The Antichrist will take the throne of health. A certain flu (virus) will appear, it will be like the flu. But this is an invented disease. It is recommended to avoid all types of vaccination. And those who are not vaccinated will be isolated” Elder Savvas (Achilleos).
It is indisputable that there is a large testimony from Orthodox Christian Saints and Elders that give stern warnings, which are very applicable to our days. As Orthodox we should hearken first of all to these voices. Are they “infallible?” No, but they are speaking from a life of evident dedication to Christ the Lord and His Church. They are illumined voices. They are trusted; voices to be trusted above any secular ones.
I have encountered a trend, I guess that’s what it might be, with some Orthodox to deemphasize the strong testimony of these holy ones. New revelations emerge – “Did you know St. Paisios of Mt. Athos was influenced by protestant teaching!” Gasp! St. Paisios exposed! Yes, so you don’t really need to listen to his warnings about our times. He was just being too Protestant! And St. Prophorios rebuked him for his teaching! It’s a great relief to know that folks making social media videos are much more knowledgeable than a saint who spent years in dedicated asceticism and has been tried and proven as a true follower of Christ. I’m so glad we have social media and blogs now to set us and them right. How did people function before?
And, we are humbly reminded – did you know the saints get it wrong too? Wow! St. Irenaeus is brought forward as an example. After all, he espoused the false teaching of millennialism. See, he got it wrong! And so, one is to conclude, it seems insinuated, the many testimonies of contemporary Elders and Saints on our times could be wrong also. You don’t have to listen to them, saints get it wrong too, you know.
Yet, St. Irenaeus was corrected by the conciliar voice (a vast testimony) of many other saints in the Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit. He was not corrected by sixty second videos and such. The overwhelming testimony of the Church clearly testified that St. Irenaeus had a faulty understanding of the Millennium.
The testimony of contemporary holy ones is not restricted to just one person. It proceeds from numerous respected persons (if it were but one person then maybe the St. Irenaeus example would be applicable). When one compares what St. Paisios taught, for example, with that which numerous other elders and saints taught, then one finds that St. Paisios is not alien in his understanding. Rather he is, on the overall points, quite in harmony with a multitude of other saints and elders.
But it is a great conspiracy theory to allege that saints such as Paisios were influenced by protestant teaching. If it were true, then one would have to conclude that a great majority of other holy elders and saints were also influenced by such, due to the similarities in teaching. It does not suffice to simply “debunk” St. Paisios on these points. The burden of “proof” would reside in debunking the whole testimony of numerous saints and elders, for their testimony supports St. Paisios. The fact that they are harmonious in their general understanding indicates that they indeed have a proper and enlightened Orthodox understanding of our times.
As a start, here is a helpful resource, an article called “The Saints and Holy Elders on the COVID Vaccine.” I’d rather error on the side of trusting their expert voices on this matter.
I covered a bit of St. Paisios’ teaching in an older post called “A Saint, Prophecies, Globalism, and the Antichrist.”
Compare this sermon of St. Ephraim the Syrian on the Antichrist with the general message of St. Paisios, a PDF of which I provided in a former post. I’ve read St. Ephraim’s other sermons on this general subject too. I believe that our contemporary saints and elders speak in a similar spirit and fashion, they simply have the ability to address our modern manifestations (many of which are technological).
Here is an older article I wrote entitled, “Antichrist is a Nice Guy.” Here I bring forward, together with others, the teaching of St. John Maximovich.
Here is another which continues some themes brought up in the above article, it also examines that place of clergy in apostasy – “Gracious Evil and Apostasy.”
Here is another post based on the writings of the New Hieromartyr Damascene entitled, “The Hand of the Beast.”
Here is an extensive talk by a very respected Greek teacher and elder, Savvas (Achilleos) – “Against the Days of the Antichrist.” It is well worth the listen (or read because it has English subtitles, which may need to be turned on in the settings for the video).
The respected holy elder of Romania, Justin Parvu, also gives a very sobering account of our times and what a watchful Christian should be watching for, in this video, “They Will Deliver You Up!”
The holy Archbishop Averky also presents a similar testimony, take this example – “The Final Apostasy.”
The above is but a small portion that exemplifies the general message of many elders and saints on our times.
As time continues to pass, the words and warnings of these holy ones only appear to be truer and truer. Even time seems to be confirming their testimony.
The point of course is not to be afraid, nor to obsess about this and that. The point, is, as our Lord commands to be watchful and know the signs of the times so that no one deceives us (cf. Matt 24). Even though the final Antichrist has not yet been manifest does not mean that we, as Christians, cannot be led astray by this spirit. It is already at work in the world. I’ve reiterated this a number of times in previous posts.
The Great Apostle Paul instructs us, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom, I have told you often, and now tell you with weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil 3:17-18). The “pattern” we are called to follow is that of the proven holy ones. We are called to join in following their example. Why? Because there are many who walk contrary to Christ and are therefore His enemies. They speak quite loudly too. St. Paul give us this important indicator to help identify them, “Their god is their belly … who set their mind on earthly things” (3:19).
“My Kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36), proclaims our Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately, the world – which means the system of fallen man, his sin and rebellion against God – has nothing to do with Christ the Lord. The final Antichrist – and even all the fore-running manifestations which have come before and which we witness around us today – is but the final expression of the desire of the world to be without Christ Jesus; of humanity’s complete obsession with only material things. Our Lord’s Kingdom is not of this world because this world rejects Him as King and Lord. We are told, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait the Savior” (Phil. 3:20).
Sadly, at times, governing authority of this earth follows the world and not the Kingdom of Christ. My point at current is not the proper place and use of government, but rather to highlight that government systems which follow the spirit of the world will be primary vehicles for the manifest tyranny of Antichrist. I believe, based on my reading of the God-fearing saints and elders of our times, that this is why we must be critical of secular government and its supposed goals and agendas, even when they present them as if for “well-being and health.” (It is, I hope, clear that there have been governments that have tried not to follow the world but the Kingdom of Heaven.)
In the book of Revelation it is quite soberly stated, “It was granted to him (the beast) to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Rev. 13:7). The holy Prophet Daniel also sees, “He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law” (Dan. 7:25).
A holy elder of our times, Athanasios (Mitilinaios), leaning on the mind of the Fathers, teaches – it is no small detail that the Antichrist will seem to defeat the saints of God (those who strive to remain faithful to Truth). But what is the means, the instrument, of this seeming victory of the Antichrist? The elder firmly proclaims that it is worldly power manifested in global government.
“Saint Anthimos of Jerusalem describes how with two words – worldly power – (political authority) the Antichrist will defeat the saints with his worldly power. He will be vested with the governing power of the entire world – the entire global leadership, all authority. He will rule over everything, all authority will be in his hands: the judicial system, the financial world, political leaders, the military – everyone will pledge allegiance to him.” We have already read above another elder, Savvas, clearly states that the Antichrist will take the throne of medicine too. That harmonizes with “everything.” Even medical practice, we are warned, will be weaponized for the evil goals of the Antichrist. (It will cease to be true medicine at that point.)
Edler Athanasios continues, “He will hold the reins of every conceivable global authority. It will be with this global power that he will fight and defeat those who speak against him – the saints of God. We will see this development unfold before our eyes. If we can understand the current events of our own days, we will see that there is an obvious attempt to centralize authority, to place it in the hands of the very few.” Indeed, we do seem to be witnessing this development unfold all around us. We must understand in a Godly manner the events of our own days, or we will be swept away in the current of apostasy and godlessness. In the end, government authority will be a vessel for the tyranny of the Antichrist.
The elder reminds us that our hope is not in earthly authorities. Clearly there have been earthly governments that strove to be Christian. We always pray for peaceful lives. And Christians are taught to resist evil. Yet, the elder reminds us that ultimately Orthodox Christianity is not a worldly authority. It can’t be. Our King’s Kingdom is not of this world.
“Christianity can never be a worldly authority. The purpose of Christianity is to liberate the human soul from the demon-held world, to save souls, to make people saints – nothing else!” Christianity can never utilize the structure of the fallen system of the world, which is the system of sin and rebellion against God. It does not seem to me that this is some sort of spinless pacifism, no because we are called to uphold the standard of the Heavenly Kingdom, which the world rejects. Our Lord Himself told us, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own” (Jn. 15:18-19).
This evil force of the world will, the holy ones indicate, take full control of political and ruling systems (which are not evil in and of themselves – one could fill a cup with refreshing water or death-bearing poison). They will be co-opted and utilized to fully implement the system of oppression by the world, the system of Antichrist. The sober Christian must also realize that the Antichrist spirit will also seek to fight against Truth from “within” the Church too. Certain seeming Christians will promote the system of the world but in a certain religious clothing. It will not simply be an “outside” phenomena.
“If you want to live a life of piety, to be people of integrity, and to believe in Christ, then accept that the devil will war against us. His agents will fight against us.” Let’s make sure, by the grace of God, that we do not become his agents. An important action we can take is this – trust the voices of the proven holy ones above all else. May the Lord help all of us.
It seems pretty clear that at this moment there is a concerted effort of worldly powers collaborating to force a large amount of the globe into a lockstep manner of existence, one very contrary to Christian life. It is this worldly power the Church is called to resist and rebuke. Sadly, there are some who in the name of church are urging Christians to conform and submit to this worldly system. They would like to present Christianity as a nice worldly institution – “World peace! Equality! Environmental responsibility! Equitable distribution!” (oh, yes and “God” too!) Yet, we are reminded, “It is wrong of us to present Christianity with secular intelligence, with the eloquent wisdom of this world. We invite people to tell them about Christianity, yet we fear to present Christianity with the foolishness of the message of the cross.”
The elder speaks these challenging words, “I have told you some very important things here, so let’s be decisive. The Lord tells us, They will deliver you up to tribulations, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake (Matt. 24:9). Instead, we rationalize so that it is like we say to the Lord: Lord we will make a liar out of You or we will find a way to overcome Your teachings; we will rise above Your words with our intelligence; we will surpass Your expectations.”
It should not be a surprise that we also want to surpass the teachings of our contemporary elders and saints! We will find ways, in our desire for the world, to rationalize away their uncomfortable and “foolish” prophetic words to us. This indicates that they are speaking the truth, for we desire to overcome it with our own intelligence.
The talk of these worldly chrisitans with the Lord continues, “People will not hate us; we will present a very attractive form of Christianity. And we do this so that we can keep good worldly relations. Tragically, this is a great trap, and a great delusion of the devil. When we think like this, we fall into the secular mindset; we become secularized. Whenever the Church acted contrary to the teachings of the Lord and took on political authority She lost ground.”
Sadly, it seems we behold the secular mindset infiltrating much of Christianity. For fear of the world we will compromise the Faith. For love of the world we will compromise the Faith. This clearly shows that we as Christians have lost our faith in the Kingdom of Heaven and are seeking acceptance and approbation from the system of the world. We lack faith in the Resurrection. Christianity (watered down) becomes but a means by which we can achieve for ourselves a little bit of worldly acclaim. To do so, we must first dismiss the voices that challenge our desire for worldly prestige and pleasure. The message becomes – we can be of the world and of Heaven too (if it is even real)! Or, better yet, we can just build “heaven” on earth (then who needs Heaven anyway!); and we will be our own gods.
When Christians are taught to listen to secular voices above those of the holy ones, then an evident corruption has taken (and is taking) place. “All have been instituted and infected by anti-Christian masterminds,” the elder states. And Christians begin to believe this new mind is the “right” one, it is promoted as the nouveau-ortho mind for our emerging times. Its teachings are believed above those of the God-bearing saints.
It is fundamental to the spirit of Antichrist to predispose people to seek first worldly means of salvation. “The Antichrist will come and proclaim, ‘I am here to save you. I will save you.; After those years of propaganda the nations will not be able to react at all, and in their despair they will welcome the idea of a one-world governor. The anti-Christian agenda will have done its work quite well in order to make the nations kneel to this degree.”
Cultivating a desire for a savior is vital to the Antichrist spirit. A completely worldly savior. A “savior” who will even save people from the “narrow-mindedness” of Christianity. Right now we are being offered saviors, but none of them are Christ Jesus the Lord. This should be evidence enough to show of what spirit the current authorities are. Many will come saying, “I am the savior,” and will deceive many (cf. Matt 24:5).
This is why the True Church will flee into the desert. The desert is a place free from the collaboration with worldly power.
What testimony will you believe? That of this world or that of the holy ones?
We have the manifest testimony of a great number of holy ones, a little hand full I have presented here, that warns us of the tactics and wiles of the spirit of Antichrist in our times. In the long run, folks are free to dismiss this testimony, even Orthodox Christians. Persons are free not to listen. But this will have grave spiritual consequences. To what voice will one be hearkening if he subtly rejects the voice of testimony from the prophets of our times? And why do some in the church seem to encourage skepticism of this testimony?
As for me, I will be skeptical of the voices encouraging unbelief in the words of saints and elder, like the venerable Paisios. I will be skeptical of the worldly powers and their political agendas which clearly have nothing to do with the the Glory of our Lord Jesus. The throne of power which they seek is not established in the Kingdom of Heaven. I don’t believe they sincerely have my best interests in mind – which is salvation through Jesus Christ in His Kingdom. I’d rather just trust the saints and elders. I guess I’m a little “foolish” like that.