The Synagogue of Satan by Stanislaw Przybyszewski 1897
Translated by Joe Bandel 2011
The demon was everywhere! Satan triumphed over Christ, first as a means to frighten people in order to solidify the dominion of Christ. He became an almighty Lord which the world feared and sought to appease. You scarcely dared to breathe because it might let the evil spirit into your body.
In the fourth century the horrible Messalinian sect appeared. They believed the devil was trying to possess them and were constantly seen beating themselves, screaming, spitting and twisting themselves in horrible convolutions in attempts to ward off the evil one whose name was “Legion”.
Satan multiplied himself a thousand fold. He became a theologian, went into the desert wastes and tortured the Holy fathers with awkward questions. He sowed thousands of doubts and thoughts into their souls. He went into the cloisters and inflamed the troubled brains of the monks with lewd images. He visited the pious women by night, took away their wills and understanding, forced them into shameful lewdness. He entered into the brains of thousands and thousands of believers and made them scream out the most confused curses and blasphemies.
The church was scarcely able to defend itself any more from Satan. Exorcism took an increasingly important role in the liturgy. No mass was ever enveloped with more pomp than that of the exorcism. You scarcely dared to partake in any religious ceremony without first exorcising every single corner of the church. Yes, under the reign of Sirtus they even exorcised an Egyptian obelisk before it was allowed to be set up in Rome.
But no matter how furiously the church battled the stronger Satan became. Possession took the upper hand. Satan scorned God through the bellowing voices of the possessed. He performed miracles in front of crowds of believers. He told the priests their secret sins. He prophesied things that really came true. He raised the bodies of the possessed up into the air and then smashed them back down onto the ground without them suffering the smallest amount of pain.
The Church grasped at doubtful means. In the assumption that every strong human passion predisposed one to possession by the devil they forbid even the simplest expression of emotion. Every passion had a demon. If the passion was killed the demon would be killed as well.
The world despaired. How could they protect themselves against Satan and his temptations? How could anyone protect themselves against the eternal stream of lewd hallucinations that rose up by the hour, the thousands of scorning, laughing voices that Satan raised against God? And even thought was a sin! The virgin, who without even knowing, allowed young boys to lust after her “sinned”, had already lost her virginity according to the proclamation of St. Cyprian. The woman that was beautiful sinned without knowing it, when through her beauty she became the scythe with which Satan mowed his harvest. (Anselmus) The monk, who the demon stole from the cross, sinned when he didn’t have enough strength to resist. The husband sinned because he had more interest in begetting children than in the love of God. The nun that washed herself more than twice a month sinned.
Sins—Sins were everywhere. Eternal damnation was everywhere. With one thought, one wrong deed man lost the right to paradise and succumbed to Satan. Once one succumbed they would be refused salvation. The Saints themselves admitted that many devils ignored exorcism and didn’t fear it at all.
In this time of mass lunacy infectious hysteria spread with racing rapidity over the earth and convulsed the people in thousands of various ways. It was the time when people were always and eternally awaiting the end of the earth and lived in wildest despair for the coming Day of Judgment. They awaited the Paraclete, the triune Satan, the Antichrist, because the time for his dominion was very near.
“In brevi tempore saeviet”, said Cyprian. (He shall rage for a short time.)
Lactanius said, “The time is already here.”
They envisioned the most curious things about this Antichrist. He would be a man of sins, a son of the corrupt, the lawless, the adversary and a criminal. He would be begotten from the union of a pope and a succubus, or else, “immundissima meretrice et crudelissimo neblulone” (by a filthy whore and a good for nothing.). Sin was his element. He would be great in sin, greater even than Christ was in virtue. Everything that Christ taught would be overthrown, every sin raised to a virtue. Christ had humbled himself, but he would raise himself to the heavens, make his entry into the “temple” and proclaim himself as God.
He would cut down Christ’s servants and with an insolent proud mouth cry out, “Your blood covers us and our children!” He would perform miracles that were even greater than those that God’s son had performed and his power would be like that prophesied in the book of Job: 43.
“Upon the earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. He beholds all high things: he is a king over the children of pride.”
And the Antichrist came, but not as a material ruler. Instead he came as one of the spiritual, the proud and the elevated, the godly Mani.
Satan became bored with the frenzied ravings of the epileptics, sated with living in the lewd dreams of the monks. The stupid game of exorcism did not amuse him anymore. He wanted to become God. Become God even before the real Antichrist was begotten. He wanted to be God in the kingdom of spirits, a proud wild Anti-god that would push the Nazarene, the usurper of the earth, back into his invisible kingdom once more.
Thus spoke Mani, the ancient holy wisdom.
“There are two gods, equally powerful, equally mighty and eternally opposing each other. The invisible god of good, who is enthroned in heaven, who does not trouble himself over the earth and only lives for the perfection of his chosen ones—
Then there is another god, the god of sins, who rules over the earth. But sins are not really sins because they came from this god like the virtues that came from the other god, the indolent god who said, “Don’t exert yourselves, just follow after me.”
Gnosticism and Manichaeism spread like wild fire across the Christian world and for the first time the question was raised, “Christian or Manichean, the fairy tale of free will or the fact of determinism, stupide imitatio or the self-ruling fantasy of the mystic, meek slavery or proud sinning in the name of Satan—as instinct, Satan—as nature, Satan—as curiosity, Satan—as passion.
Again the church was victorious. In the third century Satan had to lay down his weapons. His first grandiose anti-Christian Avignon was destroyed with terrible cruelty and Satan blasphemed in dark despair.
“I am the God of light! You, the evil God, have cast me down out of revenge because I was the light. Your jealousy of my beauty, my brilliance and my light was greater than my own power. But fear me now. Fear my pride and the hatred of the mighty. I, the eternal light, do not sleep and I have suckled my children with the eternal light that never sleeps. But your children, those that hate the light, those that fear the light, your children that crawl around your feet in base slavery, your children have tired of doing battle with me. They need to sleep. Behold!
I am the Prince of princes, I mingle with them, I dance with them—you are a dark despot that rules over crawling worms. Beware! Millions of my own have been sacrificed to your vengeance. I will sacrifice millions more, willingly sacrifice them. Those millions are only fertilizer for the one and only, for the one who can engender more. You have annihilated my congregations but you will never annihilate the one and only, the one who can engender thousands of new congregations. Beware and fear my vengeance!”