Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dreams according to the Orthodox Church

Since the beginning of time, many have tried to interpret dreams, trying to understand their deeper meaning. Many claim that the Gods (in the ancient world), or the Christian God, wish to inform man of a truth and maybe prophesise the future. However, certain Church Fathers have explained the dreams, according to the Orthodox Faith. We have many instances found within the Holy Scriptures which describe how God spoke to many people via dreams. It is also interesting to identify that countless books exist that explain the symbolisms of the dreams.

John Climacus has spoken about this issue. He claims that:
“Devils often transform themselves into angels of light and take the form of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are in communication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us into unholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact. For angels reveal torments, judgements and separations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soon as we begin to believe the devils in dreams, then they make sport of us when we are awake, too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. But he who distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that foretell torments and judgement for you. But it despair afflicts you, then such dreams are also from devils”.
On the other hand, Elder Ieronymos of Aegina explains:
“It is better for us not to believe in dreams at all, because many have gone astray on their account. There are three kinds of dreams: those from God, those from our thoughts, and those from the enemy. If they are from God and we don’t believe them, God does not take offense, because we don’t believe them out of fear, lest we be led into deception. If I should come in the night and knock on your door, and you don’t open to me because you do not recognize my voice, I am not offended. So it is with God, He is not angry when out of fear of God we don’t believe dreams. Wine and vinegar have the same appearance. From the taste you understand the difference. If the dreams are from God, they bring calm; if they are from the enemy, they bring turmoil. Beware of deceptions. Better to protect ourselves and not believe anything outside of what our Church teaches”.
Every Christian, therefore, needs to be careful of dreams. Interpretation is crucial and a further understanding of its origin is imperative, if we wish to live a Christian life.

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