How To Perform An Exorcism

0 Conversations

We've all experienced it at some point in our lives. Having tea with a favourite Aunt and suddenly you start blithering away in a foreign language which you have no prior knowledge of. While passing the scones, you are gripped with a superhuman strength that suddenly crushes the plate to dust. You become aware of the forthcoming lottery results and start chanting them in the aforesaid foreign language while systematically destroying every religious icon in the parlour due to some irrational, but deeply felt impetus. All this is not uncommon in polite society, although advising said Aunt of the sexual proclivities of her deceased mother is somewhat frowned upon.

As we all know, these are the physical manifestations of demonic possession. But, other than vomiting  green soup in the face of the Vicar, what should one do in such a situation?

What To Do In The Face Of Demonic Possession

The first thing is, don't panic, expert help is at hand. If you have access to the Internet, a search engine will reveal a number of practitioners of exorcisms rather conveniently called exorcists. Failing this, call your local church and ask to speak to the exorcist there. Every Church of England parish has a resident exorcist on call 24/7 eagerly awaiting your call. (The Roman Catholic Church has only around 300 trained exorcists worldwide). However, all priests have access to a document called the Rites of Exorcism; a handy, step-by-step guide to practical exorcisms.

The Assessment

Let us assume that you are of the Catholic persuasion. Having called your local Priest, he will visit you to perform an initial assessment. He may be accompanied by a psychiatrist, who will assess if your sudden ability to swat trucks with a flick of the wrist is the product of a mental illness. The Priest may demonstrate some knowledge of dead foreign languages of his own which matches your new abilities. Again, don't panic. The Catholic Church encourages priests to learn Latin.

Once the priest and the psychiatrist have been satisfied that Beelzebub's minions have indeed taken residence within your body, the priest will then make a report to his line manager, the Diocese Bishop. Only about one in five requests for exorcism make it past this stage. It may well be the case that the Bishop decides to visit you himself. Address him throughout the performance as 'My Lord'. Assuming you have managed to impress the Bishop with your new-found talents, he will appoint an official exorcist to perform the ceremony.

An Exorcist Comes To Call

In 1999, the Vatican issued a revised rite of exorcism in a fit of modernising zeal. The new section of the Rituale Romanum replaced the previous version, which dated back to 1614. The exorcising Priest will probably bone up on this before visiting you. He will be wearing his surplice and purple stole. What follows are the chants he will say during the ceremony. Please note that you will be expected to make the correct response at the sections marked 'ALL', which usually follow the Priests line (marked 'P' for brevity). If the nature of your possession might make it difficult to take part in this, it is perfectly acceptable to phone a friend to speak for you. It helps if there are a few people present to hold you down if you get excitable or to stand by with mop and bucket should this be necessary. Quite often, the Priest will be accompanied by the same type of people who turn up at weddings and funerals unannounced. They can also join in the responses.

The Ceremony Begins

P: Lord, have mercy. All: Lord, have mercy.

P: Christ, have mercy. All: Christ, have mercy.

P: Lord, have mercy. All: Lord, have mercy.

P: Christ, hear us. All: Christ, graciously hear us.

P: God, the Father in Heaven. All: Have mercy on us.

P: God, the Son, Redeemer of the world. All: Have mercy on us.

P: God, the Holy Spirit. All: Have mercy on us.

P: Holy Trinity, one God. All: Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us,* * After each invocation: 'Pray for us.'

Holy Mother of God,

Holy Virgin of virgins,

All holy angels and archangels,

Archangel Michael,

Archangel Gabriel,

Archangel Raphael,

All holy orders of blessed spirits,

St John the Baptist,

St Joseph,

All holy patriarchs and prophets,

St Peter,

St Paul,

St Andrew,

St James,

St John,

St Thomas,

St James,

St Philip,

St Bartholomew,

St Matthew,

St Simon,

St Thaddeus,

St Matthias,

St Barnabas,

St Luke,

St Mark,

All holy apostles and evangelists,

All holy disciples of the Lord,

All holy Innocents,

St Stephen,

St Lawrence,

St Vincent,

SS Fabian and Sebastian,

SS John and Paul,

SS Cosmas and Damian,

SS Gervase and Protase,

All holy martyrs,

St Sylvester,

St Gregory,

St Ambrose,

St Augustine,

St Jerome,

St Martin,

St Nicholas,

All holy bishops and confessors,

All holy doctors,

St Anthony,

St Benedict,

St Bernard,

St Dominic,

St Francis,

All holy priests and levites,

All holy monks and hermits,

St Mary Magdalen,

St Agatha,

St Lucy,

St Agnes,

St Cecilia, It is very important not to break into song after this one. The Priest might think you are not taking him seriously.
St Catherine,

St Anastasia,

All holy virgins and widows,

P: All holy saints of God, All: Intercede for us.

P: Be merciful, All: Spare us, O Lord.

P: Be merciful, All: Graciously hear us, O Lord.

That's The Saints Accounted For

From all evil, deliver us, O Lord.* * After each invocation: 'Deliver us, O Lord.'

From all sin,

From your wrath,

From sudden and unprovided death,

From the snares of the devil,

From anger, hatred, and all ill will,

From all lewdness,

From lightning and tempest,

From the scourge of earthquakes,

From plague, famine, and war,

From everlasting death,

By the mystery of your holy incarnation,

By your coming,

By your birth,

By your baptism and holy fasting,

By your cross and passion,

By your death and burial,

By your holy resurrection,

By your wondrous ascension,

By the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate,

On the day of judgment.

P: We sinners:

All: We beg you to hear us.* * After each invocation: 'We beg you to hear us'.

That you spare us,

That you pardon us,

That you bring us to true penance,

That you govern and preserve your holy Church,

That you preserve our Holy Father and all ranks in the Church in holy religion,

That you humble the enemies of holy Church,

That you give peace and true concord to all Christian rulers.

That you give peace and unity to the whole Christian world,

That you restore to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth, and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,

That you confirm and preserve us in your holy service,

That you lift up our minds to heavenly desires,

That you grant everlasting blessings to all our benefactors,

That you deliver our souls and the souls of our brethren, relatives, and benefactors from everlasting damnation,

That you give and preserve the fruits of the Earth,

That you grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,

That you graciously hear us,

Son of God,

At the end of the litany he (the priest) adds the following:

P: Antiphon: Do not keep in mind, O Lord, our offenses or those of our parents, nor take vengeance on our sins.

P: Our Father

Who art in Heaven,

Hallowed be thy name;

Thy kingdom come;

Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us;

And lead us not into temptation,

All: But deliver us from evil.

And There's More

P: God, by your name save me, and by Your might defend my cause.

All: God, hear my prayer; hearken to the words of my mouth.

P: For haughty men have risen up against me, and fierce men seek my life; they set not God before their eyes.

All: See, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.

P: Turn back the evil upon my foes; in your faithfulness destroy them.

All: Freely will I offer you sacrifice; I will praise your name, Lord, for its goodness.

P: Because from all distress You have rescued me, and my eyes look down upon my enemies.

All: Glory be to the Father.

P: As it was in the beginning.

After the psalm the priest continues:

P: Save your servant.

All: Who trusts in You, my God.

P: Let him (her) find in You, Lord, a fortified tower.

All: In the face of the enemy.

P: Let the enemy have no power over him (her).

All: And the son of iniquity be powerless to harm him (her).

P: Lord, send him (her) aid from Your holy place.

All: And watch over him (her) from Sion.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by You.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Prayer Break

Let us pray.

God, whose nature is ever merciful and forgiving, accept our prayer that this servant of yours, bound by the fetters of sin, may be pardoned by your loving kindness.

Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who once and for all consigned that fallen and apostate tyrant to the flames of Hell, who sent your only-begotten Son into the world to crush that roaring lion; hasten to our call for help and snatch from ruination and from the clutches of the noonday devil this human being made in your image and likeness.

Strike terror, Lord, into the beast now laying waste your vineyard. Fill your servants with courage to fight manfully against that reprobate dragon, lest he despise those who put their trust in you, and say with Pharaoh of old: 'I know not God, nor will I set Israel free'.

Let Your mighty hand cast him out of Your servant, (insert the name of the person), so he may no longer hold captive this person whom it pleased You to make in Your image, and to redeem through Your Son; who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Then he commands the demon as follows:

I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are, along with all your minions now attacking this servant of God, by the mysteries of the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the descent of the Holy Spirit, by the coming of our Lord for judgment, that you tell me by some sign your name, and the day and hour of your departure. I command you, moreover, to obey me to the letter, I who am a minister of God despite my unworthiness; nor shall you be emboldened to harm in any way this creature of God, or the bystanders, or any of their possessions.

The priest lays his hand on the head of the sick person, saying:

They shall lay their hands upon the sick and all will be well with them. May Jesus, Son of Mary, Lord and Savior of the world, through the merits and intercession of His holy apostles Peter and Paul and all His saints, show you favour and mercy.

All: Amen.

Next he reads over the possessed person these selections from the Gospel, or at least one of them.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

P: The beginning of the Holy Gospel according to St John.

All: Glory be to you, O Lord.

At this point, the Priest will read a bit from The Bible. Usually he will bring his own, but it may be an idea to keep one on hand should he forget. He will probably read a bit from the John chapter, but exorcists are known for their individuality so be prepared for anything. When he finishes, everybody relaxes and says in unison 'Thanks be to God'.


This is usually a good point to break for a nice cup of tea. The Priest will continue after tea and a brief discussion with the assembled congregation. Next he blesses the sick person, saying:

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come upon you and remain with you forever.

All: Amen.

Then he sprinkles the person with holy water.

The priest will now read some more Bible excerpts, usually from the Gospels and then there will be another prayer:

Almighty Lord, Word of God the Father, Jesus Christ, God and Lord of all creation; Who gave to Your holy apostles the power to tramp underfoot serpents and scorpions; who along with the other mandates to work miracles was pleased to grant them the authority to say: 'Depart, you devils!' and by whose might Satan was made to fall from heaven-like lightning; I humbly call on Your holy name in fear and trembling, asking that You grant me, Your unworthy servant, pardon for all my sins, steadfast faith, and the power - supported by Your mighty arm - to confront with confidence and resolution this cruel demon. I ask this through You, Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, who are coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire.

All: Amen.

Next he makes the sign of the cross over himself and the one possessed, places the end of the stole on the latter's neck, and, putting his right hand on the latter's head, he says the following in accents filled with confidence and faith:

P: See the cross of the Lord; begone, you hostile powers!

All: The stem of David, the lion of Judah's tribe has conquered.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by You.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

P: Let us pray.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I appeal to Your holy name, humbly begging Your kindness, that You graciously grant me help against this and every unclean spirit now tormenting this creature of Yours; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Now For The Actual Exorcism

All of the previous was the preamble.

However, now comes the heart of the matter – the exorcism proper.

The priest will continue:

'I cast you out, unclean spirit, along with every Satanic power of the enemy, every spectre from Hell, and all your fell companions; in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Begone and stay far from this creature of God. For it is He who commands you, He who flung you headlong from the heights of Heaven into the depths of Hell. It is He who commands you, He who once stilled the sea and the wind and the storm.

Hearken, therefore, and tremble in fear, Satan, you enemy of the faith, you foe of the human race, you begetter of death, you robber of life, you corrupter of justice, you root of all evil and vice; seducer of men, betrayer of the nations, instigator of envy, font of avarice, fomentor of discord, author of pain and sorrow. Why, then, do you stand and resist, knowing as you must that Christ the Lord brings your plans to nothing?

Fear Him, who in Isaac was offered in sacrifice, in Joseph sold into bondage, slain as the paschal lamb, crucified as man, yet triumphed over the powers of Hell. (The three signs of the cross which follow are traced on the brow of the possessed person). Begone, then, in the name of the Father, (sign of the cross) and of the Son, (sign of the cross) and of the Holy (sign of the cross) Spirit. Give place to the Holy Spirit by this sign of the holy (fourth sign of the cross, to see if you were counting) cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever'.

All: Amen.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by You.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Another Prayer Break

P: Let us pray.

'God, Creator and defender of the human race, who made man in your own image, look down in pity on this your servant, (Insert your name), now in the toils of the unclean spirit, now caught up in the fearsome threats of man's ancient enemy, sworn foe of our race, who befuddles and stupefies the human mind, throws it into terror, overwhelms it with fear and panic.

Repel, O Lord, the devil's power, break asunder his snares and traps, put the unholy tempter to flight. By the sign (cross on the brow) of Your name, let Your servant be protected in mind and body. (The three crosses which follow are traced on the breast of the possessed person). Keep watch over the innermost recesses of his (her) heart; rule over his (her) emotions; strengthen his (her) will. Let vanish from his (her) soul the temptings of the mighty adversary.

Graciously grant, O Lord, as we call on Your holy name, that the evil spirit, who hitherto terrorized over us, may himself retreat in terror and defeat, so that this servant of Yours may sincerely and steadfastly render You the service which is Your due; through Christ our Lord'.

All: Amen.

Back To Lecturing Demons

I adjure you, ancient serpent, by the judge of the living and the dead, by your Creator, by the Creator of the whole universe, by Him who has the power to consign you to Hell, to depart forthwith in fear, along with your savage minions, from this servant of God, (Insert your name), who seeks refuge in the fold of the Church. I adjure you again, (sign of the cross on the brow) not by my weakness but by the might of the Holy Spirit, to depart from this servant of God, (insert your name), whom almighty God has made in His image. Yield, therefore, yield not to my own person but to the minister of Christ.

For it is the power of Christ that compels you, who brought you low by His cross. Tremble before that mighty arm that broke asunder the dark prison walls and led souls forth to light. May the trembling that afflicts this human frame, (sign of the cross on the breast) the fear that afflicts this image (sign of the cross on the brow) of God, descend on you. Make no resistance nor delay in departing from this man (woman), for it has pleased Christ to dwell in man.

Do not think of despising my command because you know me to be a great sinner. It is God Himself who commands you; the majestic Christ who commands you. God the Father commands you; God the Son commands you; God the Holy Spirit commands you. The mystery of the cross commands you. The faith of the holy apostles Peter and Paul and of all the saints command you. The blood of the martyrs command you. The continence of the confessors command you. The devout prayers of all holy men and women command you. The saving mysteries of our Christian faith command you.

Depart, then, transgressor. Depart, seducer, full of lies and cunning, foe of virtue, persecutor of the innocent. Give place, abominable creature, give way, you monster, give way to Christ, in whom you found none of your works. For He has already stripped you of your powers and laid waste your kingdom, bound you prisoner and plundered your weapons. He has cast you forth into the outer darkness, where everlasting ruin awaits you and your abettors.

To what purpose do you insolently resist? To what purpose do you brazenly refuse? For you are guilty before almighty God, whose laws you have transgressed. You are guilty before His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, whom you presumed to tempt, whom you dared to nail to the cross. You are guilty before the whole human race, to whom you proffered by your enticements the poisoned cup of death.

Therefore, I adjure you, profligate dragon, in the name of the spotless Lamb, who has trodden down the asp and the basilisk, and overcome the lion and the dragon, to depart from this man (woman) (sign of the cross on the brow), to depart from the Church of God. Tremble and flee, as we call on the name of the Lord, before whom the denizens of Hell cower, to whom the heavenly Virtues and Powers and Dominations are subject, whom the Cherubim and Seraphim praise with unending cries as they sing: 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth'. The Word made flesh commands you; the Virgin's Son commands you; Jesus of Nazareth commands you, who once, when you despised His disciples, forced you to flee in shameful defeat from a man; and when He had cast you out you did not even dare, except by His leave, to enter into a herd of swine.

And now as I adjure you in His name, begone from this man (woman) who is His creature. It is futile to resist His Will. It is hard for you to kick against the goad. The longer you delay, the heavier your punishment shall be; for it is not men you are condemning, but rather Him who rules the living and the dead, who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire.

All: Amen.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by You.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with You.

Prayer Break Again

P: Let us pray.

God of Heaven and Earth, God of the angels and archangels, God of the prophets and apostles, God of the martyrs and virgins, God who have power to bestow life after death and rest after toil; for there is no other God than You, nor can there be another true God beside You, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who are truly a King, whose kingdom is without end; I humbly entreat Your glorious majesty to deliver this servant of Yours from the unclean spirits; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Therefore, I adjure you every unclean spirit, every spectre from Hell, every satanic power, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was led into the desert after His baptism by John to vanquish you in your citadel, to cease your assaults against the creature whom He has formed from the slime of the Earth for His own honour and glory; to quail before wretched man, seeing in him the image of almighty God, rather than his state of human frailty.

Yield then to God, who by His servant, Moses, cast you and your malice, in the person of Pharaoh and his army, into the depths of the sea. Yield to God, who, by the singing of holy canticles on the part of David, His faithful servant, banished you from the heart of King Saul. Yield to God, who condemned you in the person of Judas Iscariot, the traitor. For He now flails you with His divine scourges, He in whose sight you and your legions once cried out: 'What have we to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Have You come to torture us before the time?'

Now He is driving you back into the everlasting fire, He who at the end of time will say to the wicked: 'Depart from Me, you accursed, into the everlasting fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels'. For you, O evil one, and for your followers there will be worms that never die. An unquenchable fire stands ready for you and for your minions, you prince of accursed murderers, father of lechery, instigator of sacrileges, model of vileness, promoter of heresies, inventor of every obscenity.

Depart, then, impious one, depart, accursed one, depart with all your deceits, for God has willed that man should be His temple. Why do you still linger here? Give honour to God the Father Almighty, before whom every knee must bow. Give place to the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed His most precious blood for man. Give place to the Holy Spirit, who by His blessed apostle Peter openly struck you down in the person of Simon Magus; who cursed your lies in Annas and Saphira; who smote you in King Herod because he had not given honour to God; who by His apostle Paul afflicted you with the night of blindness in the magician Elyma, and by the mouth of the same apostle bade you to go out of Pythonissa, the soothsayer.

Begone, now! Begone, seducer! Your place is in solitude; your abode is in the nest of serpents; get down and crawl with them. This matter brooks no delay; for see, the Lord, the Ruler comes quickly, kindling fire before Him, and it will run on ahead of Him and encompass His enemies in flames. You might delude man, but God you cannot mock. It is He who casts you out, from whose sight nothing is hidden. It is He who repels you, to whose might all things are subject. It is He who expels you, He who has prepared everlasting hellfire for you and your angels, from whose mouth shall come a sharp sword, who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire.

All: Amen.

All the above may be repeated as long as necessary, until the one possessed has been fully freed.

Assuming you feel a bit better now, the Priest can finish up. However, if you still feel even slightly possessed, do not be afraid to say so.

To Finish Off

The closing ceremony goes as follows:

P: 'Almighty God,

We beg You to keep the evil spirit from further molesting this servant of yours,

And to keep him far away, never to return.

At your command, O Lord, may the goodness and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, take possession of this man (woman).

May we no longer fear any evil since the Lord is with us;

Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever'.

All: Amen.

Another cup of tea is probably called for.

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry

There are no Conversations for this Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more