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The former abbot of the Skete of the Forerunner [Mount Athos], Fr. Petroniu Tanase, talks about the number of the Beast [Revelation 13:18], 666, and how we should understand it.
He uses the teaching of St. Maximus the Confessor when explaining the symbolism of this number.
Fr. Petroniu concludes that Holy Fathers see in this number a spiritual meaning not an arithmetic one

Fr. Petroniu the Athonite:
Q: Is it allowed for someone to receive that?

If it’s required to have a paper… it’s a paper…
666 is an ordinary number… Holy Fathers see in this number a spiritual meaning not an arithmetic one…
And when I see the number 666, if it’s about bad things, then 666 means a bad thing… If it’s about good things, then 666 means a good thing…

Q: Why didn’t they put ‘777’ instead?

“Their reason was a devilish trick… They know that people are sensitive to this thing and they want to disturb their spirit…
The number has no power… The devil is cunning, not wise…”

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