then you saw the elegantly-dressed ladies often first wiping their mouths clean, because they knew that he had a dislike for lipstick. In addition, the train to Dieppe (where the cadet corps had later been housed) left too late from the Gare Saint Lazare on many occasions, because the conductor saw from afar the Russian Monseigneur, who was held up by people every time. Nevertheless, he also often missed trains on his journeys, for time was for him but a vague concept.

There would be many other such anecdotes to tell. There is for example that tramp in Lyons, who so enthusiastically told how Vladika John used to walk through Shanghai at night during the difficult years in order to give out bread and money, even to drunkards. He remembered Vladika kindly, regardless of how much bitter criticism he had toward others.

In the same way as he lived he has also died, completely unexpectedly, alone in his room, when he had just gone to sit down in order to rest after the church service, during his visit to Seattle, in the far north of his extensive diocese. We shall always be grateful for having known him and for having been taken up into his wide love. We trust that this bond of love will still work continuously for our good, now that he is yet more directly linked with his Lord, of Whom he has been one of the most faithful servants on earth in our time.




Orthodox Church Quotes

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos, Greece (+1994)

July 12


Confession in the Bible

Old Testament

“He shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.” (Num. 5:7)
“Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their fathers. While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the LORD their God.” (Nehemiah 9:2-3)

“And read out publicly this scroll which we send you, in the house of the LORD, on the feast day and during the days of assembly: ‘Justice is with the LORD, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our fathers, have sinned in the LORD’S sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the LORD, our God, nor followed the precepts which the LORD set before us.'” (Baruch 1:14-18)

John the baptist

John the baptist practiced confession

“Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” (Matthew 3:6)

“And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:5)

The Church

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

“Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.” Acts 19:18

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)



Saint Adamnan of Iona

Saint Bride Hermitage, ROCOR Scotland


The offering at the Divine Liturgy is more powerful than prayer

Saint John Maximovitch
of San Francisco, CA, USA (+1966)

Then, having successfully passed through the toll-houses and bowed down before God, the soul for the course of 37 more days visits the heavenly habitations and the abysses of hell, not knowing yet where it will remain, and only on the fortieth day is its place appointed until the resurrection of the dead. Some souls find themselves (after the forty days) in a condition of foretasting eternal joy and blessedness, and others in fear of the eternal torments which will come in full after the Last Judgment. Until then changes are possible in the condition of souls, especially through offering for them the Bloodless Sacrifice (commemoration at the Divine Liturgy), and likewise by other prayers.

How important commemoration at the Divine Liturgy is may be seen in the following occurrence: Before the uncovering of the relics of St. Theodosius of Chernigov (1896), the priest-monk (the renowned Starets Alexis of Goloseyevsky Hermitage, of the Kiev-Caves Lavra, who died in 1916) who was conducting the re-vesting of the relics, becoming weary while sitting by the relics, dozed off and saw before him the Saint, who told him: “I thank you for laboring with me. I beg you also, when you will serve the Divine Liturgy, to commemorate my parents” — and he gave their names (Priest Nikita and Maria). “How can you, O Saint, ask my prayers, when you yourself stand at the heavenly Throne and grant to people God’s mercy?” the priest-monk asked. “Yes, that is true,” replied St. Theodosius, “but the offering at the Divine Liturgy is more powerful than my prayer.”

+ St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily on Life after Death




I place all Heaven

Saint Patrick of Ireland (+461)

At Tara today in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And fire with all the strength it hath,
And lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness
All these I place,
By God's almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness.

—Saint Patrick of Ireland (+461)





Orthodox Church in Thailand



The first Chapel of Saint John Maximovitch 
in Katerini, Greece

On Sunday, May 24, 2015, the door-opening ceremony for Chapel dedicated to St. John Maximovitch, who was the Bishop of Shanghai and later Archbishop of San Francisco, California, USA and reposed in 1966, took place in the Church of Saint Anna in Katerini, Greece.

Feast day of St John Maximovitch is July 2.





Martial arts - 1

The initial practice of those martial arts often included training in Buddhism or Zen philosophy

Elmer L. Towns:

One of the early founders of modern martial arts, Gichin Funakoshi, said, “The mind and technique become one in true karate.” Development of martial arts such as judo, kung fu, hapkido, and aikido were steeped in the spiritual traditions of their native countries. This makes sense, given that many of those martial arts sought to merge spiritual and physical exercises with the goal of strengthening both. Also, systems meant to develop combat skill naturally sought a means to govern when to use violence. As a result, the initial practice of those martial arts often included training in Buddhism or Zen philosophy.


Elmer L. Towns, Bible Answers for Almost All Your Questions, THOMAS NELSON / 2003 / PAPERBACK


Martial Arts and Orthodox Christian Faith

“The Trojan Horse” of the New Age

One of the phenomena that prevails in the contemporary Greek society is the increasing spread of the martial arts (Karate, Kung Fu, Judo, Aikido etc.) originating in the Eastern countries like China and Japan. Many people consider this movement harmless ignoring apparently that it represents a vehicle of initiation into a different religious tradition like the Buddhism and the oriental religions and therefore leads to the denial of the Orthodox faith. Moreover, many ignore the fact that the spread of the martial arts is part of a systematic active plan of the New Age, a well-known occult and religious movement that intends to change the Christian consciousness and in general to abolish Christian faith.

Indeed, the propagandist advertisement of this movement invades our houses daily through TV movies and shows and offers us as well a) access to mass media through special broadcasts, b) specialized brochures and magazines; c) special dedications in newspapers and magazines of all kinds; d) direct support from the New Age press (magazines as The Third Eye, Searches, The Unexplainable, The Path, etc.) educating schools for these techniques almost in each neighborhood of the cities from our country) collaborations with different new-ageist organizations, as well as with private schools or institutions for superior education. The most concerning fact is that the teachers of martial arts impel these often through the public schools to the prejudice of Helen taxpayers together with all the implications associated with those.

The connection with the New Age movement is relevant also from the publication of articles on a regular base by the Greek teachers of martial arts in new-ageist brochures. Their former adepts confess about the connection of their schools with occult organizations like: Harmonious life of Robert Najemi, disciple of guru Sai Baba, Gnostics, Sunlight organization of Panaghiotis Toulatou, The Church of Unification of Korean fake messiah SanMyousMoon, as well as the implication of their teachers in black arts. Organizations like Nea Akropolis, Osiris-Isis, Armoniki Zoi (Harmony Life) etc. offer lessons of martial arts while their teachers do not hesitate to make public their connections with occultism. The Athletic and Cultural Association SAGITARRIUS, accredited by the General Secretary of Athletic Sport, organizes yearly a seminary on subjects like: Hatha and Raja, Meditation, Positive Thinking etc. where the customary bibliography comprises books of the so-called “Christ of New Age”(!), of Guru Sai Baba and his disciple Robert Najemi, of Ron Hubbard, the messiah of Scientology, of New Acropolis and other new-ageist organizations.

This proves that the martial arts are the toils of the New Age that catch “fresh” fish daily, without any loss. Moreover, all these prove that the heresies from our country act like communicating vessels and their connection are by no mean competitive. Yet, what actually are the martial arts, what is their origin and “spiritual” base?

The Apparition and evolution of the martial arts

The techniques of the weaponless war were very well known to the nations of Far East from ancient times. Over the time they were performed, multiplied and thus formed different schools. They were always connected to a religious philosophy and thereby they were part of a religious system.

In China, the forefather of martial arts was the Kung Fu. Around year 520 AD a Buddhist monk who wandered in India, Bodhidharma or Da Mo crossed Himalaya and reached the Shaolin Monastery from China where he taught the monks from there, the techniques of war united with the Buddhist principles. The monks used those techniques at the very beginning to eradicate the thieves and pirates and later on they developed them so that their monastery became the cultivation center of the so-called “hard” Kung Fu based on strong hits and kicks. There is among them also the so-called “touch of death” (from poppy) a technique known only by a few teachers whereby if a body is hit on a certain spot, way and hour then it will slowly, inevitably die. In the same time, during the XIII century a “light” or “inner” form of Kung Fu was developed by the Taoist monk Jang Sung-Fe that does not use hits but is focused on the maximization of “inner energy” by calming down.

Karate appeared in Okinawa island of Japan in the XVIIth century and it was officially introduced in Japan at the beginning of the XXth century. It translated through “empty hand” (weaponless) and is based on hits using the hands, legs, head and knees combined with Kung Fu techniques.

In Japan the far forefather of martial arts is the Jiu Jitsu. It most probably appeared around the year 23 AD and became a standard during the Shogun Tokugawa (1606-1868) dynasty when the fight without weapons was emphasized and the use of swords was forbidden. The technique is related to Zen Buddhism and is characterized by hits in the vital parts of body using the legs strangles and blocks of joints.

The evolution of Jiu Jitsu is Judo that represents a sportive version of the aforementioned technique and focuses on sprains.

Moreover the Jiu Jitsu is the forerunner of Aikido, a contemporary technique invented in 1922 by Jiu Jitsu teacher Morihei Uyeshiba and focuses on the harmonization with the moves of the opponent. Recently, a school of this technique has appeared in Tripoli.

Ninzitsou is another technique that was invented in the IVth century by the Chinese general Sun Tzu. The disciples of this technique were instructed to kill silently. They also teach how to control breath and use meditation in order to stay submerged in water for a long time and control their heartbeats for passing unnoticed.

Tae Kwon Do originates in Korea with a history of many centuries. Tae means “I hit or crush with my leg”, Kwon means “I punch” and Do means “method”.

Effects and Risks

 In Greece, the martial arts teachers advertise them as being harmless techniques used only for self-protection. Yet it is surely not so. The instruction in these techniques implies serious risks for health like traumatisms during practice and irreversible injuries to knees, waist and other parts of body. Mortal accidents are not a seldom fact. Such types of facts are usually assigned to inexperienced teachers and those who have nothing to do with the things they teach. Nevertheless, they do occur because this field is completely unchecked, as a Greek teacher declared: “The state will give anyone the possibility to open a school even if one was a pilot.” Thus, each teacher is given the possibility to create a myth around himself, apparently for his “titles” and “capacities” he attained while he might have very well achieved them only from videos. There were recorded cases of teachers whose diplomas were fake while the teachers who failed their “examination”, came more times even the very next day and they returned having a “black belt” or even the second and third Dan (M. Dimitriadu, The Truth about the Martial Arts, Athens 1998). Even the Greek Federation for Karate, considered as valid, is not able to control everything therefore the consequence is that these dangerous techniques are consigned to the hands of semi-professional teachers who keep them going in a speculative and exploiting circle for the naïve victims.

Another myth created around the martial arts is the fact that you can use them for self-defence. However this argument serves only the advertising purposes. A Greek teacher admits that “it will take you around 10 years to be able to use very well those you learn. Do not listen to those who talk about rapid systems for if they said how long it would take to acquire well the knowledge, no one would show up to learn.” (M Dimitriadu, the afore cited book, p. 224). However, as a matter of course, the martial arts cannot protect you at all by shotguns. They would have been appropriate for self-defence before the guns were discovered. Nowadays, though, the easiest way for someone who has intentions to harm is to get a gun.

However, the aforementioned risks are only referring to the physical part. There is though even a higher risk, the spiritual one, we will discuss about in what follows.

Its religious base

As we earlier mentioned, almost all the entrepreneurs of martial arts were monks or ascetics who rather learned a religious tradition than a method of war or self-defence. The training, exercises, moves and usually all their techniques involve and express this religious tradition and faith as such that it is impossible to separate each from the other. Thus, one who is initiated in the martial arts (because we can truly speak about an initiation) will be initiated in its faith as well that is totally different from Christianity.

Which faith do we talk about? We deal with the fundamental conception of oriental religions that claims that there is no personal God (for instance there is no Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Christianity) but there is an impersonal divine energy or vital force that flows in the universe and penetrates all things. This vital universal force, called Chi in China and Ki in Japan, with different names in other parts, is everywhere, even in the contrary match of yin and yang that continuously interact. According to the adepts of oriental religions, one will control this force when he unites his mind with his body using physical moves, breathing control and meditation practice. Here is why the martial arts involve such type of exercises and techniques. Their focus is on handling this so-called energy by introducing it inside one’s self and one’s union with it. Usually, the union with the vital energy is called “enlightenment” and one who attained this stage is called “enlightened”. However, the term “Buddha”, means exactly “enlightened”, Thus, in martial arts the connection between the instructor and disciple is like one between someone who has a complete set of knowledge and someone who has not but is something more: it represents the connection between the “spiritual” father and his “spiritual” son or in other words, the connection between the “enlightened” who pursues on leading his disciples to “enlightenment”.

But let’s study a real example: Morihei Uyesheba (1886-1969), the founder of Aikido technique, was intensely focusing on searching for “budo”, the inner essence of martial arts. During the middle of his life, he has a mystical experience: while he was sitting under a tree, the universe was shaken and out of the earth a golden spirit jumped and covered his body in veils and transformed him in gold. Then his mind and body became light and he could understand the birds and the “divine law”. Since then he had developed a technique focused on the disciple’s acknowledgement of his inner power achieved through channeling the flow of vital force Ki in different parts of his body. When the body was filled with that force, it would become strong. Uyeshiba showed often the way he controlled Ki energy: he could “root” himself on the soil such as no one could lift him up, to throw his opponents using simple moves and walk over tea cups without breaking them. The magazine edited by the “Greek Association Aikido Aikikai” that appeared in Tripoli (March 2012) informs us: “The word Aikido is composed from three Japanese words: Ai means harmony, Ki means spirit, mind or energy of universe and Do means “path”. Aikido means literally speaking “The path of harmony with the energy of universe”. We quote from the same magazine, sentences that clearly prove the concrete religious base of this technique: “The power of Aikido comes from the spiritual energy that will be released when one unifies his mind with his body and becomes one with the nature and universe.” “Aikido is not just a fighting method but a way of one’s nurture and betterment.” “Aikido is shugyo meaning an intense physical and spiritual exercise for improving one’s character and progress in real wisdom. Therefore it is obvious the meaning of a dojo as a space where we exercise in a spirit of collaboration and reciprocal help in the technique of harmony. Dojo is not just a simple place for training but for “enlightenment”.

We have to clarify the fact that for oriental religions, the “salvation” or rather the highest grade of freedom is the dissolution of human person within the cosmic energy or vital force. The correct meaning of the aforementioned sentence is: “The person becomes one with the nature and universe.” Ki is usually adjusted in martial arts through breathing. The body moves involve special techniques of inspiration and expiration. The breath is for many times accompanied by a scream that apparently helps the release of Ki toward the opponent and thusly to unbalance him. In other cases, their screams are invocations of some deities. Although the oriental religions do not accept the existence of a personal God, they worship though as known, plenty of deities. These are deified people or deified beings, meaning beings that united on the highest scale with the vital force and attained divine characteristics.

Martial Arts and Orthodox Faith

 It is proved that martial arts represent a gradual and imperceptible but sure procedure to apostate from the Christian Faith and fall into another “spiritual” category, namely of oriental religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Zen, Shintoism, etc. The pursuit on them starts usually like a game, gymnastics or field events that will eventually lead him who carries on with them to occultism and acceptance of conceptions of oriental religions. Often even the instructors of martial arts (at least in Greece) did not consciously apostatized from Christ but as long as they are under the influence of a full ignorance of the Christian faith they consider that they deal with some compatible experiences and that the Christian God identifies with the impersonal vital force of oriental religions, occultism and New Age. Yet they all end up in the same point: the renouncement to the teaching about Holy Trinity that represents the base of Christian Faith, as well as to the belief that Jesus Christ is our only true God, Savior and Redeemer, the fall from the Grace of God and eventually the fall from salvation that comes through Christ. It is this that represents the biggest danger for man: his fall from salvation.

Many people are enthusiastic about the capacities of some who practice the martial arts, capacities that indeed, in some cases, surpass the natural human powers and therefore they leave behind a strong impression. They ask themselves: If these are not performed by the human power then what is the power they use to perform those by? Is it possible to perform them by a different power than Christ’s? Is it out of question that Christ might be involved in these cases? To give an answer to these, we go to the teaching and acts of Christ as the Gospel presents them. There we see that Christ has never taught about the self-defence, the repay of evil but about love, the forgiveness and sacrifice because “when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered He did not threaten” (I Peter 2, 23). The Gospel reveals to us also the one who acts behind the “supernatural” acts of martial arts. It boldly says: “For all the gods of the nations are demons” (Psalm 95, 5), namely the religions including those that represents the base of martial arts are not just some innocent occurrences as they might seem because behind them the devil is concealed so that he performs impressive “acts” and makes the people worship him.

Fragment from “Orthodoxy and heresies” brochure of Holy Mitropoly of Mantinia and Kinuria, no 79, April-June 2012





Tae-Kwon-Do and Orthodoxy

Lefteris Kalavrytinos

– A spiritual child of Fr. Alevizopoulos remembers


The following article was written with the euche of my spiritual father as well as the euche of my geronda, to whom I had confessed these things fifteen years ago after the end of my spiritual search, when God finally led me to the most blessed fr. Anthony Alevizopoulos. This article treats the story of my conversion from an atheist to a [Orthodox] Christian with the help of our Lord. Also, through this text an attempt is made to interpret the difference between Tae Kwon Do (TKD, a Korean martial art) and Orthodoxy.

Chapter 1 refers to the aim of Christian life which, according to the holy fathers, is nothing else but the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. Through the words of holy men we describe the means for Its acquisition (God willing). At the same time, I give a definitive reply as to whether this aim can be combined with exercising TKD or not.

Chapter 2 refers to TKD, where a little historical background is mentioned first and the aim of this martial art and Olympic game is analyzed second, namely the realization of the ideals of Confucius and living the beliefs of Taoism and Buddhism.

Chapter 3 includes the famous conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov with Motovilov as a living example for the realization of the Kingdom of Christ in our lives. On the other hand, I bring my personal past as a testimony and an example to avoid.

1. The purpose of man’s existence

What is the purpose of man’s existence? The answer is given to us by our Lord and also by His Saints through the ages, whose bodies were wasted in hard asceticism, fasting, vigils, prayers, and virtues in general. In all these, they lived freedom in Christ. This answer is also given through the conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov with Motovilov (cf. Chapter 3). According, therefore, to the Saint, purpose of Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, namely the living of the Kingdom of God from this life.

The euche of the Ecclesia

The euche that follows is used by us when we beg the Holy Spirit to become our guide, and cleanse us from sin and its causes.

O Heavenly King, Paraclete[1], Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Through this euche, the Christian calls through his own will the Holy Spirit to come and dwell inside him, to transform him into a temple. The Holy Spirit respects man’s independent will and waits for this invitation. On the contrary, TKD, as we shall see further down, violates man’s independent will, since man becomes possessed and believes he has the right to impose his will to others, and nullify, that is, his fellow man’s personality.

The characteristics of the Holy Spirit

St. Seraphim [a] by his prayer places his spiritual child visibly inside the grace of the Holy Spirit. He does not abolish Motovilov’s person and he in turn does not go mad, like some of the victims of the eastern religions do, who, through meditation, end up in a vegetative state, but on the contrary fills him with an unutterable peacefulness and serenity, an incredible happiness, a singular sweetness, an internal warmth, and he in turn feels the divine fragrance of the Holy Spirit, becoming like St. Seraphim of Sarov full of the Holy Spirit.

According to the teachings of St. Innocent of Moscow [b], the characteristic traits of the Holy Spirit are faith and illumination, love, power, wisdom, happiness, joy, as well as peace, humility and, finally, prayer.

St. Silouan the Athonite [c] mentions among other things that the Holy Spirit teaches the true faith, It is the means of communicating and becoming acquainted with God, It grants love, wisdom, sweetness, joy, sight and knowledge of God, prayer, illumination, power, understanding of Scriptures, spiritual rest, and a foretaste of the blessedness of paradise.

Internal holy spiritual peace and external relaxation

One of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit is peace. The teachers of TKD also show a peaceful face, as sheep-like wolves that they are, and their bodies are relaxed through too much exercise. They do not have virtue. They can be debauchers, meditating gurus, participants in mental suggestions, whereas their soul does not rest in the Holy Spirit, as it is dead, not alive; in it live demons (this is what I understood in the school where I was taught TKD).

Why do we need the Holy Spirit?

St. Innocent replies that “without the help and cooperation of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible not only for us to enter the Kingdom in Heavens, but even to make a single step on the path that leads there”.

Purity in faith

Continuing, the saint tells us that there is a necessary pre-condition for the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, namely true faith. “This is given only to the one who is truly faithful. And truly faithful is he who confesses correctly our holy Orthodox faith, without making any additions or subtractions or changes, exactly as it was delivered to us by the holy apostles and as it was phrased and sanctioned by the Holy Father in the Œcumenical Synods. Every doubt or sophistry in matters of faith is disobedience. And the one who is disobedient can never become a temple and habitation of the Holy Spirit”.

In other words, it is pointless for one to meditate on one hand and try to lead a spiritual life inside the Church on the other. As we shall see in the next chapter, TKD (and martial arts in general) contain breathing exercises and techniques of meditation in movement. It is a form of yoga whose aim is self-deification (and a witness to one’s personal powers). Apart from the above, we must also note that there are many martial arts Schools that conduct meditation before and even after training.

It is madness for someone to wish to combine the path of extreme humility that our saints walk with the Luciferian self-deification path that we are subject to through TKD training.

Means of acquisition of the Holy Spirit

The same saint tells us that in order for us to acquire the Holy Spirit in our lives, the means are: clean heart, pure body, humility, obedience to the voice of God (i.e. to the Word of God), prayer, daily self-denial (mainly through fasting and almsgiving), reading and listening to the Holy Writ (and holy books in general), participation to the divine mysteries of our Ecclesia and in the divine Eucharist in particular.

Continuing, the saint tells us: “every soul can be filled by the Holy Spirit, if it is cleared from sin, self-love and freed from pride”.

When does the Holy Spirit leave?

St. Innocent tells us “Every sin drives away the Holy Spirit. Most hated, however, to Him are pornic sins among the bodily ones, and pride among the spiritual ones. The Holy Spirit, the perfect purity, cannot live inside a man defiled with sins. How can He stay in our heart, when it is filled with cares, desires and passions?”

Exercise in an art whose aim is self-deification is either the result of ignorance on the part of the trainee or the result of pride. These two (ignorance and pride) can by themselves drive away the Holy Spirit. In other words, the battle for living the kingdom of God goes out of the window. St. Silouan continues and tells us:

Deception and therapy

“One falls to deception either due to inexperience or due to pride. If one falls to deception through ignorance then the Lord will heal him quickly; if however he falls to deception due to pride, then his soul will suffer for a long time, until it learns what humility means, and then it will be healed by the Lord.”

If someone has fallen to the deception of TKD, depending as to whether this fall was due to ignorance or pride, then both the way to remove his dependence as well as the time until he is freed from its lures varies accordingly.

Obstacles in our path

According to St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, in his book “Unseen Warfare”, there are three things that stop man from living the kingdom of God. These are: the world, the devil and his self.

Psychological problems and the Holy Spirit

If one practices TKD for a time and also reads about Buddhism, Taoism, telepathy etc., and then suddenly stops TKD, he might suffer from phobias, persecution manias and psychological problems. These eventually leave through the mysteries of Holy Confession and Holy Eucharist, and more generally, through living an Orthodox spiritual life, through which the Holy Spirit clears the spots from the Christian person’s garment, recreates the soul’s virtues and brings the faithful back to the point he was when he had been baptized. Otherwise, if he does not turn to the Church, one might eventually need the support of a neurologist …

Chapter 1 Epilogue

In this first chapter I tried to give with simple words, the teaching of Saints (with my deepest respects to them) on the purpose of Christian life and also to show their experience on the third person of the Holy Trinity, by also bringing some of my own remarks. From the words of our Saints it becomes clear that TKD training is incompatible to the Orthodox worship, and my experience has shown to me that sometimes it can seriously harm the spiritual health of the trainee.

Chapter Sources

St. Silouan from leaflet no. 24 “The Voice of the Fathers, Devout [Osios] Silouan the Athonite, The acquaintance with God”, edition 6, Holy Monastery of Paraclete, Horopos, Attica.

St. Innocent of Moscow, from leaflet no. 25 “The Voice of the fathers, St. Innocent of Moscow, The breath of the Holy Spirit”, edition 1, Holy Monastery of Horopos, Attica.

St. Seraphim of Sarov, from his conversation with Motovilov, pp. 47 – 59 from the book “The Saint of Joy (St. Seraphim of Sarov and Orthodox spiritual experience)” by Harry M. Boosalis, publications “I Elafos”.

St. Nicodemus, from the Unseen Warfare.

Sermons by fr. Ioannis Chantzethanasis and by other fathers.

Personal remarks.

2. Tae Kwon Do (TKD)

TKD is a martial art that contains one spiritual road (one DO), one of the paths to spiritual development for the trainee. It is at the same time an Olympic sport. In this chapter I will discuss its purpose, and will also mention some related information.

History of TKD

According to the website http://ww.barrel.net, training in martial arts began in Korea around 50 B.C., and later on we meet a class of highborn youngsters (HwaRang = flourishing youth) in the kingdom of Silla that used to train in various martial arts. The ancient code of honour of these young men constitutes the philosophical (my note: and religious) essence of TKD.

Since 1910 and until the end of WWII, Korea was under the rule of Japan. After the war and the defeat of Japan in Korea, many martial arts schools began to appear. In 1955 these schools united under the name of Tae Soo Do. Later, in 1957, this art was renamed Tae Kwon Do. A trained eye can easily discern similarities in the hand movements with Japanese karate.

There are two martial arts federations of TKD: ITF, which exercise a more traditional form of TKD, and WTF. This martial art became an Olympic sport in 2000.

Religions in modern Korea

What religions thrive in the peninsula of Korea?

According to the website http://atheism.about.com (that uses CIA sources) South Korea contains 49% of Heterodox Christians, 47% Buddhists, 3% Confucian followers and the remainder of the population follow other religions. TKD comes from this nation.

The website http://welcome.korea.com mentions that Seoul also hosts an Orthodox Church where the Divine Liturgy is conducted in both Greek and Korean.

Purity of faith and (Asiatic) Korean mentality

In the website http://www.shs.ohio-state.edu I found a reference to the religious situation in Korea (mother of TKD). The University of Ohio group informs us that “many Koreans follow more than one religion. For example, many who turned to Christianity also continue their worship in the traditional religions …”

As we shall see further down, TKD is a religious amalgam. This is how one can truly interpret the symbols on the Korean flag.

The book of changes I’ Ch’ing

Great role to the Korean culture plays an occultist book of oracular art going by the name of I’ Ch’ing or, according to a different designation, “book of changes”. I have in my own hands its translation into Greek that was made by the New Age author Casey (publications Spartan). The book consists of 64 hexagrams. One chapter is entitled “asking the counsel of the oracle” where the reader is advised to throw a coin heads or tails in consecutive trials, in order to be informed which hexagram will give a reply to his question.

According to the website http://www.bartleby.com, this book combines Confucianism with Taoist philosophy (yin – yang).

It is well known that the devil performs pseudo-miracles and is even able to calculate a possible immediate future for his follower, if said follower has resorted to some oracular art. These things however do not hold rein on us Orthodox who have been freed by the Blood of Christ. This all-holy Body and Blood of Christ found inside the Holy Chalice keeps us free from the devil.

Oracular art and TKD

In one of the two TKD (in WTF), the forms used until one reaches the level of black belt are dedicated to the initial eight hexagrams of the oracular book I’ Ch’ing (http://www.barrel.net/patterns.html).

In Cook’s book, “Tae Kwon Do, Ancient Wisdom for the modern Warrior”, which is a book that is prefaced by Richard Chun, who holds a black belt of 9 Dan, there is a photo of trainees in the martial art working diligently on the oracular art through I’ Ch’ing (p. 60).

The Korean flag

In many TKD schools one can find the Korean flag. This flag (according to http://www.barrel.net) has its philosophical foundations in the Chinese traditional philosophy (religion, rather) of Yin and Yang. It is called Taeguk and has imprinted on it a summary of the ideas of the (occultist) book of changes I’ Ch’ing.

It consists of three parts, the white font that symbolizes peace, the red one and the blue circle, that symbolize the Taoist symbol of yin and yang as well as four tri-grams, one in each corner. The tri-grams symbolize Heaven, Fire, Water and Earth. They also contain a second “embedded” symbolism: the symbolism of the balance between opposites.

The trainee bows before these symbols before entering the training ground, where this respected-by-all yet foreign-to-Orthodoxy and full-of-secret-occult-symbols flag hangs.

Imagine a flag having as a symbol four playing cards and in the middle an upside Greek coffee mug; would anyone condescend to bow before it? Perhaps we modern Greeks are attracted to the exotic and foreign instead of looking at the truth that is next to us.

What is the purpose of TKD?

In the website http://www.taekwondobible.com, one can find information that proves that this martial art is based upon eastern beliefs borrowed from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucian philosophy.

In a free translation [in Greek] I give the reader a section from the prologue to the Nannangbi text that was written by Choi Chi-Won. He tells us that “there is a powerful spiritual path in Korea known as Pung Ryo Do … This path contains these three principles, of Confucianism, of Buddhism and of Taoism, that illumine the whole of the human race. Those who walk this spiritual path honour their parents but also dedicate themselves to their country, which is what the teaching of Confucianism is about …”

The author of the e-book “On Samjae and Kang-Yu” uses all of the above in order to stress to us the fact that “the philosophy of Pung Ryo Do is the essence of the philosophy of TKD”.

In other words, the Koreans are open about their faith. They openly tell us who they are. The one who wants to can follow them. In Greece one meets the same TKD. Why do the teachers here not tell us about the above?

What TKD is

We saw what its purpose is. But what is TKD? To this question I found some interesting answers.

On the website http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/arm07.htm one can find the re-publication of an Anglican article from the magazine “Anglicans for Renewal” (February 2000).  In a free translation, its title is: “TKD and martial arts: Simple training or Trojan horse?” The author, after mentioning a number of things, concludes saying “In conclusion, my research and my personal experience have led me to the conclusion that TKD and martial arts are not simple training, but Buddhist practices of meditation” and continues saying that this training coincides with the initiation to the first stages of eastern occultism. Author of this article is the Anglican pastor Edward Hird.

Maria Dimitriadou[2] mentions in her website http://www.maria-dimitriadou.net/martialarts.html, among other many things, that the martial art forms are meditation in movement and a martial art is a form of yoga. This article was published in the well-known Orthodox periodical Dialogos (no. 23, Jan-Mar 2001).

The website http://web.otenet.gr/martialartsclub/yoga1.htm contains publications from various martial arts followers, ending with concluding remarks made by many martial art trainees who claim that in the end a martial art, like TKD, brings man to the same place that yoga would.

In Doug Cook’s book “TKD, Ancient Wisdom for the modern Warrior”, there are three chapters on meditation. The first is entitled “Poomse – Moving Meditation”. There, the author, a holder of third Dan, confirms that TKD does include meditation in movement. In the second chapter, Cook describes the profits made from meditation (which is the Luciferian route to self-deification). In the third chapter, he presents a form of meditation called Active Meditation which is a necessary part for training in this martial art.

When I had asked my TKD teacher on the relation of TKD with yoga, he had told me that it is a form of yoga.

According to the above, TKD is clearly a form of yoga and as such includes breathing techniques and meditation in movement through training in forms and through meditation in the lotus position (cross-legged) as these are taught in India[3] or in Korea.

What is meditation in movement?

For someone to obtain a belt in TKD, he needs to learn to execute certain “choreographies”, as Cook calls them, namely forms of TKD. The repetitive execution of these movements is essentially a form of meditation because it trains man’s imagination against imaginary opponents, having always as an aim self-deification.

Sometimes, those who meditate either see demons, always granted by God’s mercy and not by their own will, or become possessed (this constitutes the witness of an anonymous nun).

The fathers (cf. St. Nicodemus, advisory manual) tell us that fantasy (imagination) is the result of man’s fall. Adam before the fall had no imagination, and the same holds for the devil. Christ did not have an imagination while he was on earth. Through imagination, the devil attempts and many times, alas, also succeeds in controlling man, offering him glass beads in exchange for the most precious thing he has, namely his immortal soul.

Ki or Chi and TKD

According to Cook, as he himself mentions in his small glossary that is found in his book (see p. 213), Ki[4] is a term that is used by the Japanese and Koreans and denotes the internal (esoteric) power of life, which consolidates the techniques of those who deal with martial arts.

According to the Cypriot web page http://www.shiatsu.com.cy/kig.htm, Ki is a basic and fundamental substance/element of the Universe. I believe[5] that this position has to do with the monist belief of things[6] that everything stems from one element; if we extend this belief a little, we arrive at the belief that man, being one with god, is himself god, but he doesn’t usually know it. The purpose of man’s life is to learn that he is god, knowledge that he obtains through the martial art, independently of ethics and virtues. In extreme cases[7], man can lose his personality and even his mind coming to be in a vegetative state. Such men, who cannot even help themselves through their unnatural training, are considered to be enlightened in areas of India, as Farasiotis mentions in his book (see further down).

Cook, in another of his articles entitled “Ki Energy”, that can be found at the website http://www.blackbeltmag.com, mentions that Reed defines Ki as the “Universal energy, able for infinite extensions and compressions[8], which can be directed by the mind but is not contained in it”. Fa Xiang Hou says that Ki or Chi “circulates in all living beings and is a composition of yin and yang powers”. Further down, Cook notes that meditation and deep breathing are among the ways one can use to acquire Ki; exactly what takes place in TKD.

We as Orthodox must first and foremost aim to acquire the Holy Spirit. We do not believe in the monist view that man is God. We would like to be God-like, of course, always though in Christ and thus by grace.

The role of the teacher

The teacher is the one who trains his pupil in the technique and philosophy of TKD, and he is essentially his guide in Do, the spiritual path of the martial art. He places the pupil to begin meditation in movement (forms) and teaches him more or less about Buddhism, Taoism, even Confucianism and this without using many words; irrespective as to whether he himself is doing this consciously or not.

In the Gospel we find written that we must not call anyone else a teacher except Christ. The TKD teacher plays the role of a teacher in place of Christ, i.e. of someone who teaches foreign and opposite things to the written and oral tradition of our Orthodox Ecclesia. Those spiritual fathers who give their blessing for their spiritual children to participate in such arts are certainly either deceived or in ignorance (if they do it for reasons of supposed economy, God can only enlighten them!)

TKD’s Master

For us Orthodox, the ideal Christian, in other words the true Christian, is the Holy man of God, the one, that is, who has the Holy Spirit inside him.

Who is the ideal teacher of TKD? What is his main characteristic?

According to Maria Dimitriadou (cf. above website), the whole point of martial arts is the controlling of Ki or Chi, i.e. of the so-called “internal energy” which can even transform the trainee to a superman, making him able to kill even from a distance or put this energy into therapeutic purposes (demonic healing charismas). For such purposes of therapy, the martial artist can use acupuncture, massage or potions.

Cook, in the chapter “The Holistic Approach” of the aforementioned book, writes (on p. 37) that those who dedicate their lives to becoming an example in the arena of martial arts, deal not only with the obvious physical exercises, but also need to deal with issues such as anatomy, meditation, ethics, therapeutics, nutrition and Eastern philosophy (my note: often we will find Taoism and Buddhism mentioned as philosophies instead of religions[9]). In other words, he confirms the words of Maria Dimitriadou.

Media, Hellenic society and TKD

Martial arts, and more specifically TKD, are advertised by the media because they are Olympic events. There are films and books on martial arts,; even Greek champions of TKD who bring medals back home from international games. There is however lack of knowledge of the true nature of the martial arts in our country.

Meditation, Ki or Chi and Orthodoxy

Fr. Paisios had said that there is only God and the devil [that cause the various “metaphysical” events]. This is repeated continuously throughout the book “The guru, the young man and elder Paisios” by Farasiotis[10], namely that the energy of Ki or Chi, viz. the “breaks”, fatal blows from a distance, acupuncture and massage techniques must either be of God or of the devil. Man is not god and he has a by-grace given immortal soul, which is created once by the Creator and has limited capacity. The mental suggestion that was done on me (see next chapter) by my TKD teachers, who, due to their constant training had obtained large amounts of Ki inside them, and which they were directing onto me, is the energy of mages, and their Ki is demonic energy. It is another matter altogether that they thought that this was human telepathic ability.

Meditation in movement, breathing techniques, meditation, the lotus position; all these are concentration techniques of Ki or Chi but at the same time constitute the means for self-deification and self-illumination. The Do trainee (following his own path to spiritual “advancement”) will change; he will follow a spiritual path opposing the path of the Gospel. If one reads Maria Dimitriadou’s book “The truth on martial arts” on the experiences and testimonies of trainees, he will understand what I mean.

Sweat dripping on the carpet, time lost, and money spent; and in the end one is in danger of also losing both his bodily and spiritual health. If however he comes to Church, where, through Confession, Communion, the Divine Liturgy, and more generally through the life-giving communion with God, given to us “for free”, man will walk the path to salvation, even if this path is narrow and full of sorrows.

According to the Fathers, one must first thirst for God, to feel as the prodigal son of the parable and to wish to quench his thirst from the water that quenched the thirst of the Samaritan woman, at the time when the Lord offers it to him. Then God, once he finds the door open, even though the house of man’s soul will be dirty from passions, sin, and deception, He will condescend to enter and make it again new, clean and shining.

3. Theosis and anti-theosis

In the third and last chapter there is a great antithesis. The first part contains the conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov with Motovilov as an example of a holy spiritual experience. There follows a commentary on the conversation, with an emphasis on the differences found between this holy spiritual experience and the experiences I had in the TKD school but also later on. The second part follows my personal witness.

Comments on the conversation of St. Seraphim with Motovilov

For this “metaphysical” experience many things can be said. I would like to point out only the following:

St. Seraphim respects Motovilov’s independent will, in opposition to TKD where mental suggestions take place, as we shall see further down.

The saint becomes informed on Motovilov’s wish through the Holy Spirit; there is no “telepathy” where the devil will whisper in everyone’s ears the same thing so that a certain form of invisible communication appears to take place[11].

Father Seraphim with his prayer that reaches God through His Holy Spirit convinces Him to grant these experiences to Motovilov. Neither does he meditate, nor does he apply techniques of self-deification but through his humility and virtue, attracts the Divine Grace and causes the miracle to happen.

Motovilov does not go mad or “ecstatic” but is exulted by the Holy Spirit, for God granted the experience according to his ability. On the contrary, when the devil, in his evilness, makes people meditate, he may even reach the point of driving them mad (after divine granting, of course, if there is nothing better that God can do for this man).

Finally, I would like to underline that neither St. Seraphim’s nor Motovilov’s faces (persons) are cancelled. God is personal; these are and continue to be independent persons, and they participate in the experience by a different amount each, while continuing to remain independent persons. There is no absorption of man by God, but His condescension becomes visible in order for Him to show mercy to His creation.

Personal witness

The following story is real, chronologically placed between 1985 and 1989; the people are real, and I intentionally use different names because I do not wish to judge these people, but their actions, hoping that some of them might change … Some of these are still in deception, having one foot in TKD and the other in Orthodoxy.

Protagonists of the Story

The one who writes this story is one of the protagonists. I used to be a Marxist atheist. When I was in the military I would not do the Sign of the Cross. After my military service ended, and during the course of my studies at the American College, I trained with TKD and other martial arts, as there was a school of TKD at college. For a time I would study books on Zen (Japanese “version” of Buddhism), Taoism, martial arts, telepathy. I would conduct experiments on “telepathy” (as I thought this phenomenon was at the time). I had, in other words, fallen into the deception that man is a god and that he has spiritual powers. It is easy for an atheist to become a yogi for essentially he deifies himself. It had made an impression to me that I was able to understand (as if someone was whispering this to me) whether a co-trainee had worked in the past with some other martial art, weights etc. or not.

Lakis is a bus driver in a Northern district municipality in Athens. He was the one who first took me to School, participating also in the induced mental suggestion that took place later, as he himself admitted, while also giving me the names of a few other participants.

Eleni is the sister of teacher Akis, the girl for whom I was driven to participate in the suggestion. She had a black belt and together we did telepathy experiments. I liked all this, but something was keeping me alert and puzzling me about this woman. She strongly believed that she is a Christian[12], despite the forms that she knew, the meditation she had done through the training, and despite the suggestion to which she had participated.

Akis, teacher of martial arts, had a black belt of “three Dan”. He had a Greek martial arts teacher and was spiritually confused. He used to say a lot of contradictory things. For example, he would speak on the “plan of God” or tell me to “think of Eleni, she is from God”; yet at another time he would tell me that I need a teacher (a spiritual leader or a yogi) or that TKD is the same as yoga (since it contains breathing exercises as well as meditation in movement). On one hand he would do the Sign of the Cross and on the other hand he would have a (full) relationship with a girl who was a medium! He seemed to believe that god is a mountain and that each faith is a path that leads to him. He must have been able to understand my thoughts (this is what I used to think then) because sometimes what I was thinking would happen, and he used to say that TKD is unbeatable and gives one a lot. He would read books on Theosophy and telepathy and he must have conducted related experiments. He had convinced himself that inside him is the truth, god (the dogma of monism that we are all parts of the One God, not His creations with a separate personality, and that our aim is to unite with Him losing also our personality in the process). Another time he would say that one must make sacrifices for TKD if he loves it, like for example giving up his studies in order to dedicate himself to it. Once, he even told me that he would accept monetary contributions.

Makis, teacher, took place in the suggestion. The demon used his voice, and I recognized this voice later on during a demonstration.

Robert Nadjemy, yogi, who created the centre “Harmonic Life” in Chalandri[13].

Dreams and Visions in the tradition of the Church

In the tradition of our Church, it is mentioned that we must not pay attention to dreams or visions because these can be traps of the devil. A characteristic example is that of St. Pelagia in Tenos where the saint did not make hypakoe to the Panagia who would tell her to go and find her icon, and in the end our Panagia told her off.

Once, a taxi driver fell asleep while driving. Then in his sleep he saw our Panagia asking him to “stop”. He woke up and stopped his taxi from falling off the edge of a cliff.

This way I too was walking towards the edge of the cliff, and the Lord informed me by a miracle, and I changed; now I try to follow the example of our saints.

Hypnosis/Suggestion/“Seizure” (Snatching)

I would like to mention a few words on the metaphysical experiences I lived in those years. These are: hypnosis, “seizure” and suggestion. Let everyone draw their own conclusions. I would like here to underline that St. Seraphim, and by extension our Lord, respects and loves man; he does not force him but makes suggestions. On the contrary, the devil enforces his own wicked will based upon the rights that man gives him each time he moves further and further away from the Lord’s path.

One day, during warm-up at School, I was sitting on the carpet doing some exercises to warm up before training when I fell asleep. Someone, Akis perhaps, had hypnotized me. Similar experiences are mentioned in the book “The guru, the young man and elder Paisios” by Farasiotis. Despite my own will, someone had hypnotized me.

One night, while I was asleep, I saw my body from a distance. Around my body were shadows of people, when I heard a voice that told me to marry this woman. A few months later, I went to a demonstration and teacher Makis would talk using the same voice I had heard that night in my dream. Out of curiosity and ignorance, I began reading and doing experiments on telepathy[14]. Lakis, after some pressure, confessed to me that some people had gone to Hymettus to participate in a Circle. Then he stopped talking and did not wish to say more. I asked teacher Akis too, who would tremble out of fear that I might destroy his “image”. I don’t know what had happened to him. It was as if someone was hitting him on the face. I told him that I do not obey to demons and later on, after a long time, he  replied to me and said that indeed he is a demon, but was wondering what I was. It was a good point he made. Later on, I would return my belt that he had given me and would leave his school. I would have no need for a teacher that cancels my personality. The one who would be most “cool” about it would be Eleni, who only told me that I cannot prove that suggestion had taken place, without denying the fact that it had.

Finally, I would like to mention another experience. One day during training my mind was “seized” and I was found on top of the room. Down below, I could see each athlete transparent. Inside each one of them I would see a demon with little horns and a tail, as we see them depicted in holy icons. In other words, God wanted to show to me through this that the moment the trainee would tell God that through his training (meditation in movement) he would be deified, he would become a temple of the devil, and appear like a demon. Basic dogma of Buddhism is that through meditation man is illumined. This illumination coincides with the occupancy of the unfortunate meditating one by demons.

Spiritual powers

When I was at karate school I had relations with a girl called Dimitra. After we split up, she started dating a mage, would tell me that at night I would caress her hair from far away, and that sometimes I would stop the power she had inside her to affect a specific person. One day that we were talking together, my leg was hurting and she told me. We were both far away from God, and that is an understatement.

Also, I used to conduct telepathy experiments with Eleni, who would put on her mind geometric shapes and I would then tell her each time what shape it was (the devil would tell her what to think and he would whisper to me the name of the same shape afterwards).

Once, I tried to “throw light” using my mind onto a Korean teacher. He understood it and turned and looked at me carefully.

The teachers at school would break stones and wood using their fists.

Eventually, I got the sense that I had changed. This made me think that I owed my strange spiritual growth to someone, and that someone would in turn ask something from me one day.

What had changed me was the training, i.e. the meditation through the training.

Harmonic Life / Miracle

When I gave up my belt to Akis, I went to Harmonic Life, a yoga centre in Chalandri. I had read a book “the autobiography of a yogi”. In this book, it would say that the yogi had met Christ. I followed a seminar on how breathing techniques and yoga can help man’s health. Each Saturday, we would conduct breathing exercises.

One day while I was coming home, the Lord brought a logismos to my mind to open up the Bible that had been dusting in my room since high school. I thought to myself: “I have read so many books on karate, Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, TKD, Marxism … Why don’t I also open up to read the Gospel?” Indeed, I opened the Gospel and then the light that does not burn sprung out and hit me on the forehead. It was the same light that Motovilov had seen, but in a smaller amount and for a shorter period of time. That was it. I went to Nadjemy, the American teacher of yoga, and told him that he does not pray to Christ as he believed and then I left. I found the blessed fr. Alevizopoulos, who sent me to a holy hieromonk spiritual father.

Fifteen years later

Many years after these events had taken place, I prayed for Akis and the rest, obeying our Lord who has told us to love our enemies and to pray for them, even a little “belatedly”. But in my room there came a strong demonic presence when I did this. I took a small prayer rope and said the euche. It left …


[a] The Saint of Joy (St. Seraphim of Sarov and Orthodox spiritual life) pp. 47 – 59, Harry M. Boosalis, editions I ELAFOS.

[b] The Voice of the Fathers, St. Innocent of Moscow, “The breath of the Holy Spirit”, edition 1, Holy Monastery of Paraclete.

[c] The Voice of the Fathers, Devout Silouan the Athonite, “The acquaintance with God”, edition 6, Holy Monastery of Paraclete.

[1] This means “The one who begs for us”; translations sometimes use the term Comforter. – Ed Transl.

[2] Maria is a friend and an official translator of many critical patristic texts into Greek (e.g. fr. Seraphim Rose’s Life and Works), author of patristic-minded books including a treatise on Martial Arts.  Her works are included in top theological bookstores in Greece. She is one of the major theologians who unmasked Martial Arts, the other being of course the widely acclaimed fr. Alevizopoulos – Ed.

[3] For more details on the Indian demonic beliefs, see the biographies of Elder Paisios and Porphyrios. – Ed

[4] This is the same Ki found in the Do of Aikido – Ed.

[5] All this fully agrees with fr. Alevizopoulos’ and Maria’s work, as well as with the words of Elder Paisios found in Farasiotis’ book – Ed.

[6] Occult’s well-known dogma “everything is one”; cf. Mme. Blavatsky’s Theosophical teachings – Ed.

[7] Cf. Farasiotis’ book “The guru, the young man, and Elder Paisios” written with the blessings of Elder Paisios himself, which fully unmasks the demonic teachings of the Hindu philosophy – Ed.

[8] Cf. the New Age pseudo-scientific films “What the [Bleep] do we know?”, “Pi” etc. – Ed.

[9] Our note: it does not matter because by condemning Origenism the Orthodox Church has also condemned indirectly Religious Philosophy, which is what this is – Ed.

[10] A fantastic book, 500 pages long, that you cannot put down that unmasks all the demonic actions of the Gurus in India, and how Farasiotis was literally saved through the prayers of Elder Paisios when he was in India. He wrote this book according to the wishes of his spiritual father, the Elder himself.

[11] The technique of telepathy and tele-vision, through the use of black mirrors, black candles and magic, is common at high levels of Freemasonry, Rotaries, Rosicrucians, and even Lions.

[12] A delusion that is common to those who participate in Martial Arts. – Ed.

[13] The last is a real name. All of the above can also be found through the works of Alevizopoulos (in more accurate ways, using patristic analysis) on martial arts, new age and Indian demonology; his 40 anti-heretical books that he left us are formally accepted as a treasure house of Orthodoxy by the Holy Synod of Greece. On the same frequency one finds many other enlightened Fathers and Elders, including the late saintly Elder Paisios and Archimandrite Vassilopoulos of blessed memory. – Ed.

[14] One of the characteristic traits of the victims of occult is that they foster a great amount of unnatural curiosity and are led to read strange books, watch strange films and so forth, leading themselves deeper into the devil’s web – Ed.