Cairo’s best-known exorcist may be Christian, but his weekly exorcisms provide an unusual space for interfaith cooperation
The demon that had possessed the elderly Muslim woman was so strong that even an Imam couldn’t get rid of it. So her family opted for a priest. “My mother is possessed by a jinn,” the woman’s daughter said, by way of explaining why she and her Muslim family had decided to attend a recent Thursday night mass last month at Cairo’s St. Sama’an Cathedral. Her mother, who was slumped over a nearby bench, gave no indication of hearing anything. In a few hours she would be yipping and howling along
“God warns us against a giant cataclysm that could begin in Russia and Ukraine?” this news commentary ponders. “It is not excluded.”
And so it is something for us all to consider, whether or not the crisis immediately becomes a full-blown one.
“In both countries, in a dozen monasteries, icons began to cry,” claims the publication. “In the Orthodox tradition (yes indeed, as in the West, where the weeping statues portend serious events) it is a clear sign from above, which is a call to the people to repentance and warning of approaching difficult times.
“Icons are now crying among others in Rostov-on-Don, Odessa, Rivne (also known as Rovno), and Novokuznetsk. Earlier and similar phenomenon in Russia and Ukraine took place before the October Revolution and the fall of the tsarist regime, and just before the collapse of the Soviet Union,” concludes the report, for our reckoning.
Will the Russian-Ukrainian crisis be quickly defused — as has been the case in so many potential tinderboxes during the past few decades (in this period of grace, if waning grace) — or will the tension between the two nations, long bitter foes, infused with rabid nationalism (and now in a tug of war over Crimea) explode into a nuclear event?
If so (if there is fire), might it one day reflect on the Fatima prophecies? If something does erupt, will it cause us to think back on the consecration of Russia?
It may be quickly defused. That’s certainly what one must hope — at the same time that we hope for world conversion.
But of late, private revelation and miracles have become, or seem it seems, all the more relevant. Even mainstream media are now taking note. The question is both the legitimacy of the reports and whether they are different than previous mystical phenomena. Russia and Ukraine have a long history of miraculous icons and statues (including one we visited at the huge, mysterious, holy monastery at Pochaiv).
Several years back, in 2006, were reports of many icons weeping in the same region [see note at end of this article].
As one Orthodox writer noted some years back: “The meaning of the weeping icons of America today is not yet evident, at least one of them is still weeping after five years. What is certain is that these tears of the Mother of God speak directly to the heart of every Orthodox believer, calling all to repentance, amendment of life and return to faith and tradition in their fullness.”
Speculation is as yet premature. But it must be noted that the northern lights, also an historical harbinger, are firing up again in a way that to a degree is reminiscent of the aurora that Fatima seer Lucia dos Santos said was the Fatima-prophesied “great sign” announcing World War Two.
The writer of the Fronda article, Tomasz P. Terlikowski, concludes, “If indeed such phenomena occur, it is — even though the story of a journalist that similar phenomena may have occurred before the collapse of the Soviet Union may bother us and arouse suspicion — worth asking whether God does not want us in this way to warn against impending difficult times and call to repentance? Prayer can never be too many, and with the international situation, civilization is not inclined to exaggerated optimism … Hence the rosaries, prayer, and repentance! Any such event is for Christians the call to conversion of life, and a sign of things to come.”