Several years ago on my personal blog I posted an article entitled Elder Antony. Who is he? Is his meeting with Sensei true or fictional?, where I mentioned how a friend of mine discovered interesting coincidences in descriptions of the elder’s appearance in Birds and a Stone book by Anastasia Novykh (the old monk with whom Sensei met) and in Spiritual Conversations and Guidance book. These two works of literature greatly vary in content, so I never had doubt they were written by different authors at different time. Moreover, I remember very well that I encountered the second book as long ago as in 2002-2004 when it was sold under-the-counter at religious literature stalls (e.g. near metro stations in Kiev) because it was prohibited by the Church, though being actively spread among Orthodox believers. I recall someone even told me where and how I could buy it.
Today I would like to extend the subject of my earlier article and cite several more extracts from Elder Antony’s conversations, for in those years we were mostly interested in predictions of the future apocalypse described by the elder. Now many people already understand global cataclysms are inevitable and relate, first and foremost, to the planetary cyclicality described in the articles The Orion-Draco pendulum and New evidence of the probable global disaster. Perhaps, many will be interested to hear what Elder Antony said about this, but first let’s compare the two descriptions of his appearance given in the two books.
1. From the book Spiritual Conversations and Guidance:
Text underlined on the two pages of the book above:
… A hundred-year-old elder was reclining on a metal bed. He was very tall, probably about one metre ninety centimetres, and had exceptionally regular, typical Slavic facial features.
His enormous beard and long curly hair were snow-white…
2. From Birds and a Stone by Anastasia Novykh:
Text underlined on the book page above:
… He was around ninety years old by appearance, little withered, very tall – up to one metre ninety centimetres. He had regular Slavic face features. His beard and slightly curly long hair were white like snow… The elder’s legs were apparently ailing…
Let me add that Orthodox ministers or “priesthood” as they call themselves, who are very competent in scriptures and church canons, quite brusquely and negatively criticize Elder Antony and the book about him. Warnings and whole analytical reviews may be found on the web (e.g. those by Kurayev) that can cast doubt on the elder’s existence as such. At that, my goal is just to refer to another available mention of the coming global disasters on the planet, not as intimidation, but as an additional incentive for people to start internal work on spiritual transformation of their personalities, because to all appearances we don’t have much time left.
THE FIRST VISION OF ELDER ANTONY
Once in the early 1970s, during the Holy Liturgy I was honoured with the first vision. It was as follows. At that time most people started being infatuated by the West; consequently such inherent Slavonic features as unpretentiousness, hospitality and no inclination to money-grabbing began to fade. On the contrary, money-grabbing became of primary importance in the new world outlook; money and material belongings became higher than morality and spirituality. The most terrible thing was though that the lifestyle of people who called themselves Orthodox and often strictly adhered to church rites and rituals became just as the lifestyle of heathens around! They became as immodest in everyday life, gained the same aspiration for career and high social status, though children from religious families no longer suffered the necessity to join pioneers, komsomol or the communist party. And they always had an excuse: “How can we live without material things? After all, we don’t live in a desert, we are among other people. Well, it’s a sin, but if we look into it everything’s a sin. We will go and confess.” Such a superficial attitude undermined the very possibility of salvation. I reread the Gospels, especially parts dedicated to the last times, the Apocalypse, and I kept thinking of the desert where people had to escape.
So, I see an enormous number of people walking or riding. Some of them seem to be not riding themselves – they are either feasting, or fornicating, or playing dirty tricks on their neighbours – nonetheless, they are carried ahead as if by a river. All people are very different: there are laymen, priesthood, military men, politicians – everyone. Most people are rushing ahead, while some are quietly walking. On their way there is a terrible abyss, the abyss to hell. It seems like everybody has to fall into it, but not everyone does. Most people do fall down, and I see how cars, feasts, money or rich clothing pull them there. At that, some people quietly pass the abyss as if above it. Some don’t fall down, but are slowly drawn into the abyss, and luminous beings support and help them get across. Not just wealthy people are drawn into the abyss, but poor as well, all of them having one and the same idol – the lust of this world.
It was indeed horrible. Not moan, but real howl was heard from the abyss, coming from those who fell into it. And there was a terrible stench, not a simple smell, no! Just like we cannot describe the fragrance of divine grace (not of flowers or grass) coming from wonder-working relics, icons, etc., the hellish stench is not simply a bad smell like that of brimstone, but it’s a sensation of horror and despair, hell in a word.
There’s your desert! Even in the desert the man-murderer tempted hermits, endeavouring to provoke in them passion for gains, lust, and despondency. Many fell, very many. At the same time, there were many princes and rulers who saved themselves and even got glorified by the Church as saints; they had everything, but their heart belonged not to the dust of this world, but to the heavenly world.
However, our time is far more terrible because temptations waylay a human being everywhere, on every step, and temptations are such that are even hard to be recognized. Lots of people come to me, and it seems like everyone is concerned with one and the same question: how to save oneself, how to behave in one or another situation. Yet, is it possible to get a blessing for each deed in a month, not to mention in a day?! One should rather have an idea of temptation ways and major temptation trends. Those ways and trends have never changed since creation of the world, for devil is not a creator. Another thing is that over millennia he has gained experience, and now his proposals to mankind to descend to his hell are more sophisticated, and the whole modern world is his proposal in fact. It’s only a proposal, because he cannot force anyone, it’s beyond his power, but he does can wrap sin into an alluring package, and people are welcome and always awaited by servants of darkness saying: “How may I serve you?”
Another peculiarity of our days is the forthcoming advent of the antichrist. Many spiritual people say he’s already born. It’s hard to judge, for the enemy is sly even to those who serve him. Many of his servants considered themselves to be antichrists and were so by their world views and deeds, but they were not the antichrist whom the Church mentions. Whether he’s born or not, the point is different. When Prelate Ignaty (Bryanchaninov) was asked about the antichrist’s advent, he responded there’s no exact date, for the advent was determined by human spite. Hence, now it’s the time of the final preparation of his coming. For this it’s necessary to make humanity totally brutalized and to concentrate global power, since he will be the ruler of not one country, but the entire world. However, even this won’t be enough to enslave all mankind; it’s also necessary to establish such a system of life, where any malfunction would cause disastrous consequences for people: famine, cold, ruin. And such system is already being established. How everything would take place I saw several years later.
THE SECOND VISION OF ELDER ANTONY. GUIDANCE
In those years of seeming Soviet prosperity it was difficult for me to perceive such information. Then I didn’t think I would live until the implementation of what I saw.
So, like I’ve already said, the second vision was not a continuation of the first one, not at all. It was much later in time, and its content was quite different as well. The first vision was a sort of edification to make me understand. I asked for an answer and got it. The second vision was of a totally different kind, so to say. I didn’t ask for anything, but I got a vision from above of what people who attended me asked. While the first vision could be retold more or less accurately, the second one cannot be retold in principle. Father Alexander, I will try to recount it to you for the first time in a certain sequence, to systematize as secular science says. I will recount in some order, but not as I actually saw it, for I was given it in one form, and for you and your congregation another sequence will be more appropriate I think. Before this day I used everything that I saw only in my answers to questions of puzzled believers.
Now, let me say a few words not about the vision, but about the universe, so that the further information would be more understandable. God creates all living things in a single, very strict system. The entire universe is absolutely bound by every action of its tiniest part, and for the rational human being even by the action of what does not relate to the visible world – of the thought. Actions of irrational creatures cannot harm the universe, for they are limited both by inner brakes, i.e. instincts, etc., and by self-regulating features of nature itself. A human being is a totally other creature. He’s created in God's image and likeness. No matter how long we argue about what the image and likeness are, what is erasable and what is not, what a human being has at birth and what he should gain over lifetime, another thing is much more important – how human actions both in the material world and on the invisible plane influence environment, human habitat, and universe as a whole. It was not God who wiped Sodom and Gomorrah off the face of the earth, but people who gave up God’s way. I say it to emphasize that all troubles that will happen to humanity and nature are not the consequence of God’s wrath, since God is truly All-Good and All-Merciful, but the consequence of destructive actions of people caught by devil’s tricks. Well, now let’s talk about the vision itself, about what is in store for everyone unfortunately quite soon, though some events are even taking place already. So, here’s what I saw about the future.
First of all, I saw diverse technical disasters. The system of existence maintained by humanity, which is in essence satanic and absolutely contradicts God’s laws, will start breaking. Airplanes will fall, ships will go down, nuclear stations and chemical factories will blow up. All this will take place along with terrible natural phenomena that will occur all over the earth, but most intensively in America. These will be hurricanes of unprecedented might, earthquakes, horrible droughts, or vice versa heavy showers and floods. The terrible monster, contemporary Sodom – New York City – will be wiped off the face of the earth, and modern Gomorrah – Los Angeles – will surely be punished.
It will be hard to find a place on the planet where people would feel themselves easy and totally safe. People will be able to find peace only in setting their hopes upon God, for the earth will no longer give them any protection. Downcast nature will bring the most terrible consequences to cities, for they totally lost contact with it. Destruction of one Babylonian tower, a modern building, will cause burial of hundreds of people with neither confession nor communion. Hundreds of buried souls… Houses put on piles – arrows piercing the earth, as if tending there, to hell – will bring people hellish death under ruins. And those who will remain alive will envy those who died immediately, for the fate of the former is more horrible: it is death of hunger or suffocation.
Cities will represent a horrifying sight. Even those that avoid total destruction, will be deprived of water, electricity, heat and food supplies, and will resemble enormous stone graves where very many people will die. Gangs will be rife and rampant; it will be dangerous in the city even in the daytime, while at night people will gather in big groups in order to survive until the morning together. Sunrise will bring not the joy of a new day, but the trouble of necessity to live such day.
You should not think tranquillity and prosperity will reign in rural areas. Poisoned, disfigured, burnt by drought or flooded fields will not give proper harvest. The loss of cattle will be unprecedented, and people, not being able to bury so many animals, will leave them rot and spoil the air with terrible stink. Peasants will suffer attacks of city dwellers who will wander around, being ready to kill for a piece of bread! Yes, human blood will flow for that very piece they are now unable to eat without sauces and dressing. Cannibalism will be a commonplace; having adopted the antichrist’s seal, humanity will erase all limits of morality. For peasants the night will also be the time of particular fear, for the most brutal robbery will take place then. At that, one will need not just to survive, but to preserve property for work, otherwise death of starvation will come. Just like in cities, villagers will turn into objects of hunting. It will look as if primeval times have returned. Yet, no, in those remote times God’s Word ruled: “Grow and multiply”, whereas now human life and essence itself is directed at rejection of God’s grace and way. However, this won’t be the end.
I started the story with the consequences of what preceded everything, and I did this for a reason. Very often we don’t see greater things behind smaller ones. In terms of our story, behind a small sin we don’t see or refuse to see violation of Lord’s major commandments. God the Creator created this world and made it harmonious with Himself. Remember His words about the creation: “It’s good!” It was said by God; the All-Mighty, All-Gracious and All-Perfect Creator found his creation to be good, i.e. the world was in harmony with Good, with Love, for God is love.
A human being is the only creature capable of influencing the world existence; it’s the crown of creation, made in the image and likeness of Good and Love, while commandments given to humans by the Creator are nothing but edification for them to live peacefully and happily in harmony with the world. Everything else that contradicts the commandments is destructive for both the world and everything living in it and depending on it. Everything starts with small things: with loose clothing and collective study of boys and girls under the guidance of not a spiritual person, but a secular teacher. Soon such title will also fade, and only teacher will remain! A teacher who teaches what? Among such teachers there are so many morally degraded personalities – divorced, promiscuous, neurasthenics. Others, though there are more of them and they somehow preserve a human face, they neither know nor want to know the rules of living in the world created by God. What do they teach? They teach not the world as God’s creation, but the rules of living in the secular world as in the area ruled by celestial spirits! This is a small thing leading to terrible big consequences.
Moral degradation… Many times satan tried to spread it everywhere, but he always dashed against menacing exposure by the Church, whereas exposure is the most awful thing for all spirits of darkness. Just like a thief sneaks in the dark and fears light, devil’s delusions are the most effective and alluring when there’s no light of the Truth. The world is covered with darkness of contentment of a dozen of “developed” countries chosen by the enemy as his support in befuddling of the entire world. The main weapon in this affair is the freedom slogan! How much blood has been shed on the altar of the demon of “freedom” in all revolutions and coups, social, pseudo-religious, political and mystical discords! That evil creature who rose against God and tried to appropriate the title of Creator is indeed the main freedom fan. Yet, his freedom is not the ability granted to people by God to be perfect in all kinds of virtues, but his “freedom” is actually the toughest bonds intended to deprive a human being of an opportunity to choose between good and evil and leaving him with the only road to hell. This is the very freedom to be achieved by people. Well, it would be understandable with Protestants who once struggled against the diktat of Catholicism, but then came to power and started their own terror and orgy of which Europe began to shudder! But why do Orthodox people follow such pattern?! Although can we really say our country is Orthodox?
The first “freedom” needed by demon, which all other freedoms are based upon, is the freedom of religion, or the so-called religious toleration. The sense of this movement is to open a wide road, first and foremost, for young people to lead them to satan. Please, note it’s a one-way road. Should you try to move opposite the general movement you’ll be immediately called to order. The Orthodox Church is what makes them so anxious! Catholics are already prepared for everything and accept the demonic civilization and “progress”. By supporting Zionism they actually say “yes” to the advent of the antichrist.
I saw the attempts and steps of the global evil to defame the Holy Church, the Christ’s immaculate Body! First of all, our Church will be discredited in all newspapers, on radio and television. In all possible ways Jews bearing Slavic names will make a laughingstock of Orthodox priesthood and believers, jeer at our rites and rituals, feasts and lifestyle, i.e. on everything that has always been a foundation of our people’s vitality. The Church itself, the priestly community will be penetrated by thousands and thousands of catholicized destroyers of Orthodoxy. They will be seemingly pious, but their spirit is alien, and people will abandon their churches. The churches will be reconstructed or newly built, but empty. In some places there will still be the light of genuine sanctity and adherence to the spirit of fathers’ faith, and those who wish will find it. Nobody will be able to justify themselves, saying: “Lord, I’ve been searching, but haven’t found.” Amidst the darkness of disbelief and godlessness the lights of Truth are burning all over the earth. At that, pious priests will be persecuted, oppressed and abused, and devil’s servants will even sink to murders if God lets a righteous priest to accept the crown of martyr. There will be many righteous martyrs in the last times!
And those of the alien spirit will wait for their sovereign, the antichrist. But even they will have a chance to save themselves, i.e. to discern who the antichrist is, though power and money will cover the eyes of majority. A truly horrible time! Whereas everything starts with small things: priesthood ceased to wear proper clothes, and even shaven Catholic-like and Protestant-like beards are no longer a rarity.
The second “freedom” that is also cultivated in all possible ways is the freedom of moral turpitude. Unfortunately, people have accepted it, and it has become an integral part of modern life. Lechery is called not lechery, but sexual freedom (look how the enemy hides his deeds behind seemingly nice words: not lechery but sex, not stealing but expropriation, and so on, and so forth). Depravation starts from the early childhood through “education of the culture of sexes and relations between sexes.” Naked bodies and copulation will be demonstrated to children (and in some countries this is done already), thus their bodies will be inflamed, and this will be delivered as a normal state. Books and television will be filled with naked people and horrible lechery scenes. Nakedness in today’s clothes is only a beginning, for the ultimate goal is much more loathsome – Astarta and Baal where hundreds and hundreds of heathens copulated, intoxicated by alcohol and drugs. Exactly there – to worship of demons – the advocates of freedoms are dragging humanity. By whom a person is overcome is whose slave he or she is, and people are attracted into such slavery covered with a wrapper of freedom. But lechery only is insufficient for the servants of darkness. Furthermore, sodomy and bestiality will be posed as manifestation of the true love of freedom and emancipation of mind. Propaganda of such loathsome will be very active and strong, even more active than that of sexual depravation. Same-sex marriages will be made as public as the invention of antibiotics once was! Buggers will emerge from everywhere, especially among actors, politicians, and businessmen. Sodomy will turn into a brand of the nearest future. Now they already arrange wild orgies as annual carnivals in America, and we will also have this in no less disgusting forms. Everyone who resists such demonization will be declared encroaching on other people’s freedom, called uncivilized ignoramuses and government-opposing people, because all governments will assign primary importance not to protection of morality, but to protection of demonic freedoms.
Those freedoms will indeed be demonic, for even now it’s hard to find a truly Orthodox article in mass media, except for in specialized church editions, while television admits bishops on big religious feasts only. Whatever nonsense is written or said, there are no opposite opinions and different views of the world. What a nice freedom when sanctity may be publicly abused, while reproach of everything else is tabooed!
Yet, this also started from small things a very long time ago. As a matter of fact, such demonization began when parish schools were transferred under the rule of secular authorities. Teachers were hired to reformed schools from among atheists and started training personnel for the revolutions of 1917!
Having got under the power of satan through sins, intoxicated by alcohol and drugs, young people will be unable to resist the last call of the primordial man-murderer to enter hell and will commit suicides. The number of those who take their own lives will drastically increase. It will increase to such an extent that such deaths will cease to surprise anyone – they will be as if self-meant consequence of what happens. Moreover, the number of people having terrible diseases associated with lust, immoderations and contamination of the world will be so enormous and their sufferings will be so awful that the society will regard suicides as a certain act of mercy. People will even be driven to suicides with an unpretentious explanation that everything’s aimed at ruining lost souls.
Another terrible devilish trap will be inducement of people to earning money and increasing personal incomes. The greed for money is baneful itself, baneful as everything immoderate, while immoderateness causes destruction of nature. No matter in which field money is earned, this will inevitably affect the world around. The second part of the trap is allocation of such money. Let me repeat once again: the established system is incredibly fragile, too fragile. Thus, the use of money by people is just as fragile.
What does money represent today?! It’s a bluff, a ghost, an illusion like all devil’s “miracles”. All machines and devices produced are meaningful subject to numerous ifs: if there is fuel, if there are spare parts, if background radiation is not too high (not making electronics fail) – we can list such ifs endlessly. Furthermore, a modern car cannot be serviced without special stations and equipment! Hence, should we take away a single if, everything will turn into a heap of useless metal. We see such examples daily, and so a horse and a cow are valued by peasants the most.
Moreover, people keep most of their money in banks or in securities. Banks will eventually collapse in order to bring people to their knees, and they will collapse suddenly (we’ve seen relevant rehearsals that were quite successful). At that, enterprises will terminate operations due to natural disasters and wars. What will people be left with? With plenty of needless and useless things on acquisition of which they have spent years of life, but the value of which is quite relative even in the problem-free world, while in the world of disasters they are dust, nothing.
I remember women asking me whether keeping cut-glass ware and carpets at home is a sin or not. People all over the Soviet Union dragged those to their homes as a reserve. Yet, what’s next? Now, imagine electricity, gas and heating are no longer supplied. What will a person exchange his or her cut glass and carpets for? For a saw and a moveable stove! But who has such stuff?! Maybe, one person per one or two hundred...
I’ve touched upon material things. The world was so rational before the madness of the 19-20th centuries. Clothes were durable and solid. Effort and labour were spent on production, but the quality was such that clothes were worn even by grandchildren. This was how people valued their time! Therefore, they had enough time for everything: to work in the field, to attend the church, and to sit at the holiday table with their families. Yet, what do we have now? Footwear lasts for a season, clothes last for two or three seasons at best! There is no time either for praying in churches (“I’ll pray at home”), or for children who unfortunately grow as waifs, since their parents are busy with money making. But we “live not worse than others.” Do we really live?! Only a free person can live, while a captive or slave only exists. God gave away His Only Begotten Son in order to liberate us from slavery, from captivity of sins and passions, whereas we grumble and long to get back to captivity just like the Jews who escaped from Egypt. We let our children die and our relatives being abased just to have our pottage on time! However, our pottage is in fact cheese in a mousetrap. When the door is shut and there’s still cheese, does a mouse know it’s trapped? At that, its hour has already come, though there’s still cheese and it is industriously nibbling it, being so happy with the delicious dinner that has appeared from heaven knows where! But the one who set the mousetrap has already heard it has worked and knows the victim is caught. He can immediately come and kill the victim, or he can let it digest the dinner. At first the victim will feel a bit tight, but then it will get used to it. Hungry? But it’s still alive! Yet, the end is known, and I think the mouse suspects it itself.
Yes, these are terrible times. Let’s take the last global war. Why did it start? They say the reasons are Hitler, the German people’s bellicosity, and the re-division of Europe and the world. Communists also refer to imperialism and the fight for colonies. Many reasons are named, but the point is different. The point is an opportunity to centralise power, power over the world. Any tree is recognized by its fruit; no matter what the seller in the marketplace tells you about it seedling you’ll know and evaluate everything only when you get the fruit. What were the fruits of that war? Millions of Orthodox people killed and crippled both in Russia and the Balkans. Serbia, the main outpost of Orthodoxy in the Southwest turned out to be in the hands of Catholic Croats (Josip Broz Tito was Croat, and Croatia became the most advanced republic). The Orthodox regions of Yugoslavia were not simply consigned to oblivion, but furthermore Muslims settled in Kosovo like they now do in Russia and Moscow.
Another outcome was Israel. Such a propaganda was arranged that the Jews, not the Slavs or the French, were recognized the main victim of the war. Recurring to the Balkans, Tito headed the Serbs, the Croats were together with the Germans, but the Croats won in the end. The same was with the Jews. Whom did the Germans exterminate among them first of all? Mostly half-bloods, or christened, or tolerant to other faiths; no orthodox Judaists and none of Zionist leaders were in Hitler’s chambers: they had enough time to escape or knew in advance what was to happen. At that, persecutions and special presentation of relevant events made it possible to establish the state of Israel. They got a tiny piece of land, but seized it from the Arabs. Now Arabs are considered to be terrorists, but not the Jews!
The third outcome was Europe. What else could make it merge if not the global war? Now it may be regarded as a single country from Turkey to Norway. Everything is to be united – government, money, laws, and everything is coordinated with America in order to avoid conflicts upon unification.
Which outcome is the most important for satanists? Not we are to know. I think and I’ve seen these are steps on the same ladder, the ladder that leads to the antichrist’s kingdom. He will come, and everything will be already in place: total centralisation, all people counted, everyone has his or her number and card that contains everything up to one’s views. Moreover, the card will make it possible to control person’s movement on the earth, under the earth, and even underwater. Everything will be in place.
He will certainly want everybody to worship him voluntarily like the world accepted Christ. But this is a kind of voluntariness manifested by cattle led to the slaughterhouse. It goes by itself, but there are herdsmen with whips on the sides. Nonetheless humanity is already in the mousetrap, though there’s still a little cheese. For this very reason the Saviour said hardly a single believing soul would be found. We have already accepted conditions of this world. People have not just agreed, but are building the system of their dependence on this world themselves. At that, having accepted the rules of the game, you have to play till the end, in this case till the Last Judgement.
I have told you such a terrifying story, terrifying beyond the limit. The most terrible thing however is that hearing does not mean seeing, whereas seeing is much more terrible and disgusting. And not everything should be said, for pictures of the future might provoke despondency in the present.
It seems like the most real thing existing in this world is death, but its reality is what everybody does not want to believe in, or rather they don’t want to correlate the reality of death with the illusory nature of human existence. It’s illusory not because it’s a bluff, not at all! God can neither bluff nor deceive, since God is the Truth. Human existence is illusory due to its transiency and due to the attitude of people themselves to their existence. All our troubles are inside us, so to say. Human being regards this transiency as eternity, rejecting the reality of death. Tell someone about death, especially his or her own death, and you’ll become the person’s enemy. But will he or she, or myself, or anyone else live forever? We simply try not to think about death, avoiding this subject by the ostrich method: you hide your head in the sand and it seems to you there’s no danger! Yet, look how many saints placed a coffin in their monastic cells. Why? In order to remember death; and such remembrance is a guarantee of salvation, as the Holy Writ says. You see? Those were true humans, God’s sons, and they kept coffins in front of their eyes to always remember death! They did this for themselves and for us the sinful, especially for people of the end times, for we are so attracted to the idea of having eternal life on earth, we’ve learnt to deceive ourselves so well that we’ll soon get an elixir of everlasting youth.
Just like a carrot is placed before donkey’s eyes, so that the donkey would run for it throughout the road and not disturb its owner with stops, satan proposes to mankind the carrot of everlasting sinful life on earth, saying, “Why would you exercise spiritual doings, prayers and fasting, or all the more endeavour to love your neighbour? You better either believe there’s only moist ground after death, where you’ll rot together with your coffin, or trust the existing methods of rejuvenation, life extension or prevention of aging (whatever you prefer). If you are too choosy, but still want to live longer, no problem – we’ll freeze you! When we unfreeze you, everything will certainly be discovered, and you’ll live forever!” Madman ravings, but people believe in them! At that, it’s possible to merge with eternity already here on earth and get convinced of the reality of real eternity, not the satanic mirage. Seraphim of Sarov and other saints were honoured with seeing the beauty of the paradise, and still more righteous people were illumined with the heavenly light. Isn’t the appearance of God’s people and satan’s people the evidence of reality itself?
So, how can people save themselves in such a disastrous time? Some theorists already started saying that a human being cannot save oneself; “if God wants He’ll save, otherwise it’s impossible, regardless of the person’s own labour.” This is like Calvinism, for thus there is no sense in seeking salvation. “Sin, my brother, for as long as you want; it does not matter whether you are liked or not, nothing depends on you anyway.”
No! It’s totally untrue! Nobody indeed can save oneself without God’s help, and the Saviour said so to His disciples. However, Lord’s help is attached to a person’s zeal, to his or her labour and effort. According to great John Chrysostom, you should bring everything from yourself, while God will add what’s missing! Hence, we lack zeal, saving ourselves via sorrows, diseases and frugality, frugality in everything. Obsession with material things and consumerism are a terrible bridle put on humanity. Everything’s based on consumption, and there is no limit to it.
I started my story from the first vision of how people fell into hell and what pulled them there. So, is it forbidden to have cars, houses or furniture? Several years ago two Russian families that had escaped from Georgia came to me and asked to pray for them. I was amazed with their flight, with how they had been escaping. It was already impossible to leave the republic, and everyone who tried to do it legally, i.e. followed all procedures in order to take all their belongings away and obtained all relevant permits, were robbed at the border or on the way to it and faced violence, some even were murdered. My visitors decided very wisely: “God gives and God takes. We need to survive, while the rest will take care of itself.” They got into cars only with warm clothes in the trunk and dashed away. Eventually the Lord helped them to settle, they managed to validate their cars, and everything was ARRANGED.
It’s about people’s attitude to material things. Some save their belongings, neglecting even their own safety, because they have been acquiring that stuff for so many years, while for others material things are only means, not the goal or vital value. A person with such an adequate attitude to matter won’t invest much attention into what’s called “prestigious”, for him or her only convenience matters. This is a right approach for our times in particular. Don’t accumulate stuff either the purpose of which you don’t know or the use of which will occur somewhere later. You acquire many things just because everybody has them, and it’s not right to do so. You should acquire only that what’s indeed necessary, not the most expensive, but simple and durable. This especially applies to winter clothes. The only important features are good quality, natural fabric, and maximal warmth.
Electronics, electronic devices should be treated warily. They are among sham friends that can instantly turn into outright pitiless enemies, for any receiver is simultaneously a transmitter. I discussed this with competent people many times. This especially applies to TV sets, the “miracle” of our civilization, though it’s not about the device itself, but rather about the use of it.
On one hand a human being of our time has excess communication with other people, but on the other hand, no matter how paradoxical this sounds, communication is insufficient, because just like everything in today’s human life it is maintained in a hurry. Communication takes place either at work, or on the way somewhere, when a person is not in peaceful mood – he or she is either excited or tired, and there is no proper environment for calm talking.
Modern humanity has plenty of spare time, as well as spare food, clothes, accommodation. Everything spare, excess is extremely dangerous for the human soul; however, spare time is the most dangerous thing, because the very fact of spare time availability evidences the absence of spiritual life, the deficiency of lifestyle. Let’s look what spare time arises from. Work? No, because work will never be in the last place. Certainly, here I don’t want to mention ultimately fallen people such as alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. Aside from these, for an average representative of contemporary society work is in the first place. Furthermore, in spring even religious people are busy with their gardens, despite Sundays and Holy Weeks. So, there is no spare time in this area of human life, and most people even complain they lack time. Nonetheless, there is plenty of spare time in general. Where is it from?!
Well, such spare time is actually the time that should be spent on spiritual doings such as prayers, reading of spiritual literature, and spiritual communication useful for the soul, while people waste this time on entertainments only. The satan instructed people to arrange their whole life in such a way that they have no time for tranquillity and comprehension of their everyday events over a day, a week or a month. Everything is replaced with entertainments. At that, television occupies an honoured privileged position in entertainment industry and “eats” most of people’s spare time. Television is the idol of contemporary civilization, though I’d rather call it a horrible despot and tyrant that has enslaved the majority of mankind. Ordinary slaves feel their humble position because they got into it against their will, but television slavery is voluntary and even delightful at first sight. Only the bitter fruits of spiritual impoverishment, cruelty and lechery indicate that only the master benefits from it, just like from any slavery. The master’s horns are clearly seen from behind the TV screen, and so in the system of preparation of people for the antichrist’s advent television plays not just the role of a spare time absorber – its role is far more destructive. People, even Orthodox people view TV news, and it seems to them it’s a useful, harmless thing. But news as such occupy just a little of time, while later on much time is spent on analysis of events and formation of an opinion in TV product consumers. There is no need to name those who order such public opinions and control mass media products, everything’s clear here. The consequence of the psychotropic influence of TV programs is destruction of people’s ability to think independently, understand the real gist of events that take place and form their own world outlook. We started with the deficiency of today’s communication between people. Thus, the roots of such deficiency are in the lack of individual thinking and understanding based on one’s own world outlook.
I once said there had always been somebody in my mother’s kitchen. After the evening dinner she put a huge samovar on the table, and everyone who came to stay for a night sat down to drink tea. A conversation began, and it was so interesting! Those simple guests shared so many edifying things. My father chuckled at our love to such kitchen nights and believed that an educated person had nothing to draw from semi-literate people. However, having spent a couple of evenings with us, he changed his opinion. Those were Orthodox people who knew the world not from TV messages. They told about events which they had personally witnessed or participated in. A lesson or moral was sought in all the events as an evidence of God’s Plan and manifestation of people’s freedom of choice. Such conversations reflected the diversity of human thoughts, the difference of individual worldviews. In those times people knew not just how to listen to others, but also how to hear, and generally speaking they were fond of more listening than talking, though, I’ll repeat myself, everyone had something to say.
Quite interestingly, despite the seeming prosperity in the Russian Empire, those simple people already saw the disaster approaching. Such prevision was due not only to their communication with Optina and Kiev elders and hearing of sermons by St. John of Kronstadt, but also to their own ability to observe events and draw conclusions based on the necessity to preserve spirituality in society rather than on the material wellbeing of people around. Exactly the impoverishment of faith – not just faith in God’s existence, but faith as execution of Christ’s commandments – made those people think the trouble was inevitable. Later on I’ll recur to the “kitchen communication”, and now let’s talk about our times again.
Well, modern communication is simply impossible at such a level, because even when people get together at the same table they have different attitudes to faith. At that, many even deny God’s existence as such, though denying it leads to insanity, which is not the insanity of heathens whom Apostles and Holy Fathers of early Christianity were educating. One of the Apostles said about the heathens of our times: “They won’t accept sensible teaching, but based on their lusts will select teachers who would please their ear; and they will divert ear from the Truth and turn to fables.” Is normal communication possible in such environment?! People enjoy talking, but not listening; they love to teach, but not to learn. What brings them at one table? Alcohol and abundant food, i.e. stuff on the table, but not those who are at the table. In such environment nothing useful for the soul may emerge, for as saints taught it’s not appropriate to talk about God on a full stomach and all the more with a drunken head!
Another evil done by television, which is unfortunately not the last one, is the Church’s authority undermining. Such undermining takes place via many devilish tricks: mockery of the priesthood and Orthodox rites, contrasting of occultism and heathenism to Christianity, and so on. Everything’s saturated with hate towards the Truth. Soon TV makers will even start publicly humiliating Christ and saints, while programs about the Mother of God will be filled with particular hatred – everything will shed the venom of hellish spite. All that however will be covered with a veil of humour, comicalness – “the laughing hell” will carry its affair of humiliation of all God’s, spiritual things to completion. The affair will be ended with appearance of the one who’ll try to substitute for God, and that one will enter every home at once. How can he enter every home simultaneously?! We say that one of God’s features is omnipresence; and even Angels more in space and exist in time. At the same time the Church says the antichrist will enter every home at once, and it sounds like a contradiction. Yet, no! This only means that, imitating omnipresence, the antichrist will enter every home via television. Every human being will host and accept him voluntarily! They will accept him, because they have prepared to this properly and did not listen to the instruction of Good Pastor to escape to the desert. They don’t like the desert, for it’s too boring for them!”
“Father Antony, but where is it now, the desert?!” I was unable to stand it any longer.
“My dear father, you have a normal mind, but church repairs take too much time from you I guess, otherwise you wouldn't ask such a question. Please, forgive me! You all spend too much time on the external and don’t care for the internal well enough. A single temple in the human soul, not made by hand, is worth ten stone temples! Unfortunately, Catholicism was introduced in the times of damned tsar Peter, and when Uniates joined Catholics the situation further aggravated, so now we measure everything by the external, by crosses, mitres, and so forth. Take writings by martyr Hilarion of Troitsa, The saint was very wise, I have cuttings with extracts from his speeches.
The most important thing in a desert is monotony; your eye has nothing there to linger on. Devil builds mirages, e.g. greenery, water, gold, but once you address Christ in a prayer, as holy hermits write, and cross yourself, all mirages fade away. In the same way today you should seek such a state of soul when your eye has nothing to stick to. The world around should be a desert for you, and when you see anything tempting pray, cross yourself and confess. Condemn yourself for seeing temptation in the desert, for it means you want to see it or rather are disposed to it.
Are you surprised? I’ll give you an example: a mushroom gatherer is walking in a forest and sees plenty of toadstools around, but his eye does not linger on those at all. However, once he approaches an edible mushroom he sees it immediately even from afar. He’s a good gatherer, and his basket will be full; while a bad mushroom gatherer notices only toadstools, being unable to detect even a huge cepe! And there’s nothing good in his basket. Did the good gatherer see toadstools? He surely did, but paid no attention to them, didn’t pose his eye on them. Thus, he will tell and recall only good, and his soul will warm up.
The same is with sins. If a person sees only sins and sinners around and pays attention to it all, one way or another he or she takes it into his or her mind and becomes a sin participator. But when a person pays no attention to such wrong doings and incinerates his or her own shortcomings, he or she keeps pure. This is what desert is about. Otherwise, if you notice something for the first time and rail at it, on the second time you’ll get interested in what people are doing, whereas on the third time you might already want to try it! That is why it’s said about escaping to the desert. It can even be understood literally, since the antichrist is unable to gain total and absolute control over people in our land, and even in the West I saw people hidden from his horned servants – the Lord simply does not let them there. Certainly, those who seek salvation, abandon urban comfort and go to live in a deserted place for the sake of salvation with be in greater safety. At that, people will soothe themselves by an idea of having a salvation opportunity everywhere until the Second Coming. Soon numbers will be assigned to everybody in order to count people for the antichrist. Then special passport cards will be introduced, so that every person’s location could be identified. Will one be able to live without that? Surely! But one won’t be able to sell or buy property and do many other things without that. Hence, even those who consider themselves Orthodox will have to get those numbers and those passports, and will stand in lines for them. Here’s the desert! In old times people relied on God and accepted food from Angels, or were satisfied with such little quantities of it that now it’s regarded as a fairy tale!
Oh, what mind does to people! One uses a knife to cut bread, whereas another one takes away human life with it. Mind is artful. There’s no mean or disgusting thing which mind would not be able to justify. It will justify personal numbers, special passports, and… the 666! After all, they won’t place those numbers on dead or unconscious bodies, not at all! Everybody will understand everything, but the mind will certainly invent an explanation, whereas people, already being internally prepared for treachery, will soothe themselves with mind’s reasoning.
It’s painful for me, the centenarian, to speak of this, but preparation will be such that no high matters will be referred to. No one will speak of loving the Lord! People will betray themselves, their spouses and children, their own flesh. The Apostle of Love denounced those who claimed to love God, but hated their neighbours. He said: “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (John 4.20). At that, by neighbour not a blood relative is meant, but rather people who surround us. However, the traitor of the end times is a traitor even to his own semen. He is ready to gorge and destroy everything for the sake of earthly life instants and unwilling to come to his senses and understand he betrays, first and foremost, himself, dooming himself to eternal sufferings in the underworld. Born and christened, for as long as he’s in God’s hands he has free will and understanding of good and evil, while he deliberately gives himself from Love to evil slavery!
Think of it, dear father! The Most Holy Mother of God was afraid of the passage, just the passage (!) from earthly life to eternal life due to possible (possible for Her and mandatory for us!) meeting with servants of darkness! At that, people voluntarily reject God and give themselves to His enemy forever!!!”
The elder leaned back on the cushion and fell silent. Tears dropped from under his closed eyelids – one, two, three... His lips silently moved in the words of prayer.
In several minutes he continued: “You think for no reason Seraphim of Sarov, elevated to the heavens, was ready to descend to hell so that others got saved?! It’s the highest grade of love as the aggregate of perfections. It’s the vision and knowledge of God in the Highest. God sacrificed His Son for our sins, for the sins of entire humanity. Apostle Paul offered himself for the Jewish people, while Reverend Seraphim offered himself for Christians. They and thousands of others who followed the way of gaining perfection and becoming godlike were ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of lost sheep. They not just read, but knew from their own experience that “God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son” (John 3.16).
“Father Antony,” I asked, “so, the war will actually take place?!”
The elder grinned bitterly: “Oh, unfaithful generation, for how long will I be with you?!” Do you remember these words, father? Am I not speaking of what you ask, father Alexander?! The war has been taking place since the creation of the world and will last until the Second Coming of Christ the Redeemer! It’s not important whether people will lead a war between themselves, for it’s only a consequence, not the cause. The cause is spirituality, aspiration of the spirit. Look, Constantinople is under siege of heathens, our ancestors Slavs. At that, despite all their sins the beleaguered preserve awareness that sins are the very cause of all troubles. God is with us for as long as we are with Him. The Greeks turned away from sins; fasting praying and the Lord produced such a miracle that storms started after Our Lady’s robe was rinsed in the sea, and heathen ships were swept away. God’s deeds are indeed marvellous, for after the said miracle most Slavs adopted Christianity. This is what the war is like. Each person must lead this war against his or her sins, and the success of such spiritual battle will determine successes of one’s earthly life as well.
The end times… Look how the Gospels are filled with little details and how accurate the descriptions are. No wonder, for the texts were written by people led by the Holy Spirit! Another thing is when the evangelists start writing about the time prior to the Second Coming of Christ. What do they write? They tell about the spiritual impoverishment of humanity, though it’s not even impoverishment, but actual devilization. People have turned into bearers of all vices: pride, hard drinking, lechery, greed for money, lust for power, godlessness. The consequences of those include natural disasters such as earthquakes, horrifying celestial phenomena, unknown diseases, wars, and so on. Eradication of spirituality is exactly what leads to death of all living beings.
The Saviour said nobody except the Father knew the day and hour of the end of times; hence, one should keep vigil in order not to be taken by surprise. The Holy Scripture contains no hint at the date or appointed term that could be estimated. However, people always try to understand Lord’s plans and ways, and there have been numerous attempts to name the exact year – vainly, all wrong! The end of times will be unexpected. It seems like a contradiction: the Gospels were preached to all and we know it’s one of the doomsday signs, but the Archangel’s trumpet will sound unexpectedly. Yet, there is nothing to be surprised at, since there’s no contradiction at all.
For millennia Jews had been waiting for the Messiah to come into the world and studied the Testament and prophecies, but when the Saviour came He found no place among humans! They were the first ones to hear the Holy Annunciation from God Himself and started singing praises, but in a couple of days they shouted “crucify, crucify Him!” The Annunciation was inconvenient for them, disturbed their rest and habitual life. A man-made teaching delivered by elders was simpler, more understandable, and thus was followed. By that teaching they are still waiting for the Messiah as the king of kings who will make the Jewish nation a sovereign over the entire humanity. They will get him. They will get the antichrist.
Nowadays everyone will also listen to the gospel words, but won’t hear. They won’t hear the Church’s teachings, but follow man-made teachings; they will reject the truth and revel in fables, just like the Apostle predicted. At that, they will abuse and revile at the Church that gave them the Holy Scripture, and sins of unworthy servants will be attributed to the Church as a whole. The Church disturbs them, for it is a vessel filled with the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Exposure! He is the Exposer of the world, not of the God-created world of primordial purity of nature and spirit, but the world carried away by sins, the world deformed by lust, the world that is dying and trying to involve as many people as possible in its collapse, thus causing destruction of human souls.
Due to collapse of the world as the domain of evil spirits many, many human lives will be lost. A significant point is that these lives have become devoted to sins and the devil as the father of sins. I haven’t seen a single person who would want to become saved, followed the road to salvation and would not get a relevant quiet refuge. Such refuge is actually one and only – the Christ! Troubles and sufferings are for those who regard earthly life as the core of all things; though it seems to me I’ve already mentioned that in this earthly life death is the greatest and only real thing in fact!
A question arises why the Almighty Lord determines death, i.e. inexistence, as the greatest and highest reality of the world He created. Well, it was not the Lord who created death, since Life cannot create death and Love cannot beget evil. As a matter of fact, death means rejection of Life and selection of deeds opposite to Love, for God is Love as the Apostle said. Therefore death, hell with its everlasting torments, and any evil are not natural phenomena, i.e. not something characteristic for the world created by God, otherwise we would have to say the Lord is the creator of both good and evil. No! Any evil is opposition, resistance to Love. Hell is the anti-paradise, the antipode of paradise, and so death is anti-life, i.e. an action opposite to life! What does satan mean? An opponent! Hence, any opposition to God’s Plan is satanism that leads to death and torments, whereas grace and life are possible only in God.
Even the last allurer and destructor of human souls has no name of his own, because it would be too much and simply impossible for evil; therefore he’s called the anti-Christ, satan (opponent) to Christ. The purpose of all his doings is imitation of Christ, first of all via attraction of people along with him, not by force but of their own accord. On the other hand, all his doings are anti-doings to the Christ’s way. The Christ’s way is tough on the earth and delightful, blissful in the Heavens where the King of Glory dwells. The antichrist’s stinking way is not delightful even on the earth, and it ends in hell! This is how it is, while everyone chooses what he or she prefers. Unfortunately, many will want to be attracted by deception of antichrist’s false miracles. Not the antichrist, but people themselves who have agreed to accept satan’s sign – the sign of confrontation to God – on them, will identify those who have not accepted and send the faithful to torments. The first Christians accepted torments in the public eye. Torments of the faithful in the end times will be terrible, being caused secretly by people around them, and such evil will be committed by those taught by evil spirits right on the spot.
Here’s another evil generated by the masters of television: they will accustom people to the appearance of evil spirits and demons! Such accustoming is already taking place, and monsters look at humanity from all sides. They are now called aliens or otherwise, but these are demons. Time will pass and they will show themselves to people freely, serving the antichrist and his helpers. It will be so hard to fight them then!
Moreover, famine will hang over. Famine will be of two kinds – lack of food and spiritual famine. There will be several years of crop failure and drought, but this won’t be the main cause of food deficit. People got accustomed to consume much more food than they need to support their physical bodies. Several seeds and dew were enough for St. Mary of Egypt to live and endure the heat of the desert. The wonderworker Reverend Seraphim of Sarov ate glague and grass, working hard physically every day. They all were satiated with grace, and not only them. Rejecting everything perishable, they merged with Life, and even their bodies remained imperishable against the law of death brought to nature via sins. People of the end times experience the contrary, for one of their idols is food. They eat not when they are hungry, but because there is food. Do modern humans know what real hunger is? Hardly they do, otherwise they would not use so many diverse spices and seasonings, sauces and dainty recipes. The purpose of all such stuff is to provoke a desire to eat everything cooked. One who needs food to support his or her body does not need any of those – just a piece of bread and a gulp of plain water is totally sufficient for him or her.
Yet, what about strong drinks that dull the sense of satiety? All those are repetition of heathen orgies. However, we forget that while consuming death we become engaged to it and turn into its hostages. Nowadays fattening of humanity is taking place, exactly fattening! Just like a peasant fattens cattle and poultry prepared for death via slaughter, mankind is being prepared for death, first and foremost the spiritual death. The only difference is that cattle has neither free choice nor mind, while natural limitations are destroyed by people through selection of species and individual animals with violation of such limitations. But a human being does have a free choice and a mind, thus nobody can force him or her do anything, and so everything is done voluntarily. Here’s Life and here’s death. Here’s the Church-Truth being the Christ’s Body and filled with the Holy Spirit, and here’s the banquet of death, evil laws and temptations of the world. Everyone voluntarily chooses between those.
Many will recall current days at the Last Judgement with terrible bitterness and repentance, having failed to use these days for gaining the Holy Spirit. They neither listened to the Church’s call to get filled with rivers of living water of God’s grace, not wanted to fast, pray, do good deeds and evolve spiritually. They were gaining death and will get death. For this very reason it’s said nobody will be able to justify oneself. As a matter of fact, there won’t be any judgement in human understanding with a prosecutor, defence and the last word of the accused. Person’s deeds and thoughts will be condemning and justifying. Whatever a person has chosen in this world of sorrow and wandering, whatever he or she has been seeking and desiring, is exactly what he or she will get. One who has chosen Life will get eternal life and bliss, and one who prefers death will get hell with everlasting torments. At that, as holy fathers teach, the main torment is not a frying pan, but the absence of God! Now, whether we want it or not, we permanently have His support and one way or another receive His Grace, even through the Word uttered to plants and animals, humans and the world upon the world creation. Without God’s Plan the world would not exist even for a single moment. The last time is called last because all actions of humanity carried away by devilish mirages are aimed at rejection of the Divine Plan. Hence, it becomes clear how important it is to gain the Holy Spirit already now, for it’s the guarantee of salvation.
The Holy Scripture precisely indicates the period of the antichrist’s reign of three and a half years. It seems like three years is nothing, but such period will be sufficient to ensure that “hardly a single believing soul remains.” There will be such a terrible fight, and people will be so poorly prepared to it. We are too relaxed and leave everything for later. We postpone fasting, postpone prayers, postpone acceptance of the Holy Secrets, postpone humility, and postpone good deeds. But we consume food now, need accommodation immediately, want fancy clothes, cars, etc. as soon as possible. Yet, when the world collapses and the delusion of dust vanishes it will turn out we are poor as church mice.
The antichrist will come as a redeemer from social troubles, although such troubles will be especially generated before that. The devil incarnate will possess enormous power. People who are arranging his advent already keep most resources of the world in their hands. The mirage of today’s prosperity will be gone faster than spring floods. Let’s recall one of rehearsals conducted with people in the Soviet Union: within 24 hours everyone who trusted in banks became paupers. They were saving money for years; some spared neither life nor health, and it seemed to them they were saving for entire lifetime. Yet, it was a mere mirage.
Now it will be worse, since the whole world will be affected. Everything will be carried out through governments; therefore one should have minimal contacts with them. Personal codes and numbers should not be accepted among other things. No banks and no loans, for all those are controlled by one hand and one head. Eventually it will turn out the hand is actually not a hand, but a sharp-clawed paw, while the head is not an ordinary human head, but the horned one, and instead of face there is a feral muzzle with terrible bared teeth. That is why they are now accustoming everyone to banks: salaries are in banks, and pensions are in banks, too. They are quickly driving everybody together into one stall. People will be very surprised to find out even the last coin in their wallets is already accounted like in the West now.
Unfortunately, this won’t be the last surprise. The entire framework of prosperity, which is being maintained by contemporary humanity, will turn into a steel trap for people themselves. It’s not even an ordinary trap where you can release a spring and be free, as even animals and prisoners manage to do sometimes. There will be no way out of the trap, and demons will urge nonbelievers and people who lack faith to suicides. Most terribly, funeral services will be performed over self-murderers. There will be papers saying a person was insane at the moment of suicide, as if his or her deed is OK. This will be something like a Catholic indulgence: you buy it and you are forgiven. Many and many people will leave for hell, having committed suicide and deprived themselves of any possibility to fight for eternal life, for the life in Life. I saw lines of coffins. Eternal rest will be sung on earth, while demons and evil spirits around will rejoice for ruining so many human souls!
At that, those still alive will envy the dead, for they will have to experience the horror of diseases, wars, death of their relatives and friends. One should have great faith and hope on God in order to endure all that. How can an arrogant one or money grubber stand abasement? Yesterday he was yelling, “If you are so clever, why are you not rich?!” Yesterday his self-satisfaction was overflowing, while today he’s nothing. He will do and accept everything including the codes and the 666, he will sign a contract with devil with his blood, though devil needs no contract anymore – the man already belongs to him! Only patience and humility in the days of illusory wellbeing make a bridge that will help one pass the three and a half years of antichrist’s reign. The sting of enemy’s temptation will be aimed at the faithful now. It has proved to be impossible to allure them with comfort and gold, food and cars, so now demons will try to tempt them with a piece of bread in the times of famine. It will be very, very difficult to preserve the soul when your family, your children are permanently starving. Only one who believes in God and trusts God will be able to resist the irreversible. Will the antichrist give anything to people? Certainly, not, for he’ll have nothing to give; he’ll have nothing but accumulated wealth, the wealth valued in the world he himself organised and then destroyed for the sake of accession of the false messiah to the throne! The notorious dollars will be like Russian banknotes of 1917. Gold will gain its true value as nothing, for it is worthless as a metal and can be neither eaten nor used for covering oneself from cold. Only functional things will be valued, the things people are unable to survive without: axes, saws, diverse tools, simple iron stoves.
The elder closed his eyes, and a tear rolled down his cheek again. It seemed he was asleep, but his lips were habitually whispering a prayer. I didn’t know what to do: it’s a sin to interrupt a prayer, but I clearly saw the elder was very tired.
“Father,” I started hesitatingly, “perhaps, I’ll better come tomorrow?”
“My dear father Alexander, do you know what will happen in the next second, not to mention the next day?! Oh, youth, youth, you always endeavour to appoint and solve everything. I wish young people had less bustle and more listened to God, asked not for implementation of their desires, but for opening of His Holy will. Tomorrow you won’t come, so don’t even bother. You better come in two days, and don’t postpone the visit to later. God bless you!”
Only when I got outside I noticed the day was ending. It passed like an instant! It came to my mind that our parting had a different tone than the meeting itself. Why was it impossible to meet the next day? Perhaps, the old man was too tired. But when I got home I got surprising news: I had to visit the bishop the next morning. It seemed like an ordinary affair, but it was such a coincidence!
Let me cite several other extracts:
“England will cease to exist, the island will go down into the sea, burdened by the ocean of sins… The same is in store for Japan. China will cover a major part Russia. All lands, behind and after the mountains, will turn yellow. Africans will fill our cities and villages” (pages 170-171).
“Soon sinners will feed their guests with dishes cooked of children’s bodies. Cannibalism will become a totally normal thing, a sign of good manners. You will witness those times” (page 160).
“Father Antony, will those who stay in cities have any chance to save themselves?” I asked.
“Why? Another thing is there will be one chance in a city vs. two chances in the country. But is it reasonable to use such terms as “possible – impossible” when it’s all about salvation of the soul?!
One old man told me a story which is almost like a parable. They produced boxes for the army at a restricted industrial site that adjoined a vast bog with an impassable quagmire. On that side there was even no barbed wire, for all escape attempts ended not more than one or two hundred metres away from the site. Cries of escapees who needed help provoked sympathy in other convicts and malevolence in guards. The bog was so terrible that it didn’t fully freeze even in winter, so winter escapes had similar outcomes. Nonetheless, there was a Belorussian guy, a former forester who was competent in bogs and decided to escape. For a long time he observed the bog, weighed something up, questioned where previous escapees drowned, traced release of marsh gases and generation of rusty spots... generally speaking, he was preparing.
One day they did escape in a group of five to six men plus a priest who told me this story. They left in a foggy morning right after they had been brought to the industrial site. They were moving in a column, one after another. At first everything was fine, and in a couple of kilometres away from the camp they stopped for a rest on an islet. And then it started: one, two, three men drowned... All attempts to save those who got stuck in the liquid stinking quagmire ended with sinking of the “rescuer”. The most stupid death was that of the Belorussian guy: he hit a bird with a stick on clear water and wanted to get it. It was just about five to six metres away from a little floating islet, and the other side of the bog was already visible! But he did not make it, while the priest reached the dry land and was saved.”
The elder made a pause, while I thought it was the end of the story and asked, “So, what’s the point of the parable, father?”
“Well, the point is the following: the one was saved who was worst prepared for the journey, therefore he set all his hopes upon God. At that, the one whom, as they say, God himself ordered to reach the destination got enticed by food, decided to please his belly, and died.”
(The original book may be downloaded here.)
And, last but not least, in Birds and a Stone Sensei meets with Elder Antony. Whether it is true or... I don’t know.
Prepared by Roman V. (Kiev, Ukraine)