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No one should despair ever, even if he has
committed many sins, but should have
hope that through repentance,
he shall be saved.

1. There once lived in the city, it was said, a young man who committed many and frightful sins. However, this young man was piercingly censured by his conscience,
on account of his manifold sins, and, with the help of God, came to repentance. Under the power of repentance, he went to a cemetery, where he established
himself in one of the tombs and lamented for his former life, falling down with his face to the earth and continually groaning from the depths of his heart.

When he had passed a week in this state of unrelenting and persistent repentance, demons, who had before brought his life to destruction, gathered around one night making noise and shouting: “Who is this impious man, who used to pass his time in lustful things and immorality and now wants us to think that he is sober and a doer of good deeds? And he wants to be a Christian and become virtuous, now that he can no
longer have fun and fulfill his pleasures? What good can he expect in his life, since he is filled with many evils?
“Hey you! Will you not get up from there at all? Will you not come with us to your customary places of sin and depravity? Fallen women and wine await you; will you not come to indulge your desires? After all the sins that you have committed up to this day, all hope for salvation is lost to you, and therefore, o struggler, you will only march on full-speed to your damnation if you continue killing yourself this way. Why are you so
intent and in such a hurry to be damned? Whatever transgression that there is, you committed it; together with us, you fell to every sin. Yet now you dare to flee
our company? Do you not agree? Will you not go along with our offers?”

Meanwhile, however, the young man persisted in the sorrow of repentance and, appearing not to hear the exhortations of the demons, did not answer them at
all. So the demons, seeing that they had accomplished nothing with their words, fell upon him, beat him cruelly, and, when they had wounded him all over, left him half-dead. But still the youth remained immovable in his place, groaning, and steadfast in his obdurate repentance. During this time, the young man’s relatives sought
him out, finally finding him. Having learned the reason for his appearance -that is, of the brazen attack of the demons, they tried to take him with them to their home. He, however, refused to abandon the place of his repentance.

The following night, the demons again attacked him and tormented him even more greatly. His relatives visited rum for a second time, though without persuading him to leave his place of punishment and follow them. To their proposals on the matter, he answered patiently and with resignation: “Do not pressure me. I prefer to die than to return to my former prodigal life.”

The third night he almost died from the cruel torments of the demons, who attacked him with greater severity than all of the other times. After that, the demons, having accomplished nothing with their threats and torments -for the young
man would not change his mind at any scare tactic, departed and left him alone.
Fleeing from him, they cried madly: “He conquered us! He conquered us! He conquered
us!”

From that time on, nothing bad happened to the youth; rather, with a clean conscience he cam.e to realize every virtue. Until the end of his life, he remained in the tomb, which he made his hermitage, coming to be honored by God with the gifts of miraculous doings.

From the Evergetinos, book one

Hands at prayer

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