The Vision of Elder Anthony “Sometime in the beginning of the 70’s, while serving Divine Liturgy, I was granted my first vision. It was like this. At that time began the general attraction of the people towards the West, and at the same time, those traits inherent in the Slavs were washed away—modesty, hospitality, and unacquisitiveness. Greed, by the way, has become the head of the corner of the new view of the world. Money and things are more important than morality and spirituality. And what is most horrible, the way of life of people who call themselves Orthodox, very often strictly keeping the church rituals, has become the same as the pagans around them! Such immodesty in daily life, such striving for a career, for a high position in society. For children of believing families, joining the Pioneers, Komsomolsk, or the Party no longer cause any spiritual torment. And there is the ready justification: ‘How can we live without this? We don’t live in the desert, but among people. Well, it’s a sin, now you’re getting too fastidious—everything’s a sin. We’ll go and we’ll repent.’ Such a light-minded attitude causes great doubts in the very possibility of salvation. I was reading the Gospel, about the last times, especially the Book of Revelation, and the topic of the desert, where people must flee, gave me no rest. And then I see a huge number of people walking, people traveling. Some of them, it seems are not traveling, some are feasting, others are fornicating, others are playing dirty tricks on their neighbors, but still, like a river, they are flowing forward. They are all very different; there are laymen, and clergymen, and soldiers, and politicians, and everyone, everyone. A large part of the people is simply bursting forward, but some are going peacefully. In their path is a terrible abyss, the abyss into hell. It would seem that they should all disappear into it, but no. Many of the people fly down. I see how they are being pulled down, some by cars, some at the table, some by money, and some by expensive clothes. And some pass peacefully through the abyss, you could say, over it. Some do not disappear, but are lowered down into the abyss—but shining men help them to cross and support them. Not only the rich disappear into the abyss, but also people who are obviously poor. But they all have one idol—the lust of the world. It was horrible. From the abyss there came the sound, not moaning, but the howling of those who had fallen, and a stench. This was not just a smell, no. Just as there is no way to describe a sweet fragrance, the fragrance not from flowers or grasses, but the sweet fragrance that the Lord gives to relics, and miraculous icons and such things. The stench of hell is not just an awful smell, like the smell of sulphur. It is the feeling of horror and irrevocability, in a word—hell. And then you have the desert. Even there the slayer of mankind tempted the hermits, trying to arouse the passions of greed, lust, and despair. Many fell into the trap, many. At the same time, how many princes and powerful people of this world were saved, and not only saved, but glorified by the Church as saints. They had everything, but their heart did not belong to the corruption of this world, but to the heavenly world. But our time is terrifying because temptations lie in wait for man everywhere, with every step, and most of the time they are such that are hard to anticipate. So many people come to me, and it seems that one question bothers them—how can they be saved, how do they act in this or that situation. But can you get a blessing for every action, not just in day, but in a month?! That means you must present the paths of temptation, its basic directions. And they are unchanged since the creation of the world, for the devil is nom a creator. It is another matter that over thousands of years he has acquired experience, and now his suggestion to mankind to go with him to hell has become more refined. Essentially, all of the contemporary world is entirely his suggestion. Suggestion, because he cannot force someone, it’s not in his power, but to wrap the sin in a tempting package, by all means.
The servants of darkness are always ready with their: ‘What can I do for you?’ Another peculiarity of today is the impending arrival of antichrist. Many spiritual people say that he has already been born. Concerning this it is difficult to judge. The enemy is evil, evil even with those who serve him. Of these, many considered themselves to be antichrist. They appeared to be such, from their world view and their actions, but they were not he, about whom the Church speaks. Perhaps he has been born, perhaps not, but that’s not the question. When they asked Bishop Ignaty (Brianchaninov) about the coming of antichrist, he replied that there is not a precise date set. By their evil, people will determine the coming of antichrist. Now is the time of the final preparations for his arrival. Now there is a concentration of world power, and he will be the ruler of not just one country, but of the world, and mankind must become ‘savage’. But this is minor. In order to bring all of mankind to its knees, it is necessary to establish a system of life where the slightest infringement will cause catastrophic results for people—famine, cold, and destruction. And this system is being built. How this will happen, I saw later, in a few years.” The Second Vision of Elder Anthony “It was difficult to accept this in those days of seeming Soviet prosperity; I didn’t think that I would live to see the fulfillment of what I eventually did see. And so, as I have already said, the second vision was not a continuation of the first, no. In time, it was significantly later, and in content, it was much different. The first was one sort—edifying, instructive. I asked a question and received an answer. The second vision was of a different sort, or character, you might say. I did not ask anything, but I was granted from on high to see something in response to what people around me were asking. If I was able to retell the first vision with more or less exactness, the second—in principle it was impossible to retell. Fr. Alexander, I will attempt for the first time to express this to you in some kind of sequence, or in the language of worldly science, systematically. But I was granted to see how to express it in one order or in completely different order. For it was granted to me for the greater good; but for you and your parishioners it is better in a different sequence. Before this, everything that I was granted to see I used only in answers to the perplexed questions of the faithful. A few more words, not about the vision, but about the universe, in order to better understand what follows. The Lord has created everything living in one, very rigid system. The entire universe is absolutely tied with every action of its tiniest part, and for rational creatures, man, with what is not connected to the visible world—his thoughts. The actions of irrational creatures cannot inflict casualties on the universe—they are limited by internal brakes, so to speak, they kill by their instincts, and by the selfregulating traits of their nature. Man—is a different matter. He was created in the image and likeness of God. And no matter how we may argue, what is the image, and what is the likeness, what was washed away, and what wasn’t, what man possesses from birth, and what he must acquire during his lifetime, what is important here is something else— his actions in the material world, as well as his invisible traits, affect the surrounding world in which he lives, and the entire universe. God did not wipe Sodom and Gomorrah from the face of the earth, but the people were wiped away by the Providence of the Creator. I say this because all the calamities which occur with mankind and nature are not a result of God’s wrath, for we confess that He is All-good and All-merciful, and we confess truly and we confess the truth. But, they are the consequence of the alldestructive action of mankind itself, not through the constraint of the enemy, there is and cannot be any constraint. This constraint is coercion, but bought by the tricks of the devil. But now, more in particular about the vision, about what awaits everyone, unfortunately, in the near future, some of which is already happening at the present time. And so, here is what I saw concerning the future.
First of all, all possible technological catastrophies—the system of existence (way of life?) created by man, in essence, is satanic, for it absolutely opposes the Laws of God, and it will begin to fall apart. Airplanes will fall from the sky, ships will sink, nuclear plants and chemical factories will explode. And all this will happen against a background of terrible natural disasters, which will occur throughout the world, but especially in America: hurricanes of unprecedented strength, earthquakes, severe droughts, and the opposite, torrential floods. The terrible monster, the contemporary Sodom—New York will be wiped from the face of the earth. And Gomorrah—Los Angeles—will not remain without retribution. It seems that it will be hard to find a place on earth where a person will feel completely safe and at ease. The tranquility of a person will be only in hoping in God; the earth will give him no protection. The ravaging of nature threatens cities with more horrible consequences, because they are completely cut off from it. The destruction of one Babylonian tower, a contemporary home, and there are hundreds buried without repentance and Communion, hundreds of souls perish. These houses, placed on pillars, are actually arrows penetrating the earth, as if directed down to hell, and they will bring people a hellish death under the debris. And whoever remains alive will envy those who perished in an instant, for their lot will be worse—death from hunger and asphyxiation. Cities will present a horrible spectacle. Even those that escape complete destruction, losing water and electricity, heat and the supply of food, will be reminiscent of huge stone graves, so many people will die. Gangs of robbers will continually commit their crimes, and it will be dangerous to move about the cities even in the daytime, and at night people will gather in large groups in order to survive together until morning. Sunrise, unfortunately, will not bring the joy of a new day, but the sorrow of the necessity of living through that day. One shouldn’t think that peace and prosperity will reign in the village. The fields, poisoned, disfigured, brought to dust by drought, or inundated by floods, will not give the necessary harvests. There will be unprecedented plagues of livestock, and, not able to bury the animals, people will leave them to rot, which will poison the air with a horrible stench. The farmers will suffer from attacks by the people from the cities, who, in search of food, will spread out among the villages, ready to kill for a piece of bread! Yes, that piece of bread, which now does not enter their throat without spices and sauces will then be mixed with blood. Cannibalism will become common. Having accepted the mark of antichrist, mankind will lose all the restraints of morality. For the villagers also, night will be especially fearful, for that will be the time for the more brutal robberies. But they must not just survive, but also keep their property in order to work; otherwise they will be threatened with death from hunger. Also the people in the city will be hunted. It will seem like the return of the times before the Flood. But no. At that time the Word of God prevailed over the world: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ Now the very life of mankind and its essence are directed at the rejection of both Grace and Divine Providence. But this still is not the end. At the beginning of the narration I placed the result which preceded everything, and not accidentally. Very often, in fact, frequently, we do not see the forest for the trees. In the given narration, in the little sin we do not see, we do not want to see, the violation of the basic commandments of the Lord. The Lord created this world, and as the Creator, He created it in harmony with Himself. Remember His words about the new creation: ‘It is good!’ God said this. The All-sufficient and All- good, the All-mighty and All-perfect, the All-merciful Provider found the creation to be good, i.e., He found the world to be in harmony with Good, with Love for God is love. Man, the one creature able to influence the existence of the world, the crown of creation, was likewise created in the image and likeness of Good and Love. And the laws given to him by the Creator, are nothing else
than instructions for living a peaceful and happy life in the world, in harmony with it. Everything else which opposes these commandments is destructive for the world and for everything existing in it, depending on it. Everything begins with the little things, with modern clothes, teaching young boys and girls together, and not under the guide of a clergyman, but a worldly instructor. And soon that title will be lost, and there will just be—teacher! A teacher of what and to whom? How many of these teachers are there who are morally degraded, divorced, idle, and neurotic? And the others, perhaps the major part, even if they at least preserve their human image, they do not know and do not want to know the laws for living with God in the created world. What do they teach? They teach that the world is not God’s creation; they teach the laws of life in a world that is the realm belonging to the spirits under the heavens! Here is the little from which flows something horrible and big. Moral degradation. How many times Satan has tried to make it general and allencompassing, but he always was confronted with the threatening rebuke of the Church. For the spirits of darkness, what is most terrifying is rebuke. Just as a thief hides in the dark and fears the light, so also diabolic delusion is more effective and seductive when the light of truth is absent. The darkness of the prosperity of ten ‘developed’ nations has covered the world, the nations which the enemy has chosen as a buttress in the work of stupefying the whole world. The main weapon in this work—the lozenge of freedom! How much blood has been shed in all the revolutions and insurrections, socialist and pseudo- religious experiments, in political and mystical quarrels, on the altar of the demon of ‘freedom’! This is he, who raises up and casts down, a creature trying to take the place of the Creator, he is the main lover of freedom. And his freedom is not that ability given man by God to be perfect in all kinds of virtue. No, his ‘freedom’ is the heaviest burdens, whose purpose is to deprive man of the possibility of choosing between good and evil leaving him only the path to hell. This is the kind of freedom that will be achieved. It would have been all right with the Protestants, who in their time were fighting against the dictates of the Catholics, but coming to power, these same Baptists established such terror and bacchanalia that even Europe shuddered! But where are our people going?! Even though you can say that we are—an Orthodox Power. The first freedom that the demon needs, without which everything else crumbles, is freedom of religion, so called religious tolerance. The essence of this movement is to open the wide road, first of all for the youth, leading to Satan. Notice, Father, that this is a one-way road. Try to go against this movement—and they will immediately silence you. The Orthodox Church—that is what won’t let them sleep at night! The Catholics are already finished. They are ready for everything; they accept demonic civilization, ‘progress’. In supporting Zionism, in fact they are saying, ‘Yes’ to the coming of antichrist. And I saw what attempts worldwide evil is making to defile the Holy Church the pure Body of Christ! First of all, they will defame Her in all the papers, on the radio, and on the television. Jews with Slavic last names will put the clergy and the Orthodox to public ridicule in every way, they will mock the rituals the fasts, the way of life, everything that has always been the basis for the vitality for the people. Into the very Church, among the clergy, they will dispatch thousands and thousands of catholicized destroyers of Orthodoxy. Because of their false piety—their spirit is different, foreign—the people will abandon their churches. There will be restorations and construction—but they will be empty. Here and there will burn the flame of true holiness and faithfulness to the spirit of the faith of our fathers. He who wants it will find it. No one will be able to justify himself and say, ‘Lord, I searched but I couldn’t find it!’ Little flames of truth will burn throughout the whole world amid the darkness of unbelief and atheism. And the righteous clergy will
be persecuted and oppressed, subjected to every kind of abuse, and the servants of the devil will not even stop at murder, if God allows the righteous one to receive a martyr’s crown. There will be many righteous martyrs in the last times! And those of the foreign spirit will await their ruler, antichrist. But they will still have the possibility of being saved, i.e., they can recognize who he is, but power and money will close the eyes of the majority. A terrible time! And everything begins with little things— the clergy ceased to wear the clothing proper to their calling, and they shaved their beards like the Catholics and Protestants—it’s no wonder. The second ‘freedom’ which they cultivate in every way possible is the freedom of moral corruption. Unfortunately, people have already accepted it and it has become an inseparable part of contemporary life. Fornication—is not fornication, but sexual freedom (see how the enemy hides his action behind pretty, at first glance, words: it’s not fornication, but sex, not robbery, but expropriation...). Debauchery begins in the earliest years in the form of teaching the culture of the sexes and their mutual relations. They will show the children naked bodies, and this is already being done in some places, and sexual union, thereby inflaming lust, pretending that this is all normal. Books and television will be filled with naked people, horrible scenes of fornication. Contemporary clothing is even very revealing—but this is only the beginning. The aim is the extremely loathsome feasts of Astarte and Baal, where hundreds and hundreds of pagans would fornicate, stupefied by alcohol and drugs. There, to the worship of demons, is where the champions of freedom are leading mankind. Whoever is overcome by someone, is a slave to him. And people are being attracted to this slavery, wrapped up in freedom. But for the servants of darkness, natural fornication is not even enough. As a demonstration of true love of freedom and emancipation of thought, they will yield to the sin of Sodom and bestiality. Propaganda for this abomination will be unusually strong, almost as much as for ‘normal’ debauchery. Instances of single sex marriages will be given as much publicity as the discovery of antibiotics was in its day! Sodomites will appear everywhere—artists, mostly, and politicians, and economists. The sin of Sodom will become the sign of the nearest future. Already in America their wild orgies are organized in the form of annual carnivals, and we will have all this as well, in a no less disgusting display. And whoever will oppose this forced demonic display will appear as one violating another’s freedom, an ignorant buffoon, an enemy of the state, since all the governments will have as their main concern, not the protection of morality, but the protection of demonic freedoms. Precisely, demonic...even now you will not find an Orthodox article, except in the Church’s own publications. And they let the bishops on the television only on great feast days. What rubbish they write and say, and there are no opposing views, nothing with a world-view character. Freedom is good, when you can revile holiness! Everything else – is taboo. And this also started from something small, oh so long ago. With us this began with the transfer of the church-parish schools to the control of the local, worldly authorities. Atheists entered their ranks in the guise of teachers ready to prepare troops for the revolution of ’17! The youth, falling under the authority of Satan through committing sins, stupefied by alcohol and drugs, will not be able to withstand the last call to hell by the primordial slayer of mankind, and they will end their life with suicide. The number of those who take their own life will grow immeasurably. It will increase so much that it will no longer cause surprise, and will be seen as the logical conclusion of events. And even more so since the number of those with horrible sicknesses, connected with lusts and immoderation, and the poisoning of the world, will be so great, and their sufferings so terrible, society will consider suicide to be like an act of mercy. People will even urge them to do this,
with all kinds of foolish reasoning—everything aimed at the destruction of lost souls. Another frightful diabolic snare will be the inducement of people to make money, to increase their personal income. The passion of greed is destructive, like everything without moderation. And this immoderation leads to the destruction of nature; in whatever sphere this money is earned, it reverberates on everything in the surrounding world. The second part of this snare is the application, or use, of this money. Again I repeat, the created system is unusually fragile, extremely fragile. The use of the money by the people is likewise subject to this fragility. What does today’s money represent? It is a ’bluff’, a phantom, an illusion, like the ‘miracles’ of the devil. All of the technology produced is useful only with a multitude of ‘ifs’: if there is fuel, if there are spare parts, if the radiation level is not too high—you can count and count the number of electronics that are not serviceable. It is impossible to service a contemporary automobile without trained specialists! That means that if you take away one of the ‘ifs’, all you will have is a pile of useless metal. We have an example before our eyes; what is valuable now for the peasant is a horse and a cow. What is more, the greater part of money is kept either in banks or in valuable papers. They will fail, these banks will fail, in order to bring people to their knees. And they will fail in one hour; precedents of this have already been successful. Business will come to a halt as a result of natural disasters and war. And what is a man left with? With a mass of unneeded and useless things which he wasted years of his life to obtain, but whose value is directly related to the prosperity of the world. With the world in a state of catastrophe—it is dust, nothing. I remember how some women were torturing me with questions, asking whether it was a sin to have crystal and carpets in the house. They had gathered it in one house, just in case. But then what? Now just imagine, the electricity is shut off, and the gas and the heat; for what will a person trade the crystal and the carpets? For a saw, an axe and a wood stove! And who has these things? Perhaps one person in two hundred. I just spoke about things. How rationally the world was organized before the insanity of the 19-20th centuries. Clothing was made sturdy, dependable. Much effort and labor was expended on it so that it was passed down to the grandchildren. That‘s how the people valued their time! And they had enough time for everything, to work in the field, and to go to church, and on a feast day to sit around the table with the relatives. But now what? Shoes last one season, clothes—two seasons, and if they’re good, three! And there’s no time for prayer, and going to church?—I’ll pray at home. And the children — unfortunately, they grow up neglected, because the parents are out earning money. So that they don’t live worse than others. But is it living? Only a free person lives, but a captive, a servant--exists. God gave His Only-begotten Son in order to free us from servitude, from the captivity of sin and the passions, but like the Jews who left the captivity of Egypt, we complain and strain to return to captivity. Let the children perish and the family be humiliated, but give us the food on time! But this food—is actually cheese in a mousetrap. When the door closes but the cheese is still there, does the mouse realize that it is caught? Its time has come, but the cheese is there and it chews on it eagerly and happily, not knowing where the tasty meal came from! But the person who set the trap has already heard that the trap closed and the sacrifice has been caught. He can come right away and kill the sacrifice, or he can let it eat its meal. At first it seems crowded to the mouse, but then it gets used to it. Hungry? At least they didn’t kill me. But the end is obvious. I think that the mouse senses it. Yes, terrible times. Take the last war, why was it unleashed? They say: Hitler, the bellicose German people, the partitioning of Europe and the world. The communists say: imperialism and fighting of colonies. There are many versions, but that’s not right. In
actuality, it was for the possibility of the centralization of power, power over the world. Any tree is known by its fruit; no matter what the person said who sold you the sapling at the market, you know and evaluate everything when you get the fruit. You wait for it. And what were the fruits of the war—millions of Orthodox people were killed and maimed, both in our Russia and in the Balkans. The main outpost of Orthodoxy in the south-west, Serbia, falls into the hands of the Croats, the Catholics—Joseph Tito was a Croat and Croatia became the most developed of the republics. The Orthodox republics of Yugoslavia were not just forgotten, but Kosovo was settled by Moslems, like Russia and Moscow now. Another result is Israel. The propaganda is organized so that the ones who suffered the most losses during the war—were the Jews, but by no means the Slavs, or, let’s say, the French. I will return to the Balkans. The Serbs fought for Tito, the Croats were with the Germans, but in the end, who won? —the Croats. The same thing with the Jews. First, who was killed by the Germans? For the most part, these Jews were not full-blooded, some were baptized, some were lukewarm towards their faith, by no means the orthodox, and especially none of the leaders of Zionism were found within Hitler’s walls—they succeeded in leaving, for they knew what was going to happen. But persecution, with the special enlightenment of everything that was taking place, made possible the establishment of the government of Israel. They gave them a little piece of land—if you spit on it, you’ll cover it. But, as we say, ‘Sit down at the table.’ They conquered the land from the Arabs, but again, the Arabs are terrorists—but not the Jews. The third result—Europe. Nothing could make it unite like a world war. And already one can consider that it is one nation, from Turkey to Norway. Everything will be one—the government, the money, the laws. Everything was agreed to by America, so that there would be no friction when the union took place. Which of these results is more important for the Satanists? It is not for us to know. I think, and I saw, that these are all steps of one ladder, a ladder leading to the kingdom of antichrist. He will come, and here everything is already prepared, full centralization, all the people are numbered, everyone with their own number and card, and on it is everything, including opinions and world-views. And with the help of this card they will be able to check the movement of a person on top of the ground, under the ground, and under the water. Everything will be possible. Of course, he will want people to worship him voluntarily, as the world received Christ. But this will be the willingness like that of an animal being led to the slaughter. He walks by himself, but along the sides are the herdsmen with clubs. But mankind is already in the mousetrap, although there is still a little cheese left, which is why the Saviour said that hardly one believing soul would be found. We have accepted the conditions of this world, we’ve already accepted them. People have not just agreed to them, but they themselves have arranged their own system of dependence on them; and if you’ve accepted the rules of the game—then you will play the game to the end, until the Last Judgment. I’ve told you such frightening stories, that it seems, what more could there be? What is most frightening though, is not to hear it, but to see it—to see it is significantly more horrible and loathsome. I can’t tell you everything, so that the pictures of the future do not cause you to despair now. Yes, it seems that everything that exists in this world is very real, like death. But no one wants to believe in its reality, or more precisely, to compare the reality of death with illusoriness of mankind’s existence. Illusoriness not in the sense that this is all a bluff, no, with God there can be no deception, God is Truth. The illusoriness of the existence is in
its transientness, and the relation to it of man himself. As they say, all of our troubles are within us. Man relates to his transience as to eternity, discarding, for the most part, the reality of death. Speak to someone about death, or even about his own death--and you become an enemy. But what, is he going to live forever, or will I, or someone else? We simply try to not think about death, we try to avoid it like an ostrich—who hides his head in the sand, and it seems that there is no danger! Look how many saints put a coffin in their cell—what for? In order to remember death, and this, as Holy Tradition says, is the pledge of salvation. What people they were, real men, sons of God, and they kept before their eyes the constant reminder of death—a coffin! Both for themselves and for us sinners especially, people of the last times, for everything is pulling us to eternal life on earth. We’ve already managed to deceive ourselves, even if only a little, that we will procure the elixir of eternal youth. Just as they hang a carrot in front of a donkey so that it will run after it and not stop along the road, so also Satan deceives mankind with the carrot of an eternal, sinful life on earth. He says: why practice spiritual activity, prayer and fasting, or even loving your neighbor. Either believe that after the coffin there’s only the damp earth in which you will rot, and that the coffin will turn into dust, or that there are already the means for rejuvenation, for prolonging life and putting off old age, in general, whatever you want. And if you’re too squeamish, but you want to live—we’ll freeze you! When we thaw you out, everything will have been revealed, and you will live forever! They are the ravings of a mad man, but they believe it, the poor people believe it. Yes, on earth you can unite with eternity, and with your eyes be convinced of the reality of real eternity, not the satanic mirage. Apostle Paul, St. Seraphim of Sarov and how many other righteous ones were granted to see the beauty of Paradise! Also, how many more saints shone with the uncreated light of Mt. Tabor. Just the very appearance of people of God compared to people of Satan, is this not a pledge of reality? How then is one saved in this terrible, ruinous time? There are some theoreticians who say that a person cannot save himself. If God wants to, He will save him; if not, then it’s impossible. And this is independent of the labors of the person himself. This is just Calvinism, to say that a person is striving for salvation but it is impossible for him to be saved. Sin, my brother, as much as your soul wants— whether you like it or not, this doesn’t depend on you. But no, it is not like that at all. Yes, without God’s help no one can be saved. The Saviour Himself said this to His disciples, so we needn’t rack our brains over this. But the help of the Lord is joined to a person’s zeal for labors and strivings. The great Hierarch John Chrysostom said that you bring all of what you have, and God will make up for whatever is lacking! And even if there is no zeal, for we are saved through sorrows and illnesses. And moderation, moderation in everything. Materialism, and consumerism, this is the terrible diabolic bridle on people. Everything is produced in order to be acquired, and there is no limit to it. I began my narration with my first vision, how people were disappearing into hell, and what was dragging them there. So, is it forbidden to have cars or houses or furniture? A few years ago two Russian families who fled from Georgia came to me asking for prayers. I was struck by their escape, and how they accomplished it. It was already impossible to leave, trying to do everything legally. They complied with all the formalities so that they could take all their belongings with them. They registered their departure, as was required, and their cars and I don’t know what else were at the border, but on their way there they were robbed and almost killed. My visitors reasoned quite wisely: ‘God gave, God took away, at least we survived, the rest will come.’ They fled only with what
they had in the cars, their warm clothes which were in the trunk. So, the Lord provided for them and gave them a home here, and they were able to register their cars, and everything worked out. So, in relation to things, one person saves them, not even thinking of his own safety...what for, he’s been collecting them his whole life. For someone else, they are just the means, not the end itself. Therefore, a person with such a relation to things will not collect things for ‘prestige’. Just as long as he is comfortable. That is the right approach, especially in our times. Do not get them because everyone else has them. This is not allowed. Only what is absolutely necessary, and not the most expensive, but simple and reliable. This especially applies to clothes, and warm, winter clothes. There is one principle —good quality, and as natural and as warm as possible. You must be very careful with electronics, with electronic devices. From seeming friends, in an instant they turn into cruel enemies: any receiver can be a transmitter at the same time. I have conversed with knowledgeable people about this more than once. This especially concerns the television; there are many battles being waged around this ‘miracle’ of civilization. I think the question is not just about the television itself, but about its use. A person in our time has, on one hand, an overabundance of association with people, but on the other hand, as strange as it may seem, he has a great lack of it. This is why— the associations that a person makes these days are made in a hurry. The association occurs either at work, or on the road, when the person is not in a peaceful frame of mind—either he’s upset, or he’s tired. The proper conditions are lacking for associations in a peaceful atmosphere. The person today has an enormous amount of extra time; and I didn’t misspeak, calling it extra, for it is free, and therefore extra. And so it is with everything: with food, with clothes, with living accommodations. Having extra things everywhere is very dangerous for the soul. But there is particular danger in extra time, for the very existence of extra time testifies to the absence of spiritual life, which is a sure castration of one’s way of life. But look, at the expense of what is this extra time? No, work will not be resigned to last place. Of course, I do not want to discuss the completely fallen people— alcoholics, and drug addicts. Although it is a related topic, it is a little different. For a person in contemporary society, work is most important. What is more, even believers are busy working in the garden in the springtime, regardless of whether it is Sunday, or Passion Week or Bright Week-- it’s all the same—a kind of boorishness. That means that hear there is no extra, free time. Instead, everyone moans that there is not enough of it. But there actually is free time, and there’s a lot of it, but where does it come from?! It is that time that should be spent on spiritual work, whether it is prayer, or reading spiritual literature, and also beneficial relationships, soul-profiting. This time is wasted on entertainment, and that’s all. Satan has gotten man to arrange his entire lifestyle so that there is completely no quiet time, time for contemplating the past day, week, or month. Everything is occupied with entertainment. And in this system of entertainment, television is given the privileged place of honor. The lion’s share of free time is ‘eaten up’ by it, that idol of contemporary civilization. I would call it a cruel despot and tyrant, to whom the greater part of mankind is subject, in a servitude never before witnessed in the world. For slaves feel their lower position because they have been brought to it by force. But here the servitude is voluntary, even pleasant at first glance. Just the bitter fruits of worldliness, cruelty, and depravity demonstrate that, as in any kind of slavery, only the master benefits. And the horns of the master even poke out of the screen. Therefore, in this system of preparing people for the coming of antichrist, the television has been
given the not just the role of consuming free time, its destructive role is far greater. A person watches the news, even the Orthodox news, and it seems to him to be something necessary and useful, at any rate, not harmful. But the actual news occupies only a small portion of the time. The rest is an analysis of what happened, that is, a view of what happened which must be formed by those watching. And the view of the customers is that which is given by those who control the given information—it’s not necessary to name them, since everything is clear. From this, from the hypnotic effect of the television program, a person loses his ability of thinking for himself, of thoughtfully perceiving the events that are happening, and finally, of forming his own world-view. We began speaking about the decline in relationships between people today. The root of this decline lies namely in the absence of individual thought and consideration of what has happened, corresponding to a personal world-view. And this, by no means, is a justification for the search of today’s ‘individual’, no. I said this, because there was always someone in the kitchen with my mother. In the evening, after supper, a large samovar was prepared, and everyone, whoever might be spending the night, settled down to drink tea. A conversation started. It was so interesting! These stories of the simple people were so edifying. My father laughed at our love of spending the evening in the kitchen, considering that there was nothing for an educated person to gain from semi-illiterate people. But, having spent a couple of evenings with us, he changed his opinion. The people who gathered were all Orthodox and they knew the world, but not by watching television. They spoke about events from life, of which they were witnesses, or what they had heard from witnesses. In everything they looked for something edifying, the results of what had occurred, and how Divine Providence had taken part in it, as well as the free will of the person. In these discussions there appeared a great variety of thoughts and distinct world- views. People then were able to not just hear, but to listen, and in general, they much preferred to listen than to speak. Although, I repeat, each of those present had something to say. I digress, but it’s interesting that these simple people, at a time of seeming prosperity and contentment in the empire, already saw the approaching catastrophe. And this was not so much as a result of their associating with the Elders of Optina or Kiev, or from the sermons of the righteous John of Kronstadt, as it was a result of their ability to observe what was happening and draw conclusions, based not on an abundance of material available, but on the preservation of spirituality by society. It was namely the lack of faith, not simply faith in the existence of God, but faith as the fulfillment of Christ’s commandments, which led these people to think that the coming disaster was inevitable. I will return again to this ‘kitchen’ gathering, but now, concerning our life. Yes, contemporary gatherings on that level are simply not possible. The thing is, that even when people have gathered together at one table, their relation to the Faith is varied. As the wise David said, ‘The foolish has said in his heart, there is no God!’ Just the rejection of the existence of God is both insanity and a sure path to insanity. And this is not the madness of those pagans that were enlightened by the Apostles and Holy Fathers of the first centuries of Christianity. Concerning the pagans of today, the Apostle said: ‘For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.’ What kind of normal gathering is possible under these conditions?! People love to talk, but not listen, to teach, but not to learn. What unites all of these people around one table? Intoxicants— spirits, and plenty of food, that is, what is on the table, not who is at the table. Nothing soul-profiting can come out of such an environment, for as the saints taught, you do not speak about God with a full stomach—and even more so, with a drunken head! There is one more terrible evil from the television, but unfortunately, it’s far from the last.
This evil is the undermining of the authority of the Church. It is planned and diabolically cunning. It is in everything—in mocking the clergy, the Orthodox rituals, in placing the occult, paganism, in opposition to Christianity, in everything. Everything is saturated with hatred for the Truth. Not much time will pass before they will openly mock Christianity and holy things on television. Broadcasts concerning the Theotokos will be especially permeated with hatred; from everything will flow the poison of diabolic evil. Only it will be under the veil of humor, comedy. ‘Laughing hell’ will take the work of ridiculing everything Divine, and spiritual, all the way to the end. And the end will be in the one who appears and tries to take the place of God. And he will enter immediately into every home. How can a person enter every home at the same time?! We say that that is one of the qualities of God—being everywhere present—even the angels move about and exist in time. But the Church teaches that antichrist will enter immediately into every home; this seems to be a contradiction. But no, the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is the vessel of truth, of Divine truth. In imitation of being everywhere present, antichrist will enter into every home simultaneously with the help of the television. Everyone will receive him into his house, and he’ll receive him voluntarily! And he’ll receive him, he’ll receive him, for he will want to be prepared for this, prepared properly, because he didn’t heed the instructions of the Good Pastor to flee to the desert, it doesn’t appeal to him—it’s boring and dry in the desert!” “Fr. Anthony, and where is it now, this desert?!”—I couldn’t restrain myself. “Most esteemed father, you are not slow-witted, but the plastering of your church is taking more of your time than it should, otherwise you wouldn’t have asked that question. But forgive an old man! You are impressed by the externals, but what is inside doesn’t sadden you. One temple not made by hands in the human soul is worth ten stone temples! Unfortunately, Catholicism was imported during the time of the accursed Peter, and especially during the Unia, so that now we judge everything by the externals, such as crosses and miters. Take and read the writings of the Hieromartyr Archbishop Hilarion Troitsky, he was a wise hierarch. I have saved excerpts from his speeches. The main thing in the desert is the monotony, there’s nothing to catch your eye, everything’s the same. The devil creates a mirage, as if there is vegetation, water, gold finally; but you must turn to Christ, as the holy desert-dwellers wrote, pray, cross yourself—and everything disappears. And so today you must strive for such a state of soul, so that your eye is not caught by anything. So that everything around you is the desert...but if you see something that is tempting—pray, cross yourself, confess. Condemn yourself that you saw a temptation in the desert, which means you wanted to see it, more precisely, you were disposed to seeing it. What, you’re surprised? Here, I’ll give this example. A person goes to the forest to collect mushrooms. There are many poisonous mushrooms there but he doesn’t even notice them, no. There is only one good type worth looking for—he sees it from afar, he notices it right away. He’s a good mushroom collector and his basket will be full. But the bad mushroom collector—he sees only poisonous mushrooms, even when he actually notices a huge good one! And in his basket there’s nothing to look at. The good mushroom collector saw the poisonous ones—he saw, but he paid them no attention, they did not catch his eye. And then he will talk about and remember the good ones, his soul —will glow. So it is with sin. A person sees only sin and sinners around him, his attention is directed at this. One way or another he will allow what he sees to pass into his mind, and he becomes a participant in the sin. But pay no attention to all this lawlessness, burn your own faults into ashes, do battle with them and be displeased with them—and there is no
defilement. There is your desert. But, the first time you notice—you’re displeased, the second time—you already show an interest in what those people are doing. But the third time—you already want to try it! That’s the way it is, and that’s why it says to flee to the desert. But on the other hand, you should understand this literally also, since antichrist will not be allowed to gain full and absolute control over us, and I saw in the West those hidden from his horned servants—the Lord will not permit it. Of course, whoever wants salvation, and for its sake abandons the comfort and convenience of the city and goes off to a deserted place, will be very safe. But people will comfort themselves with the possibility of salvation everywhere until the Second Coming. Soon they will assign everyone a number, in order to give antichrist an account, and then they will introduce special card-passports—and here it is serious—it will be possible to determine the position of every person. Can one avoid all of this? Yes, only you can’t trade, or buy, or obtain housing, etc. And people will go to get these numbers and passports, even those who consider themselves to be Orthodox, and they will stand in line for them. And what, do Holy Scripture and Tradition speak of anything else?! There is your desert. The people trusted in God, and they received food from angels, or they were satisfied with so little that today many people consider it to be a fairy tale—contrary to reason! O that reason! One cuts bread with a knife, while another uses it to deprive a person of his life. But reason, reason, it’s a cunning thing. There is no sort of baseness or filthiness that reason cannot justify, cannot find an excuse why it was impossible to do otherwise. It will justify both personal numbers and passports and...666! They will practically be putting numbers on lifeless bodies. And they will not bring people to a state of insensitivity, no, absolutely not. Everyone will understand, but reason will find a justification for it, it must find it, but a person, already inwardly prepared for betrayal, will comfort himself with arguments of reason. ‘It is hard on me, a hundred-year-old man,’ it will say, but there will be such preparation and such readiness that, believe me, there will be no talk about lofty topics. How can you say, love your Lord! They will betray themselves, their wife and children their own flesh. The Apostle of Love rebuked those who trusted in their own love for God but hated their neighbor, saying: ’for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen.’ (I John 4:20) And here, by ‘neighbor’ we mean not blood relatives, as much as those people who are near us. But the traitor of the last days is the traitor of his own relatives, ready to gobble up and destroy everything for the sake of a moment of earthly life, not wanting to come to his senses and understand that, first of all, he is betraying himself, and not into the hands of worldly despots, but into eternal torment in the nether regions. He betrays—and he hands over. He is born, and baptized, and for the time being he is in God’s hands. But he has a free will and an understanding of what is good, and what is evil, and he consciously hands himself over, and goes from being a son of Love to a slave to evil! How horrible it is there! Just think, my dear holy father, the Mother of God was afraid of the passage, just the passage(!) from earthly life to eternal life because of the possible (for Her it was possible, for us it is compulsory!) meeting with the servants of darkness! But people are rejecting Thee, o God, handing themselves over to Thy enemy for all eternity!!!” The Elder settled back on the pillow and became silent. From his closed eyes flowed large teardrops—one, two, three... His lips silently whispered words of prayer. “Do you think,” he continued in a few minutes, ”that it was so simple for the wonderworker of Sarov, who had been translated to the mansions of Paradise, to be ready himself to go to hell just so that others might be saved?! No, that is the highest level of love, the uniting of perfections, or if you will, the vision of God and the knowledge of God. God gave His own Son as a Sacrifice for our sins, for the sins of all mankind.
The Apostle Paul offered himself as a sacrifice for the Jewish people; St. Seraphim offered himself for the Christians from among the nations. They and thousands of others who traveled the path of acquiring perfection, the path of imitating God, were ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the lost sheep. They did not just read, but they understood that ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His Only-begotten Son.’ (John 3:16)” “Fr. Anthony,” I asked, “will there be a war?” The Elder smiled sorrowfully: ”O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you?! Remember something like that, batushka? And where am I leading the conversation, Fr. Alexander? Yes, war has been going on since the creation of the world, and it will last until the Second Coming of Christ the Redeemer! There will be—but the war will not be waged by people, if that is important, and more precisely, it will be a result and not a cause. The cause is in spirituality, in the striving of the spirit. Look at Constantinople, in the siege by the pagans, our forefathers the Slavs. Among the besieged people, with all their sinfulness, there was preserved the realization, the understanding, whatever you want to call it, that their sins were the cause of all their misfortunes. God is with us, as long as we are with Him. The Greeks turned away from sin, they fasted, they prayed, and the Lord performed such a miracle. When the clothing of the Mother of God was dipped in the sea, a storm arose and the ships of the pagans were capsized. How wondrous are the works of the Lord. This is confirmed by the fact that after this miracle the greater part of the Slavs received Baptism. There is your war. Everyone must wage this war with his own sins. And the successes in earthly life will depend on the success of that battle on the spiritual front. The last times. As soon as the Evangelist begins to speak about them, immediately there vanishes, I would say, a certain meticulousness of the narration. Look how the Scriptures are full of little details, such exactness of expression so that it is understandable people wrote them who were guided by the Holy Spirit. It is much different when they talk about the times before the Second Coming of Christ. What do the Evangelists write about?—they speak about the spiritual impoverishment of the people. This impoverishment is still difficult to name, this is kind of a demonization of mankind. For they, the fallen spirits, are the carriers of all the passions: pride, drunkenness, fornication, greed, love of power, and atheism—and as a result of these: earthly disasters, earthquakes, horrible appearances in the sky, unprecedented sicknesses, wars, etc. It is namely the elimination of spirituality that leads to the destruction of everything earthly. The Saviour Himself said that no one but the Father knows the day and the hour of the end of time; you must be watchful, so as not to be caught unaware, like the bad householder with the coming of the thief. There are not even any hints in Scripture of a number, or an allotted period of time, so that one could count. But man always tries to penetrate the ways of the Lord. There have been so many attempts—but all fruitless! The coming of the end will be unexpected. And here arises what seems to be a contradiction—the Gospel has been preached to all creatures, and we know that this is one of the signs of the end of the world, but the sound of the Archangel’s trumpet—will be unexpected. But there’s nothing here to be amazed at, and there’s no contradiction here. The Jews waited thousands of years for the coming of the Messiah into the world, as they learned in the Testament, in the prophecies; and the Saviour came—and there was not found a place in the inn for the God-child! Later, they are the first to hear the Holy Gospel from the mouth of God Himself, and what— there would be ‘Hosanna,’ but within a few days, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’ This Gospel was not convenient for them; it disturbed their peace, their normal way of life.
The teaching of man, the teaching of their elders was simpler and more understandable, and they followed that. According to it they now continue to await the coming of the messiah as the king of kings, who will make the Jewish people rulers over all of mankind. They will get him. They will get the antichrist. Likewise, now, everyone listens to the words of the Gospel, or more precisely, they hear them. But they don’t listen. They do not listen to the teachings of the Church, the Ark of salvation in the last times, but they will seek after the teachings of man, they will reject the truth, but will revel in myths, as the Apostle warned. It will be unpleasant for them; it will disturb their way of life, founded on the gratification of the passions. But the Church, which has given them the Holy Writ, they will mindlessly revile and abuse. And the sins of unworthy clergymen they will attribute to vices of the Church. It disturbs them. For the Church is a vessel filled with the Holy Spirit, but It—is a Denouncing Spirit! It denounces the world to the world. Not that world created by God, the world primordially pure in nature and spirit, but a world carried away by sin. A world warped by lust, a dying world trying to make as many people as possible participants in its destruction, resulting in the destruction of their souls. Just as a whirlpool, after the destruction of a ship, grabs everything small in its terrible embrace, so also now the destruction of the world, as the realm of the evil spirits of the air, will drag many, many lives to destruction. The difference here is an essential difference—these lives were already given over to sin and its father, the devil. I have not seen a person, having the desire to be saved and going on this path, the path of salvation, who has not been granted, as much as possible, that quiet harbor. But there is only one harbor—Christ! As the Apostle said, to him life was Christ and death—Christ. That is it— the quiet harbor. Burdens and sufferings are for the person whose earthly life is the core of his existence. It is surely a clear illustration of what does not exist, but if it does exist, it is only very briefly. It seems I was talking about death. It’s not worth repeating, but still—that’s what exists! Out of everything earthly, it is the greatest reality! And again there is the question: how is it that the Lord God, the Existing One, Jehovah, determines that death is the greatest reality in the created world, i.e. non existence. Death is the rejection of the Existing One, the rejection of Divine Providence; death is not existing. The Lord did not create death; it is not possible that Life created death, that Love gave birth to evil. Death is in the non acceptance of life, in the actions opposing Love, for God is Love, as the Apostle said. That is why there is death, and hell with its everlasting torments, and evil—this is not a natural phenomenon, i.e. it is not something proper to the world created by God. Otherwise one would have to say that the Creator— He is the Creator of good, and evil. No, evil is the antivalue of love, the opposite of it. Hell—antiparadise, its antipode, and correspondingly, death—antilife, that is, action against life! What is ‘Satan’? The opposer! So any opposition to the Divine order is Satanism, and correspondingly, death and torment, for grace and life are only in God. The final enticer of human souls to destruction does not have his own name, for such evil it is simply not possible. Therefore he—antichrist, anti Christ, the opposer of Christ— all of his actions, on one hand, are aimed at imitating Christ. First of all, the people will be enticed to him voluntarily, not by force, although the ‘anti’ will be present there. On the other hand, his actions will be in complete opposition to the way of Christ. The way of Christ on earth is the way of the cross, but it is sweet and rewarding in heaven, in the dwellings of the King of Glory. The stinking way of antichrist is not even sweet on earth, and its end—is in hell! This says it all, but everyone will choose what he wants. But many will want to be enticed by the deception of his false miracles. It is not antichrist, but the people themselves who agreed to accept on themselves the mark of Satan, the mark of opposition to God, who will expose those who do not accept it, and send them to torments. The first Christians accepted torment in view of everyone, at gatherings of
people. The sufferings of the confessors of the last times will be terrible. They will have to endure their torments in secret. People will torture them who have been taught by evil spirits. One more evil committed by the directors of television—accustoming people to the appearance of demons! This training is already in progress, monsters are looking at people from all directions. Now they are calling them aliens from another planet, but they are demons. Time will pass and they will be appearing openly to people, being in service to antichrist and his lackeys. Then it will be very difficult to fight against them! And during all this time there will be a famine. The famine will be twofold—both a famine of food, and most importantly, a spiritual famine. There will be several bad harvest years, droughts, and all of this will lead to a terrible famine. But this is not the fundamental cause—people have become accustomed to consuming considerably more food than is required for sustaining life, much, much more. A few lentils and the moisture from dew were enough for St. Mary of Egypt to live, and endure the cold of the desert. St. Seraphim, the wonder-worker of Sarov, was nourished by sneet, an herb, and everyday he was occupied with heavy, physical labor. They were nourished by Grace. And were they the only ones?! In rejecting the corruptible, they were united with Life, and even their bodies remained incorruptible, contrary to the law of death, introduced into nature by sin. With people of the last days, the opposite will take place; one of their idols will be—food. They will eat not when the need is felt, but because it is there, it is there. Does the contemporary person in general know the real feeling of hunger? Why else would he have so many seasonings, spices, and recipes for preparing foods? Surely their purpose is to stimulate the desire to eat what has been prepared. For someone who really needs food for maintaining his strength, a piece of bread and a swallow of plain water is completely sufficient. And strong drinks which dull the feeling of satiety? All this is a repetition of pagan orgies. But we forget that, by being subject to death, we are betrothed to it and become its hostages. Right now the fattening up of mankind is taking place, precisely the fattening up. Just as the farmer fattens up the livestock or the bird for death, for slaughter, so also mankind is being prepared for death, mainly, spiritual. The only difference is that the animal does not have a free will and reasoning, but man is destroying the natural limits by choosing to do those things which transgress them. Man has a free will and reasoning; no one can force him, and everything happens voluntarily. Here is Life, and here— death. Here is the Church—the Truth, for it is the Body of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and here —the feast of death, the all-evil laws and temptations of the world. Each person will voluntarily choose between them. Many will remember the present days at the Last Judgment with terrible bitterness and repentance, because they did not use them for acquiring the Holy Spirit. They did not hearken to the calls of the Church to drink from the rivers of living water, of Divine Grace. They did not want to acquire the habit of fasting and prayer, good deeds and spiritual activity. They sought death, and death they received. That’s why it is said: ‘No man living shall be justified.’ But it will not be a trial according to human understanding— with a prosecutor and a defense, with the last word given to the accused. The works and thoughts of man himself will either condemn or justify him. Whatever a person has chosen in this vale of sorrow and wandering, whatever he sought after and desired, that he will receive. Whoever has chosen Life—will receive eternal life and blessedness; but to whomever death is sweeter—hell with its eternal torments. And as the Holy Fathers teach, the chief torment will be not a frying pan, but the absence of God! Now, whether we want it or not, we are supported by the action of His Providence, and one way or the other, we are filled with His Grace, even if through the Word spoken at the creation of the world to the plants and animals, to man himself and to the world itself. Without Divine
Providence the world could not exist for an instant. The last times are the last times because the actions of mankind, captivated by the mirages of the devil, will be directed at rejecting the Divine Providence for the world. And here it becomes understandable how important it is to acquire the Holy Spirit now, for only in this is the pledge of salvation. Scripture precisely names the length of the reign of antichrist—three and a half years. It appears that these three years will be enough so that hardly one believing soul will remain, the battle will be so terrible, and people will be so poorly prepared for it. We are not watchful, we are weak, everything is put off until later. Later—fasting, later — prayer, later—zeal for receiving the Holy Mysteries, later—humility, later—good deeds. But on the other hand, food, yes and a lot of it—right now, a house—this minute, a car—very much desired. But the world is crashing down and this illusion of dust will disappear and be proven to be poor as a church mouse. Antichrist will come as a redeemer from socialist disasters, although it was namely for this that they were introduced. This offspring of hell will have immeasurable power and authority. The people preparing for his arrival already now hold in their hands the principle riches of the earth. The mirage of today’s prosperity will go faster than spring waters. Let’s recall one of the trial runs conducted with people in the Soviet Union—one day and everything was gone. Whoever trusted the banks became impoverished. They saved up for years, one at the expense of his life, another at the expense of his health; it seemed to be their whole life. But it turned out to be a mirage. Now it will be worse, the whole world will be under attack. Everything will be carried out through the government, and therefore one must have as little contact with it as possible. No banking or credit accounts; all this will be controlled by one hand and one head. At closer inspection it turns out that the hand is not a hand, but a sharp-clawed paw, and the head is not just a head, but it has horns. Instead of a face it has the snout of a wild animal, with horrible bared teeth. That is why they are now getting everyone accustomed to banks—for wages, go to the bank, for the pension—to the bank. Soon they will drive everyone together into one stall. It will be a great surprise for people when it turns out that the last penny in their purse has vanished, as it is already happening in the West. Unfortunately, this will not be the last surprise. That whole framework of well-being, constructed by contemporary man will turn out to be a steel trap for himself. But not just a trap... in a trap there’s a spring, and if you press it—he’s free. Even trapped animals manage to do it sometimes. This will not be like that. And a demon will urge people with little or no faith to take their own lives. It is horrible how they will perform funerals for them and place them in the ground—(the priest) writes that at the moment of suicide the person was out of his mind, so it’s alright to do it. What kind of judgment will there be of such a one, when any sort of service for forgiveness or punishment can be performed on earth?! This is something like Catholic indulgences—he paid for it, so he’s forgiven. And then for another it seems less frightening—‘For the previous one they sang: “With the saints give rest,” and he was forgiven. What’s stopping me?!’ Many, many people will go to hell accompanied by such singing, ending their life by suicide depriving themselves of the slightest chance to struggle for eternal life, for life in Life. I saw a row of graves. On earth the people weep and mourn, and they sing for their repose, but around them the demons dance, satisfied—they destroyed as many souls as they could! And the living will envy the dead. Yes, the horror of sickness and war, the death of dear ones; one must have great faith and trust in God in order to endure all of this. How will the proud or the greedy person endure humiliation? Only yesterday he himself cried out: ‘If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?’ Only yesterday his self-satisfaction was overflowing, but today—he’s nobody. But he’ll go for everything, the codes, the ‘666’,
and he’ll sign an agreement with Satan in blood. But for him that isn’t even necessary! He will be pulled up, and he’ll hop about, and there he’ll look, and there’s a noose around his neck—he’s ours! Bearing humiliation with humility during the days of imagined prosperity will be the bridge leading through the three and a half years of the reign of antichrist. Against whom will be aimed the entire sting of the enemy’s temptations?—against believers. Not having been able to tempt them with comfort and gold, with fine foods and cars, as we are experiencing now, under the threat of death by hunger, he will tempt them with a piece of bread. Difficult, it will be oh so difficult to preserve your soul when your dear ones, your children haven’t tasted of food for so long. Only one who believes in God, and believes God, will manage to refrain from the irreversible. Will antichrist give anything to the people? Of course not, there will be nothing for him to give! What will he have besides the riches he gathered, but those riches were valued in that world which was organized by the devil; now he himself has destroyed it for the sake of facilitating the reign of the false messiah! These notorious dollars will be worthless. Gold will obtain its true value—nothing, like metal—useless. You can’t eat it and it won’t protect you from the cold. Only things that are functional will have worth, things that a person cannot live without—axes, saws, any instrument, and cast iron stoves.” The Elder closed his eyes, and again tears rolled down his face. It seemed that he was sleeping, but his lips as usual were moving in prayer. I didn’t know what to do: it would be a sin to interrupt the prayer, but on his face was clearly the weariness of a righteous person. “Batushka,” I began hesitantly, “perhaps it would be better for me to come tomorrow?” “My dear Fr. Alexander, do you know what will happen the next second, much less the next day?! Ach, youth, youth, scheduling everything, deciding everything now. Less of your own, less vanity, but listen more to God. Ask not for the fulfillment of your own desires, but for the revealing of His Holy will. And you won’t come tomorrow and there’s no need to try. It is better for you to come in two days, but don’t put it off any longer. God be with you, Father!” Only when I stepped out onto the street did I realize that the day was almost gone. And like in one second! Only the good-bye wasn’t in the same tone as the rest of the meeting—why couldn’t we meet tomorrow? The Elder is probably tired, I thought. What a surprise it was when I returned home and learned that the bishop was arriving the next day. In general the matter was ordinary, but what a coincidence! How to be Saved. The assignment of Vladika required me to leave the city. I was not able to leave until the second day, and then I went to Vladika to give an account of the affair. In short, by the third day I did not feel like sitting behind the wheel and driving somewhere, even to Fr. Anthony. I was even thinking of excuses in justifying myself before him, but I couldn’t get the words out of my head: “Don’t put it off any longer!” Okay, I’ll go. The woman who met me was obviously anxious about something. To my silent question with my eyes she answered: “Batushka has fallen ill, but he’s waiting for you.” O Lord, and how could I have doubted—to go or not to go! The Elder was barely able to raise himself up a little. However his face was amazingly peaceful and pleasant “Listen, holy father, to what I will say. Without fail you will write something about me, a sinner. That is why I am having this conversation with you. This will happen either now or later; change the name and not a word about the place of my burial. I have already given orders where to dig the grave. “Batushka, isn’t it a little early to talk about that...”
“Fr. Alexander, don’t waste time to no purpose. I haven’t much time left. Listen and remember, maybe something will be helpful for salvation. The arrival of antichrist is at the door.—there is chaos in the life of almost all nations. They will flourish who are in power in the main religions, who await a false messiah. Mainly, this is the Jews and the Moslems. After them are the protestants, who, rejecting the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, preach a kingdom of God on earth. The strengthening of their influence is already visible now, later it will be trivial. The main thing for them now—is to rule the world. Everything will secretly be bought up—the forests, the fields, and the rivers. Siberia will fall to the Chinese, and maybe they’ll tear away more.” “So, then, where is the best place to be saved?” I interrupted the Elder. “Wherever the Lord will indicate. What is important—is to be saved, but not to have conversations about salvation. The essence of the ‘miracles’ of antichrist will be in their seductiveness. That is, these false miracles will be attractive, bewitching. Therefore to even look at them is a sin, and mortally dangerous. You must hide and cover your eyes. But that’s not all. The point of his coming is absolute justice. The Saviour came not in His Own Name, but in the Name of the Father—and they did not accept Him, but even crucified Him. And even now they revile Him and crucify Him, denying His Divinity and distorting His teaching. This other one will come—as God, not God, but as God, and him they will accept, and they will acknowledge as God because of his false miracles, his deceptive actions. That is, because they will be pleasing and attractive to people. That is why it is said that no man living will be justified—for this there will be no justification. Now it seems like the verbosity of a pseudo- teacher. Then, when their actions and words are compared to the truth, all of their falsity will be evident. But they will accept antichrist in every church on earth, and they will worship him as God. Think of it, honorable father, he will not present himself as God, but with his false miracles he will get them to worship him as God! That is what is so horrible. That is why there is not the tiniest cause for justification! And who will be the ones who receive him?—people for whom the Gospel now ends with the Mystical Supper. Concerning Golgotha they are deaf. The sufferings on the Cross—they were for Him, that was all there—in Jerusalem, 2000 years ago. You know, when the Cheka rounded us up, we were like sheep, I don’t want to say lambs so as not to compare us to the Saviour. We quietly went to the slaughter; it was simply difficult to imagine that such lawlessness was possible. But if we had known who they were. How much the elders had prophesied about those times, about the authority of the servants of darkness. But we sat and waited— who’s next? Many people fell into those snares of flattery. How great and brilliant were Archbishop Hilarion, my teacher, and Metropolitan Sergei, and many others, but they were mistaken in thinking that you can converse with demons and their servants. They thought that by preserving the externals, the contents would automatically remain. Ah, no, but this only became evident much later. It is the same thing now, but it will increase in time.” “Forgive me, Fr. Anthony, but what about the words of the Apostle concerning the authorities, and being in subjection to them?”—again I interrupted him. “Eeekh, my dear,” the Elder wheezed, “But didn’t the Apostle Peter flee from Rome, When the Saviour met him? And the same Apostle Paul, didn’t they save him by lowering him down the wall in a basket? Isn’t this the acceptance of reality and opposition to Satanism? To give you examples—take the Great-martyr Catherine, or the Great-martyr George. Subjection is possible only in matters of worldly authority—fulfill your duties, but don’t create an armed rebellion. The Maccabeen brothers are a good example of the use of force against those who offend God and what is God’s. Go the path of blind humility and you will start raising questions about the glorification of
Alexander Nevsky the victorious, or Dimitry, who conquered the impious Tatars on the field of Kulikova. Questions and more questions, but—the Lord glorified them! When I hear such questions about ‘blessedness’ [a lower rank of sanctity], I remember the life of St. Basil the Great and St. Job, the Wonder-worker of Pochaev. What horrible times the Lord gave them to live in, but didn’t St. Basil pray for the death of Emperor Julian?! Yes, I see that you want to say that Julian was an apostate, but he also was the emperor, and the lawful emperor, mind you! Do not our prayers for the satanic ‘authorities’ stem from our desire to be comfortable?! And you see, the Lord confirmed the correctness of St. Basil’s action—Julian was killed not by an earthly weapon, but he was pierced by a spear of a heavenly warrior. And St. Job, did he enter into discussions with the Poles? No, he fought with them and their lackeys in every way. The righteous man did not even avoid courts of law! And you— authorities! The work of God must be done with intelligence. If in the relations with the authorities, between the head and the subordinate, there was only the absolute power of the one, and the profound humility of the other, there would be no need of the Catholicity (Sobornost) of the Church. But if there were no Catholicity, the Church would no longer be Orthodox—how many times the guardians of the truth turned out to be alone, while the higher Church authorities–were heretics?! But why speak of worldly authorities— Metropolitan Phillip and Patriarch Nikon are shining examples. And these righteous men were glorified with the saints: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Joseph of Volotsk, just to name some. But here one must remember that the Holy Fathers, while fighting for the purity of the faith, were themselves zealous in fulfilling the commandments of God. Humble (blind) subjection to any authority is convenient for someone who does not want to live according to the Word. For on the path of confessing the faith, even if it is somewhere lined with roses, after ‘Hosanna’, they will invariably cry out, ‘Crucify him, crucify him.’ This discomfort will be a cause for self-justification and acceptance of antichrist—the knowledge is there, but the reasoning is wiped away by sins. He will say that every authority is from God, we will submit to antichrist, what else can we do? And he will also add—God’s will is in everything. Therefore it is said that the impious one will sit in every church; there will no mention of who conducted the services before. Remember the example of the great elder, the wonder-worker of Sarov, how many icons he had—one, and books— tens of them, and he attained great glory, and not from people but from God. Now, everyone has iconostases in their homes and shelves full of books, but they do not occupy themselves intelligently! Everyone listens, but hardly anyone pays attention, father.” “Yes,” I thought, “I’m also guilty; what joy my library of 1500 books gives me!” “Again I say to you, now you need to be working for your salvation, not talking about it, then will be too late. Time to justify oneself has passed, if it ever existed. Only salvation—everything must be subordinate to it. The Lord has granted a peaceful time for acquiring understanding, and for hearing the word of God, and most importantly, for the possibility of acquiring Divine Grace before those terrible years. One person will use this for good, while another for indulging his passions. The former will find what he seeks, while the latter will squander what he has! As it is said, to him who has will be added, but from him who has not—it will be taken away. Be watchful!”