Elder Cleopa of Romania

On the Second Coming of Our Lord

SOURCE: “The Truth of Our Faith: A Discourse from Holy Scripture on the Teachings of True Christianity,” by Elder Cleopa of Romania, Uncut Mountain Press, 2000, Ch. 15.

Inquirer: Father, what can you tell us about the exact date of the Second Coming of Christ?

Elder Cleopa: Christ’s true Church provides us with a number of apt testimonies which show that God did not entrust this date to anyone, neither to angels, nor to men, nor even to His own Son as man. Listen to the divine words of Scripture on the subject:

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be . . . Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh . . . “ (Mat. 24:36-51)

If neither the angels in heaven nor the Son of Man Himself as man know the appointed time, how is it possible for it to be known among men? From the words of the Saviour it is understood only that we must be ever vigilant and mindful of our salvation, ever ready for the coming of the Lord, for we know neither the day nor the hour of His coming, nor even the hour of our own end in this life. His appearance will be unexpected, as the Lord forewarned us when he said, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” (Mat. 25:13)

Inq.: It is true that at first the Apostles didn’t know the exact date of the Second Coming of the Saviour (Mat. 24:36), however, from the time they were strengthened from on high at the descent of the Holy Spirit they were made aware of all. For, as the Saviour foretold, by the Holy Spirit all the mysteries were revealed: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (Jn. 16:12-13). From the time of the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the Apostles, as well as all faithful Christians, with the illumination and wisdom given them by the Holy Spirit, were made able to know “all truth.” In other words, they became aware of the entirety of the divine plan for the history of the world and its end, and thus were able to determine through Holy Scripture the events of the future, such as the date of the Second Coming. Isn’t such a determination possible?

EC: William Miller calculated that, according to Scripture between the first of March 1843 and the first of March 1844 the Second Coming of Christ would take place. He had announced this date from as early as 1833 in the brochure “Prophecy from Holy Scripture of the Second Coming of the Lord in the year 1843.” Another “prophet,” Joseph Chimes, had proposed in the journals “The Voice of Midnight” (1842) and “The Bell of Danger” that the Lord would come in the year 1843.

The closest disciple of Miller, a Mr. Snow, decided to add to the “prophecy” of Miller another seven months and ten days, predetermining the date of the Second Coming of the Lord as the tenth of October 1844. He was also put to ridicule along with his teacher. Those who believed their pronouncements spent their fortunes, handing out all they had and buying white garments and candles in order to go out and meet the Lord. It’s possible that the shop windows were even filled then with white garments for those traveling to heaven on the tenth of October 1844. Yet, this day passed like all others. The so-called “prophets” became the recipients of every kind of shame, derision and mockery from those deluded people who had scattered their fortunes trusting in the false prophecies.

From these pitiful experiences we must at least come to understand that the promise of our Saviour Jesus Christ concerning the revelation of the future by the Holy Spirit did not refer to the date of the Second Coming, as it appeared to many, but rather to prophecies pertaining to various events and signs due to come to pass in the Church. For, indeed, there have been revelations through the Holy Spirit, as we see, for example, in the Book of Revelation and other books of Holy Scripture. These revelations contain a variety of eschatological teachings (on the appearance of the Antichrist, of the false prophets, the unleashing of the persecutions of Christians), as well as the indispensable wisdom of the Apostles which enabled them to present the divine teachings when they were led to give a defense before their accusers (Mat. 10:19-20). These are the future events of which the Saviour speaks in the text that you read.

Inq.: The Apostle Paul writes: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thess. 5:4-5). From these words it follows that Christians can and should know the exact date of the Second Coming in order to be ready to accept it.

EC: Why have you read from only verses four and five of chapter five from First Thessalonians, leaving out verses one and two which serve to interpret verses four and five? Listen to what the Apostle Paul says there: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:1-2). This is the truth to which Christ’s Church has remained faithful. The true Church teaches, equally with the Apostle Paul, that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night and that no one knows the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man will come.

It is possible only for the approach of the Second Coming to be known by the signs which must come before:

~ The preaching of the Gospel throughout the world. (Mat. 24:15)

~ The turn of the Jews to Christianity after the preaching of the Gospel in the entire world. (Rom. 11:25-34)

~ The appearance of the Antichrist, also called the man of iniquity or the beast, together with his representatives, pseudo-Christs, false prophets, and every type of false wonder worked by the power of Satan in order to deceive the people. The Antichrist will sit in the place of God acting as if he were God and as an unrelenting beast he will pursue with all rage and furor the chosen servants of God. (1 Jn. 2:18; 2 Thess. 2:3-11; Rev. 13:1-8, 20:1-10; Mat. 24:9)

~ The multiplication of wickedness and the growing cold of love between men, hatred and betrayal of one another. (Mat. 24:10-12)

~ A torrent of bloodshed, wars and rumors of wars between nations, people and states. (Mat. 24:6-7)

~ The appearance of calamities such as mass starvation, sicknesses etc. (Mat. 24:7-9)

~ The appearance of certain signs in the world such as the darkening of the sun and moon, the falling of stars from the sky, the passing away of heaven and earth.

~ The appearance in the heavens of the sign of the Son of Man, the True Cross, because this is the sign of victory of our Lord and no other sign so alerts us of His imminent arrival as does His Cross.

The Lord explains these signs thus: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Mat. 24:32-33) Therefore, concerning the signs that will precede the Second Coming of the Lord, we have explanations and confirmation from the Saviour Himself, while of the exact date of His coming neither the angels nor even the Son of Man Himself, as man, are informed, but the Father alone knows.

Advertisements

PROPHECIES by Abba Pambo

(Speaking to One of His Disciples)

An Egyptian ascetic on the Nitrian mountain, Abba Pambo was a contemporary of St. Anthony the Great and himself great in monastic asceticism. Born about A.D. 303, he was one of the first to join Amoun in Nitria. He was illiterate until he was taught the Scriptures as a monk and ordained priest in 340. He had two characteristics by which he was especially known; by long training, he sealed his lips, so that no unnecessary word passed them, and he never ate any bread other than that which he gained by his own labour, plaiting rushes. He was like an angel of God and, in old age, his face shone as did the face of Moses in ancient times, so that the monks could not look on it. He did not give a quick answer even to a simple question, without prayer and pondering in his heart.

This wonderful saint had clear discernment into the destiny of the living and the dead. He entered into rest in the Lord in the year 374.]

…And I’ll tell you this, my child, that the days will come when the Christians will add to and will take away from, and will alter the books of the Holy Evangelists, and of the Holy Apostles, and of the Divine Prophets, and of the Holy Fathers. They’ll tone down the Holy Scriptures and will compose troparia, hymns, and writings technologically. Their nous will be spilled out among them, and will become alienated from it’s Heavenly Prototype. For this reason the Holy Fathers had previously encouraged the monks of the desert to write down the lives of the Fathers not onto parchment, but onto paper, because the coming generation will change them to suit their own personal tastes. So you see, the evil that comes will be horrible.

Then the disciple said:  So then, Geronda, the traditions are going to be changed and the practices of the Christians? Maybe there won’t exist enough priests in the Church when these unfortunate times come?

And the father continued:  In these times the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall onto the world. One nation shall face-off against another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. The church leaders will consider useless anything concerned wit salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern. All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They’ll be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they’ll not have any interest to imitate them, nor even to hear them. But rather they will complain and say that “if we had lived in those times, then we’d have behaved like that”. And the bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man’s rights will not be defended, they’ll afflict widows, and harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most won’t believe in God, they’ll hate each other and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other, they’ll be drunk and will walk about as blind.

The disciple again asked:  What can we do, in such a state?

And Elder Pambo answered:  My child, in these times whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Elder Gabriel of Georgia

Elder Gabriel’s edifications

Enlightened by divine grace Father Gabriel never wrote down his teachings. His words were etched in the heart and mind of his spiritual children. In his labors he was sparing neither his physical, mental, nor spiritual powers. Who knows how many persons were led toward the path of light, how many of them were saved from being fallen into the abyss of vanity. Spiritual children to show their gratefulness and reverence toward their beloved Elder in their reminiscences retell of the kindness implanted into their hearts by their wise edifier. Out of the reminiscences the pearls were chosen that represent “Elder Gabriel’s short homilies”. These teachings are eternal; they are guiding us today as well. Let’s share the treasure left by the Elder with those whose hearts are able to perceive the truth.

Seas dry up, mountains collapse, but the glory of Christ remains for ever.

Death is transfiguration. Don’t be afraid of death; rather be afraid of the Judgment Day. When you go in for examinations before your professor, your heart starts palpitating; imagine how you will feel before the Creator. Greatness of GOD is incomparable.

Your soul belongs to the One Who bestowed it to you.

Try to strive for God constantly. Having seen your aspiration, the Lord will grant you all that is necessary.

It is not God who abandons a man, but a man abandons God. Hell is an estrangement from God.

God is an infinite Love, Goodness and Justice. Who loves goodness and justice, he loves God and he is loved by God as his own child.

Conscience is a small God. Before going to bed, render a short account to yourself: how you spent the day, what you did, when you sinned, what should have been done. Be demanding towards yourself.

Idle talk is offensive for God. Kind deeds mean love for the neighbor.

Love dominates all rules and laws.

Denounce a man with love.

We are witnessing the End Days. You will see the Antichrist. The Lord our God will demand love for God and the neighbor; whoever holds out to the end will be saved.

A humbled man is protected from temptations. No one can enter the Kingdom of God without humbleness.

We have to repent with our hearts rather then shed tears.

God’s wrath is on women who had an abortion. Repent and pray constantly so that God may forgive your sin of slaughtering your own children.

Never lose hope for God’s Providence.

The spirit comprises three faculties: rational, emotional and volitional. Rational is in man’s mind. Emotional is in his heart, Volitional is in his body.

During the Antichrist times, the strongest temptation will be anticipation of salvation from the cosmos, from humanoids, extraterrestrials that are actually the demons. One should rarely look up at the sky, as the signs might be deceptive and thus one may be ruined.

The half of the Hell is already on the Earth. Antichrist was already born and he is at the door. Antichrist is not knocking at the door, rather he is breaking in. You will witness his reign. His seal will be made visibly on the forehead and arm.

The Antichrist will not be enthroned in Georgia and the persecutions here will be considerably less severe. Woe to those who will try to interpret the Holy Testament in their own way. Later, the Antichrist followers will also attend church services; make sign of the cross and preach Holy Testament. True believers will be recognized by the good deeds.

Satan has spread 666 traps. His seal will be made not only invisibly but also visibly, on the forehead and arm. If the seal impression is made by force, in God’s sight it will be considered like virgin disgraced. The hardest trial for Christians will be their relatives who accepted the seal. The seal won’t effect if made against someone’s will. But imagine the trap set by the antichrist for a mother having left with five children. How to feed them if not accept the seal?

At first, the seal will be offered to volunteers. However, within the enthronement of Antichrist everyone will be forced to accept the seal. Disobedience will be claimed a treachery. People will flee to the forests. Precautions should be taken to move in groups of about ten-fifteen, as the demons might try to nudge single people from the cliffs. The believers will be protected by the Holy Spirit. Whatever happens, never lose your hope. Help each other. God will clear your mind and you will know how to react. The one who endures will be saved. No true believer will feel either hunger, or thirst. The believers won’t wither in the time of disasters. The Lord will work miracles for them. One leaf of a plant will be enough food for a month. Even the lump of the earth will be changed into the bread by making a sign of the cross over it.

Love each other. Georgia will be saved by love. We are witnessing the End Days. You will see the Antichrist. The Lord our God will demand love for God and the neighbor; whoever holds out to the end will be saved.

Georgia will be enlightened in the End Days; this will be revealed not materially but spiritually. Believers from many countries will gather in Georgia. The wicked deeds started by communists are only a prologue. The worst is ahead. The world has never witnessed such a sorrow from the time immemorial. Georgia will be protected by the Holy Virgin as Iveria is the country chosen by the Holy Mother of God as Her lot. The fight between the prophets Elijah and Enoch against Antichrist will be shown on TV. The leaving of the Holy Mountain by the icon of the Holy Virgin of Iveron will be followed by the bell ringing. The churches will bow down to commemorate the farewell. This also will be shown on TV, so that the whole world could see that and those, who want to save their souls could come to Georgia.

Georgia will resurrect like Lazarus through many hardships and sufferings, but not until the restoration of monarchy. Salvation will come when you say “This is the end”.

A true faith finds its place in the man’s heart, not in his mind. Antichrist will be disclosed by the believers having their faith in their hearts; those with their faith in their mind follow him.

Devoted love for man made St. Shio of Mgvime retreat to a cave.

Egoism is opposed to love. Egoist never gives anything out but wants everything for himself. All the riches of the world could never be enough for an egoist.

When having meals, remember those, who are in need, hungry, thirsty, suffering – this way you learn how to receive a Divine Grace.

Humbleness will tame even the fiercest lion.

Faith and love are perceived through sufferings.

To feed doves and other birds is a kind deed.

The eye is a mirror of your soul. Should it be against your soul’s will, you would never look at anything wrong.

We have to repent with our hearts rather then shed tears.

Ecumenism is a super heresy.

Christ didn’t walk on the roads laid with carpets. He was simple; hypocrisy and pomposity were repulsive for Him. Christ wore only one tunic knitted by the Holy Mother of God.

 

Have you sinned? Repent immediately.

 

Do not use the name of the Lord your God in vain. If you do it you break the third commandment.

Georgia is a country chosen by the most Holy Mother of God as Her lot. Do not abandon your motherland during the hard times. Do not offend Her.

If you have everything else, but love, you have nothing.

If you hate even a single person – you are disgusting before GOD.

Love your enemies – it’s clear. But how to love enemies of Christ? Stop hating and then you will be able to love them.

How to love the evil man? Hate the evil, but love those who do evil. Who knows maybe one day they will repent their sins by the powers of prayer, tears and confession and become like an angel. Everything is God’s Will.

Love everyone; if you can’t, at least show a goodwill.

In the End Days a man will be saved by love, humbleness and kindness. Kindness will open the gates of Heaven; humbleness will lead into the Heaven; a man, whose heart is filled with love, will see the God.

This is my last will and testament: raise your prayers for everyone; your prayers will move the mountains. Love each other.

Prophecy of St. Cyril of Jerusalem

WHOSE KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END

DANIEL vii. 9–14.

I beheld till thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days did sit, and then, I saw in a vision of the night, and behold one like unto the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven.

WE preach not one advent only of Christ, but a second also, far more glorious than the former. For the former gave a view of His patience; but the latter brings with it the crown of a divine kingdom. For all things, for the most part, are twofold in our Lord Jesus Christ: a twofold generation; one, of God, before the ages; and one, of a Virgin, at the close of the ages: His descents twofold; one, the unobserved, like rain on a fleece; and a second His open coming, which is to be. In His former advent, He was wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger; in His second, He covereth Himself with light as with a garment· In His first coming, He endured the Cross, despising shame; in His second, He comes attended by a host of Angels, receiving glory. We rest not then upon His first advent only, but look also for His second. And as at His first coming we said, Blessed is fire that cometh in the Name of the Lord, so will we repeat the same at His second coming; that when with Angels we meet our Master, we may worship Him and say, Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord. The Saviour comes, not to be judged again, but to judge them who judged Him; He who before held His peace when judged, shall remind the transgressors who did those daring deeds at the Cross, and shall say, These things hast thou done, and I kept silence. Then, He came because of a divine dispensation, teaching men with persuasion; but this time they will of necessity have Him for their King, even though they wish it not.

And concerning these two comings, Malachi the Prophet says, And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple; behold one coming. And again of the second coming he says, And the Messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in. Behold, He cometh, saith the Lord Almighty. But who shall abide the day of His coming? or who shall stand when He appeareth? Because fire cometh in like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ herb; and fire shall sit as a refiner and purifier. And immediately after the Saviour Himself says, And I will draw near to you in judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulteresses, and against those who swear falsely in My Name, and the rest. For this cause Paul warning us beforehand says, If any man buildeth on the foundation gold, and silver, and precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. Paul also knew these two comings, when writing to Titus and saying, The grace of God hath appeared which bringeth salvation unto all men, instructing us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and godly, and righteously in this present world; looking for the blessed hope, and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Thou seest how he spoke of a first, for which he gives thanks; and of a second, to which we look forward. Therefore the words also of the Faith which we are announcing were just now delivered thus; that we believe in Him, who also ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS, AND SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER AND SHALL COME IN GLORY TO JUDGE QUICK AND DEAD; WHOSE KINGDOM SHALL HAVE NO END.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, comes from heaven; and He comes with glory at the end of this world, in the last day. For of this world there is to be an end, and this created world is to be re-made anew. For since corruption, and theft, and adultery, and every sort of sins have been poured forth over the earth, and blood has been mingled with blood in the world, therefore, that this wondrous dwelling-place may not remain filled with iniquity, this world passeth away, that the fairer world may be made manifest. And wouldest thou receive the proof of this out of the words of Scripture? Listen to Esaias, saying, And the heaven shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all the stars shall fall, as leaves from a vine, and as haves fall from a big-tree. The Gospel also says, The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven. Let us not sorrow, as if we alone died; the stars also shall die; but perhaps rise again. And the Lord rolleth up the heavens, not that He may destroy them, but that He may raise them up again more beautiful. Hear David the Prophet saying, Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands; they shall perish, but Thou remainest. But some one will say, Behold, he says plainly that they shall perish. Hear in what sense he says, they shall perish; it is plain from what follows; And they all shall was old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt. Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed. For as a man is said to “perish,” according to that which is written, Behold, how the righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart, and this, though the resurrection is looked for; so we look for a resurrection, as it were, of the heavens also. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood. Here let converts from the Manichees gain instruction, and no longer make those lights their gods; nor impiously think, that this sun which shall be darkened is Christ. And again hear the Lord saying, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away; for the creatures are not as precious as the Master’s words.

The things then which are seen shall pass away, and there shall come the things which are looked for, things fairer than the present; but as to the time let no one be curious. For it is not far you, He says, to know times or seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. And venture not thou to declare when these things shall be, nor on the other hand supinely slumber. For he saith, Watch, for in such an hour as ye expect not the Son of Man cometh. But since it was needful for us to know the signs of the end, and since we are looking for Christ, therefore, that we may not die deceived and be led astray by that false Antichrist, the Apostles, moved by the divine will, address themselves by a providential arrangement to the True Teacher, and say, Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? We look for Thee to come again, but Satan transforms himself into an Angel of light; put us therefore on our guard, that we may not worship another instead of Thee. And He, opening His divine and blessed mouth, says, Take heed that no man mislead you. Do you also, my hearers, as seeing Him now with the eyes of your mind, hear Him saying the same things to you; Take heed that no man mislead you. And this word exhorts you all to give heed to what is spoken; for it is not a history of things gone by, but a prophecy of things future, and which will surely come. Not that we prophesy, for we are unworthy; but that the things which are written will be set before you, and the signs declared. Observe thou, which of them have already come to pass, and which yet remain; and make thyself safe.

Take heed that no man mislead you:

For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and shall mislead many. This has happened in part: for already Simon Magus has said this, and Menander, and some others of the godless leaders of heresy; and others will say it in our days, or after us.

A second sign.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. Is there then at this time war between Persians and Romans for Mesopotamia, or no? Does nation rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, or no? And there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places. These things have already come to pass; and again, And fearful sights from heaven, and mighty storms. Watch therefore, He says; for ye know not at what hour your Lord doth come.

But we seek our own sign of His coming;

We Churchmen seek a sign proper to the Church. And the Saviour says, And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. If thou hear that bishops advance against bishops, and clergy against clergy, and laity against laity even unto blood, be not troubled; for it has been written before. Heed not the things now happening, but the things which are written; and even though I who teach thee perish, thou shalt not also perish with me; nay, even a hearer may become better than his teacher, and he who came last may be first, since even those about the eleventh hour the Master receives. If among Apostles there was found treason, dost thou wonder that hatred of brethren is found among bishops? But the sign concerns not only rulers, but the people also; for He says, And because iniquity shall abound, the love of the many shall wax cold. Will any then among those present boast that he entertains friendship unfeigned towards his neighbor? Do not the lips often kiss, and the countenance smile, and the eyes brighten forsooth, while the heart is planning guile, and the man is plotting mischief with words of peace?

Thou hast this sign also:

And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come. And as we see, nearly the whole world is now filled with the doctrine of Christ.

And what comes to pass after this?

He says next, When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing in the Holy Place, let him that readeth understand. And again, Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Lo, there; believe it not. Hatred of the brethren makes room next for Antichrist; for the devil prepares beforehand the divisions among the people, that he who is to come may be acceptable to them. But God forbid that any of Christ’s servants here, or elsewhere, should run over to the enemy ! Writing concerning this matter, the Apostle Paul gave a manifest sign, saying, For that day shall not come, except there came first the falling away, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall the lawless one be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that are perishing. Thus wrote Paul, and now is the falling away. For men have fallen away from the right faith; and some preach the identity of the Son with the Father, and others dare to say that Christ was brought into being out of nothing. And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise. For men have fallen away from the truth, and have itching ears. Is it a plausible discourse? all listen to it gladly. Is it a word of correction? all turn away from it. Most have departed from right words, and rather choose the evil, than desire the good. This therefore is the falling away, and the enemy is soon to be looked for: and meanwhile he has in part begun to send forth his own forerunners, that he may then come prepared upon the prey. Look therefore to thyself, O man, and make safe thy soul. The Church now charges thee before the Living God; she declares to thee the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive. Whether they will happen in thy time we know not, or whether they will happen after thee we know not; but it is well that, knowing these things, thou shouldest make thyself secure beforehand.

The true Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, comes no more from the earth.

If any come making false shows in the wilderness, go not forth; if they say, Lo, here is the Christ, Lo, there, believe it not. Look no longer downwards and to the earth; for the Lord descends from heaven; not alone as before, but with many, escorted by tens of thousands of Angels; nor secretly as the dew on the fleece; but shining forth openly as the lightning. For He hath said Himself, As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be; and again, And they shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds with power and great glory, and He shall send forth His Angels with a great trumpet; and the rest.

But as, when formerly He was to take man’s nature, and God was expected to be born of a Virgin, the devil created prejudice against this, by craftily preparing among idol-worshippers fables of false gods, begetting and begotten of women, that, the falsehood having come first, the truth, as he supposed, might be disbelieved; so now, since the true Christ is to come a second time, the adversary, taking occasion by the expectation of the simple, and especially of them of the circumcision, brings in a certain man who is a magician, and most expert in sorceries and enchantments of beguiling craftiness; who shall seize for himself the power of the Roman empire, and shall falsely style himself Christ; by this name of Christ deceiving the Jews, who are looking for the Anointed, and seducing those of the Gentiles by his magical illusions.

But this aforesaid Antichrist is to come when the times of the Roman empire shall have been fulfilled, and the end of the world is now drawing near.

There shall rise up together ten kings of the Romans, reigning in different parts perhaps, but all about the same time; and after these an eleventh, the Antichrist, who by his magical craft shall seize upon the Roman power; and of the kings who reigned before him, three he shall humble, and the remaining seven he shall keep in subjection to himself. At first indeed he will put on a show of mildness (as though he were a learned and discreet person), and of soberness and benevolence: and by the lying signs and wonders of his magical deceit a having beguiled the Jews, as though he were the expected Christ, he shall afterwards be characterized by all kinds of crimes of inhumanity and lawlessness, so as to outdo all unrighteous and ungodly men who have gone before him displaying against all men, but especially against us Christians, a spirit murderous and most cruel, merciless and crafty. And after perpetrating such things for three years and six months only, he shall be destroyed by the glorious second advent from heaven of the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus, the true Christ, who shall slay Antichrist with the breath of His mouth, and shall deliver him over to the fire of hell.

Now these things we teach, not of our own invention, but having learned them out of the divine Scriptures used in the Church, and chiefly from the prophecy of Daniel just now read; as Gabriel also the Archangel interpreted it, speaking thus: The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall surpass all kingdoms. And that this kingdom is that of the Romans, has been the tradition of the Church’s interpreters. For as the first kingdom which became renowned was that of the Assyrians, and the second, that of the Medes and Persians together, and after these, that of the Macedonians was the third, so the fourth kingdom now is that of the Romans. Then Gabriel goes on to interpret, saying, His ten horns are ten kings that shall arise; and another king shall rise up after them, who shall surpass in wickedness all who were before him; (he says, not only the ten, but also all who have been before him;) and he shall subdue three kings; manifestly out of the ten former kings: but it is plain that by subduing three of these ten, he will become the eighth king; and he shall speak words against the Most High. A blasphemer the man is and lawless, not having received the kingdom from his fathers, but having usurped the power by means of sorcery.

And who is this, and from what sort of working?

Interpret to us, O Paul. Whose coming, he says, is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders; implying, that Satan has used him as an instrument, working in his own person through him; for knowing that his judgment shall now no longer have respite, he wages war no more by his ministers, as is his wont, but henceforth by himself more openly. And with all signs and lying wonders; for the father of falsehood will make a show of the works of falsehood, that the multitudes may think that they see a dead man raised, who is not raised, and lame men walking, and blind men seeing, when the cure has not been wrought.

And again he says, Who opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God, or that is worshipped; (against every God; Antichrist forsooth will abhor the idols,) so that he seateth himself in the temple of God.

What temple then?

He means, the Temple of the Jews which has been destroyed. For God forbid that it should be the one in which we are! Why say we this? That we may not be supposed to favour ourselves. For if he comes to the Jews as Christ, and desires to be worshipped by the Jews, he will make great account of the Temple, that he may more completely beguile them; making it supposed that he is the man of the race of David, who shall build up the Temple which was erected by Solomon. And Antichrist will come at the time when there shall not be left one stone upon another in the Temple of the Jews, according to the doom pronounced by our Saviour; for when, either decay of time, or demolition ensuing on pretense of new buildings, or from any other causes, shall have overthrown all the stones, I mean not merely of the outer circuit, but of the inner shrine also, where the Cherubim were, then shall he come With all signs and lying wonders, exalting himself against all idols; at first indeed making a pretense of benevolence, but afterwards displaying his relentless temper, and that chiefly against the Saints of God. For he says, I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints; and again elsewhere, there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation upon earth, even to that same time. Dreadful is that beast, a mighty dragon, unconquerable by man, ready to devour; concerning whom though we have more things to speak out of the divine Scriptures, yet we will content ourselves at present with thus much, in order to keep within compass.

For this cause the Lord knowing the greatness of the adversary grants indulgence to the godly, saying, Then let them which be in Judaea flee to the mountains. But if any man is conscious that he is very stout-hearted, to encounter Satan, let him stand (for I do not despair of the Church’s nerves), and let him say, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ and the rest? But, let those of us who are fearful provide for our own safety; and those who are of a good courage, stand fast: for then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. But thanks be to God who hath confined the greatness of that tribulation to a few days; for He says, But for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened; and Antichrist shall reign for three years and a half only. We speak not from apocryphal books, but from Daniel; for he says, And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time. A time is the one year in which his coming shall for a while have increase; and the times are the remaining two years of iniquity, making up the sum of the three years; and the half a time is the six months. And again in another place Daniel says the same thing, And he swear by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, and times, and half a time. And some peradventure have referred what follows also to this; namely, a thousand two hundred and ninety days; and this, Blessed is he that endureth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. For this cause we must hide ourselves and flee; for perhaps we shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come.

Who then is the blessed man, that shall at that time devoutly witness for Christ?

For I say that the Martyrs of that time excel all martyrs. For the Martyrs hitherto have wrestled with men only; but in the time of Antichrist they shall do battle with Satan in his own person. And former persecuting kings only put to death; they did not pretend to raise the dead, nor did they make false shows of signs and wonders. But in his time there shall be the evil inducement both of fear and of deceit, so that if it be possible the very elect shall be deceived. Let it never enter into the heart of any then alive to ask, “What did Christ more? For by what power does this man work these things? Were it not God’s will, He would not have allowed them.” The Apostle warns thee, and says beforehand, And for this cause God shall send them a working of error; (send, that is, shall allow to happen;) not that they might make excuse, but that they might be condemned. Wherefore? They, he says, who believed not the truth, that is, the true Christ, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, that is, in Antichrist. But as in the persecutions which happen from time to time, so also then God will permit these things, not because He wants power to hinder them, but because according to His wont He will through patience crown His own champions like as He did His Prophets and Apostles; to the end that having toiled for a little while they may inherit the eternal kingdom of heaven, according to that which Daniel says, And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book (manifestly, the book of life); and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and same to shame and everlasting contempt; and they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and of the many righteous, as the stars for ever and ever.

Guard thyself then, O man; thou hast the signs of Antichrist; and remember them not only thyself, but impart them also freely to all. If thou hast a child according to the flesh, admonish him of this now; if thou hast begotten one through catechizing, put him also on his guard, lest he receive the false one as the True. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. I fear these wars of the nations; I fear the schisms of the Churches; I fear the mutual hatred of the brethren. But enough on this subject; only God forbid that it should be fulfilled in our days; nevertheless, let us be on our guard. And thus much concerning Antichrist.

But let us wait and look for the Lord’s coming upon the clouds from heaven. Then shall Angelic trumpets sound; the dead in Christ shall rise first,–the godly persons who are alive shall be caught up in the clouds, receiving as the reward of their labours more than human honour, inasmuch as theirs was a more than human strife; according as the Apostle Paul writes, saying, For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM: CATECHETICAL LECTURE XV, Ver. 1 – 19

 

Prophecy of a Byzantine Elder

Excerpted from: “Reflections of a Humble Heart—A fifteenth-century text on the spiritual life

Published by Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society

 

The blessed elder also said that terrible times were approaching. The enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ will take captive our earth and the Great Church (Hagia Sophia-this prophecy was before the fall of Constantinople) will cease to be the temple of God. Great tragedies will overtake the land of the Romans, (Byzantines who referred to themselves as Romans), and by God’s great judgment it will cease to exist. People will die, cities will perish, even whole nations will perish, because there is nothing eternal under the sun except the human soul, which is created in the image and likeness of the eternal God. Do not look for help from Western Christians, expecting that they will take up arms in defense of the common Christian heritage. Do not expect this. Because the Western Christians are not Christians; they are pagans. Even we Orthodox have a lot of things that are pagan.

 

Brother, do not be grieved at my words, but examine your soul. Just look how many idols it harbors: Mercury—the god of cupidity, Aphrodite—the goddess of concupiscence, Ares—the god of wrath, etc., and in the center, Zeus—you with your self-love and self-indulgence. Yes, brother, we have much that is pagan, because we Orthodox are sinners, both as individuals and as a people. However, we are pagans on the surface, while in the depths of our souls we are Christian, because in our humility we have Christ in our hearts. And therefore, in spite of our sins, “in our humility the Lord remembered us.” Western peoples are Christian ion the surface, but in their hearts, in their souls, they are pagan. We Orthodox grieve that we have idols living in our souls, and in humility we fall prostrate before Christ, desiring with our whole heart to belong to Him. In the case of Westerners, however, Christianity is like a thin gilding over copper; and the rest is wholly pagan, because within their souls they bow down before their idols and these idols reign over them. They are proud, and Christ does not dwell in their hearts. For this reason, we Orthodox are truly pagans—on the surface—but deep within we are Christians; while the Western Latins are Christians on the surface but pagans underneith. Therefore, do not expect that they will help us. We Orthodox are strangers to them.

 

Of course, in every nation there are good and humble people who bear Christ in their hearts and their way of life. But there is nothing that can equal or that can even be compared to the grace of Orthodoxy. This is a soul-saving faith; this is a faith that leads us to humility; this is a faith that elevates us to Christ; this is a joyous faith, a faith that encompasses all peoples, a faith of indescribable beauty, a divine faith! O Orthodox Christian, be grateful to God that you are Orthodox! Oh, how happy we Orthodox are that we are Orthodox!

 

But this is not yet the end of the world. The end of the world will come later, and the time of the coming of the end of the world lies in God’s hands—and also in the hands of men. When human evil reaches its apogee, God will send His sickle to harvest the world. While together with evil men, righteous men still live on this earth, and while the Church of Christ still stands, not having defiled her garments (Rev. 3:4), evil in the world has no power to fully mature. But when no righteous men remain on the earth, when the ocean of evil floods the whole world, then the end of the owrld will come; it will be burned up and disappear into oblivion, that it might be reborn a new and perfect world in which righteousness dwells (2Peter 3:9-12). At the coming of the end of the world, all the tribulations that the world and people have experienced until then cannot compare with those tribulations that will come upon them at this time. A time of woe will overtake the whole world: men will hate one another, they will fear one another, they will not trust one another; tribulations will give way to greater tribulations, fear—to greater fear, danger—to greater danger, pain—to greater pain, grief—to greater grief. But people will not come to their senses; they will not flee to God, Who is able to save them. On the contrary, people will grow callous, and all spiritual life will wither. Man will become so full of malice, so degraded as a result of being goaded and ruled over by base passions, so hard-hearted, darkened, and utterly consumed by the sole concern of how to survive, that for spiritual life he will have neither the will nor any place in his heart. Nor will there remain any spiritual guides, because these, too, will follow the ways of the world. God’s temples will become either empty or destroyed or spiritually defiled by unworthy pastors.

 

At the very height of these tribulations and chaos in the world, the Antichrist will appear. He will come in the guise of a peacemaker, a good and wise leader who can bring the world to order. In reality, however, he will be an enemy to all, a despiser of all that is good, a tyrant and evil-doer, a destroyer of everything, the likes of whom the world has never seen and will never see. Each person will be registered; not only every facet of his affairs and his life, but every word, every movement of his mental faculties will be under constant surveillance so that he will lose the habit of thinking for himself out of fear that the expression on his face might involuntarily reflect something incompatible with the authority of the world ruler, i.e., Antichrist. Everyone will wear “stone masks.” All labor, every square inch of ground, every grain of wheat will be under the authority of Antichrist. There will be calamities in nature: oppressive heat waves will alternate with periods of freezing cold, drought with floods; horrendous tornados and hurricanes will wreak frightful destruction; volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and diseases among people, animals, and plants will be so dreadful as to make people despair. The earth, no longer blessed with bearing fruit, will be stricken with terrible famine and become utterly impoverished. And only those who have accepted the mark of the Beast, i.e., Satan, will be allowed to exist for a time, although in the most servile and base conditions of utter penury and contempt for the human dignity that man received from his Creator. Everything will be filled with Antichrist: the earth, the sea, the air. Everything will be done with the single purpose of eliminating totally the name of Christ from the heart of man. In truth, this will be a hellish kingdom on earth. There will remain very few of God’s people. There will be terrible tribulations, a time of intense agony not only on earth but throughout the entire universe, for they are joined in one plan of creation, and the whole universe is to perish that afterwards it might be clothed in incorruption, in indestructibility, in eternity, according to the words of the Apostle: “This corruptible must put on incorruption “(1Cor. 15:53). You heard the words of our Saviour: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matt. 24:29). And the prophet says: “The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord come” (Joel 2:31). Another prophet says: “For the stars in heaven, and Orion, and all the host of heaven, shall not give their light; and it shall be dark at sunrise, and the moon shall not give her light” (Is. 13:10). And further:

 

“Therefore a curse shall consume the earth, because the inhabitants thereof have sinned: therefore the dwellers in the earth shall be poor, and few men shall be left…all the mirth of the land has ceased, all the mirth of the land has departed…the water of the sea shall be troubled…the foundations of the earth shall be shaken, the earth shall be utterly confounded, and the earth shall be completely perplexed…And all the powers of the heavens shall melt, and the sky shall be rolled up like a scroll: and all the stars shall fall like leaves from a vine, and as leaves fall from a fig tree” (Is. 24:6, 11, 14, 18-19; 34:4).

 

And in Revelation we read:

 

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places” (Rev. 6:12-14).

 

In the words of one ancient writer, there will come “such a time in which no one will wish to live; anxiety will increase from night to night, and trepidation from day to day.” Before the end of the world people will see the agony of the universe, which must perish in order that God create everything anew, incorruptible and imperishable. And just as our bodies at the Resurrection will become spiritual, so it is possible that the new universe will be comprised of spiritual matter. Nowadays what we understand by “matter” and “spirit” are disparate, but then they will fuse into one understanding, without distinction.

 

This world has grown old and worn out by reason of sin and worldwide evil. The new world will be ruled by God’s righteousness and will therefore be eternal and beautiful. The great Apostle says, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold,I make all things new” (Rev. 21:1,5). But before this comes to pass, there will be frightful tribulations, and the Church of Christ will be persecuted to the limit, to wipe her off the face of the earth, because so long as the Divine Liturgy is celebrated by a grace-filled priesthood, the reign of Satan cannot establish itself on earth. In each Divine Liturgy, God is present on earth, and the Liturgy is a proclamation of Christ’s victory over the devil and death. The persecution of the Church will be overt and covert, secretive and manifest, striking at individuals and striking at all, everywhere and by all means. There will be a certain number of martyrs: just how many is known to God alone; but there will also be many apostates, who will accept the mark of the Beast, and there will be a countless number of those who are lukewarm, who will likewise submit to Antichrist in everything. The powers of evil have long been preparing these apostates, these weak and worthless beings. For centuries the powers of evil have been undermining the foundations of the Church. Just as it took centuries to prepare for the coming of Christ, so preparations for the coming of Antichrist have been underway since the earliest times of Christianity, as the Apostle Paul declared: “The mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2Thess. 2:7). But know that even the mightiest powers of hell, the “gates of hell,” will not overcome the Church (Matt. 16:18), which our Lord Jesus Christ promised ot be with even until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). This Church will be relentlessly persecuted and will hide in caves and in abysses and in deserts. God’s grace will rest upon her servants, and God will not allow the great enemy to destroy them. The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated up to the very last day of this world’s existence. Brothers, heed the signs of the coming end of the world, signs that our Lord Jesus Christ and his prophets and Apostles have revealed to us, and do not relax your trust in God.”

Prophecies Of St Seraphim Of Vyritsa (1866-1949)

Prophecies Of St Seraphim Of Vyritsa (1866-1949)

The Elder said that a time will come (it is already coming!) when the debauchery and moral decline of the young will reach their ultimate point. Virtually no-one will remain uncorrupted. Seeing their impunity, the young will consider that everything is permitted them for the satisfaction of their whims and lusts. They will begin to gather in groups and gangs, stealing and debauching themselves. But a time will come when the voice of God will be heard, when the young will understand that it is not possible to go on living in that way. They will come to the faith in various ways, drawn ever more strongly to the ascetic life. Those who before were sinners and drunkards will fill the churches and greatly thirst for spiritual life. Many of them will become monks. Monasteries will open, churches will be filled with the faithful. Then young people will go on pilgrimages. It will be a glorious time! The repentance of those that sin now will be all the more ardent…

The storm will pass over the Russian land,

The Lord will forgive the Russian people their sins.

And in Divine and Holy beauty the Cross

Will shine brightly above the Church of God once more.

And the ringing of bells will awaken

All our Holy Rus to salvation from the slumber of sin.

Holy monasteries will open anew,

And faith in God will unite all.

The salvation of the world is from Russia. St Petersburg will become the spiritual centre of the country. There will be more great events in Russia – the opening and glorification of holy relics in St Petersburg – a great joy for the whole world…

The Orient will be baptized in Russia. The whole heavenly world is praying for the enlightenment of the Orient.

A time will come when there will be a spiritual flowering in Russia. Many churches and monasteries will open, even those of other faiths will come to us in ships to be baptized. But this will not last long – for about fifteen years, then Antichrist will come …

The time will come when there will be no persecution, but money and the attractions of this world will draw people away from God and many more souls will perish than during the period of open militant atheism. On the one hand, they will raise up crosses and gild cupolas, but on the other hand, the kingdom of lies and evil will come. The True Church will always be persecuted. Salvation will only be possible through sorrows and illness, persecutions will take on a very refined and unpredictable character. It will be terrible to live to those times.

A time will come when Russia will be torn apart. First they will split her up, then they will start to plunder her wealth. The West will in every way try to further Russia’s destruction and hand over her eastern part to China. The Far East will fall into the hands of the Japanese. Siberia will fall to the Chinese, who will start to settle in Russia, marry Russians and eventually, through cunning and craft, occupy all Siberia as far as the Urals. When China tries to go further, the West will oppose it.

Many countries will fall on Russia, but she will survive, though losing a great part of her territory. That war, foretold by the Holy Scriptures, will bring about the unity of mankind. People will understand that it will be impossible to go on, otherwise every living thing will die. They will elect a single government – this will be the antichamber for the reign of Antichrist. Then the persecution of Christians will begin…

 

Among the disciples of St Seraphim, there were two eldresses, Pulcheria and Alexandra. Both had the gift of clairvoyance and the same gift of prophecy as their spiritual father. Of the future they said the following:

Much blood will be shed inside our country during a war with peoples of the Caucasus. A time will come when they will take away the red flags…the rule of the House of Romanov will not come all at once, there will a time of transition. Then Russia will be ungovernable, there will be a power struggle in Russia. At a difficult time for Russia someone who has been miraculously saved from the House of Romanov will come to power…

Hospitality

From: http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/hospitality.html

Even if you have only bread or water, with these you can still meet the dues of hospitality. Even if you do not have these, but simply make the stranger welcome and offer him a word of encouragement, you will not be failing in hospitality. Think of the widow mentioned in the Gospel by our Lord: with two mites she surpassed the generous gifts of the wealthy. St. Theodoros, the Great Ascetic


Accepting the task of hospitality, the patriarch [Abraham] used to sit at the entrance to his tent (cf. Gen. 18:1), inviting all who passed by, and his table was laden for all comers including the impious and barbarians, without distinction. Hence he was found worthy of that wonderful banquet when he received angels and the Master of all as guests. We too, then, should actively and eagerly cultivate hospitality, so that we may receive not only angels, but also God Himself. “For inasmuch,” says the Lord, “as you have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto Me” (Matt. 25:40). It is good to be generous to all, especially to those who cannot repay you. St. Theodoros, the Great Ascetic


If your heart has been softened either by repentance before God or by learning the boundless love of God towards you, do not be proud with those whose hearts are still hard. Remember how long your heart was hard and incorrigible.

Seven brothers were ill in one hospital. One recovered from his illness and got up and rushed to serve his other brothers with brotherly love, to speed their recovery. Be like this brother. Consider all men to be your brothers, and sick brothers at that. And if you come to feel that God has given you better health than others, know that it is given through mercy, so in health you may serve your frailer brothers. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic. Prolog, 31.march


Lift up and stretch out your hands, not to heaven but to the poor; for if you stretch out your hands to the poor, you have reached the summit of heaven. But if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing … Every family should have a room where Christ is welcomed in the person of the hungry and thirsty stranger. The poor are a greater temple than the sanctuary; this altar the poor, you can raise up anywhere, on any street, and offer the liturgy at any hour.” St John Chrysostom


Lift up and stretch out your hands, not to heaven but to the poor; for if you stretch out your hands to the poor, you have reached the summit of heaven. But if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing … Every family should have a room where Christ is welcomed in the person of the hungry and thirsty stranger. The poor are a greater temple than the sanctuary; this alter the poor, you can raise up anywhere, on any street, and offer the liturgy at any hour.” St John Chrysostom


Look at all the earth supplies in summer and in autumn! Every Christian, especially the priest, ought to imitate God’s bountifulness. Let your table be open to everybody, like the table of the Lord. The avaricious is God’s enemy.” St. John of Kronstadt


On a cold night two, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other. Ecclesiastes 4:11


The Martyrs won Paradise through their blood; the Ascetics, through their ascetic life. Now you, my brethren, who have children, how will you win Paradise? By means of hospitality, by giving to your brothers who are poor, blind, or lameModern Orthodox Saints I, St. Cosmas Aitolos).Dr. Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN GREEK STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., pp.81-94


When Abba Agathon went down to the city to sell some of his baskets and to procure a little bread, he found near the market place an old, poor cripple.

“For the love of God, Abba,” the cripple began to plead on seeing the Saint, “don’t you, too, leave this poor wretch unaided. Bring me near to you.”

Abba Agathon picked the man up and sat him next to him in the place where he had set up his baskets to sell them.

‘How much money did you make, Abba?’ the cripple would ask each time that the Elder sold a basket.

“Such and such,” the Elder would tell him.

“That’s good enough,” the cripple finally said. “Won’t you buy me a little pie, Abba? That would be good of you, since I have not eaten since last evening.”

“With pleasure,” the Saint told him, immediately fulfilling the cripple’s request.

Shortly thereafter, the cripple requested some fruit. And then some sweet. Thus, for each basket that was sold, the Saint spent the proceeds, until, thanks to his patronage, all of the baskets and money were gone, without his having kept even two pennies for himself. More importantly, he did this all with great eagerness, even though he knew that he would thus go perhaps two weeks without any bread for himself.

Since he had sold his last basket, the Saint got ready to leave the marketplace.

“So you’re going?” the cripple asked him.

“Yes, I have completed all of my work.”

“Uh, do me the favor of taking me as far as the crossroads, and you can leave for the desert from there,” the strange old man again pleadingly said.

The good Agathon took the cripple on his back and carried him to the place where he wanted to go, though with great difficulty, since he was exhausted from his day’s work.

As soon as he reached the crossroads and started to put down his living burden, he heard a sweet voice say to him:

“May you be blessed, Agathon, by God, both on earth and in Heaven.”

The Saint raised up his eyes to see who it was who had spoken with him. The would-be old man had completely disappeared, since he was an Angel sent by God to test the Saint’s love. The Desert Fathers


Love giving hospitality, my child, for it opens the gates of Paradise. In this you also offer hospitality to angels. “Entertain strangers so that you won’t be a stranger to God.” Elder Amphilochios Makris – http://agrino.org/cyberdesert/makris.htm


Hospitality… the greatest of virtues. It draws the grace of the Holy Spirit towards us. In every stranger’s face, my child, I see Christ himself. Elder Amphilochios Makris – http://agrino.org/cyberdesert/makris.htm

Attending to oneself

“An offspring of [the sin of] pride is censure, which is unfortunately also a habit of many Christians, who tend to concern themselves more with others than themselves. This is a phenomenon of our time and of a society that pushes people into a continuous observation of others, and not of the self.
Modern man’s myriad occupations and activities do not want him to ever remain alone to study, to contemplate, to pray, to attain self-awareness, self critique, self-control and to be reminded of death. The so-called Mass Media are incessantly preoccupied with scandal-seeking, persistently and at length, with human passions, with sins, with others’ misdemeanors. These kinds of things provoke, impress, and, even if they do not scandalize, they nevertheless burden the soul and the mind with filth and ugliness and they actually reassure us, by making us believe that “we are better” than those advertised.
Thus, a person becomes accustomed to the mediocrity, the tepidity and the transience of superficial day-to-day life, never comparing himself to saints and heroes. This is how censure prevails in our time – by giving man the impression that he is justly imposing a kind of cleansing, by mud-slinging at others, albeit contaminating himself by generating malice, hatred, hostility, resentfulness, envy and frigidity. Saint Maximos the Confessor in fact states that the one who constantly scrutinizes others’ sins, or judges his brothers based on suspicion only, has not even begun to repent, nor has he begun any research into discovering his own sins.”
~Fr. Moses of the Holy Mount of Athos

Afflictions of the righteous

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

~Psalm 34:19

Watchfulness

“At every moment we need to have wakefulness, recollected thoughts, and a careful watch on the intellect. This applies above all when we stand before God in spiritual ministry, speaking in a hidden way, in prayer, with God’s majesty: at such a time it is appropriate that we stand with a wakeful and attentive mind, combining a sense of awe and trembling with the spiritual fervour of joy and deep love.”

~From The Syriac Fathers.

« Older entries Newer entries »