Official Recognition

Fr. Seraphim's most beloved Russian New Martyr, Bishop Damascene, had spoken in the early 1900's about how "official recognition" will be used as part of the deceptions of the end times. In an essay entitled, "The Seal of Christ and the Seal of Antichrist," Bishop Damascene wrote that, when the Antichrist comes, not everyone will be expected to agree with his philosophy. Those who don't will be tempted by their desire to preserve themselves, their organizations, and thus their own standing and authority. The Holy Fathers comment on the fact that the seal of Antichrist will not be placed on the forehead and the hand simultaneously, but on the forehead or the hand [Apoc. 13:16] According to St. Andrew of Caesarea, those who receive it on their foreheads will share the Antichrist's way of thinking, while those who receive it on their right hands will only recognize his power of action [authority], deceiving themselves into believing that it is permissible to do this "if only one remains a Christian in one's soul..." Of course, Bishop Damascene related this to the phenomenon of Sergianism in his country, but Fr. Seraphim perceived that it was very much relevant to Orthodox churches in the free world as well.

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, that prophet of the 19th-century Russia, had also spoken about how all ecclesiastical organizations will eventually submit to Antichrist:

"One can suppose, too that the institution of the Church which has been tottering for so long will fall terribly and suddenly.  Indeed, no one is able to stop or prevent it. The present means to sustain the institutional Church are borrowed from the elements of this world, things inimical to the Church, and the consequence will be to accelerate its fall.... May the merciful Lord defend the remnant who believe in Him. But this remnant is meager, and it becomes more and more so."

Some years after Fr. Seraphim's death, an article was smuggled out of Russia which contained another prophecy corroborating Fr. Seraphim's statement that all ecclesiastical organizations will eventually bow down to Antichrist. During the fiercest years of Communism, decades before the current era [1993] of religious freedom in Russia, the clairvoyant Elder Laurence of Cherigov [†1950] had told his spiritual children:

"The time will come when they will renovate even the closed churches, and fix them up not only outside but also inside. They will gild the cupolas of both churches and belfries. But when this is finished,it will usher in the reign of Antichrist. Do you see how cleverly everything is being prepared? All the churches will be absolutely magnificent, as never before, but one must not go into those churches, because the Bloodless Sacrifice of Jesus Christ will not be there, but there will be a satanic assembly. Antichrist will be crowned like a king in a grand cathedral in Jerusalem, with the participation of the clergy and the patriarch."

As far as organization goes, Fr. Seraphim had placed his last hopes in the Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad to uphold balanced Orthodox positions. Over the years, however, he had seen the great hierarchs of this Church die off one by one, as if it had been meant to be this way, leaving smaller, organizational men in the high places...

One of the last of these great hierarchs, Archbishop Averky, wrote,
"Orthodoxy is not merely some type of purely earthly organization which is headed by patriarchs, bishops, and priests who hold the ministry in the Church which is officially called 'Orthodox.' Orthodoxy is the mystical 'Body of Christ,' the head of which is Christ Himself...

"The Church, it is true, may not be removed completely from the world, for people enter her who are still living on the earth, and therefore the 'earthly' element in her composition and external organization is unavoidable; yet the less of this 'earthly' element there is, the better it will be for her eternal goals. In any case, this 'earthly element should not obscure or suppress the purely spiritual element -- the matter of the salvation of the soul into eternal life -- for the sake of which the Church was both founded and exists."

-adapted from Not Of This World pp. 922-924

∞∞∞

It can't be proved the Church is here or there with logic, debates, or arguments. It is like Evgeniy Vernikovskiy says - he does not understand all the nuances of matters relating to the canons, but that it is still clear to him which is the real ROCA. [see post 11/4] It is also clear to our Sister Churches.
We know that there are "precursor" antichrists before the final one who will be the world ruler. So, we can know, too, that there are "precursor" seals. Everyone who has accepted this ROCOR-MP union to preserve their churches and their positions has taken a seal on the hand. Clergy and laity alike. This is Sergianism just as Bishop Damascene said, and just as Fr. Seraphim perceived. May God help them repent. -jh

No comments: