Wednesday, August 5, 2015
… Each person will be registered; not only every facet of his affairs and his life, but his every word, every movement of his mental faculties will be under constant surveillance so that he will lose the habit of thinking for himself out of fear that the expression on his face might involuntarily reflect something incompatible with the authority of the world ruler, i.e., Antichrist. Everyone will wear “stone masks.” All labor, every square inch of ground, every grain of wheat will be under the authority of Antichrist…
Excerpt from the book: Reflections of a Humble Heart: A 15th-century text on the spiritual life
“Brother, I have no past…..” Thus begins a quiet meditation (introduced by a stunning prophecy from the Monk Basil, who collected the work) on what it means to live as a Christian. No scare tactics, no heavy-handed asceticism are to be found here, in reflections just as suited to a busy worker in the marketplace as to a desert monk. Everything leads to the words with which the manuscript breaks off: “Thou art eternal God, Holy Spirit, and we — by Thy love will live for eternity, while all else is but a dream, a river flowing by.”
Buy from Saint John of Kronstadt Press (Item# 3160)
More about the book
The text was found among Byzantine manuscripts in the Vatican library. The name of the elder is not known to us. Either the monk Basil, who recorded what the elder’s words, assumed that everyone knew who he was talking about, or his name was mentioned in earlier notes that have been lost. It is supposed that the elder was a renowned ascetic of one of the monasteries near Constantinople in the early 15th century.
The text was adapted and translated into Russian by (old ROCOR) Archimandrite Ambrose Pogodin in Pravoslavny Put’, 1999, Jordanville. English translation from the Russian by Mary Mansur, published by Nikodemos Orthodox Publications Society, New York.
…He spoke to us of how greatly the Lord desires our salvation, and how He has done everything necessary for this. His mercy and His grace-filled aid is measureless and is extended toward sinners and righteous alike, requiring so little on our part for the salvation of our souls. The banquet table of faith is laden to capacity, but people are careless concerning the salvation of their souls and they do not want to hear the summons of the Lord. The very words, “salvation” and “to save oneself,” imply some grave danger – we associate these words with an understanding of some great danger or tragedy; for example, “saved from fire,” “saved from perishing,” “saved during an enemy attack,” etc. – and they should motivate a person to be extremely vigilant in life and to have a fervent desire to be saved; they should arouse faith in the Savior and love for Him. Meanwhile, people have no concern for this, considering that this earthly world, visible to our eyes, is the only reality there is. They do not know that it is the spiritual world which is the reality and essence of things. Thus, the entire earthly, material world – encompassed by notions of height, width, depth, and weight – exist in the realm of time, which brings all things to destruction, because time is the servant of death. Time began with man’s fall into sin and it will exist only until the end of the history of mortal humanity. By contrast, the spiritual world exists outside these limitations, outside these bonds and measures; it is infinitely wealthy, eternal, and indestructible. That is why in spirituality there exists Rerum Natura [”The Nature of Things”].
The blessed elder also said that terrible times were approaching. The enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ will take captive our earth and the Great Church* (Hagia Sophia) will cease to be the temple of God. Great tragedies will overtake the land of the Romans,* (The Byzantines called themselves “the Romans”), and by God’s great judgment it will cease to exist. People will die, cities will perish, even whole nations will perish, because there is nothing eternal under the sun except the human soul, which is created in the image and likeness of the eternal God. Do not look for help from Western Christians, expecting that they will take up arms in defense of the common Christian heritage. Do not expect this. Because the Western Christians are not Christians; they are pagans. Even we Orthodox have a lot of things that are pagan.
Brother, do not be grieved at my words, but examine your soul. Just look how many idols it harbors: Mercury – the god of cupidity, Aphrodite – the goddess of concupiscence, Ares – the god of wrath, etc., and in the center, Zeus – you with your self-love and self-indulgence. Yes, brother, we have much that is pagan, because we Orthodox are sinners, both as individuals and as a people. However, we are pagans on the surface, while in the depths of our souls we are Christian, because in our humility we have Christ in our hearts. And therefore, in spite of our sins, “in our humility the Lord remembered us.” Western peoples are Christian on the surface, but in their hearts, in their souls, they are pagan. We Orthodox grieve that we have idols living in our souls, and in humility we fall prostrate before Christ, desiring with our whole heart to belong to Him. In the case of Westerners, however, Christianity is like a thin gilding over copper; and the rest is wholly pagan, because within their souls they bow down before their idols and these idols reign over them. They are proud, and Christ does not dwell in their hearts. For this reason, we Orthodox are truly pagans – on the surface – but deep within we are Christians; while the Western Latins are Christians on the surface but pagans underneath. Therefore, do not expect that they will help us. We Orthodox are strangers to them.
Of course, in every nation there are good and humble people who bear Christ in their hearts and their way of life. But there is nothing that can equal or that can even be compared to the grace of Orthodoxy. This is a soul-saving faith; this is a faith that leads us to humility; this is a faith that elevates us to Christ; this is a joyous faith, a faith that encompasses all peoples, a faith of indescribable beauty, a divine faith! O Orthodox Christian, be grateful to God that you are Orthodox! Oh, how happy we Orthodox are that we are Orthodox!
But this is not yet the end of the world. The end of the world will come later, and the time of the coming of the end of the world lies in God’s hands– and also in the hands of men. When human evil reaches its apogee, God will send His sickle to harvest the world. While together with evil men, righteous men still live on this earth, and while the Church of Christ still stands, not having defiled her garments (Rev. 3:4), evil in the world has no power to fully mature. But when no righteous men remain on the earth, when the ocean of evil floods the whole world, then the end of the world will come; it will be burned up and disappear into oblivion, that it might be reborn a new and perfect world in which righteousness dwells (II Peter 3:9-12. At the coming of the end of the world, all the tribulations that the world and people have experienced until then cannot compare with those tribulations that will come upon them at this time. A time of woe will overtake the whole world: men will hate one another, they will fear one another, they will not trust one another; tribulations will give way to greater tribulations, fear – to greater fear, danger – to greater danger, pain – to greater pain, grief – to greater grief. But people will not come to their senses; they will not flee to God, Who is able to save them. On the contrary, people will grow callous, and all spiritual life will wither. Man will become so full of malice, so degraded as a result of being goaded and ruled over by base passions, so hard-hearted, darkened, and utterly consumed by the sole concern of how to survive, that for spiritual life he will have neither the will nor any place in his heart. Nor will there remain any spiritual guides, because these, too, will follow the ways of the world. God’s temples will become either empty or destroyed or spiritually defiled by unworthy pastors.
At the very height of these tribulations and chaos in the world, the Antichrist will appear. He will come in the guise of a peacemaker, a good and wise leader who can bring the world to order. In reality, however, he will be an enemy to all, a despiser of all that is good, a tyrant and evil-doer, a destroyer of everything, the likes of whom the world has never seen and will never see. Each person will be registered; not only every facet of his affairs and his life, but every word, every movement of his mental faculties will be under constant surveillance so that he will lose the habit of thinking for himself out of fear that the expression on his face might involuntarily reflect something incompatible with the authority of the world ruler, i.e., Antichrist. Everyone will wear “stone masks.” All labor, every square inch of ground, every grain of wheat will be under the authority of Antichrist. There will be calamities in nature: oppressive heat waves will alternate with periods of freezing cold, drought with floods; horrendous tornados and hurricanes will wreak frightful destruction; volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and diseases among people, animals, and plants will be so dreadful as to make people despair. The earth, no longer blessed with bearing fruit, will be stricken with terrible famine and become utterly impoverished. And only those who have accepted the mark of the Beast, i.e., Satan, will be allowed to exist for a time, although in the most servile and base conditions of utter penury and contempt for the human dignity that man received from his Creator. Everything will be filled with Antichrist: the earth, the sea, the air. Everything will be done with the single purpose of eliminating totally the name of Christ from the heart of man. In truth, this will be a hellish kingdom on earth. There will remain very few of God’s people. There will be terrible tribulations, a time of intense agony not only on earth but throughout the entire universe, for they are joined in one plan of creation, and the whole universe is to perish that afterwards it might be clothed in incorruption, in indestructibility, in eternity, according to the words of the Apostle: This corruptible must put on incorruption(1Cor. 15:53). You heard the words of our Saviour: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matt. 24:29). And the prophet says: The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord come (Joel 2:31). Another prophet says: For the stars in heaven, and Orion, and all the host of heaven, shall not give their light; and it shall be dark at sunrise, and the moon shall not give her light (Is. 13:10). And further:
Therefore a curse shall consume the earth, because the inhabitants thereof have sinned: therefore the dwellers in the earth shall be poor, and few men shall be left…all the mirth of the land has ceased, all the mirth of the land has departed…the water of the sea shall be troubled…the foundations of the earth shall be shaken, the earth shall be utterly confounded, and the earth shall be completely perplexed…And all the powers of the heavens shall melt, and the sky shall be rolled up like a scroll: and all the stars shall fall like leaves from a vine, and as leaves fall from a fig tree (Is. 24:6, 11, 14, 18-19; 34:4).
And in Revelation we read:
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places (Rev. 6:12-14).
In the words of one ancient writer, there will come “such a time in which no one will wish to live; anxiety will increase from night to night, and trepidation from day to day.” Before the end of the world people will see the agony of the universe, which must perish in order that God create everything anew, incorruptible and imperishable. And just as our bodies at the Resurrection will become spiritual, so it is possible that the new universe will be comprised of spiritual matter. Nowadays what we understand by “matter” and “spirit” are disparate, but then they will fuse into one understanding, without distinction.
This world has grown old and worn out by reason of sin and worldwide evil. The new world will be ruled by God’s righteousness and will therefore be eternal and beautiful. The great Apostle says, I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away … And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold,I make all things new (Rev. 21:1,5). But before this comes to pass, there will be frightful tribulations, and the Church of Christ will be persecuted to the limit, to wipe her off the face of the earth, because so long as the Divine Liturgy is celebrated by a grace-filled priesthood, the reign of Satan cannot establish itself on earth. In each Divine Liturgy, God is present on earth, and the Liturgy is a proclamation of Christ’s victory over the devil and death. The persecution of the Church will be overt and covert, secretive and manifest, striking at individuals and striking at all, everywhere and by all means. There will be a certain number of martyrs: just how many is known to God alone; but there will also be many apostates, who will accept the mark of the Beast, and there will be a countless number of those who are lukewarm, who will likewise submit to Antichrist in everything. The powers of evil have long been preparing these apostates, these weak and worthless beings. For centuries the powers of evil have been undermining the foundations of the Church. Just as it took centuries to prepare for the coming of Christ, so preparations for the coming of Antichrist have been underway since the earliest times of Christianity, as the Apostle Paul declared: The mystery of iniquity doth already work (II Thess. 2:7). But know that even the mightiest powers of hell, the “gates of hell,” will not overcome the Church (Matt. 16:18), which our Lord Jesus Christ promised to be with even until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). This Church will be relentlessly persecuted and will hide in caves and in abysses and in deserts. God’s grace will rest upon her servants, and God will not allow the great enemy to destroy them. The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated up to the very last day of this world’s existence. Brothers, heed the signs of the coming end of the world, signs that our Lord Jesus Christ and his prophets and Apostles have revealed to us, and do not relax your trust in God.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
The second Forerunner of the coming of Christ
An angel in the flesh and the cornerstone of the prophets, / the second forerunner of the coming of Christ…” With these words the Holy Church glorifies the great Old Testament righteous man who lived 900 years before Christ - the glorious holy prophet of God, Elijah. By his unusually strict ascetic life, he appeared more like an angel than a man.
But why does the Holy Church calls him “a second forerunner of the second coming of Christ”?
This is because, just as before the first coming of Christ in the world, St. John the Baptist appeared “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk1:17), so also before the second coming of Christ on earth the Prophet Elijah himself will appear (see. Malachi 4:5). As we know, he did not die but was lifted up to heaven alive, with his flesh, in a chariot of fire (see para. 4 Kings 2, 11).
The beloved disciple of Christ, St. John the Evangelist tells about this in his marvelous Apocalypse. The Holy Prophet Elijah, along with another Old Testament righteous man - Enoch, who was also taken to heaven alive because he “walked with God” (Genesis 5:24), will appear again in the days of the Antichrist. They will prophesy and turn people away from worshiping Antichrist. The Seer of Mysteries calls them both “witnesses of God”, “two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (Rev.11:3-11). Both of them - Enoch and Elijah - will prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days (or 42 months, or three and a half years), that is, in all the reign of the Antichrist, and will do great signs and miracles to convince people not to recognize or accept the sign of Antichrist on their right hand and forehead (Rev.13:16).
But God’s permission, “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit”, i.e., the Antichrist himself, “shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” (Rev.11:7).
It is noteworthy that “they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth” (Rev.11:10).
The people are “tormented” because the prophets will appeal to their conscience. Because they will try to awaken the sleeping conscience - diverting them from worshiping the Antichrist and turning to the true God, to Christ.
It has always been so with the prophets of God. None of them finished their life by a natural death - they were all tortured and killed by the people whom they rebuked for their sinful lives.
The same fate will befall those who do not wish to “keep up with the times”, do not want to take part in the general corruption of morals, and who try to awaken the conscience of others by indicating to them the error or mistake of their chosen the path in life, of their improper approach and conduct.
Such people, who want to keep their conscience pure, the others will hate and seek to destroy in every way - if not physically, then at least mentally.
We do not have the information to assert that the Antichrist has already come, but … only spiritually completely blind people cannot see that what goes mad in the world now is preparing for his speedy arrival and reign. Moreover, his faithful servants work with an extraordinary energy (worthy of a better work). They have already sold him their souls for money and all sorts of earthly goods: For honor, power and domination in human society, for all sorts of carnal pleasure and delight, in order to enjoy them without hindrance or punishment.
From numerous predictions by the ancient Fathers of the Church, we know that the majority of people, of all religions, including our Orthodox faith, and not excepting priests, will enthusiastically accept the Antichrist as their lord and king. They will worship him, and begin to persecute and destroy anyone who opposes the Antichrist.
And while we do not yet see the Antichrist as a particular person, even now a great “sifting” of people is taking place. Some “keep up” with the servants of the coming Antichrist, being bought for money or other earthly goods and recruited into his camp. Others - resolutely avoid, dissociate themselves, and quickly go off away from them, by this arousing the anger and hatred of the former.
Brothers! It has never been such a cunning time, in which people so excel at deception, falsehood, craftiness and lies. It is necessary to be extremely vigilant, especially attentive and cautious in one’s approach to them, in order to not be tempted by enticing words, and not get entangled in the nets of Antichrist. Do not trust anyone who comes to you with any flattering proposals whatsoever, or with lucrative promises, even if it is a person clothed in spiritual garments, if you know that they are close to some dubious or obviously anti-Christian organisations, if they entertain friendship with the enemies of Christ, and especially - if they receive money from them, whatever the plausible excuse.
The time has come now, when more than ever before, you need to carefully distinguish who of the bearers of the high calling of Pastors of the Church of Christ is indeed serving Christ, and who has already sold himself to the servants of the coming Antichrist. By this, instead of serving Christ, they serve the Antichrist. You need to distinguish, in order that you not be found following a wolf - even one dressed in sheep’s clothing - instead of a true Pastor.
Particularly dangerous pastors among such false shepherds are those who preach a need for peace with everyone, under the pretext of “non-condemnation” and “Christian love and forgiveness”. Let us remember that the peace with the Antichrist (as with his servants) is already a betrayal of Christ - and hence enmity against Christ!
For “what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? “(2 Cor.6:14-15).
Even the smallest flirting with the servants of the Antichrist, and pleasing them with however plausible a purpose - is a crime and will not pass in vain. It is by no mistake that the old Russian proverb says: “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are!”
In our evil times, what is most necessary for all of us who wish to remain faithful to Christ the Saviour, is ardent zeal. This is what the holy and glorious prophet of God, Elijah was so famous for. Instead of any compromise with the servants of the Antichrist, we should have a complete irreconcilability toward them, even if we are threatened with temporal death. Let us remember that Enoch and Elijah, after being murdered by the Beast-Antichrist, will be revived to life again “after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” (Rev.11:11).
After this Christ our Lord Himself will appear, Who will consume the Antichrist with the “spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thes 2:8). Yet after this, time will be shortened, and the end of this world will come, and the Last Judgement will be opened.
Brothers! If you hear of anyone who relates to preaching on the approach of the Antichrist, the Second Coming of Christ, the end of the world and the Last Judgement with mocking, with an ironic smile on his face, or with anger and irritation, then know that you are dealing with a person who, one way or another, has been drawn in by the servants of antichrist, to involvement in preparation for his speedy arrival and reign on earth. Beware of such people, as destroyers of our holy faith and the Church!
On the Day of Judgement, their “secrets” will be revealed, and all of them, along with the Antichrist and his servants, will receive a just recompense in the “lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev.19:20). But for the righteous, such as the holy prophet Elijah, and for all those who did not bow, and did not join the service of the Antichrist, but rather honestly and earnestly opposed him, that eternal blessed life in the “New Jerusalem” will begin, which the seer of mysteries was made worthy to see coming down from God from Heaven (Rev. 21:2).
“Whoever has Having the ears hear, let him hear!” - Amen
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Dear hierarchs and pastors, monastics and laity, brothers and sisters!
of His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Dear hierarchs and pastors, monastics and laity, brothers and sisters!
It has been a long time since we last had such a difficult year for our Church. This is because of the events which have shaken the world, which in turn resound very noticeably in our lives. Now, almost universally, the world has turned to war. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24.7-8). Indeed, we see firsthand the beginning of these tribulations - not so much physical as spiritual ones. We have reached the time when even those who are called to keep and observe Truth have stopped accepting “sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears,” (2 Timothy 4:3). Everything is coming true - “Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (Matthew 24.10). The ever-present apostasy is coming upon us like the approaching night, gradually and inevitably absorbing the souls of men. Less and less souls warm themselves around the spiritual beacons of intact faith. Even the visible, earthly Church is harder to find in the ruling chaos surrounding Her. As we enter the period of Passion Week of human history, we can only observe what is happening. In our weakness we are not able to prevent the end of time.
But we remember that the historical birth of Christ occurred in almost the same kind of impenetrable night, during a time of captivity, apostasy and national poverty, when prophecies were silent, and the priesthood and leaders of the people had degenerated into Pharisees and scribes. The Incarnation of God pierced the surrounding spiritual darkness as the saving beam of a lighthouse during a storm of complete destruction. Suddenly a guiding star was revealed to travelers astray. A highly anticipated door of freedom, was suddenly flung open, leading out from the crude and hateful prison!
If we are with God, then we have nothing to fear! I urge you, my dear ones, to spiritual renewal by the current Nativity of Christ! May it shine in every heart with the unwaning light of Divine wisdom! So that we, despite of the fallen and sinful world, together with the entire Holy Church, would exclaim in a single triumphant voice: O Life-Giver, Christ our God, glory to Thee!
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
Odessa, Nativity of Christ, 2014-2015.
Friday, October 24, 2014
The Holy and Righteous John of Kronstadt recalled this vision which he had in January of 1901:
After evening prayers I laid down to rest a little in my dimly lit cell since I was fatigued. Hanging before the icon of the Mother of God was my lit lampada. Not more than a half hour had passed when I heard soft rustle. Someone touched my left shoulder, and in tender voice said to me, ‘Arise servant of God John and follow the will of God!’
I arose and saw near the window glorious starets (elder) with frosty grey hair, wearing a black mantia, and holding staff in his hand. He looked at me tenderly, and I could scarcely keep from falling because of my great fear. My hands and feet trembled, and I wanted to speak, but my tongue would not obey me. The starets made the sign of the cross over me, and calm and joy soon came over me. Then I made the sign of the cross myself. He then pointed to the western wall of my cell with his staff in order that I should notice certain spot. The starets had inscribed on the wall the following numbers: 1913, 1914, 1917, 1922, 1924, and 1934.
Suddenly the wall vanished, and I walked with the starets toward a green field and saw a mass of crosses-thousands standing as gravemarkers. They were wooden, clay, or gold. I asked the starets, ‘What are these crosses for’ He softly answered, “These crosses are for those who suffered and were murdered for their faith in Christ and for the Word of God and have become martyrs!”
And so we continued to walk. Suddenly I saw an entire river of blood and asked the starets, ‘What is the meaning of this blood? How much has been spilled?’ The starets looked around and replied, This is the blood of true Christians!’ The starets then pointed to some clouds, and I saw mass of burning white lamps. They began to fall to the ground one after another by the tens and by the hundreds. During their descent they grew dim and turned to ashes. The starets then said to me, ‘Look!’ I saw on a cloud seven burning lamps. I asked, ‘What is the meaning of the burning lamps which fell to the ground’ He said, Those are the churches of God which have fallen into heresy, but these seven lamps on the clouds are the seven Catholic and Apostolic Churches which will remain until the end of the world!’
The starets then pointed high into the air and I saw and heard angels singing, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabbaoth!’ Then a large crowd of people with candles in their hands rushed by with joy on their shining faces. They were archbishops, monks, nuns, groups of laymen, young adults, and even children and babies. I asked the wonderworking starets, ‘What is the meaning of these people’ He responded, These are all the people who suffered for the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, for the holy icons at the hands of the wicked destroyers.’ I then asked the great starets if I could sit down next to them. The starets said, ‘It is too early for you to suffer, so joining them would not be blessed by God!’
Again I saw a large group of infants who had suffered for Christ under Herod and had received crowns from the Heavenly King. We walked further and went into large church. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but the starets said, ‘It is not necessary to cross yourself because this is a place of abomination and desolation!’ The church was very gloomy. On the altar was a star and a Gospel book with stars. Candles made of tar were burning and crackling like firewood. The chalice was standing there covered by strong stench. There was prosphora with stars. A priest stood before the altar with face like pitch and woman was under the altar covered in red with a star on her lips and she screamed and laughed throughout the church saying, ‘I am free!’ I thought Oh, Lord, how awful! The people, like madmen, began to run around the altar, scream, whistle, and clap their hands. Then they began to sing lecherous songs. Suddenly lightning flashed, frightening thunderbolt resounded, the earth trembled, and the church collapsed, sending the woman, the people, the priest, and the rest into the abyss. I thought Oh Lord, how awful, save us!
The starets saw what had happened as did I. I asked, ‘Father, tell me, what is the meaning of this frightening church?’ He responded, These are the earthly people, heretics who have abandoned the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church and recognized the newly innovated church which God has not blessed. In this church they do not fast, do not attend services, and do not receive Holy Communion!’ I was frightened and said, The Lord has pity on us, but curses those with death!’ The starets interrupted me and said, ‘Do not mourn, but just pray!’ Then I saw a throng of people, each of whom had a star on his lips and was. terribly exhausted from thirst, walking here and there. They saw us and yelled loudly, ‘Holy Fathers, pray for us. It is very hard for us because we ourselves cannot. Our Fathers and Mothers did not teach us the Law of God. ‘We do not even have the name of Christ, and we have received no peace. We rejected the Holy Spirit and the sign of the cross!’ They began to cry.
I followed after the starets. ‘Look!’ he said pointing with his hand. I saw a mountain of human corpses stained in blood. I was very frightened, and I asked the starets, ‘What is the meaning of these dead bodies?’ He replied, These are people who lived the monastic life, were rejected by the Antichrist, and did not receive his seal. They suffered for their faith in Christ and the Apostolic Church and received martyrs crowns dying for Christ. Pray for these servants of God!’
Without warning the starets turned to the north and pointed with his hand. I saw an imperial palace, around which dogs were running. Wild beasts and scorpions were roaring and charging and baring their teeth. And I saw the Tsar sitting on a throne. His face was pale and masculine. He was reciting the Jesus Prayer. Suddenly he fell like a dead man. His crown fell. The wild beasts, dogs, and scorpions trampled on the anointed Sovereign. I was frightened and cried bitterly. The starets took me by my right shoulder. I saw a figure shrouded in white - it was Nicholas II. On his head was a wreath of green leaves, and his face was white and somewhat bloodied. He wore a gold cross around his neck and was quietly whispering a prayer. And then he said to me with tears, ‘Pray for me, Fr. John. Tell all Orthodox Christians that I, the Tsar-martyr, died manfully for my faith in Christ and the Orthodox Church. Tell the Holy Fathers that they should serve a Panachida for me, a sinner, but there will be no grave for me!’
Soon everything became hidden in the fog. I cried bitterly praying for the Tsar-martyr. My hands and feet trembled from fear. The starets said, :Look! Then I saw a throng of people scattered about the land who had died from starvation while others were eating grass and vegetation. Dogs were devouring the bodies of the dead, and the stench was terrible. I thought, Oh Lord, these people had no faith. From their lips they expelled blasphemy, and for this they received God’s anger.
I also saw an entire mountain of books and among the books worms were crawling emitting a terrible stench. I asked the starets, ‘What was the meaning of these books?’ I said, These books are the Godlessness and blasphemy which will infect all Christians with heretical teachings!’ Then the starets touched his staff to some of the books, and they ignited into flames. The wind scattered the ashes. Further on, I saw a church around which was a large pile of prayer intentions for the departed. I bent over and wanted to read them, but the starets said, These prayer requests for the dead have been lying here for many years, and the priests have forgotten about them. They are never going to read them, but the dead will ask someone to pray for them!’ I asked, ‘Who, will they get to pray for them?’ The starets answered: ‘The Angels will pray for them!’
We proceeded further, and the starets quickened the pace so that I could hardly keep up with him. ‘Look!’ he said. I saw a large crowd of people being persecuted by demons who were beating them with stakes, pitchforks, and hooks. I asked the starets, ‘What is the meaning of these people?’ He answered, These are the ones who renounced their faith and left the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church and accepted the new innovative church. This group represents priests, monks, nuns, and laymen who renounced their vows or marriage, and engaged in drinking and all sorts of blasphemy and slander. All of these have terrible faces and a terrible stench comes from their mouths. The demons beat them, driving them into the terrible abyss, from where hell fire comes forth. ‘ I was terribly frightened. I made the sign of the cross while praying, Lord deliver us from such a fate!
I then saw a group of people, both old and young, all of whom were terribly dressed, and who were raising a large, five pointed star. On each corner were twelve demons and in the middle was Satan himself with terrifying horns and a straw head. He emitted a noxious foam onto the people while pronouncing these words, ‘Arise you accursed ones with the seal of the beast..’ Suddenly many demons appeared with branding irons and on all the people they placed the seal: on their lips, above the elbow and on their right hands. I asked the starets, ‘What is the meaning of this?’ He responded, This is the mark of the Antichrist!’ I made the sign of the cross and followed after the starets.
He suddenly stopped and pointed to the east with his hand. I saw a large gathering of people with joyous faces carrying crosses and candles in their hands. In their midst stood a large altar as white as snow. On the altar was the cross and the Holy Gospel and over the altar was the vosduch with golden imperial crown on which was written in golden letter, ‘For the short term.’ Patriarchs, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, and laymen stood around the altar. They were all singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace on Earth’ Out of great joy I made the sign of the cross and praised God. Suddenly the starets waved his cross upwards three times, and I saw mountain of corpses covered in human blood and above them Angels were flying. They were taking the souls of those murdered for the Word of God to heaven while they sang, Alleluia!’ I observed all this and cried loudly.
The starets took me by the hand and forbade me to cry. ‘What is pleasing to God is that Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and shed His precious blood for us. Such ones will become martyrs who do not accept the seal of the antichrist, and all who shed their blood will receive heavenly crowns.’ The starets then prayed for these servants of God and pointed to the east as the words of the Prophet Daniel came true, ‘Abomination of desolation.’ Finally, I saw the cupola of Jerusalem. Above it was a star. Within the church millions of people thronged and still many more were trying to enter inside. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but the starets grabbed my hand and said, ‘Here is the abomination of desolation!’
So we entered into the church, and it was full of people. I saw an altar on which tallow candles were burning. On the altar was a king in red, blazing, porphyry. On his head was a golden crown with a star. I asked the starets, ‘Who is this?’ He replied, ‘The Antichrist!’ He was very tall with eyes like fire, black eyebrows, a wedge-shaped beard, a ferocious, cunning, evil, and terrible face. He alone was on the altar and he reached his hands out to the people. He had claws as those of a tiger for hands and he shouted, ‘I am King. I am God. I am the Leader. He who does not have my seal will be put to death.’ All the people fell down and worshipped him, and he began to place his seal on their lips and on their hands in order that they should receive some bread and not die from hunger and thirst.
Around the Antichrist his servants were leading several people whose hands were bound as they had not bowed down to worship him. They said, “We are Christians, and we all believe in our Lord Jesus Christ!’ The Antichrist ripped off their heads in a flash and Christian blood began to flow A child was then led to the altar of the Antichrist to worship him, but he boldly proclaimed, ‘I am a Christian and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, but you are a minister, a servant of Satan!’ ‘Death to him!’ exclaimed the Antichrist. Others who accepted the seal of the Antichrist fell down and worshipped him. Suddenly roar of thunder resounded and thousand lightning flashes began to sparkle. Arrows began to strike the servants of the Antichrist. Then a large flaming arrow flashed by and hit the Antichrist himself on the head. As he waved his hand, his crown fell and was crushed into the ground. Then millions of birds flew in and perched on the servants of the Antichrist.
I felt the starets take me by the hand. We walked further on, and I again saw much Christian blood. It was here that I remembered the words of Saint John the Theologian in the book of Revelation that blood would ‘be up to the horse’s bridle.’ I thought, Oh my God, save us! At that time I saw Angels flying and singing, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord of Sabbaoth!’ The starets looked back and went on to say, ‘Do not grieve, for soon, very soon, will come the end of the world! Pray to the Lord. God be merciful to His servants!’ Time was drawing near to close. He pointed to the east, fell to his knees and began to pray So I prayed with him. Then the starets began to quickly depart from the earth to the heights of heaven. As he did so I remembered that I did not know his name, so cried out loudly, ‘Father, what is your name?’ He tenderly replied, ‘Seraphim of Sarov!’
That is what ’saw, and this is what ‘ have recorded for Orthodox Christians. A large bell rang above my head, and I heard the sound and arose from bed. ‘Lord, bless and help me through the prayers of the great starets! You have enlightened me, the sinful servant, the priest John of Kronstadt.”
Russia, if you fall away from your faith, as many of the intellectual class have already fallen away, you will no longer be Russia or Holy Russia. And if there is no repentance in the Russian people, then the end of the world will draw near
St John of Kronstadt (1905)