Monday, April 26, 2010

The Vision of Elder Anthony

Sometime in the beginning of the 70’s, while serving Divine Liturgy, I was granted my first vision. It was like this. At that time began the general attraction of the people towards the West, and at the same time, those traits inherent in the Slavs were washed away—modesty, hospitality, and unacquisitiveness. Greed, by the way, has become the head of the corner of the new view of the world. Money and things are more important than morality and spirituality. And what is most horrible, the way of life of people who call themselves Orthodox, very often strictly keeping the church rituals, has become the same as the pagans around them! Such immodesty in daily life, such striving for a career, for a high position in society. For children of believing families, joining the Pioneers, Komsomolsk, or the Party no longer cause any spiritual torment. And there is the ready justification: ‘How can we live without this? We don’t live in the desert, but among people. Well, it’s a sin, now you’re getting too fastidious—everything’s a sin. We’ll go and we’ll repent.’ Such a light-minded attitude causes great doubts in the very possibility of salvation. I was reading the Gospel, about the last times, especially the Book of Revelation, and the topic of the desert, where people must flee, gave me no rest.

And then I see a huge number of people walking, people traveling. Some of them, it seems are not traveling, some are feasting, others are fornicating, others are playing dirty tricks on their neighbors, but still, like a river, they are flowing forward. They are all very different; there are laymen, and clergymen, and soldiers, and politicians, and everyone, everyone. A large part of the people is simply bursting forward, but some are going peacefully. In their path is a terrible abyss, the abyss into hell. It would seem that they should all disappear into it, but no. Many of the people fly down. I see how they are being pulled down, some by cars, some at the table, some by money, and some by expensive clothes. And some pass peacefully through the abyss, you could say, over it. Some do not disappear, but are lowered down into the abyss—but shining men help them to cross and support them. Not only the rich disappear into the abyss, but also people who are obviously poor. But they all have one idol—the lust of the world.

It was horrible. From the abyss there came the sound, not moaning, but the howling of those who had fallen, and a stench. This was not just a smell, no. Just as there is no way to describe a sweet fragrance, the fragrance not from flowers or grasses, but the sweet fragrance that the Lord gives to relics, and miraculous icons and such things. The stench of hell is not just an awful smell, like the smell of sulphur. It is the feeling of horror and irrevocability, in a word—hell.

And then you have the desert. Even there the slayer of mankind tempted the hermits, trying to arouse the passions of greed, lust, and despair. Many fell into the trap, many. At the same time, how many princes and powerful people of this world were saved, and not only saved, but glorified by the Church as saints. They had everything, but their heart did not belong to the corruption of this world, but to the heavenly world.

But our time is terrifying because temptations lie in wait for man everywhere, with every step, and most of the time they are such that are hard to anticipate. So many people come to me, and it seems that one question bothers them—how can they be saved, how do they act in this or that situation. But can you get a blessing for every action, not just in day, but in a month?! That means you must present the paths of temptation, its basic directions. And they are unchanged since the creation of the world, for the devil is nom a creator. It
is another matter that over thousands of years he has acquired experience, and now his suggestion to mankind to go with him to hell has become more refined. Essentially, all of the contemporary world is entirely his suggestion. Suggestion, because he cannot force someone, it’s not in his power, but to wrap the sin in a tempting package, by all means. The servants of darkness are always ready with their: ‘What can I do for you?’

Another peculiarity of today is the impending arrival of antichrist. Many spiritual people say that he has already been born. Concerning this it is difficult to judge. The enemy is evil, evil even with those who serve him. Of these, many considered themselves to be antichrist. They appeared to be such, from their world view and their actions, but they were not he, about whom the Church speaks. Perhaps he has been born, perhaps not, but that’s not the question. When they asked Bishop Ignaty (Brianchaninov) about the coming of antichrist, he replied that there is not a precise date set. By their evil, people will determine the coming of antichrist. Now is the time of the final preparations for his arrival. Now there is a concentration of world power, and he will be the ruler of not just one country, but of the world, and mankind must become ‘savage’. But this is minor. In order to bring all of mankind to its knees, it is necessary to establish a system of life where the slightest infringement will cause catastrophic results for people—famine, cold, and destruction. And this system is being built. How this will happen, I saw later, in a few years.”

Spiritual Conversations and Instructions of Elder AnthonyShare/Save/Bookmark