An Orthodox Christian Understanding of Things ‘Not of This World’

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An Orthodox Christian Understanding of Things ‘Not of This World’

With the recent media attention being given to extraterrestrial sightings, what is the Orthodox teaching from a Christ-centered perspective regarding this phenomena?

“…We live near the end of this fearful age of demonic triumph and rejoicing, when the eerie ‘humanoids’ (another of the masks of the demons) have become visible to thousands of people and by their absurd encounters take possession of the souls of those men from whom God’s grace has departed.

The UFO phenomenon is a sign to Orthodox Christians to walk all the more cautiously and soberly on the path to salvation, knowing that we can be tempted and seduced not merely by false religions, but even by seemingly physical objects which just catch the eye….”

-Fr. Seraphim Rose, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, p112


Saint Anthony Being Beaten By the Demons



“…Even the secular investigators… have seen fit to warn people against their dangers. John Keel, for example, writes: ‘Dabbling with UFOs can be as dangerous as dabbling with black magic… A mild curiosity about UFOs can turn into a destructive obsession. For this reason, I strongly recommend that parents forbid their children from becoming involved. School teachers and other adults should not encourage teenagers to take an interest in this subject…’

In earlier centuries Christians were very cautious about strange and new phenomena, knowing of the devil’s wiles; but after the modern age of “enlightenment” most people have become merely curious about such things and even pursue them, relegating the devil to a half-imaginary realm. Awareness of the nature of UFOs, then, can be a help in awakening Orthodox Christians to a conscious spiritual life and a conscious Orthodox world-view that does not easily follow after the fashionable ideas of the times.

The conscious Orthodox Christian lives in a world that is clearly fallen, both the earth below and the stars above…. He knows that man is not to ‘evolve’ into something ‘higher’ nor has he any reason to believe that there are ‘higher evolved’ beings on other planets; but he knows well that there are indeed ‘artificial intelligences’ in the universe besides himself; these are two kinds, and he strives to live so as to dwell with those who serve God (the angels) and avoid contact with the others who have rejected God and strive in their envy and malice to draw man into their misfortune (the demons).
He knows that man is inclined to follow error and believe in ‘fairy tales’ that promise a ‘higher state’ or ‘higher beings’ without the struggle of Christian life  – in fact precisely as an escape from Christian life. He distrusts his own ability to get through the deception of the demons and therefore clings all the more firmly to the Scriptural and Patristic guidelines which the Church of Christ provides for his life.

Such a one has the possibility to resist the religion of the future, the religion of the antichrist, in whatever form it may present itself; the rest of mankind, save by a miracle of God, is lost…. 

Excerpted from Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, by Fr. Seraphim Rose, pp112-114

Read everything he wrote in the book about UFOs from Science and Religion (read all the links displayed underneath Signs from Heaven)


“A brother came to an Elder and said:’Father, what am I to do, for I am seized by fear at night?’
The elder replied:
The inhabitants of a city fear invasions of barbarians, if they have not secured the help of the king. As soon as they learn, however, that a duke or army commander has arrived in their city, they fear no more for their safety, knowing that these others are taking care of them. Even if they hear that the barbarians are invading, they are not anxious, for they have protectors warring on their behalf.
As for us, then, if we believe in God, we do not fear the demons; for God sends us His help and scatters all of our enemies.’Quote from the Gerontikon, excerpted from The Evergetinos: Book IV, p247

Middle School:

“…What, then, if they are not advanced beings from other planets, are these alien abductors? Ultimately, one cannot escape the conclusion that they are demons or phantoms created by demonic power.

In the first place, they look like demons. They appear to be material creatures, and yet have a transparent character. According to the teachings of the Church, demons are spiritual beings; that is, they are fallen Angels. But because they are corrupt and degenerate, they thrive on the human passions—feed on them….

In the second place, in the course of their physical examination of abductees, the aliens inflict pain on their victims and frequently scar them.In spiritual literature, and especially in the lives of the Saints, we repeatedly read of physical attacks against Christian believers by demonic spirits. If these aliens are not demons, how is it that beings so advanced that they can achieve space travel cannot prevent pain and scarring during routine physical examinations? It is not pain which the aliens cannot control, but their demonic passion for inflicting the same on mankind.

Moreover, at least initially, abductees experience terror and fright in the presence of their alien abductors; only later, after having been reluctantly won over by the aliens, do they feel secure in the presence of their abductors. This is a classical demonic machination. Demons inevitably strive, in a methodical way, to overcome the initial and natural repulsion that human beings feel in their presence, gaining the confidence of those whom they seek to mislead

Finally, the spiritual effects of abductees’ contacts with aliens, as we have pointed out, are anti-ChristianAbductees are drawn away from the universal teachings of Orthodox Christianity and towards the demonic delusion that underlies modern New Age philosophies

Human transformation ceases, for these victims of alien visitation,to be a God-oriented, grace-mediated process, but becomes part of a personality-dissolving return to the “elemental” universals upon which the pagan notion of Paradise is predicated….”

Excerpted from Alien Abductions and the Orthodox Christian

Listen to this chapter from Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future by Fr. Seraphim Rose, pp70-108 An Orthodox Christian Understanding of UFOs or read everything he wrote in the chapter about UFOs from Science and Religion(read all the links displayed underneath Signs from Heaven)

Read about Saint Marina the Great Martyr and Vanquisher of Demons

High School:

“…The most puzzling aspect of UFO phenomena to most researchers – namely the strange mingling of physical and psychic characteristics in them – is no puzzle at all to readers of Orthodox spiritual books, especially the Lives of Saints. Demons also have “physical bodies,” although the “matter” in them is of such subtlety that it cannot be perceived by men unless their spiritual “doors of perception” are opened, whether with God’s will (as in the case of holy men) or against it (as in the case of sorcerers and mediums).

Orthodox literature has many examples of demonic manifestations which fit precisely the UFO pattern: apparitions of solid beings and objects (whether demons themselves or their illusionary creations) which suddenly materialize and dematerialize, always with the aim of awing and confusing people and ultimately leading them to perdition. The Lives of the 4th century St. Anthony the Great and the 3rd-century St. Cyprian the Former Sorcerer are filled with such incidents.

The Life of St. Martin of Tours (+397) by his disciple, Sulpicius Severus, has an interesting example of demonic power in connection with a strange physical manifestation which closely parallels today’s UFO “close encounters.” A certain youth named Anatolius became a monk near St. Martin’s monastery, but out of false humility he became the victim of demonic deception. He fancied that he conversed with “angels,” and in order to persuade others of his sanctity, these “angels” agreed to give him a “shining robe from out of heaven” as a sign of the “Power of God” that dwelt in the youth. One night at about midnight there was a tremendous thudding of dancing feet and a murmuring as of many voices in the hermitage, and Anatolius’ cell became ablaze with light. Then came silence, and the deceived one emerged from his cell with the “heavenly” garment. A light was brought and all carefully inspected the garment. It was exceedingly soft, with a surpassing luster, and of a brilliant scarlet, but it was impossible to tell the nature of the material. At the same time, under the most exact scrutiny of eyes and fingers it seemed to be a garment and nothing else.” The following morning, Anatolius’ spiritual father took him by the hand in order to lead him to St. Martin to discover whether this was actually a trick of the devil. In fear, the deceived one refused to go, “and when he was being forced to go against his will, between the hands of those who were dragging him the garment disappeared.” The author of the account (who either witnessed the incident himself or had it from eyewitnesses) concludes that “the devil was unable to keep up his illusions or conceal their nature when they were to be submitted to Martin’s eyes. ‘It was so fully within his power to see the devil that he recognized him under any form, whether he kept to his own character or changed himself into any of the various shapes of spiritual wickedness’ – including the forms of pagan gods and the appearance of Christ Himself, with royal robes and crown and enveloped in a bright red light.

It is clear that the manifestations of today’s “flying saucers” are quite within the “technology” of demons; indeed nothing else can explain them as wellThe multifarious demonic deceptions of Orthodox literature have been adapted to the mythology of outer space, nothing more…. And the purpose of the unidentified object in such accounts is clear: to awe the beholders with a sense of the mysterious, and to produce “proof” of higher intelligences (“angels,” if the victim believes in them, or “space visitors” for modern men), and thereby to gain trust for the message they wish to communicate…

It is a sign of the spiritual crisis of today that modern men, for all their proud “enlightenment” and “wisdom,” are becoming once more aware of such experiences – but no longer have the Christian framework with which to explain them… researchers only continue the approach of “enlightened” modern men and trust their scientific observations to give answers in a spiritual realm that cannot be approached objectively at all, but only with faith…

A true evaluation of the UFO experience may be made only on the basis of Christian revelation and experience, and is accessible only to the humble Christian believer who trusts these sources [Christian revelation and experience]. To be sure, it is not given to man entirely to explain the invisible world of angels and demons but enough Christian knowledge has been given to us to know how these beings act in our world and how we should respond to their actions, particularly in escaping the nets of the demons. UFO researchers have come to the conclusion that the phenomena they have studied are essentially identical with phenomena that used to be called “demonic”; but only the Christian – the Orthodox Christian, who is enlightened  by the Patristic understanding of Scripture and the 2000-year experience of the Saint’s encounters with invisible beings – is able to know the full meaning of this conclusion.”

Excerpted from Explanation of the UFO PhenomenaOrthodoxy and the Religion of the Future by Father Seraphim Rose, pp70-108

Read everything he wrote in the book about UFOs from this site Science and Religion(read all the links displayed underneath Signs from Heaven)

Read some encounters with the demons in the life of St. Anthony the Great and The Help against Evil Forces: the Miracles of St. Cyprian and St. Justina


A Message from Maria Spanos

I am passionate about our Orthodox Christian faith and seek to help others learn as much as they can about it. My purpose here is to share online resources that help strengthen our relationship with Christ and bind us closer to His Church. I believe they are invaluable in learning about our precious Orthodox Tradition, and are a great aid for teaching family members, friends and others about Orthodoxy. ~Maria

Two of my favorite quotes:

“A true Christian behaves in this life so that it may be a preparation for the future one and not only a life here below. In his actions, he does not think what will be said of him here but of what will be said there in heaven; he represents to himself that he is always in the presence of God, of the angels and all the saints, and remembers that someday they will bear witness of his thoughts, words, and deeds.”  — Saint John of Kronstadt


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— St. Theophan the Recluse