16 August 2015
A Case of Diabolic Deception
from the Life of St. Martin of Tours
Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church November p. 463
A Case of Diabolic Deception
There was a certain man, Clarus by name, a most noble youth, who afterwards became a presbyter, and who is now, through his happy departure from this world, numbered among the saints. He, leaving all others, betook himself to Martin, and in a short time became distinguished for the most exalted faith, and for all sorts of excellence. Now, it came to pass that, when he had erected an abode for himself not far from the monastery of the bishop. Many brethren were staying with him, including a certain youth, Anatolius by name, who had, under the profession of a monk, falsely assumed every appearance of humility and innocence. Then, as time went on, Anatolius began to affirm that angels were in the habit of talking with him. As no one gave any credit to his words, he urged a number of the brethren to believe by certain signs. By and by he went to such a length as to declare that angels passed between him and God; and now he wished that he should be regarded as one of the prophets.
Clarus, however, could by no means be induced to believe. Anatolius then began to threaten Clarus with the anger of God's afflictions, because he did not believe one of the saints. Antolus declared, "I am the power of God. Behold, the Lord will this night give me a white robe out of heaven, clothed in which I will dwell in the midst of you." Then truly the expectation of all was highly raised by this profession.
Accordingly, about the middle of the night, it was seen, by the noise of people moving eagerly about, that the whole monastery in the place was excited. It might be seen, too, that the cell in which the young Anatolius lived was glittering with numerous lights; and the whisperings of those moving about in it, as well as a kind of murmur of many voices, could be heard. Then, when it fell quiet, Anatolius went to one of the brethren, Sabatius, and showed him the robe in which he had been clothed. The brethren and Clarus himself then gathered around, and they all carefully inspected the garment. Now, it was of the utmost softness, of marvellous brightness, and of glittering purple (not white as he earlier declared); and yet no one could discover what was its nature, or of what sort of fleece it had been formed. However, when it was more minutely examined by the eyes or fingers, it seemed nothing else than a garment.
In the meantime, Clarus urged the brethren to be earnest in prayer, that the Lord would show them more clearly what was the reality of it. Accordingly, the rest of the night was spent in singing hymns and psalms. But when day broke, Clarus wished to take the young man by the hand, and bring him to Martin, being well aware that he could not be deceived by any arts of the devil. Then, indeed, the miserable Anatolius began to resist and refuse, and affirmed that he had been forbidden to show himself to Martin. When they compelled him to go against his will, the garment vanished from among the hands of those who were conducting him. Therefore, who can doubt that this, too, was an illustration of the power of Martin, so that the devil could no longer dissemble or conceal his own deception, when it was to be submitted to the eyes of Martin?
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