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Do Not Confuse Miracles with Magic


You should not confuse miracles as a mystical experience when living in Christ with magic, which is found in fairy tales and other fiction.
An interview with Metroplitan Antonii (Pakanich) on the day of commemoration of Saint Panteleimon


You can often come across magicians and healers in today’s fantasy. In such fictional world, miracles are expected from magicians instead of heroes. One can say that fairy tales reflect our reality, and when it comes to commemorating saints, people often venerate saints who were healers. Why does this occur in movies and in real life?
I would try to avoid making such comparisons. First of allб the image of Christian sainthood, which reflects humility until the very death on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, has nothing in common with certain grotesque characters that we come across in today’s fantasy genre. Such books often revolve around sinful feelingы of pride, self-loathing and a power hungry drive. Sadly, present day literature from this genre often has an unclear understanding of good and evil, and often lacks a moral sense in many other categories. On the other hand, in the literature works of so-called “high fantasy” of Tolkien, or Lewis we can find Christian themes, imagery and symbolism and a clear understanding of good and evil. Today however, this genre promotes entirely different ideas and concepts.
Secondly, we should not confuse miracles as a mystical expertise in Christ with some sort of magic, which is abundant in fairy tales and fantasy novels. A good example comes from the Gospel, where Christ never made any miracles for self glorification, such miracles where not a one sided mechanical act of God in relation to people. Instead the Lord asks people about their faith and the faith of their relatives before every miracle, which then occurs as a result a mysterious synergy between God’s might and the faith of a person. This is why it is also stated in the Gospel that there were places where Christ did not perform any miracles near and around his hometown because people knew him from an early age and were unable to see that He was the Messiah. Which is why we read the following words in the Gospel: "So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:57-58)
From ancient times, Saint Panteliemon was considered to per the patron saint of doctors. He must have has quite an impact on his contemporaries since he remained in their eternal memory and a unique healer. What is known about the miracles that Great Martyr Panteleimon performed in his lifetime?
The service of Saint Panteleimon to the Lord began with a miraculous sign. According to his life story, Pantoleon became a Christian when he resurrected a child who died from a snakebite after praying Jesus Christ. Alter such a great miracle he was baptized by Priest Ermolai with the name of Panteleimon. He then became an unmercenary doctor, which left other doctors without an income. This leaf tot complaints that went all the was to Emperor Maximian, who detested the fact that Panteleimon visited imprisoned Christians and healed them with the name of Christ. The saint offered the emperor to bring forth a man with an incurable disease and see who could heal the man. According to the life story of the saint, the pagan priest were unable to heal the terminally ill man, while Panteliemon was able to fully heal the man with the power of prayer. This angered the emperor who ordered to torture the saint and then throw him into the sea.
Yet, Panteleimon remained unharmed which lead to more tortures. He was hung on a tree, burned with candles, his flesh was torn with metal claws, he underwent torture on a wheel, and attempts were made to drown him in the sea. Wild animals to whom he was thrown ended up licking his feet. After various tortures he was sentenced to be beheaded. He was tied to an olive tree and the saint asked personally the soldiers to execute the order. When he was beheaded, milk began to flow from his wounds instead of blood and the tree instantly bore fruit. His body was thrown unto a fire but did not burn and was later buried by pious Christians. The head of the great martyr and healer Panteleimon remains in the Monastery in his name on Mount Athos a great and holy Orthodox relic.
Are you personally aware of any modern day miracles associated with the saint?
There are so many miracles associated with the saint that there was even a book published about his miracles, which included many first hand stories and descriptions from eyewitness during different time periods. I remember with the head of St. Panteleimon was brought to Kiev in 2012. Many people came out to venerate this holy relic and the local media wrote about miracles that occurred near the relics of the saint. This is another example of how the Lord strengthens us through His saints. "O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places." (Psalm 67:35)
Being a doctor and a priest has certain similarities. A doctor tries to understand why the body hurts, a priest - why the soul is hurting. In both cases, a person entrusts their life to be healed. Do you feel this responsibility?
Without a doubt. As Saint John Chrysostom said: “A good sheppard doesn’t only drive away the wolves, but with great diligence takes care of the sick sheep, because what would be the benefit if they avoid the wolf but are still killed by disease?” The calling to priesthood is so great that even the St. John reminds us that a good and pious priest will be sent to hell for the sins of his flock. In other words this ministry is intended for those who are able to turn away from ones self to help others. This is why the responsibility of a priest is so great. It is also quite clear that this service would not be possible for any human being if not for the help of our Lord, who takes upon himself our weaknesses with his love for mankind and an abundance of grace. It is God who heals and saves us, while we are simply instruments in his hands. And our responsibility is to correspond to that high calling which the Lord has placed upon us.


Translated from: http://pravlife.org/content/ne-stoit-putat-chudo-s-volshebstvom

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