Question from a reader of Foma Magazine:
At my neighborhood there is an old lady who treats children (hernia, fright, hiccups, joints, sore throat and constipation), and she reads Orthodox prayers during the treatment. People are certainly grateful and pay her; she saves a little money from each treatment and gives it to the local church and writes commemorations for the health of the children. She's almost 90 and she doesn't always go to church herself. We had a new priest, and the new priest did not take the money, would not read the commemorations and said that the old lady should give up her healing, and if she wouldn't give up, she shouldn't go to church. The old lady got very upset. She really helps the children. Is our priest right, and what should she do?
Answer of Protopriest Peter Guryanov:
Hello Olga, In order to answer your question, I need to know what prayers the old lady recites. Your priest is partially right! The Orthodox Church has a very negative attitude toward spells, considering them to be a form of magic, which is always soul-destroying, even if it is white. They cure with the help of the devil, and cripple the soul. Herbalists, healers, and other psychics are all servants of the devil.
Let me repeat: the Church has a negative attitude towards witch doctresses, wisewomen, old ladies who heal with prayers, because they heal with the help of the devil, and prayers, icons, etc. they use as a disguise to deceive people, especially Orthodox Christians. Such healers have nothing in common with the Church and Orthodoxy, it's a trap! Hernia, fright, hiccups, joints, sore throat and constipation should be treated by a qualified doctor!