The spiritual medicine of music

GODLY sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (from today’s reading).

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Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite

Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite

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In his book “Wounded by Love”, Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite gave some practical advice about depression.

SOMETHING which can help a person who is depressed is work, interest in life.

The garden, plants, flowers, trees, the countryside, a walk in the open air – all these things tear a person away from a state of inactivity and awake other interests.  They act like medicines.

To occupy oneself with the arts, with music and so on, is very beneficial.

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Chopin Études Op. 10 No. 3, “La Tristesse”. Played by Valentina Lisitsa.

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The thing that I place top of the list, however, is interest in the Church, in reading Holy Scripture and attending services.  As you study the words of God you are cured without being aware of it.

Let me tell you about a girl who came to me.

She was suffering from dreadful depression.  Drugs had no effect.  She had given up everything – her work, her home, her interests.

I told her about the love of Christ which takes the soul captive because the grace of God fills the soul and changes it.

I explained to her that the force which takes over the soul and transforms the power of the soul into depression is demonic.  It throws the soul to the ground, torments it and renders it useless.

I advised her to devote herself to things like music which she had formerly enjoyed.

I emphasized, however, most of all her need to turn to Christ with love.

I told her, moreover, that in our Church a cure is to be found through love for God and prayer, provided this is done with all the heart.

Part of an extract from Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios, trans. by John Raffan (Limni, Evia, Greece: Denise Harvey, 2005), 178-179, at Orthodox Healing.

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Chopin Études Op. 25 No. 9, “Butterfly”. Played by Valentina Lisitsa.

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