Does an Orthodox Christian Need to Be Afraid of the Evil Eye?

Question: Father, I’ve been hexed, what should I do?

Answer: Unfortunately, Orthodox people often turn to a priest with terror in their eyes and with anxiety and confusion in their hearts; sometimes they are so terrified that they shiver all over. They all ask the same question, “Father, I have been jinxed (someone has cast a spell on me), what should I do?”

With regard to that, there is a joke I like very much. Apparently, it belongs to Father Alexander Avdyugin, “If you have been hexed or jinxed, you don’t have to pray. You do not believe in God anyway.”

I don’t think there is a better way to put it. Why? Let’s run a mental experiment.

Let’s assume that a person was indeed subjected to some kind of sorcery or witchcraft or other ritual magic manipulations, which caused bad luck or damage.

Let’s also assume that the person in question frequently goes to church, confesses, takes communion, prays regularly, drinks holy water, eats prosphoras, wears a cross, i. e., he is vested in Christ really, actually, spiritually, and Christ abides with him.

Suddenly, he finds out that someone has screwed him up with magic. He starts panicking, freaking out, fearing, etc. Why? Because he betrays Christ at that very moment. In effect, he denies God. Why is that so? Internally, the person programs himself to think that Satan is stronger than God. Otherwise, his heart wouldn’t be stirred by fear and horror. He could have thought, “I am an Orthodox Christian. I partake of the Body and Blood of Christ regularly. I confess on a regular basis, wear a cross, and make the sign of the cross. What could possibly happen to me? Nothing. After all, God is all-powerful and almighty. The devil is like a microbe or a cockroach in comparison with God. He is a creature like me, but a creature that has already been condemned to eternal damnation. Well, let all this just evade me. Maybe I should read another Kathisma or make prostrations with the Prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian.” That’s all it takes for such a person to forget the unwanted and harmful information. If anything ever happens or if that person is still afraid, let him confess. That is it. There he goes further up the ladder of perfection.

Meanwhile, a superstitious person, i. e., the one who believes in vanity, futility and meaninglessness, will betray God and respect the devil at this stage of processing the received information about the evil eye. He will act as if the devil were strong, and therefore magic (the evil eye) is effective. In doing so, he falls into the grip of the horned one. Next comes unease, panic, horror, and anxiety. In some cases it may even lead to a mental disorder.

Why? It happens because he pulled out his child’s hand from the right hand of God and went astray as a prodigal son, got enslaved by the devil and was happy to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating. That is a terrible and ridiculous paradox. Such a person throws away his own holy image and the likeness of God, tramples it into the dirt, and becomes like a frog hypnotized by a snake, which croaks and then jumps into the snake’s mouth.

This is what our Lord Jesus Christ tells us, “According to your faith be it unto you.” (Matthew 9:29). The apostles say the same. For example, Saint James, the Lord’s brother, said, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8).

The Holy Fathers are of the same opinion.

St. Macarius of Optina, “For a true Christian, there is no danger of being jinxed or hexed, because God has not given power to witches and sorcerers.”

We must be steadfast in all our ways. We are soldiers of Christ. We have put on Christ in the Holy Sacrament of Baptism. We received a shield against all evil and continue to do so every time we receive communion. The grace of the Holy Spirit in the Church continues to come upon us as if it were an endless Pentecost. Brothers and sisters, let us not withdraw from this sacred height to which the Savior Himself raised us by His Redemption. Do not return to the swamp of diabolical passions.

Most importantly, let us not betray God in ourselves. He holds us close to his heart like precious jewels; He carries us in His arms like sick and capricious children.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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  1. Do you know what’s really odd? I’ve gone to Greek Orthodox churches where they actually sell the evil eye medallions in their parish bookstore or at the Greek festivals! I found that rather shocking. But I was told since it’s such a strong part of the culture, that it was ok for economia, but your article seems to contradict that. As I go to a Slavic church, we don’t see that sort of thing much. Not that Russians don’t have their own brand of superstitions or pre-Christian belief systems. Every culture does, I suppose.

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