"Whoever is attentive to the unrelenting warfare of the devil against Christ's Holy Church will always know where to find the true Church." (Unknown Catacomb Bishop 1948)This quote was taken from an old Orthodox America, a ROCOR publication. I do not remember the date of the issue, but it was from a time when it was entirely understandable that any Catacomb Christian would be anonymous.
Well, apparently either that quote or the idea in that quote is getting spread around and satan does not appreciate it. So satan has intercepted the quote/idea and twisted it to mean that to find the True Church we should look for the persecuted church. And that will be the true one.
Once satan plants that twist, his next step is to dismiss the quote entirely by pointing out that Old Believers were persecuted, even Mormons are persecuted. So the whole idea is then scrapped as an invalid criteria for distinguishing the true church.
But let's back up. The quote does not say that. What the quote says is, "Whoever is attentive to the unrelenting warfare of the devil..." How is anyone going to recognize antichrist's warfare against the Church without continually being attentive to the "spirit of the times" as our earlier Fathers insisted we do? Not all persecutions are from antichrist, and only a few of antichrist's persecutions are obvious.
" ... Get to know the spirit of the times, study it so that you can avoid its influence whenever possible."Other Fathers who continually taught us eschatology are Archbishop Averky, St. John of Shanghai, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Theophan the Recluse...
(St. Ignatius Brianchaninov †)
The spirit of these times is to ignore eschatology, to discourage it, to dismiss any reference to it, and even to ridicule any interest in it. World Orthodoxy is a leader in this cover-up. And in recent years eschatology has been conspicuously missing in ROCOR.
The Mystery of Iniquity doth work in ALL times. Without prayerful study it is not possible to recognize it working in our own times right under our nose. So is it any wonder so many Orthodox are confused about the True Church or even unaware there is a question about it?
The remedy is to study eschatology with prayer. Christ Himself taught it, and in every generation after Him we have teachers and writings of Fathers that God has provided for us. Parents are obligated to teach their children:
"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."An excellent collection of sober Orthodox eschatological materials:
(St. Cryil of Jerusalem†)