Exorcism

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Exorcism is the rite of prayer which expels demons from a person or physical object. The most common use of exorcism in the Church is at the reception of a catechumen, which is most often included at the beginning of the baptismal rite, and during the Great Blessing of Water which is done on the baptismal waters and at Theophany. An exorcism may also be performed if it is believed that a person is suffering from demonic influence.

  • Exorcism in the prayers for entrance into the Catechumenate
  • Exorcism prayers of St. Basil the Great

Contents

Exorcism in the prayer book

Prayer of interdiction of St. Basil the Great that is read by a priest over one suffering from demons

O God of gods and Lord of lords, Creator of the fiery ranks, and Fashioner of the fleshless powers, the Artisan of heavenly things and those under the heavens, Whom no man has seen, nor is able to see, Whom all creation fears: Into the dark depths of Hell You hurled the commander who had become proud, and who, because of his disobedient service, was cast down from the height to earth, as well as the angels that fell away with him, all having become evil demons. Grant that this my exorcism being performed in Your awesome name, be terrible to the Master of evil and to all his minions who had fallen with him from the height of brightness. Drive him into banishment, commanding him to depart hence, so that no harm might be worked against Your sealed Image. And, as You have commanded, let those who are sealed receive the strength to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all power of the Enemy. For manifested, hymned, and glorified with fear, by everything that has breath is Your most holy Name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and into ages of ages. Amen.
  • Exorcist as a minor order. History and significance.
  • Exorcism and holy water. Theophany. Blessing of objects. Censings. The Sign of the Cross.
  • Exorcism today.

Orthodox resources

Other resources

There are many books about exorcism and demonology that go to one extreme or another. These resources are some of the better ones we have found. As always, read with discretion.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (s. 1673) has this to say about exorcism:

When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing. [Cf. Mk 1:25-26; 3:15; 6:7, 13; 16:17.] In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called "a major exorcism," can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.

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