"Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven hath drawn nigh." (Matt. 3, 2)
The foregoing words of St. John the Forerunner are realized as never before in these, our wretched times. The ideals of antichrist are dominant throughout the entire world. The Word of God has been rejected, as has been the living of one’s life in accordance with God’s Word. The Church of Christ has become diminished to a truly "little flock." (Luke 12, 32) Immorality and moral depravity have become triumphant. Man’s inordinate conceit has brought down God’s Anointed Ones and has exalted the democratic idols of anthropolatria [the worship of man]. The "Golden Calf" has become the supreme measure of the merits and shortcomings--of individuals, as such, and of entire societies and states. Both gluttony and the satisfaction of base human passions have become the purpose of man’s existence. The earth herself, a creation of the Lord, is being savagely destroyed , and the [resultant] ecological crisis threatens to become universal. In a word, we are seeing, before our eyes, the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the signs of the coming of antichrist and of the end of days. Even prophecies concerning the preaching of the Word of God throughout the entire world, accompanied by a simultaneous diminution of the Church of Christ, while they appear antithetical when measured by human logic, are coming to pass. In short, "he [antichrist] is near, even at the doors." (Mark 13, 29)
Let us cast our gaze about, over the history of humanity, and let us pose ourselves the following question: when did this headlong "precipitous rush to destruction" of Christian civilization begin? When did the principles and concepts of honor and dignity, of morality and kind-heartedness (not of the treacly-sweet and drooling humanistic variety, with its "supreme value"--man, but of genuine kind- heartedness, for God’s sake) depart from the socio-political scene, or even from human life, in general? The answer is self-evident: at the beginning of this, our hellish XXth century--an age of turmoil and revolutions; an age of open persecution of the Church of Christ, and of a gradual corruption of Orthodoxy from within by means of modernism and ecumenism; an age of materialism and utilitarianism; an age of man’s enslavement by "the spirit of this age." (I Cor. 2, 12)
The date of 2 March 1917 [17 February 1917] has been set as a distinct boundary -- the fatal date on which Tsar’-Martyr Nikolai II abdicated from his ancestral Throne. That event, which took place 80 years ago, signified, according to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, "the taking-away from out of our midst of the one who now restraineth" [the appearance of antichrist] (2 Thes. 2, 7), i.e., of the Orthodox Sovereign, sent by God, on High, to defend and protect the Church, and to restraint the forces of evil. As a result of the foul masonic conspiracy between the Duma and the generals, the obstacle upon the way of antichrist’s forces was swept away, and evil spilled out unrestrainedly across the world. It was precisely at this moment that the real sense and mystical significance of the royal service which God’s Anointed One -- the Orthodox Sovereign -- fulfilled were made manifest in quite a clear-cut fashion. We--the descendants of those who were either incapable or undesirous of preventing the ruin of Russia and of all genuinely-Christian civilization--can see with our own eyes the result to which the downfall of "the one who restraineth" has brought us. The world has lost its conscience, its intercessor before the Lord, its defender and protector--and the forces of antichrist have spread throughout all the earth. Mankind, not wanting to unite in Christ, is now uniting in the "New World Order," that it might greet the antichrist with ardent enthusiasm--and few there be who oppose this.
But despair is not befitting to Orthodox Christians. "God is not in might, but in the right" [as St. Aleksandr Nevskii rightly observed]. Through the Lord’s merciful-kindness, we have a glimmer of hope for Russia’s resurrection. On the very day of the Tsar’-Martyr’s abdication, a tiny bit of consolation was given to the suffering Russian nation: the ikon of the Regnant Mother of God appeared. This holy image, as it were, tells us that, although Royal authority has fallen on earth by reason of our sins, yet is it not completely destroyed, once and for all time, having instead been taken into safe-keeping by the Tsaritsa of Heaven, Herself. Now the matter is in our hands, as to whether we turn out to be worthy of God’s mercy; whether we will be capable of returning to Him, like unto the Prodigal Son of the Bible, who returned to his Father; whether we will be capable of repenting of our sins, on account of which Royal authority was taken from our midst.
The time for repentance is drawing nigh in Rus’. Present no longer are the shackles of those God-fighting authorities which, with fire and sword, engaged in the annihilation of the Orthodox Church in Russia. Each man is now given the right of free choice: to be with Christ, or to be without Christ; to enter into His body, or to be scattered about, throughout various sects and other such heretical groupings; to hearken to the Word of God, or to attend to human passions and indulge one’s faults; to live in a Christ-like fashion, or to hasten the coming of antichrist. This is the only choice in each of our lives--and it, as distinct from general suffrage and referenda, can determine our destiny. The time has come for repentance… The time has come to ascertain with whom Russia finds herself: with Christ or with Belial, with the pure or with the impure, with light or with darkness…
Russia, at present, is, as it were, a cart, being pulled in opposite directions by two different forces. One of them is loud and garish, brightly-colored with neon advertisements and resounding with the Klaxons®™ of splendid automobiles, blessed by "decorative" priests. She is replete with money and glitters with precious stones. She presents all those desirous of the same sort of thing with every possible opportunity for enrichment and for the satisfaction of one’s passions, opening the way to riches and glory. The other is quiet and unnoticed. Fenced-off from worldly vanity by the walls of God’s temples, she spends her time in fasting and prayer giving away her last kopeikas in order to rebuild or to construct churches and monasteries; expending her energies upon the publication of Orthodox literature, the upbringing of children, and the enlightenment of adults. To expect worldly success from her is senseless--even laughable…
In which direction will the Russian colossus--those many millions of "Russian-speaking citizens"--swing? Will we cast ourselves into that godless, bottomless-pit, on the tracks of the rest of the world; or will we hold back from the edge and quietly begin to move away, into Holy Rus’? At present, the former side is winning. The corruption of the Church through modernism and ecumenical activity continues. The country is despoiled; immoral mass-"culture" is dominant; Russia is descending ever deeper into a masonic-mondialistic "world-association." And yet, ripening within Russia there are to be found moods--unseen, innate, and not "sensibly"-deliberated upon, to be sure: back, back to Orthodox Russia, back to Holy Rus’.
What must the nature of our repentance be, without which the further existence of either Russia or the world would be out of the question? Its nature is one: to be with Christ, and in Christ, in everything and everywhere--and not to organize "Christmas" and "Easter" festivals, competitions and concerts. It is necessary to learn to be Russian Orthodox, and not smugly to discuss one’s personal greatness. It is necessary not to sculpt double-headed eagles on every facade, but to return to authentic, pre-revolutionary traditions. In other words, it is necessary to bring about the rebirth not only of their form, but also of their spiritual content. Finally, it is necessary to strive for the rebirth of the Orthodox Russian Tsarstvo. For in what else, if not in that, can we manifest our repentance before the Lord for having overthrown the Sovereign He had granted us, and for trampling underfoot that Oath of Fidelity which our pious ancestors had sworn to the House of the Romanovs in 1613. Oath-breaking, in regard to the Tsar’-Martyr, can be redeemed only through fidelity to His Lawful Successors. Only then, seeing our sincere repentance and our striving to return to Divine Righteousness, will the Lord have mercy upon us, returning His Anointed One to us, and once again lifting up an insurmountable obstacle upon the path of antichrist’s forces.
(Translated by G. Spruksts, from the Russian text ("_Vremya dlya pokayaniya_"), English-language translation copyright © 1997 by The Russian Cultural Heritage Society, The Saint Stefan Of Perm' Guild, and the Translator. All rights reserved.)
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