After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


Prayer Request


Please pray for Mary Lewis, the grandmother of Philaret (Christopher) Jackson. She is in
the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at North Suburban Medical Center (Thornton, Colorado) and
has pneumonia.

Why We Exist

Our ROCA under our Beloved Vladyka Metropolitan Agafangel:

A very concise Exposition:

First of all, this short exposition, is meant to simply clarify and enlighten all, not as an attempt to 'argue' with anyone, or to unnecessarily offend anyone, etc.

Our Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, led by our First Hierarch, Metropolitan Agafangel, is the sole canonical and genuine continuation of the old, pre-2007 MP-union ROCOR; and when the pro-union group within it, led by Met. Laurus Shkurla, apostatized to the MPtwo ROCOR bishops, Daniel and Agafangel, formed a CONTINUED-ROCOR church administration.

The pro-union betrayers, uncanonically, LEFT US!  We did not 'leave them'.  ROCOR/MP is thus, from their signing of that tomos in Moscow in 2007, part of Stalin's uncanonical and bogus MP, and no longer ROCOR, at all.

Our ROCA is thus, THE one and only continuation of the old free ROCOR.

As regarding other claimants, such as ROCiE (the 3 or more divisions), RTOC or ROAC, all of them have zero sound canonical/historical claims to legitimacy or canonical foundation. They are all schisms, and thus graceless, just as is the MP. They have lost Apostolic Succession, just as has the MP, which was founded by Joseph Stalin in 1943.

Their episcopates are without canonical basis, and thus, bogus. However! as anyone can easily read, who bothers to read what our ROCA puts out (but mainly in Russian), they can see that our Met. Agafangel has endlessly reached out his sincere hand of friendship to all of these, to sit down, and talk with us, which he is more than willing to do (though, he will NOT violate canons, but he is open to economia, when it can be applied)...

All of them, to even make the outrageous claims they do, HAVE violated many many canons.

All of them consistently rebuff his friendly offers, (nor do any of them, sit down with each other and unite with each other!. WHY NOT?), and yet they continue their malicious unfounded attacks on us...and against our sister churches,  and on each other as well.... all to the joy of the MP and the KGB.

As to our current ROCA's relations/intercommunion with the Greek SIR Synod, the Romanian Old Calendarists and the Bulgarian Old Calendarists, (all of which are our full and Sister churches) – we MAINTAIN the same warm intercommunion with them now, that the old free ROCOR did years ago. Nothing in that regards, has changed, nothing at all.

ROCOR/MP under orders from Moscow, they did break with them all. *When they helped us, by co-consecrating another bishop for us, they were SIMPLY RETURNING to us, (whom they recognized as THE legitimate continuation of the old ROCOR), what the old ROCOR originally gave them, (in fact, gave to all the Greek Old Calendarists!), a legitimate & canonical episcopate.  With two functioning bishops, our ROCA could canonically consecrate more bishops, and CONTINUE, which it has and is now doing.

*But, ROCiE, (all infighting divisions of them), RTOC and ROAC... they have all broken communion with these sister churches.

 ROCiE, RTOC and ROAC have invented, for their own power reasons, their private & weird & ignorant-of-Patristics, non-Orthodox accusations against the SIR synod, mis-labeling them (& thus our ROCA too), as in 'heresy'.  That ridiculous charge has been disproven, over and over and over. It is pure malicious nonsense.

The Greek Synod in Resistance, and all those sister churches with them, including our ROCA, are fully Orthodox and fully anti-Ecumenist and anti-Serganist. None of us, are 'heretics'!... nor are we schismatics either. (No matter what the great all-knowing, never wrong, Professor Vladimir Moss preaches or Victor Melehoff, etc.).

My final thoughts here: Is it possible, that so many of our so-called 'True Orthodox' brothers and sisters, who are also with us, as anti-Ecumenists and anti-Sergianists, etc., have nevertheless, gotten their canons and church history all wrong/mixed up?... and that they are being deliberately misled, by those whose real motives in attacking our ROCA, have more to do with the old saying:

'Throwing a cat amongst the pigeons', i.e., letting themselves, the victim pigeons, be used & scattered in fright, by the enemies of our faith, in the end, mainly the neo-soviet KGB rulers still in power in the Kremlin and in their MP 'church'?... to divide and scatter all opposition to their world-wide aims for domination?

"Divide and conquer" has long been a tactic of successful warfare, and the KGB/FSB is well versed in it's application, ever since their predecessors took over old Russia.

This is my short exposition of my ROCA, and what it stands for.  And, this is to the best of my knowledge and as to what I see as  what my ROCA holds to, as its foundational basis.  Yet, this exposition is my own, and not an official ukaz of my church.

See some related links below, to our ROCA sites, in both Russian and English.
Rd. Daniel Everiss

St. John June 29/July 2

Reader Daniel sharing

Our Fr. John Hinton, whose patron saint is St. John S&SF, was told by one of his parishoners who knew Vladyka John, and who was a resident of San Francisco at the time of his repose that St. John knew beforehand when he would die, he said it would be "when they will wear red hats." 

I... and Daniel Olson, (coming up from Los Angeles for some other reasons), and the San Francisco Convent nuns & Abbess Ariadna and clergy, etc.... met Vl. John's body at the San Francisco airport, when it came back from Seattle where he had just reposed.

At the San Francisco the airport then, were hundreds of red-FEZ hatted Shriners, as they had their national convention in San Francisco then.  And, when the body was transported from the back of the plane, to the edge of the field, with a funeral procession behind it, with icons and incense, etc. where was held a pannychida, and the coffin opened by MOB demand.  The Shiners looked down on the airfield tarmac, (from the overhead glass walk way), and took off their fez hats, and placed them on their hearts, in respect.

Living Orthodoxy magazine

March-April 2013
subscribe  http://sjkp.org


Constantine Alexander

Ukaz of Vl. Agafangel

Archpriest Roman Radwan appointed in charge of ROCA church matters in Israel and Palestine, with the co-blessing of Pat. Irineos 

Imported Image 1.tiff 27 .06.13. Decree of the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Agathangel Rev. Roman Radwan appointed representative of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops in the Holy Land. With the Decree can be found here

Update on Fr. Alejandro

News from Matushka Liza. He has been exonerated, the accusation retracted and yet not released!

See below.  Appalling.  They have a retraction of the allegation and yet they do not release him!  What do they want?!  Hard to 'swallow' for family and Padre Alejandro.  I find myself really angry with this news. In any other country he would have been released.  How much is he to endure?  His kids?  His Matushka?  His aging parents?  PLEASE consider writing to the Uruguayan Ambassador 
Good evening ,Good morning, good afternoon etc to all!
   Sorry for writing so late , but I just got the full news. (It is way pass midnight in Buenos Aires)
   As announced earlier, today was the court hearing. But there was no confrontation or face to face 
   According to what the defense attorney told father Valentin, the judge made the decision to question Mr. Meharu but not to confront him with Father Alejandro. 
   The Authorities took Father to the courthouse, but he did not participate at the hearing.
   This employee answers to the lawyers questions was: that at that time (2006/07) as there was no official way on how to report unusual operations (ROI), he made a suspicious transaction report (STR), but he cannot assure or prove that the money came from illicit activities.  So Mr. Meharu retracted what he reported to the Central Bank of Uruguay.
   Fr. Alejandro's legal representation said that on July 19 a meeting with the District Attorney will take place, but they (Defense lawyers) cannot guarantee or predict anything.
   On Monday a new Judicial break of 20 days begins in Uruguay. (yes again) 
   May God have mercy on us!
   Thank you all for your prayers ! your concerns for Fr. Alejandro and family's well-being and welfare and your interest in all the new and latest developments
In Christ, 

Report from Mountain View

Mountain View English Liturgy Sunday of the Fathers
Reported submitted by Ilarion Marr

Many attended the Services.  Quite surprising was that 25 persons came for the All-Night Vigil and 50% of the readings and singing was in English!  For Sunday 40+ attended the All-English Divine Liturgy with Vladyka officiating with Father Nikita Grigoriev serving and 5 altar servers.  The choir sang beautifully and was directed by Matushka Joanne Grigoriev.  An excellent trapeza followed.  Glory Be to God!    

And here is Father Nikita's Sermon on the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council - long but most edifying and spiritually fulfilling:  

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council 
June 16, 2013
Church of the New Martyrs of Russia, Mountain View, NY 
Father Nikita Grigoriev
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we are celebrating, as always on Sunday, the Resurrection of our Lord, but today is also a very special Sunday because it actually falls between the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven and the coming down of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  This is, in fact, a rare event and it even coincides with the feast of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.   This is a very late season of Pascha and for that reason we have sort of a constellation of great feasts that fall on this day. 
So it is a very special day when we commemorate the Apostles being gathered in that secret room where Christ told them to wait.  When Christ ascended into the Heavens, He told the disciples to go and gather and be together and pray in one room until the Holy Spirit would come down on them.  And that is what they did.  They sat for ten days, from the Thursday of the Ascension until the Sunday when the Holy Spirit did come down, 10 days later,  and that was  Pentecost.  And that is what we will be celebrating next Sunday, God willing, the Descent of the Holy Spirit.  But for these ten days, including today, the Apostles sat in that room and waited for the Holy Spirit to come down. 
And this really emphasizes to us the uniqueness and specialness of the Holy Church of Christ.  The Holy Church is not just a teaching. The Holy Church is not a philosophy.  It  is not even  a lifestyle.  The Holy Church of Christ is literally like a new nation.  It’s a nation that is made by God in his own image.  It is a nation that is separate from the world.  In the world, we have many different nations but they are all of the world.  And yet God himself came down and made a whole new nation and this nation is eternal.  This nation will not die and perish and its history will not rise and fall like all great empires eventually rise and fall and go into oblivion,   into history.  But this nation that God is creating, and has created, will live forever and will never decay but will inherit the eternal kingdom of God.  This is a separate nation, just as every nation on the earth is a separate nation from the others.
In other words, if you want to be an American, you have to be recognized by the government and go through certain procedures to be an American.  And when you are an American you have your duties and responsibilities, and you have your privileges, and your advantages, but you are an American when the government recognizes you and then you are an American.  Then you are an American.  Just because you are living in some other country and think like an American and consider yourself to be an American, does not mean that you are an American.  You have to actually go through a process  by the American government in order to be actually made an American and then you are an American.
It’s the same with the Church and this is one of the problems that exists in the world right now.  The people do not know what the Church is.  They think it is basically up to everyone to determine their own church and their own criteria. They think that they’re in a Church, so then they are in a Church and that everybody has their own understanding of the Church. 
But it is not like that.  God made only one Church and He made the Apostles in charge of it.  And the Apostles made rules and there are a lot of Apostolic rules that most of the world has not even heard about.  But those are the rules by which a person becomes a member of the Church and then remains a member of the Church if they maintain and live up to their responsibilities.  Then they are a member of the Church.  And then they are a member of this special group of people that God has called out of the world and made into His Church.  And as we heard in the Gospel reading today, wherein the Apostle John describes how Christ prayed to God the Father right before He went to the Cross.  He says that He prays not for the world and this is very significant to realize this, that Christ Himself says, I do not pray for the world but I pray for those whom Thou has given Me out of the world. 
So this is that group of the Apostles that He has given Him out of the world and then He says I pray not only for you but I pray for those who will come to believe in Me, from your teaching, from your word.  So it is not enough to just believe in Christ, you have to actually go through a process to become a member of this special group that Christ has called our world, called the Church.  So this is the group that He prays for.  He says I do not pray for the world, I pray for those whom  My Father has given Me out of the world.  And that is the Church and that’s  a very special and separate group. 
It does not mean that they can’t live in the world and be perfectly good citizens of every country, but it means that they are a special group that has been called out of the world to become a part of this nation that is destined for eternity,  to be members of the Kingdom of God.  It is a new nation, a new kingdom that God is making and we are all called to be a part of that. 
So we really need to understand that the borders and the boundaries of the Church are not fuzzy and blurry, and they are not subjective and they are not up to everybody’s interpretation.  This is why we are celebrating today the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Councils who actually met for the first time in the Church’s history when the persecutions were all officially stopped and the Church had for the first time an opportunity to gather the whole Church all together and that happened in the year 325 in the city called Nicea  in what is now in the region of Greece and Turkey.  
When those people gathered, there were 318 Bishops that gathered, they defined exactly what the Church is.  One of the definitions of the Church was the Creed, what we call now the Creed.  It is the prayer that we say every day.  I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible... and all the rest.  And that I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and in the Church.  Those are the definitions and they said no one is to add or subtract anything from this definition of what we believe in.  And that faith ... that is the fence that basically defines our Church, that faith.  If anyone does not believe something in there, in the Creed, then they are not part of the Church.  Or if someone believes something extra, in addition to what that is not in there, then they are not part of the Church.  So this is kind of the boundary of the Church and they defined that. These are the Fathers we are glorifying today - because that Church only came to be when the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost. Then that same Holy Spirit created the Church through the Apostles and the Fathers gathered in Nicea.
 And this is why we believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.   And this is the definition that the Church defines itself as.  First of all, it defines itself as one, not many churches.  So there is only one Church, one God and one faith.  The Church defines itself by the Holy Spirit as being only  one and then it defines itself as being Holy because  the Holy Spirit lives in it and breathes in it and guides it.  And then it is Catholic means it is not just dependent on any one person but it is universal.  It means the decisions are made by the Holy Spirit and all of the Church when it is gathered.  It means Sobornost in Russian and Catholicity in Greek.  It means the whole universal Church gathers and the Holy Spirit speaks through the whole Church not through just any one individual. 
So that’s how the Church has always been defined as being Catholic in the sense of universal.   All the decisions are made by the Holy Spirit through the whole Church being  gathered together, not one individual.  And then it is Apostolic and Apostolic means that not anyone can decide to make a Church on their own.  The Church was made by the Apostles and whatever the Apostles defined the Church as,  and how they guided it, that is how the Church is conducted.  And nothing has changed from that.  And there is only one Church that has remained that way, that is, Apostolic.  There is only one Church that has always been One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and that is the Church that is known as the Holy Orthodox Church. 
Orthodox means right believing.  Like an orthodontist or an orthopedic surgeon, it means they setting things straight and right.  And orthodox means rightly glorifying God, rightly as opposed to wrongly.  So there is only one Church, one right way. And the Church is not up to personal interpretation ...  where one can choose to worship this and not that.
The Church is not like that, it is like a nation with its rules that were made with the Apostles and the Holy Spirit and that is what defines us.  This is what we are celebrating today and we are getting ready to celebrate a week from now. When the Holy Spirit comes down on Pentecost - it is actually the birthday of the Holy Church, the Apostolic and One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  And this is the Church that we are very fortunate to be members of by the grace of  God.
And this is a Church that is open to everyone.  It’s not that it’s very exclusive. It’s exclusive in the sense that only those who believe correctly and who are willing to abide by the definitions and the rules of the Apostolic Canons of the Church are members of the Church.  And anybody who wants to, can be, and everybody is invited.  It is open to everyone.  But like Christ said, many are called but few are chosen.   People themselves do not want to be members of the Church.  Those people who do not want to be and want to make their own Church on the side, those are not members of the Church. 
So only those who abide by the grace of the Holy Spirit and the Canons of the Church are members of the Church.  And those are the ones that Christ says, I pray for not for the world but for those that You have given Me.  And those will be the ones who will inherit the Kingdom if they follow Christ to the Cross.  If they take up their cross and follow Christ.  And it’s not just enough to be a member of the Church, you have your responsibilities.  You have to actually live the life of the Church, and that is, you have to take up your cross and follow Christ. 
Christ says, not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will inherit the Kingdom. Because on that day when He comes for the second judgment, many will come to Him and say, but Lord we preached in your name, we’ve done miracles in your name. And He says, I will say to them, truly I say to you “I have never known you, depart from me, I do not know who you are”. 
Now that is a very scary thought.  So let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we are followers of Christ just because we belong to a church.  We have to belong to the Church in spirit.  Not only by definition ... that we’re Orthodox and have been baptized, we have to actually belong to the Church in spirit.  And, to be in spirit, we have to worship God in spirit and in truth. That means - do not admit any hypocrisy, do not admit any guile into your life and into your faith, do not bear false witness, basically fulfill all the commandments of God and love your neighbor as yourself and God with all your heart.  And that way, when there is a temptation, you know you have to take up your cross and follow Christ to the Cross. Tthen you will be a true member of the Church and you will be a member of the group that Christ has defined as a new nation for whom He has prepared an eternal kingdom.
 Next English Services • mark your calendar
The next Service will be on Sunday July 14 at ten a.m.  For those who want to arrive the day before there are 10 spacious and comfortable rooms available at Mountain View - some with private bath-first come, first serve. Contact me.  Thank You. Also, Vladyka will then be officiating again and Father Nikita will be serving also.   All are welcome!

   In the meantime for those who are not aware, Father Nikita has written an excellent book: 
Faith and Delusion published in 2011, 231 pages in paperback form.  
   Published by: Trafford Publishing and available from Matushka Irina at Holy Trinity Church, 25-36 37th Street, Astoria, NY 11103 
   as well as at:
Amazon.com - only three are in stock now but Amazon says more are on the way.  It is also available in 'KINDLE' form.  
    I have read it and can recommend this powerful and enlightening book to everyone.
    P.S.  I have been informed that this book is in the process of being translated from English into Russian. You will be informed here of its arrival. 

Fraternal Festal Visit

Fraternal Festal Visit, of GOC Met. Pavlos and Bp. Christodulos for the Parish Feast of The Holy Trinity, ROCA Astoria, New York

ROAC criticizes Bp. Joseph's retirement

(refer to Meeting Minutes May 28, item 5)


This is a public criticism from ROAC against us.  It's in Russian, you need to paste the link into a translator.  http://translate.google.com/#  Typical super-correct blah-blah-blah about canons, it ends with saying that we are crucifying Christ afresh.  [Give me a break.]

Something is really wrong if ROAC thinks it can criticize how we run our church.  What's it to THEM if we retire Bp. Joseph?  WHY are they not instead eager to scoop up this bishop they think is so wonderful for themselves?

That ROAC comes to Bp. Joseph's defense in this manner is very suspicious.

This is so unbelievably absurd.  We don't answer to ROAC!  Who are they to presume to speak to us as a if they were a valid sister church, daring to admonish us?!  The presumption of this uncanonical schism is unbearable!

Prayer Requests

√  ...one of our priests in South America, Fr. Alejandro, imprisoned for months on almost certainly illegitimate charges (never formally filed) of being involved in a money-laundering scheme (his company may have been, but not he himself) is due for a hearing on Wed. which just might result in his release.  Pray for him.  I'm only too acutely aware of how these things can come about in third- (and second- and even first-!) world countries, and can only pray that I don't get caught up in a similar mess.
– Fr. Gregory in Tennessee

√  Please also pray for Gabriella who is out on bond and has a court appearance Wednesday [June 26].  Just pray for God's will, because she needs help, rehab or something, even if she is innocent of this particular drug charge.
– Joanna

Orthodox Life Magazine

Blog in progress:

check it out • maybe you can help

Some articles are already available in back issues of other magazines such as  Living Orthodoxy and The Orthodox Word

Many of the articles are scattered around the internet and also in my blogs.

If you find the index for the 1980's, please share it with me.
Also we are seeking issues from year 1952:  #1, #3, #4, #5, #6.

Please everyone with home libraries, please arrange to will your library to St. Nicholas Convent.  It is very sad to see the heirs selling these old out-of-print books and magazines on ebay.  [By the way, all back issues of Living Orthodoxy are still available, for now, through sjkp.org]


New Calendar Apostle's Fast

By the Ever-Memorable Archbishop Averky of Jordanville  

Apodosis of Pascha

Sermon by Archbishop Simon (Vinogradov, +1933)
of Peking and China:
On the Apodosis of Pascha

Today is the Apodosis of Pascha, that is, the last day of this holiday. According to Divine establishment of Old Testament holidays, all of our great holidays have an “after-feast,” that is, the singing of the holiday’s prayers are not only sung on the feast day itself, but over the next several days, and on the final day—the “apodosis”—the services of the holiday are repeated almost in their entirety.
The Paschal songs are sung until the fortieth day, that is, until the Ascension of the Lord. The continuation of the celebration of Pascha until Ascension signifies that the Lord Jesus Christ, over the course of forty days of his Resurrection, appeared to His disciples.
And so today the Paschal Feast comes to an end. In daily life, the end of this holiday brings a degree of sorrow: the rejoicing ends, the abundance of food is replaced by a regular diet, in other words, weekday life begins and those who love Pascha are saddened. But our feast days are not like that: they bring us from one glory to another—the holiday is glorious, but even more glorious is the spiritual fruit that the holiday creates in the souls of believers.
Here is how the Church expresses the glory of the fruit of Pascha: “Taught by Christ the new and pure way of life, let us all strive to preserve this well to the end, that we may receive the coming of the Holy Spirit” (First troparion, 9th song on the 4th Sunday of Pascha.)
Holy Scripture says: “When a man has finished, he is just beginning” (Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach, 18:6). The purpose of a Church holiday is not within the feast day itself, not in the description of the event being celebrated, but in “but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4).
The Son of God appeared in the Flesh not in order to live on earth and organize daily life (Luke 12), but as we hear in the Creed, “for us men, and for our salvation.” His appearance in the world, His sufferings, death and resurrection brought new life to mankind, opening for us a path to eternal life. And so it is with Pascha. We say that Pascha is the mysterious appearance to us of the resurrected Christ: not only the appearance in the form of an image, not only to remind us about what had once happened, but to set us upon the path of eternal salvation.
The Lord told the Apostles during his farewell: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). And so for us, too, the eternal bliss with Christ in His Kingdom has not yet commenced—this is merely our hope—but not because the Kingdom of Heaven is not yet ready, but because we are incapable of eternal bliss: we need another podvig under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
For this reason it is impossible for us to turn our entire life on earth into the celebration of Pascha: on earth, Pascha only occurs during a specific time. But when the unfading (eternal) day of the Kingdom of Heaven arrives, then our Pascha (that is, beholding the Face of the Lord Jesus Christ) will be never-ending, and we will no longer celebrate its apodosis.
May 10/23 1928

Another ring in the Circus

Baptists have “uncovered the treasures” of the Orthodox tradition, 
and mix them into their Evangelical Baptist services.

The Baptist Bearing Robes and Incense
please cut&paste, the link is not activated on purpose
Warning: unbearable presumption
photo source

Are There Tortures in Hell?

An Account by N. A. Motovilov
from Orthodox Life 1970 #5

N.A. Motovilov, the "humble servant of Seraphim", as he liked to call himself, who was granted a miraculous healing and later witnessed with his own eyes the illumination of St. Seraphim with the light of Tabor of the grace of the Holy Spirit, was a man with a flaming and true heart.  In order to truly serve the memory of Father Seraphim, he decided personally to travel to the birthplace of the great starets in Kursk, to collect material concerning his childhood and youth, and also to visit the Kievo-Florovsky Convent .  This journey had immensely bad consequences for Nikolai Alexandrovich: with the leave of God he became ill because of the devil, who poured his vengeance upon him for the work which had served for the canonization of the Saint of God, Father Seraphim.

The circumstances which preceded the illness of N.A. Motovilov and which explained its cause were the following:

Once, in a conversation with St. Seraphim, the talk turned to the attacks of the enemy upon man.  Having had a secular education, Motovilov did not fail, of course, to doubt the reality of the appearance of an evil force.  Then St. Seraphim told him about his terrible battle with demons during the course of 1001 nights nights and 1001 days and, by the power of his words and the authority of his sanctity, in which there could not even be a shadow of falsehood and exaggeration, he convinced Motovilov of the existence of demons, not just in delusions or in dreams, but in the very present bitter reality.

The spirited Motovilov was so inspired by the account of the Starets that he exclaimed from his soul:  "Batiushka, how I would like to fight with the demons!"

Father Seraphim frightenedly interrupted him:  "Why, your Godliness!  You don't know what you are saying.  If you knew that the smallest of them could turn the whole earth over with his claw, you would not offer to battle with them."

"Can it be, Batiushka, that the demons have claws?"

"Ah, your Godliness, your Godliness, and what don't they teach you in the university!  Don't you know that demons don't have claws?!  They are pictured with cloven hooves, claws, horns and tails because nothing uglier than this sight can be thought up for man's imagination.  In their hideousness they are really like this, for their self-willed falling away from God and their voluntary struggles against divine grace has changed them from angels of light, which they were until the fall, into angels of such darkness and abomination that it is impossible to portray them in any human image; but an image is needed – hence they are pictured as being black and ugly.  However, having been created with the strength and properties of angels, they possess a might so invincible to man and everything earthly, that the smallest of them, as I have already told you, is able with his claw to turn the whole world upside down.  Only the divine grace of the All-Holy Spirit, freely granted to us by the divine merits of the God-Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, can nullify all the wiles and machinations of the enemy."

Dread fell upon Motovilo at this time.  Under the protection of the Saint he was able not to fear the wrath of Satan.  However, the heedless and daring challenge did not remain, with the leave of God, without its consequences – it was accepted.

After the death of Starets Seraphim, when Motovilo journeyed to Kursk, he did not succeed in gathering there much information concerning the childhood and youth of the holy monk.  Of the close relatives who remembered Father Seraphim in his early years, some had died, while others answered that they had already forgotten.  Even the home in which the Saint was born and brought up had been destroyed and in its place new buildings had risen.  Only one old man, of the same age as Batiushka, was found and he gave Motovilov some information which is now included in all the editions of the life of the Saint.  The journey to Kursk and his sojourn in it went perfectly well.  A storm was imminent on the return trip to Voronezh.

Motovilo was forced to spend the night at one of the post office stations on the road from Kursk.  Remaining completely alone in a room for travellers, he took his manuscripts out of the suitcase and began to examine them under the dim light of a single candle, which barely illumined the spacious room.  One of the first notes happened to be concerning the healing of a possessed girl of the noble Yeropkin family at the sarcophagus of St. Mitrophan of Voronezh.

"I began to ponder," writes Motovilov, "how it could have happened that an Orthodox Christian who communicated in the Most Holy and Life-giving Mysteries of the Lord, suddenly became possessed by demons, and for such a long period of time – some thirty or more years – at that.  And I thought: Nonsense!  That cannot be!  I would like to see a demon dare to take his abode in me once I frequently turn to the sacrament of Holy Communion."

At that very moment a frightening, cold, evil-smelling cloud encircled him and began to enter through his spasmodically closed lips.

No matter how the unfortunate Motovilov fought, no matter how hard he attempted to protect himself from the ice and foul smell of the cloud which was creeping into him, it all began to enter into him despite his superhuman efforts.

His hands were as if paralyzed and they could not make the sign of the cross; his mind, which was in a state of shock from the horror, could not remember the saving name of Jesus.  the repulsively horrible had happened, and a period of the most painful tortures began for Nikolai Alexandrovich.  A manuscript written with his own hand gives the following description of the tortures which he experienced.

"The Lord granted me to experience truly in myself, and not in dreams or hallucinations, three tortures of gehenna (hell):  first, the fire, lightless, and extinguishable by nothing but the grace of the Most Holy Spirit.  This torture lasted during the course of three days and nights, so that I felt myself being scorched, but did not burn up.  Sixteen or seventeen times a day the soot of gehenna, which was visible to all, was taken off me.  These tortures ceased only following confession and communion of the Holy Mysteries of the Lord, the prayers of Archbishop Anthony of Voronezh, and the ektenias for 'the ill, noble servant of God, Nicholas' which he ordered in all 47 churches of Voronezh and in all the monasteries.

"The second torture in the course of two days and nights was the cruel tartarus of gehenna; fire could not only not burn me, but could not even warm me.  By the wish of His Grave, the archbishop of Voronezh, Anthony, for about half an hour I held my hand above a candle and it became covered the utmost with soot, but it did not even warm up.  This certifiable experience I recorded on a whole sheet of paper and onto this description I placed my hand which was covered with the soot from the candle.  Through Communion both these torments allowed me at least the possibility of eating and drinking and sleeping, and they were visible to all.

"However, although the third torture of gehenna was shorter by half of a day and night, for it lasted two days and a night and hardly any longer, great was the horror and suffering from something which is indescribable and incomprehensible.  I marvel that I remain alive following it!  It also vanished after confession and Communion of the Lord's Holy Mysteries.  This time Archbishop Anthony communicated them to me with his own hands.  This torture was the undying worm of gehenna, and the worm was not visible to anyone besides myself and Archbishop Anthony, but I was myself over-filled with this most evil worm which crawled throughout the whole of me and inexplicably frightfully gnawed at all of my insides; having crawled out through my mouth, ears and nostrils, it again returned inside of me.  God gave me power over it and I could take it in my hands and pull on it.  I am declaring all of this through necessity, for God did not grant this vision from above to me in vain; and let no one think that I dare to use the name of the Lord in vain.  No!  In the day of the terrible judgment of the Lord, He Himself – God, my Helper and Protector – will bear witness that I did not lie concerning Him, the Lord and the work of His Divine Providence performed in me."

Soon after this frightening experience, inaccessible for an ordinary person, Motovilov had a vision of his patron, St. Seraphim, who comforted the sufferer with the promise that he would be granted healing at the uncovering of the relics of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, and that until that time the demon which had taken up his abode in him would no longer torture him so cruelly.

Truly, in slightly more than 30 years this event did take place, and Motovilov lived to see it; he lived to see his healing according to his great faith.

On the day of the uncovering of he relics of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Motovilov stood in the sanctuary, prayed and bitterly wept over the fact that the Lord was not sending him the healing which according to the promise of St. Seraphim of Sarov, was awaiting his tortured soul.  During the singing of the Cherubic Hymn he glanced at the high place and saw there St. Tikhon.  The holy hierarch blessed the weeping Motovilov and became invisible.

Motovilov immediately felt himself healed.

St. Ephraim the Syrian on Antichrist

St. Ephraim the Syrian

     Concerning the Coming of the Lord, the End of the World, and the Coming of the Antichrist 

     Shall I, the most small, sinful Ephraim, who am filled with transgressions, be in a state to express what is greater than my powers?  But as the Saviour, according to His compassion, taught wisdom even to the illiterate, and by them enlightened the faithful everywhere, likewise will He make my tongue intelligible and unerring for the benefit and edification both of myself, who speak, and all who listen.  Yet I shall begin my speech with pain, and with sighs shall I speak concerning the end of the present world and that most shameless and appalling serpent who will bring the whole world into tumult, and will put fear, cowardice, and terrible disbelief into the hearts of men.  He will work wonders, signs, and terrifying spectacles, in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matt. 24:24), to delude all by false signs and indications of miracles wrought by him.  For by permission of the Holy God, he will receive the power to deceive the world, because impiety will have filled the earth, and everywhere every sort of horror will be committed.  Therefore, the most pure Master will permit, because of the godlessness of the people, that the world should be tempted by the spirit of falsehood, since men desired to apostatize from God and love the evil one.

     Great will be the contest, O brethren, in those times, especially for the faithful, when signs and wonders will be wrought with great authority by the serpent himself; when he will show himself, in awful apparitions as being similar to God – he will fly about in the air, and all the demons, like angels, will exult before the tormentor.  For he will cry aloud with might, transforming his countenance and dismaying all men without measure.  Who, brethren, will then prove to be guarded, unshakable, having in his soul the faithful sign – the holy coming of the Only-Begotten Son, our God – as soon as he beholds this unspeakable affliction coming from every direction on every soul, since there will be for her utterly no comfort, neither rest, whatever, neither on the earth, nor on the sea; as soon as he beholds the whole world in turmoil, everyone fleeing to hide himself in the mountains, and some dying of hunger, others melting like wax from thirst, and no one will take pity; as soon as he sees every countenance pouring forth tears and with strong desire asking, “Is the word of God somewhere on the earth?” and hearing the answer, “Nowhere”?  Who will bear these days, who will endure the insufferable affliction, as soon as he sees the mingling of the peoples, who come from the ends of the earth to see the tormentor, and many worshipping him, crying with trembling, “Thou art our Saviour”?  The sea rebels, the earth dries up, the heavens do not give rain, plant life withers, and all those living in the eastern parts of the earth flee to the west because of the great terror, and likewise those living in the western parts of the earth flee to the east with trepidation.  But the shameless one, having then taken power, will send the demons to all the ends of the earth to preach: “The great king has appeared in glory, come and see him.”  And who will have such an adamantine soul as to endure all of these temptations?  Where, as I said, will such a man be, whom all the angels would bless?

     But I, O Christ-loving and perfect brethren, become horrified at just the recollection of the serpent, considering in myself that sorrow which will overtake men in that time, considering how cruel this despicable snake will prove to be to the human race, and how he will have still more malice towards the saints, who can overcome his illusory miracles.  For there will be found many then who have pleased God, who will be able to save themselves with many prayers and unbearable weeping in mountains and in desert places.  The Holy God, seeing their unspeakable wailing and sincere faith, will have compassion of them, as a tender father, and will cover them where they hide.  Meanwhile, the most loathsome serpent will not cease to seek out the saints on the earth and the sea, thinking that he reigns already on earth, and that all have submitted to him.  And not acknowledging his weakness and that pride, through which he fell, the wretch will design to make opposition at the very hour when the Lord will come from the heavens.  He will bring about perturbation in the earth and terrify all by false magical signs.

     All the time when the serpent shall come, there will be no calm on the earth; there will be great affliction, consternation, disorder, death and famine unto all the ends of the earth.  And our Lord Himself said with His divine lips that such affliction was not from the beginning of the creation (Mark 13:19).  How indeed can we sinners imagine this measureless and even unspeakable affliction, when God gave it such a name?  Let everyone hold his mind with attention on the holy sayings of the Lord and Saviour, how He, according to His compassion, because of the extreme necessity and tribulation, wishes to cut short the days of sorrow, exhorting us and saying: Pray ye that your flight be not in winter, neither on the Sabbath (Matt: 20:24); and again: Watch ye therefore, and praying always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape these things ... and to stand before God (Luke 21:36), because the time is near.  We are all plunged into this misfortune, but we do not believe.  But let us ask unceasingly with tears and prayers, day and night prostrating ourselves before God, in order that we sinners may be saved.  He who possesses tears and compunction, let him entreat the Lord to deliver us from the affliction that will come upon the earth, and that we see not this beast at all and do not hear of his dreadful spectacles.  For there will be famines and earthquakes in diverse places (Matt. 24:7) and various sorts of death throughout the earth.  A courageous soul will be required, that will be able to keep her life in the midst of these temptations.  For if a man is proved to be even a little careless, he will easily be exposed to assaults and will be captured by the signs of the evil and cunning beast.  And such a one will find no mercy for himself at the judgment; it will be revealed that he willfully believed in the tormentor.

     Many prayers and tears are necessary for us, beloved ones, in order that some of us should prove firm in temptations, because many will be the illusions wrought by the beast.  He is a wrestler against God, and desires to destroy all.  For the tormentor will employ means such that all will have to bear the seal of the beast on themselves, when in his own time – that is at the fulfillment of time – he will come to deceive all with his wonders.  At that time, only when one bears this seal will it be possible to purchase food and other necessities, and the beast will set overseers to carry out his orders.  Take note, my brethren, of the boundless evil cunning of the beast and the subtleties of his maliciousness, how he begins with the stomach, in order that man, when he is brought to a state of extreme want of food, shall be forced to receive the seal of the beast, that is, the impious brand.  He will not be required to receive this brand on just any member of the body, but on the right hand and also on the forehead, so that it will be impossible for a man to make the sign of the cross with his right hand, and likewise impossible to sign the holy name of the Lord and the glorious venerable Cross of Christ our Saviour on the forehead.  For the wretch knows that the Cross of the Lord, signed upon a man, destroys all of his power, and therefore puts his seal upon a man's right hand, as it seals all of our members with the Cross.  Similarly, on the forehead, like a lampstand, which carries the lamp of light on high, the sign of our Saviour.  Wherefore, my brethren, a fearsome contest lies before those who love Christ, in order not to be dismayed before the hour of death comes, and not to remain in inaction when the snake shall brand his seal in the place of the Cross of the Saviour.  For undoubtedly he utilizes such means so that even the name of the Lord and Saviour should not be named at that time.  Indeed, the powerless one does this while trembling at and fearing the holy might of our Saviour.  If anyone will not be sealed with the seal of the beast, then he shall not be captured by his illusory wonders.  And the Lord forsakes not such ones, but enlightens them and draws them to Himself.

     Brethren, we must understand with all exactness, the odious and illusory miracles of the enemy.  Indeed our Lord will come to all of us in the stillness, and will repulse the subtleties of the beast for our sakes.  Keeping the steadfast faith of Christ in purity, we will make the power of the tormentor falter.  Let us acquire an unwavering and firm reason, and the powerless one will withdraw from us, being unable to do anything to us.

     I entreat you brethren, being the least among you, let us not be lax, O Christ-lovers, rather let us strengthen ourselves even more by the power of the Cross.  The inevitable contest is at the doors.  Let us take up the shield of faith.  Indeed, let us be ready, the faithful servants, and not receive that one.  For the godless and savage thief will come beforehand, in his own time, with the intention of despoiling, blocking up, and ravaging the elected flock of the true Shepherd.  Let us try to find out, O friends, under what appearance the shameless snake will come to the earth.

     As the Saviour, having willed to save the human race, was born from the Virgin, and in human form trampled upon the enemy with the holy might of His Divinity, thus the enemy will contrive to take on the form of His coming that he might deceive us.  Our Lord will come to the earth on light-bearing clouds, like terrible lightening; but the enemy will not come thus, because he is an apostate.  In reality his weapon will be born of a defiled virgin, but this will not mean that he becomes incarnate.  The most despicable one will come as a robber, in a manner such as to deceive all: he will come as one humble, meek, a hater (as he will say of himself) of unrighteousness, despising idols, giving preference to piety, good, lover of the poor, beautiful to an extreme degree, constant, gracious to all.  He will especially esteem the Jewish race, since the Jews will await his coming.  But together with all this, he will work signs and miracles, and dreadful spectacles with great authority; and he will use sly means to please all, so that the people will quickly fall in love with him.  He will not accept bribes, speak with anger, show a gloomy countenance, but with a decorous exterior, he will take to deceiving the world, until he has become king.  Whence, when the many classes and people will see such virtues and power, suddenly all will conceive the same thought, and with great joy will proclaim him king, saying among themselves, “Can another man so good and righteous be found?”  He will quickly establish his kingdom, and in anger will defeat three great kings.  And then this serpent will become proud in heart and vomit forth his bitterness; he will disturb the world, confront its limits, oppress all, and defile souls.  Soon he will not show himself as a pious man, but at every opportunity he will act as a man who is harsh, brutal, wrathful, petulant, violent, indecent, terrible, disgusting, hateful, abominable, wicked, pernicious, shameless, who will strive to cast the entire human race into the crevice of impiety.  He will work multitudinous signs – however, they will be false ones, having no reality.  In the presence of a great crowd of people, who will praise him for his illusory wonders, he will give forth a mighty voice, from which the place whereon the crowd gathered before him will shutter, and he will say, “All peoples know my power and authority!”  In the sight of the spectators, he will move mountains and call in islands from the sea, but all this will be by deception, and with illusion, not in reality.  He will deceive the world, delude the sight of all; many will believe on him, and glorify him as the mighty God.

     Then will every soul weep and sigh deeply; then all will see that unspeakable affliction pursues them day and night, and nowhere will they find food to satisfy their hunger.  For the snake will appoint cruel overseers, and only he who has on his forehead and right arm the seal of the tormentor will be able to purchase a little food, whatever kind can be found.  At that time infants will die on the bosoms of their mothers, and the mother will die on top of her children.  Likewise, will a father perish with his wife and children in the middle of the marketplace, and there will be no one to bury them and put them in a grave.  From the many corpses cast out upon the streets, there will be everywhere a stench which smites men heavily.  With pains and sighs, each man will say in the morning, “When will evening come, that we might have rest?”  But when evening comes, they will say to themselves with most bitter tears, “Will the dawn come soon, that we may escape the tribulation come upon us?”  But there is nowhere to flee or hide because all is in turmoil, both the sea and dry land.  For this reason the Lord told us: be vigilant, praying importunately to be delivered from the afflictions.

Stench on the sea, stench on dry land;
famine and earthquakes;
convulsion on the sea, convulsion on dry land;
fearful spectacles on the sea, fearful spectacles on dry land.

Much gold, silver, and sumptuous clothing will be of no use to anyone during these
trials; all men will called blessed the dead and those already buried before this great sorrow
came upon the earth.
Gold and silver spilled out in the streets,
and no one touches them,
because all this has become abhorrent.
But all hasten to flee and hide themselves,
and there is nowhere to cover themselves from the affliction.
On the contrary, during the famine, affliction, and terror,
flesh-eating beasts and reptiles will come to bite men.

Terror within; without; trembling;
day and night, corpses lie in the streets.
Stench in the streets, stench in the homes;i
hunger and thirst in the streets, hunger and thirst in the homes;
the sound of wailing in the streets, the sound of wailing in the homes;
uproar in the streets, uproar in the homes.

Men will meet one another with lamentation – father with son,
and son with father, and mother with daughter.
Friends in the streets embracing friends, end their lives;
brothers embracing brothers, die.

In all flesh, the beauty of the face fades,
and the appearance of men is that of the dead.
The beauty of women has become loathsome and odious.
All flesh and human desire will wither.

All who have believed the wicked beast and taken upon themselves his seal, the godless
brand of the foul one, will approach him suddenly and say dolorously,

“Give us to eat and drink, because we all perish, oppressed with hunger;
and also drive away from us these poisonous beasts.”

And this miserable one, not having the means for this, will give them answer with great
cruelty, saying:
“From whence, people, shall I give you to eat and drink?
The sky does not wish to give the earth rain,
And the earth likewise gives neither harvest nor fruit."

     The people, hearing this, will weep and shed tears, not having comfort in tribulation, but on the contrary, another unutterable sorrow is added to their affliction – namely that they so hastily believed in their tormentor.  For he is poor, and has not the power to help himself, and how will he show them mercy?  In those days, great will be the necessity from the many tribulations inflicted by the serpent, from terror and earthquake and raging of the sea, from hunger and thirst, and bites of beasts.  And all who have received the seal of Antichrist, and have worshiped Antichrist as the good god, will have no part in Christ's Kingdom; rather they will be cast into hell together with the serpent.  Blessed is he who will show himself holy and faithful, whose heart is given over incontrovertibly to God – for he will fearlessly repulse all the serpent's offers, disdaining both his tortures and illusions.

     But before all this will come to pass, the Lord according to His mercy, will send Elias the Thesbite and Enoch, in order that they might proclaim to the human race the reverence of God, and boldly preach right knowledge to all, instructing them not to believe in the tormentor from fear, crying and saying: “O men, this is falsehood!  Let no man believe in it at all; let no man submit himself to the wrestler against God; let no one of you become afraid because the beast will soon be brought to inaction.  Behold the Holy Lord cometh from heaven to judge all who have believed in his signs.”  But only a few then will wish to listen to and believe this preaching from the Prophets.  The Saviour does this in order to display His unspeakable love for men, for even at that time He will not leave the human race without His preaching, in order that all will be without answer at the judgment.

     Many of the saints, those who can be found at that time, at the coming of the execrable one, will shed rivers of tears before the Holy God, that He may deliver them from the serpent.  With great haste they will flee into the wilderness, and with dread they will conceal themselves in mountains and caves; they will pour earth and ashes on their heads, praying day and night in great humility.  And this will be granted them from the Holy God: His grace will lead them to the place determined for this, and they will save themselves, hiding in precipices and caves, not seeing the signs and terrifying spectacles of Antichrist, – because the coming of Antichrist will be made known without difficulty to those who have knowledge.  But to him who has his mind on the affairs of this life, and loves the earthly, this will not be comprehensible; for he who is always tied to the matters of this life, although he even hear, he will not believe, and will despise him who says these things.  But the saints will be strengthened, because they have scorned every care of this life.

     All the earth and sea will weep then; the air will weep; and together the wild beasts and birds of heaven will weep; the mountains and hills and trees on the plains will weep; and the heavenly lamp will weep over the human race, because all men will have turned away from the holy God and will have believed in falsehood, taking for themselves in place of the Life-giving Cross of the Saviour, the brand of the foul one and assailant of God.  The earth and the sea will weep because the sound of the psalms and prayers will suddenly cease from the lips of men.  And the Church of Christ will weep with great weeping because the celebration of the divine service and offering will not be.

     After the fulfillment of three and one-half years of the authority and activities of the impure one, and when all the temptations fill the whole earth, then at last the Lord shall come, according to His word, like lightening flashing from heaven.  Our holy, most pure, terrible and glorious God will come with incomparable glory, the glory of the orders of the Angels and Archangels preceding Him; indeed, they are all a flaming fire.  And the river of fire with terrible boiling, the Cherubim with their eyes downcast, and the Seraphim flying, covering their faces and feet with fiery wings, and crying out with trembling: “Stand up, ye who have fallen asleep, behold the Bridegroom cometh.”  The graves will be opened, and in the twinkling of an eye, all the generations will awake and look aloft at the holy magnificence of the Bridegroom.  Ten thousand ten thousand and a thousand thousand Angels and Archangels, innumerable hosts will rejoice with great joy.  The saints and the righteous and all who did not receive the seal of the serpent, the vile one, will make merry.  The tormentor, with all the demons, bound by the Angels, and likewise all who have received his seal, all the impious and sinners will be bound and led before the judgment seat.  And the King will give sentence upon them of eternal damnation in the unquenchable fire.  But all who did not receive the seal of Antichrist, and all who hid themselves in caves will rejoice with the Bridegroom in the eternal and heavenly bride-chamber with all the Saints until the boundless ages of ages.  Amen.

from: Orthodox Life Magazine 1970 #3 (punctuation and some sentence structure minimally edited for clarity)