ENERGICI, or Energumens , the name given in the early Church to those suffering from different forms of insanity, who were popularly supposed to be under the control of some indwelling spirit other than their own. Among primitive races everywhere disease is explained in this way, and its removal supposed to be effected by priestly prayers and incantations. They were sometimes called , as being "tossed by the waves" of uncontrollable impulse. Persons afflicted in this way were restricted from entering the church, but might share the shelter of the porch with lepers and persons of offensive life (Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, vol. i. § 16). After the prayers, if quiet, they might come in to receive the bishop's blessing (Apost. Const. viii. 6, 7, 32) and listen to the sermon. They were daily fed and prayed over by the exorcists, and, in case of recovery, after a fast of from 20 to 40 days, were admitted to the eucharist, and their names and cures entered in the church records.
A note on the New Testament use of the word and its cognates will be found in J.A. Robinson's edition of The Epistle to the Ephesians, pp. 241-247; an excursus on "The Conflict with Demons" in A. Harnack, The Expansion of Christianity, i. 152-180. Cf. Exorcism.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)