By Father Konstantinos Koutroubas
Christ is risen!
As we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ during this Paschal season, the Church continually reminds us to look to the Cross of Christ as a source of strength, encouragement, hope, and refreshment. If we made our journey towards Pascha with our spiritual disciplines of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving-working on overcoming our sins, our passions, and our habits of sins, we are to continue to hold onto these spiritual disciplines still, even during the Pascha season and beyond! If we found that it has been a tough journey, our Lord, both during Lent and Holy Week and even now, gave and gives the Cross as an additional yet essential and necessary spiritual weapon, as an anchor to continue to move forward.
With the Holy Cross as our spiritual weapon, I would like for us to reflect upon the significance of the Holy Cross and how we approach the evil eye.
Let us stop with the wearing of the mataki, the little eyes for warding off the evil eye. Let us stop with the horseshoes, the water and the oil, and the special bracelets for warding off the evil eye. These bracelets are not the prayer ropes. They are not the kombosxoinia.
The Cross is our spiritual weapon. Using the mataki is like using a balloon for a weapon when you have a most powerful cannonball. The demons and the devil fear the Cross. They do not fear the mati. The Ottoman Turks ripped crosses off of our Greek ancestors and other Orthodox and replaced them with the “eye,” as they used that on their livestock, sending the message that we Greeks and other Orthodox are viewed by the Turks as livestock. It therefore makes no sense from an ethnic and national perspective to be wearing the matakia, the little eyes. Your children are created in the image of God and so are you. Your children are gifts of God. Your children are not livestock. You are not livestock.
Because the evil eye does exist and there are circumstances where someone does have it, if one truly thinks he or she has it, the only way to combat the evil eye is through the clergy of the Church and the prayers offered by the clergy. Do we trust Saint Basil the Great? Saint Basil says to come to the clergy. He has a prayer for the evil eye. If we do not trust Saint Basil, then what are we celebrating on New Year’s Day? Why do we cut Vasilopitas, why do we ask Saint Basil for prayers? Why do we name our children Vasilios or Vasiliki?