About the Prior Persecutions of the Church and About Those (Persecutions) at the Time of the Antichrist.
Rev. 12:1 And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman who had been wrapped in with the sun, and [the] moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;
Some, on the one hand, had understood this woman entirely to be the Theotokos minded into spiritually minded and formed and fashioned them according to the likeness of Christ."And again he says: "We must not think that Christ is him who is to be born. For formerly, before the Apocalypse, the mystery of the Incarnation of the Logos had been fulfilled. John speaks with authority about the present and future things." And afterwards (he mentioned) other things, (and then says), "Therefore, it is necessary to confess that the Church must be the one in labor and gives birth to those redeemed as the spirit said in Isaiah: Before she labored to give birth, she escaped and gave birth to a male. Whom did she escape? Either the dragon, certainly, in order for the spiritual Zion to give birth to virile people." And in continuation, "so that in each one Christ is to be born mentally. Because of this the Church is swollen and in great pain until Christ having been born might be formed in us, so that each one partaking of Christ becomes Christ." Moreover, the Church has been clothed in the Sun of Righteousness. And the legalistic light of the moon which shines by night and the alterable secular life like the moon has been mastered under the feet, and round about upon her head (is) the crown of the apostolic precepts and virtues. Since (it is) from the moon that liquid substance depends, the same one (Methodios) also says that by the moon is meant baptism, figuratively called "sea," which (is) on the one hand the salvation for those who are reborn and on the other hand ruination for the demons.
Rev. 12:2 And she being with child she cried out in labor and in anguish to give birth.
Labor pains, as we say, the Church suffers for each of those being reborn by water and the spirit until Christ has been formed in them as the Apostle says, for the miscarried children are those who fell from the true light of Christ, and concurrently (fell) from life, suffering death through unbelief.
Rev. 12:3 And another sign was seen in heaven; and behold, a great fire-red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads.
Heaven here we think is to be understood (as) the air, and the fire-red dragon is the one whom, after he was created, was mocked by the angels of God, as it has been written in Job. He is fire-red either because of his murderous nature and delight in bloodshed or because of the fiery angelic nature, even though he fell from (among the) angels. The seven heads (are) his seven most evil powers and hostile spiritual activities, or the seven spirits as Christ said in the gospel, settling in to dwell in a man whose heart, having been swept clean was empty of good thoughts and deeds, or seven evils which Solomon says are in the heart of the enemy who in a loud voice entreats through deceits those who are persuaded (by him). The horns signify either those ten offenses which are the opposite of the ten commandments of the Law, or (they are) the divisions of the kingdom, adorning him because he delights in dissentions. Seven diadems (are) on his heads, because those victorious over demonic activities acquire the crowns for themselves from there, wherefore, victory is gained by pain and toil. Concerning these things, Methodios also says thusly Verbatim: "The great fiery dragon with the seven heads who is pulling down one third of the stars and who stood watching in order to devour the child of the woman in labor, he is the devil." Also the following: "But he misses the prey and is unsuccessful (because) those who are reborn are snatched and carried upwards to the heights." And after a few words, (he writes) "A third of the stars it called the portion of those utterly wrong (regarding) one of the Trinity. The desert, into which the Church came to be nourished, is destitute of evils and barren of decay." "The one thousand" he says, "is the perfect and complete number encompassing in it one hundred multiplied by ten." And the following he says concerning his crowns: "She who had struggled before against the devil and after she had deadened the seven heads of the seven crowns becomes self disciplined (with respect to) virtue."
Rev. 12:4 And his tail drags a third of the stars from the sky, and cast them to the earth.
By these things we believe two things are meant, either his prior fall from heaven, pulling down the angels who rebelled with him through the worst initiative of envy — for first was the pride — or after the crushing of his head, the tail movement which brought down those non-steadfast ones who were not of heavenly mindset, having been figuratively called stars on account of the great brightness from baptism. For thus Daniel prophesied about Antiochus as being a type of the coming of the Antichrist.
EXCERPT FROM THE INTERPRETATION OF THE APOCALYPSE OF JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN BY ANDREW, ARCHBISHOP OF CAESAREA, CAPPADOCI, Translated by EUGENIA SCARVELIS CONSTANTINOU