A Prophesy of Future Lawlessness by St. Anatoly the Younger (+1922)

Cyril sent this in.  With regard to the subversion of the Church, this seemed apropos.

A Prophesy of Future Lawlessness by St. Anatoly the Younger (+1922)

From a letter of the Optina Elder [and New Martyr] St. Anatoly the Younger
SOURCE: Orthodox Life, #3, 1993

And from that heresies will spread everywhere and deceive many people. The enemy of the human race will act with cunning in order to draw into heresy, if possible, even the elect.

He will not begin by crudely rejecting the dogmas of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ and the virtue of the Theotokos, but he will begin imperceptibly to distort the teachings and statutes of the Church and their very spirit, handed down to us by the Holy Fathers through the Holy Spirit.

Few will notice these wiles of the enemy, only those more experienced in the spiritual life. Heretics will seize power over the Church and will place their servants everywhere; the pious will be regarded with contempt. He (the Lord) said, by their fruits ye shall know them, and so, by their fruits, as well as by the actions of the heretics, strive to distinguish them from the true pastors.

These are spiritual thieves, plundering the spiritual flock, and they will enter the sheepfold (the Church), climbing up some other way, using force and trampling upon the divine statutes. The Lord calls them robbers (cf. St. John 10:1). Indeed, their first task will be the persecution of the true pastors, their imprisonment and exile, for without this it will be impossible for them to plunder the sheep.

Therefore, my son, when you see the violation of patristic tradition and the divine order in the Church, the order established by God, know that the heretics have already appeared, although for the time being they may conceal their impiety, or they will distort the Divine Faith imperceptibly, in order to succeed better in seducing and enticing the inexperienced into the net.

The persecution will be directed against not only pastors but against all servants of God, for all those ruled by heresy will not endure piety. Recognize these wolves in sheep’s clothing by their proud dispositions and love of power. They will be slanderers, traitors, everywhere sowing enmity and malice; therefore the Lord said that by their fruits you will know them. True servants of God are humble, love their neighbor and are obedient to the Church.

Monastics will be greatly oppressed by the heretics and monastic life will be scorned. Monasteries will become scarce, the number of monastics will decline, and those who remain will endure violence. These haters of monastic life, however, having only the appearance of piety, will strive to attract the monks to their side promising them protection and worldly goods, and threatening those who oppose them with expulsion.

These threats will cause great despair among the fainthearted, but you, my son rejoice that you have lived until that time, for then the faithful who have not shown any other virtues, will receive crowns merely for standing firm in the faith, according to the word of the Lord (cf. St. Matthew 10:32).

Fear the Lord my son. Fear to lose the crown prepared (for you), fear to be cast by Christ into the outer darkness and eternal torment. Stand bravely in the faith, and if necessary, endure persecution and other sorrows, for the Lord will be with you… and the holy martyrs and confessors, they will look upon you and your struggle with joy.

But woe to the monks in those days who will be bound with possessions and riches, who because of love of peace will be ready to submit to the heretics. They will lull to sleep their conscience, saying, “We are preserving and saving the monastery and the Lord will forgive us.” The unfortunate and blind ones do not at all consider that through heresy the demons will enter the monastery and then it will no longer be a holy monastery, but merely walls from which grace will depart.

God, however, is mightier than the enemy, and He will never leave His servants. True Christians will remain until the end of this age, only they will choose to live in secluded, deserted places. Do not fear sorrows, rather fear pernicious heresy, for it strips us of grace and separates us from Christ. This is why the Lord commanded us to consider the heretic as a pagan and a publican.

And so my son, strengthen yourself in the grace of Jesus Christ. Hasten to confess the faith, to endure suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (cf II St. Timothy 2:13), Who has said, Be faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Rev.2:10).

To Him, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be honor, glory, and dominion unto the ages of ages. Amen.


    Lord have mercy?

  2. “Traitors to the faith”. Not traders.

    I am tired of people blaming Protestants for this mess. Should we blame the Orthodox Church for what happened in Greece and Russia?

    If so called Orthodox theologians have lost their way, whose fault is it?

    The whole problem can be based on not obeying the words of Jesus to go and make disciples.
    Most people are Biblically illiterate. The master teacher spent 3 years discipling his disciples. How many of us have had 3 years of intense Christian education?

    What suggestions do you have for surviving and changing the situation?
    The Orthodox Church came to the United States, not to make disciples here, but to provide a comfortable home away from home for the immigrants, maintaining the language of the old country.

    Maybe God is separating the sheep from the goats and allowing this to happen? Maybe He is tired of lukewarm followers?

    I noted a few years ago that during the Protestant Reformation the hierarchical system was thrown out. There must have been a reason.

    And etc.

    • Lina,
      I hear what you’re saying, and it is not without merit. I don’t know of course what expression of faith you adhere, but I will presume based upon your comments that you are not Orthodox. With that said I will share with you a couple of thoughts as to why from an Orthodox Christian perspective protestant influence is problematic. First, sometimes us converts to Orthodoxy have a tendency–maybe unintentionally– to bring our Protestant baggage with us into the Church. When the appropriate thing for us to do is drop it completely off at the door of the Narthex.

      Secondly, it can also be said that many good-hearted lifelong Orthodox Christians can be swept away from their faith due to the way many protestants can dazzle them with the ability to quote chapter and verse and seemingly have the ability to defend their theological positions. This of course can be contributed to many factors not the least of being a lack of good catechesis.

      To answer your question in terms of how we survive, thrive and change our situation I would suggest that we focus on and put into daily practice what we as Orthodox Christians should do the best i.e., prayer! Our approach to theology is not primarily an intellectual pursuit or mental ascent to a set of doctrines. Orthodoxy takes what I firmly believe to be a holistic approach. Orthodoxy is not learned from a set of systematic dogmatic statements. We use all five of our senses to learn and grow in our faith. This also includes social interactions with one another during coffee hour after Divine Liturgy.

      Since the Middle Ages Western Christianity primarily uses the Scholastic method for learning theology which emphasizes the exchange of argument and counter argument in pursuit of a conclusion. The term I heard a lot used in evangelical protestant circles instead of Scholastic was harmonization. This Scholastic tool is used to answer questions and resolve contradictions. This method certainly is useful in many cases and has its advantages but only to a certain extent. It is common in the West for us to understand something first before we experience it. This is not so much the case with Orthodoxy. In fact, it would be fair to say that the opposite is true.

      The more I grow in the Orthodox faith I have become more convinced the answer to learning the scriptures, acquiring deep concern and compassion for our fellow human beings and generally speaking putting the Christian faith into practice, in our daily lives is found in our worship services. The purpose of our worship services focus on four main things: Adoration, Petition, Atonement, and Thanksgiving. The symbolism in our architecture, hymnography and iconography communicates our theology. It’s about participation in all of the elements the Church offers. I believe this is what the apostle Paul was describing in (Col. 3:16-17 and I Tim. 2:1-3).

      I hope that helps!

    • Most people are Biblically illiterate

      This is the problem with a protestant understanding of The Church and The Bible. The Church gives authority to The Bible. Not the other way around. For thousands of years most Orthodox people, along with the overwhelming majority of all people, were illiterate. They heard The Bible in context within the services of The Church or in the teaching of those who could read and write. I daresay it might benefit Protestant converts to close their Bibles and go to Church.

  3. “Liberal Christianity” originated in Protestantism and spread to Roman Catholicism which as recently as the end of the 19th century condemned “Liberalism”; i.e., the ideologies coming from the Enlightenment, as heresy. Alas they have fallen as well. Protestantism itself is a problem but it is the liberalism behind it that really destroys everything else. It is doubt, the devil’s tool, raised to a virtue.

    Aping liberal Protestants is the essential problem. First the Romans did, now the Orthodox. That is the origin of Orthodox modernism and the origin of the present apostasy of Orthodox modernists. “Sr.” Vassa is an extreme outlier in ROCOR. Those local churches retaining the Church calendar have shown the strongest immunity to this cancer. But even we have not escaped completely unscathed.

    • Madame Vassa is a scandal. I’m glad to hear she is an extreme outlier. Many of the comments below the videos ask: why aren’t these people dealt with by their bishops? I have the same question. Will the new ROCOR Metropolitan rebuke and excommunicate these people? Will the OCA deal with Mr. Puhalo? These people seem to have no fear of God.

  4. I hate to be picky, guys, but the icon is of St. Anatole the Elder. But in any case, thanks for the post.

  5. BRAIN 2.0 is just about the scariest thing I’ve heard of to date. For readers who think this blog hosts a bunch of conspiracy theorists, just look at what the US government is doing!


    (Sorry it’s off topic to this article but didn’t know where else to post it…)

    • Gail Sheppard says

      That’s what we do. Post stuff under the most recent topic. – This article is terrifying!

  6. Gus Derccas says

    Here is the Truth about Smyrna most Greeks refuse to see:
    As all this was going on, the Greek army was advancing through Turkey, in a role reversal as historically preposterous as if Ireland had invaded the British Empire. But, Roderick Beaton argues that success was at least a possibility, had things played out differently (less incompetence and hesitancy in the military leaders, for instance, and less instability at home). However, after the stalemate at Sakarya, the Greeks held on for the winter and then collapsed after a Turkish counter-offensive in August 1922, fleeing all the way back to Smyrna. The Great Fire would be the culminating event in this catastrophe, when the city was burned and its citizens were massacred by the victorious Turkish army.

    Nationalistic violence was sadly not exceptional for the war. The historian Arnold Toynbee, the first occupant of the Korais Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History at King’s College, London, traveled to the front to witness it. While he was, at first, a supporter of the Greek cause, he became disillusioned and described the conflict as a “war of extermination.” In his The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, written in 1922 before the war ended, he blamed the West for fostering nationalist Hellenism in Greece and nationalist Young Turks in Turkey—all part of a ludicrous game being played by the Great Powers without care for the consequences on the ground. To illustrate his point, he recounted the violence he personally witnessed, including his discovery of a Turkish mass grave and the massacre at Yalova (during which Toynbee wrote that he saved 700 Turks from death). He was horrified by reports that Greek soldiers sang songs as they killed Turkish peasants. Llewelyn Smith describes the proliferation of atrocities as an “epidemic,” and those initiated by Greek soldiers stemmed partly from a desire for revenge after centuries of colonial oppression. Not to be outdone, Turkish militants responded in kind—and in greater quantity. When Toynbee returned to England, he remained inexcusably silent as the genocide of Pontic Greeks became more widely known and did likewise when the Turkish army advanced on Smyrna and exterminated the Greeks and Armenians there. Later, as his biographer chronicles, Toynbee resigned the position under pressure.

    Despite his public reticence, Toynbee was accurate in isolating nationalism as a chief cause of violence. He predicted, before Smyrna, that things would get worse. “Nationalism has been the will-o-the-wisp enticing them to destruction,” he argued. The “political romance” of causes like Hellenism or Turkification were “essentially unhistorical, being an attempt to telescope past and present into one another, and it has an unlimited capacity for ignoring what is inconvenient.”


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