False Vision of the Mandylion

Lives of Athonite ascetics. Elder Fr. Nicodemus, a Greek († 1867).

Once his cell was covered with snow so that he could not leave it. To such a misfortune, he run out of his supply of dried bread, and he was left without food for a long time, so he became extremely exhausted because of hunger. At that time, a demon appeared to him in the glow of light, sitting on the throne, in the form of the Holy Trinity and said: ‘I am the holy trinity, bow to me, receive grace and eat!’ At this time the elder was shown tables with various food, the smell of which greatly wounded the smell of the starving man. The elder fell down and begged God not to let him be mocked by the enemy. He was praying in such a way for a long time, and God took pity on the elder and chased away the demon. It was only then that the elder stood up when the smell of food disappeared.

By instructing the disciple Nilus about noetic prayer, the Elder taught him: as much as it is possible work on it  relentlessly and not believe any vision or dream; even if  Christ himself came, do not believe and say: ‘I do not want to see Christ in this life here and now, but I pray to see him in the future life, With sadness, his disciple was telling us: ‘There is no such elder left nowadays. Not long ago, after his death, I was preparing for the Holy Communion and I was saying my prayers with my eyes closed. Suddenly I had this fantasy that I have been a hardworking monk for so long and I didn't see any vision! And then, at one moment, the ‘Mandylion’ appeared before the eyes. Opened eyes and saw the same; before me in the great light there was the icon of the Savior. According to the instructions of the elder, I realized that it was from the devil, closed my eyes and continued to pray, and the demon disappeared!

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