We have all seen Hollywood blockbusters that gave us the spooks. Movies that have dug their way into our psyche, leaving a trail of dread that lasts for days. That gut-wrenching feeling when the main protagonist finds himself or herself in a hopeless situation only to be at the mercy of the evildoers. The movie “The Exorcist” presented a different type of scenario. It displayed a taboo topic shrouded in mysticism that has been kept in secret for over a millennium. Showing the power of the Vatican and its eternal struggle against evil forces and demons.
Specialized priests that preform a rite of exorcism in which they expel a demonic presence that torments the soul of a person. But exorcisms are not a figment of Hollywood’s creative directors and producers. It is an ancient tradition that goes back even before the birth of Christianity and affects people outside America as well.
There are currently 130 Exorcists in Poland. And all of them are working full time, under the authority of the Vatican. Why? – Because before the year 1614, witch burnings and public exorcisms were out of control. They were a regular thing to do on a Monday. After the “Official Ritual Guidelines”, all acts over demonic possessions must first be approved by the Vatican office of Exorcism. There are priests that have performed over 500 exorcisms in their lifetime, and that is only in Poland. The exorcist Nadine Wojcik, who has written a book tittled “Wo der Teufel wohnt” (Where the Devil Lives), stated:
“Roughly 130 exorcists are said to be currently living in Poland. “The devil lives where the faith is strongest, and Poland is one of the strongholds of Catholicism. The devil only comes forward if you fight against him. He therefore seems to be particularly “active” in Poland.”
The Catholic church does not hold a Monopoly over exorcisms though. There are lots of examples in Orthodox Christianity and even Slavic Pagan Rituals of exorcisms.
In Slavic mythology, there is a patron goddess that has been given authority over exorcisms. The daughters of Dažbog – The Zoryas. They are the two guardian goddesses one of which is Zorya Utrennyaya – the Morning Star and Zorya Vechernyaya – The Evening Star. The sisters keep a watchful eye over the hellhound, Simargl, who is chained to the star Polaris of the Ursa Minor constellation. Exorcisms were guided by The Morning Star and sacrifices were made in her honor. The breaking of dawn was a sure sign of victory over the demons.
In Croatia there is an Orthodox Priest that is sought after everyone and has gained the reputation of “Expert Exorcist”. Father Petar Jovanovic of the Zadar Serb Orthodox Church of St. Ilija uses a technique that involves 1 kilo of salt and prayers in his exorcism rite. One of Popovic’s colleagues, Monsignor Milivoj Bolobanic, said that:
“Since the Zadar Episcopal Church does not have an official exorcist, Popovic is called in for special situations.”
It should be noted that Monsignor Milivoj Bolobanic has also written a book called How to Recognize the Signs of the Evil” – which is a book that points out first encounters with demonic possessions and how to deal with them. In 2008 Zagreb’s archbishopric got its first, Vatican appointed Exorcist but his identity is kept secret by Zagreb’s Archbishop Cardinal Josip Bozanic – Vecernji List reports.
In Russia in 1995, a Nun by the name Cornelia, who has witnessed countless exorcisms, explains why the demons latch themselves to us and how. She says that fate shares the same essence as willpower. The will to love, to eat, succeed and the will to live. The entity can grab hold and poison everything, in a spiritual sense, and cause you to express behavior that is not in accordance with your nature. She saw women speaking in male voices, people shaking violently, shrieks of fear and even suicides by digging the skin with human nails and puncturing the throat causing massive internal bleeding. She says that the demon does not discriminate and can take whomever it pleases.
The most common questions the Nun has been asked regarding exorcisms are why does this happen to them and why the Children?
“Their parents had brought this catastrophe upon them by their own unwholesome lives. This may sound strange and unfair, but we all acknowledge that a mother who smokes puts smoke into her child’s lungs, and a mother who drinks nurses her child with alcohol. When a father curses, he puts curse words into his child’s vocabulary. So, is it really so surprising that parents who immerse themselves in the forces of darkness bring those forces down upon their children?”