January 31, 2022

The Magical Conception of Faith and Religiosity in Orthodoxy

By Archimandrite Amphilochios Miltos,
Parish Priest of the Church of the Evangelistria in Nea Ionia

For many years a magical conception of faith and religiosity has been cultivated, in combination with the ever-existing tendency in man towards superstition. Belief is based on unexplained supernatural events that cannot be disputed and is consumed in their acceptance. We have unknowingly taught the faithful that it is enough for them to venerate a miraculous icon, regardless of whether they obey God's commandments. People come and ask us for holy water, holy oil, to read a prayer against the evil eye, or an exorcism prayer to exorcise evil, and we do not often explain to them that these go hand in hand with other things. It seems as if we have not passed on to people the lesson of the second temptation in the Gospel of Matthew: "You shall not tempt the Lord your God." What role does the New Testament play in our pastoral care? How much does the Bible permeate people's religiosity? If we want to be honest with ourselves, magical religiosity is easier for both the believers and us, more profitable for us and more attractive for them.
Source: From a lecture titled "Pastoral Care in the Time of the Pandemic". Translation by John Sanidopoulos.