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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






All labor, every square inch of ground, every grain of wheat...

A Prophecy from 15th Century

... Each person will be registered; not only every facet of his affairs and his life, but his every word, every movement of his mental faculties will be under constant surveillance so that he will lose the habit of thinking for himself out of fear that the expression on his face might involuntarily reflect something incompatible with the authority of the world ruler, i.e., Antichrist.  Everyone will wear "stone masks."  All labor, every square inch of ground, every grain of wheat will be under the authority of Antichrist...
~ excerpt from the book

BOOK
Reflections of a Humble Heart: A 15th-century text on the spiritual life
"Brother, I have no past....." Thus begins a quiet meditation (introduced by a stunning prophecy from the Monk Basil, who collected the work) on what it means to live as a Christian. No scare tactics, no heavy-handed asceticism are to be found here, in reflections just as suited to a busy worker in the marketplace as to a desert monk. Everything leads to the words with which the manuscript breaks off: "Thou art eternal God, Holy Spirit, and we -- by Thy love will live for eternity, while all else is but a dream, a river flowing by."  (99 pages.)
Item# 3160. (DC: R) Perfect-Bound. $8.00.



More about the book:
The text was found among Byzantine manuscripts in the Vatican library.  The name of the elder is not known to us.  Either the monk Basil, who recorded what the elder's words, assumed that everyone knew who he was talking about, or his name was mentioned in earlier notes that have been lost.  It is supposed that the elder was a renowned ascetic of one of the monasteries near Constantinople in the early 15th century.

The text was adapted and translated into Russian by (old ROCOR) Archimandrite Ambrose Pogodin in Pravoslavny Put', 1999, Jordanville.  English translation from the Russian by Mary Mansur, published by Nikodemos Orthodox Publications Society, New York.


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pp. 8 – 17 

...He spoke to us of how greatly the Lord desires our salvation, and how He has done everything necessary for this.  His mercy and His grace-filled aid is measureless and is extended toward sinners and righteous alike, requiring so little on our part for the salvation of our souls.  The banquet table of faith is laden to capacity, but people are careless concerning the salvation of their souls and they do not want to hear the summons of the Lord.  The very words, "salvation" and "to save oneself," imply some grave danger – we associate these words with an understanding of some great danger or tragedy; for example, "saved from fire," "saved from perishing," "saved during an enemy attack," etc. – and they should motivate a person to be extremely vigilant in life and to have a fervent desire to be saved; they should arouse faith in the Savior and love for Him.  Meanwhile, people have no concern for this, considering that this earthly world, visible to our eyes, is the only reality there is.  They do not know that it is the spiritual world which is the reality and essence of things.  Thus, the entire earthly, material world – encompassed by notions of height, width, depth, and weight – exist in the realm of time, which brings all things to destruction, because time is the servant of death.  Time began with man's fall into sin and it will exist only until the end of the history of mortal humanity.  By contrast, the spiritual world exists outside these limitations, outside these bonds and measures; it is infinitely wealthy, eternal, and indestructible.  That is why in spirituality there exists Rerum Natura ["The Nature of Things"].


The blessed elder also said that terrible times were approaching.  The enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ will take captive our earth and the Great Church* (Hagia Sophia) will cease to be the temple of God.  Great tragedies will overtake the land of the Romans,* (The Byzantines called themselves "the Romans"), and by God’s great judgment it will cease to exist.  People will die, cities will perish, even whole nations will perish, because there is nothing eternal under the sun except the human soul, which is created in the image and likeness of the eternal God.  Do not look for help from Western Christians, expecting that they will take up arms in defense of the common Christian heritage.  Do not expect this.  Because the Western Christians are not Christians; they are pagans.  Even we Orthodox have a lot of things that are pagan.

Brother, do not be grieved at my words, but examine your soul. Just look how many idols it harbors: Mercury – the god of cupidity, Aphrodite – the goddess of concupiscence, Ares – the god of wrath, etc., and in the center, Zeus – you with your self-love and self-indulgence.  Yes, brother, we have much that is pagan, because we Orthodox are sinners, both as individuals and as a people.  However, we are pagans on the surface, while in the depths of our souls we are Christian, because in our humility we have Christ in our hearts.  And therefore, in spite of our sins, “in our humility the Lord remembered us.”  Western peoples are Christian on the surface, but in their hearts, in their souls, they are pagan.  We Orthodox grieve that we have idols living in our souls, and in humility we fall prostrate before Christ, desiring with our whole heart to belong to Him.  In the case of Westerners, however, Christianity is like a thin gilding over copper; and the rest is wholly pagan, because within their souls they bow down before their idols and these idols reign over them.  They are proud, and Christ does not dwell in their hearts.  For this reason, we Orthodox are truly pagans – on the surface – but deep within we are Christians; while the Western Latins are Christians on the surface but pagans underneath.  Therefore, do not expect that they will help us.  We Orthodox are strangers to them.

Of course, in every nation there are good and humble people who bear Christ in their hearts and their way of life. But there is nothing that can equal or that can even be compared to the grace of Orthodoxy. This is a soul-saving faith; this is a faith that leads us to humility; this is a faith that elevates us to Christ; this is a joyous faith, a faith that encompasses all peoples, a faith of indescribable beauty, a divine faith! O Orthodox Christian, be grateful to God that you are Orthodox! Oh, how happy we Orthodox are that we are Orthodox!

But this is not yet the end of the world.  The end of the world will come later, and the time of the coming of the end of the world lies in God’s hands– and also in the hands of men.  When human evil reaches its apogee, God will send His sickle to harvest the world.  While together with evil men, righteous men still live on this earth, and while the Church of Christ still stands, not having defiled her garments (Rev. 3:4), evil in the world has no power to fully mature.  But when no righteous men remain on the earth, when the ocean of evil floods the whole world, then the end of the world will come; it will be burned up and disappear into oblivion, that it might be reborn a new and perfect world in which righteousness dwells (II Peter 3:9-12.  At the coming of the end of the world, all the tribulations that the world and people have experienced until then cannot compare with those tribulations that will come upon them at this time.  A time of woe will overtake the whole world: men will hate one another, they will fear one another, they will not trust one another; tribulations will give way to greater tribulations, fear – to greater fear, danger – to greater danger, pain – to greater pain, grief – to greater grief.  But people will not come to their senses; they will not flee to God, Who is able to save them.  On the contrary, people will grow callous, and all spiritual life will wither.  Man will become so full of malice, so degraded as a result of being goaded and ruled over by base passions, so hard-hearted, darkened, and utterly consumed by the sole concern of how to survive, that for spiritual life he will have neither the will nor any place in his heart.  Nor will there remain any spiritual guides, because these, too, will follow the ways of the world.  God’s temples will become either empty or destroyed or spiritually defiled by unworthy pastors.

At the very height of these tribulations and chaos in the world, the Antichrist will appear.  He will come in the guise of a peacemaker, a good and wise leader who can bring the world to order.  In reality, however, he will be an enemy to all, a despiser of all that is good, a tyrant and evil-doer, a destroyer of everything, the likes of whom the world has never seen and will never see.  Each person will be registered; not only every facet of his affairs and his life, but every word, every movement of his mental faculties will be under constant surveillance so that he will lose the habit of thinking for himself out of fear that the expression on his face might involuntarily reflect something incompatible with the authority of the world ruler, i.e., Antichrist.  Everyone will wear “stone masks.”  All labor, every square inch of ground, every grain of wheat will be under the authority of Antichrist.  There will be calamities in nature: oppressive heat waves will alternate with periods of freezing cold, drought with floods; horrendous tornados and hurricanes will wreak frightful destruction; volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and diseases among people, animals, and plants will be so dreadful as to make people despair.  The earth, no longer blessed with bearing fruit, will be stricken with terrible famine and become utterly impoverished.  And only those who have accepted the mark of the Beast, i.e., Satan, will be allowed to exist for a time, although in the most servile and base conditions of utter penury and contempt for the human dignity that man received from his Creator.  Everything will be filled with Antichrist: the earth, the sea, the air.  Everything will be done with the single purpose of eliminating totally the name of Christ from the heart of man.  In truth, this will be a hellish kingdom on earth.  There will remain very few of God’s people.  There will be terrible tribulations, a time of intense agony not only on earth but throughout the entire universe, for they are joined in one plan of creation, and the whole universe is to perish that afterwards it might be clothed in incorruption, in indestructibility, in eternity, according to the words of the Apostle: This corruptible must put on incorruption(1Cor. 15:53). You heard the words of our Saviour: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matt. 24:29).  And the prophet says: The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord come (Joel 2:31). Another prophet says: For the stars in heaven, and Orion, and all the host of heaven, shall not give their light; and it shall be dark at sunrise, and the moon shall not give her light (Is. 13:10).  And further:

Therefore a curse shall consume the earth, because the inhabitants thereof have sinned: therefore the dwellers in the earth shall be poor, and few men shall be left…all the mirth of the land has ceased, all the mirth of the land has departed…the water of the sea shall be troubled…the foundations of the earth shall be shaken, the earth shall be utterly confounded, and the earth shall be completely perplexed…And all the powers of the heavens shall melt, and the sky shall be rolled up like a scroll: and all the stars shall fall like leaves from a vine, and as leaves fall from a fig tree (Is. 24:6, 11, 14, 18-19; 34:4).

And in Revelation we read:

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places (Rev. 6:12-14).

In the words of one ancient writer, there will come “such a time in which no one will wish to live; anxiety will increase from night to night, and trepidation from day to day.”  Before the end of the world people will see the agony of the universe, which must perish in order that God create everything anew, incorruptible and imperishable.  And just as our bodies at the Resurrection will become spiritual, so it is possible that the new universe will be comprised of spiritual matter.  Nowadays what we understand by “matter” and “spirit” are disparate, but then they will fuse into one understanding, without distinction.

This world has grown old and worn out by reason of sin and worldwide evil.  The new world will be ruled by God’s righteousness and will therefore be eternal and beautiful.  The great Apostle says, I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away … And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold,I make all things new (Rev. 21:1,5).  But before this comes to pass, there will be frightful tribulations, and the Church of Christ will be persecuted to the limit, to wipe her off the face of the earth, because so long as the Divine Liturgy is celebrated by a grace-filled priesthood, the reign of Satan cannot establish itself on earth.  In each Divine Liturgy, God is present on earth, and the Liturgy is a proclamation of Christ’s victory over the devil and death.  The persecution of the Church will be overt and covert, secretive and manifest, striking at individuals and striking at all, everywhere and by all means.  There will be a certain number of martyrs: just how many is known to God alone; but there will also be many apostates, who will accept the mark of the Beast, and there will be a countless number of those who are lukewarm, who will likewise submit to Antichrist in everything.  The powers of evil have long been preparing these apostates, these weak and worthless beings.  For centuries the powers of evil have been undermining the foundations of the Church.  Just as it took centuries to prepare for the coming of Christ, so preparations for the coming of Antichrist have been underway since the earliest times of Christianity, as the Apostle Paul declared: The mystery of iniquity doth already work (II Thess. 2:7).  But know that even the mightiest powers of hell, the “gates of hell,” will not overcome the Church (Matt. 16:18), which our Lord Jesus Christ promised to be with even until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20).  This Church will be relentlessly persecuted and will hide in caves and in abysses and in deserts.  God’s grace will rest upon her servants, and God will not allow the great enemy to destroy them.  The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated up to the very last day of this world’s existence.  Brothers, heed the signs of the coming end of the world, signs that our Lord Jesus Christ and his prophets and Apostles have revealed to us, and do not relax your trust in God.   ❦