Written by Vladimir Moss

     Fr. Thomas Marretta (GOC-K) has published on his website a sermon for St. Demetrius’ day entitled “An Account of the Passion of the Holy Great Martyr, and About Our Sacred Duty of Obeying the Civil Authorities”.[1] We have no problem with the general principles expounded in this sermon. But we have serious misgivings about the way in which he appears to be applying these principles.


     By comparison with the persecutors of pagan Rome, says Fr. Thomas, “most of our contemporary American politicians would seem to be paragons of uprightness. Yet, Saint Demetrius and the other early Christians submitted to the authority of such rulers and obeyed it, except when these men were specifically commanding something that indubitably contravened incontrovertible principles of faith. This is difficult to comprehend for many modern-day Christians, whose inclinations tend more to suspicions and insubordination, not to say fantastical political theories than to the devout spirit of subordination, cooperation, respect, and obedience. Yet the early Christians were acting precisely in accordance with the teaching of the Scriptures here, the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments.”


     This would have been an appropriate response at any time from the end of the Second World War to approximately the end of the Cold War in 1991. Then, whatever the defects of the American government, it usually – not always, but usually – carried out the function and criterion of legitimate government, which is, in St. Paul’s phrase, to be “a terror not to good works, but to evil”, being “a minister of God for good” (Romans 13.3-4). And there were many Orthodox Christians “whose inclinations were more to suspicions and insubordination, not to say fantastical political theories” than to devout obedience to the authorities. Some even considered the Soviets to be better than the Americans, which is inexcusable if we consider how many millions of Orthodox Christians were murdered by the communists, and that the Bolsheviks were the only rulers in history to be directly anathematized by the Church. Few were those who followed the example of the Holy Synod of the Russian Church Abroad who openly supported the Americans in the Vietnam War.


     However, the situation has subtly but significantly changed since the end of the Cold War, and especially in the last decade. Until recently, one could abhor the vices of western life, but was under no strong pressure to take part in them oneself. One didn’t have to abort one’s babies, or practice or approve of homosexuality. But then came the LGBT revolution. Gradually more and more people in more and more professions had to pay lip-service to the new gospel of transgenderism. You MUST agree that such-and-such a man is actually a woman, or else… Madness is rapidly becoming compulsory. And yet we are not being tortured to confess the ruling madness: we can still be fools-for-Christ if we want to.


     However, the Covid-19 crisis has raised the stakes. There are now certain things that almost everybody is being forced to do, or will very shortly be forced to do - or else… One of those things is not attend church on Sundays. In many parts of the west during 2020, people were being forced to transgress the commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20.8), which the Church has always understood to mean that we must attend communal worship in church on Sundays and feastdays. (There is a canon decreeing that if anyone who does not attend Sunday services for three weeks consecutively is excommunicated.) Still more recently and more seriously, everybody is being encouraged to take a mRNA vaccine which involves a change in his DNA – that is, the code encapsulating the essence of his psycho-physical nature. In other words, they are being encouraged to practice gene therapy (if “therapy” is the right word) on themselves.


     There are some indications in some places that the pressure on people to comply with these measures is weakening. In Britain, for example, while the lockdown and quarantine measures are stricter than ever, worship in church appears to be allowed under certain conditions. Again, increasing numbers of people, even in the medical services, are refusing to take the vaccine – and so far they have not been punished for it. But this may be a lull before the storm. There is absolutely no guarantee that disobeying the law in these matters will not entail more serious repression in the not-so-distant future.


     The question is: are Orthodox Christians required to go to church, and refuse mRNA vaccination, whatever the law says and whatever punishment they may incur, or, as Fr. Thomas seems to be implying, is this all hysteria contrary to “the devout spirit of subordination, cooperation, respect, and obedience” that is expected of Orthodox Christians in relation to the secular authorities?...




     Let us take a step backwards and consider where we are in Church history. In 1917 “he who restrains” the coming of the Antichrist, the Orthodox Christian emperor, was removed, and we entered the last times. Almost immediately – and almost a year before the “Red Terror” began – the antichristian Soviet power was anathematized, and the holy Patriarch ordered over 100 million Orthodox Christians not to obey it in any way whatsoever. Now Soviet power has fallen, and yet there has been no significant revival of Orthodox Christianity or Orthodox Christian statehood. In fact, if we look at the whole 103-year period since the revolution, we see a steady spiritual decline that has accelerated in recent years. If, at the beginning of that period, the Church declared that it was impossible to cooperate with the secular authorities of the time, and anathematized those who did, is it likely that now, over 100 years later, when the situation of the world as a whole is much worse, we are likely to be able to cooperate with the authorities in that “devout spirit of subordination, cooperation, respect, and obedience” that Fr. Thomas so extols? Have we learned nothing from the experience of the Catacomb Church, from their holy disobedience, which produced the great majority of the holy martyrs and confessors of the twentieth century?!! Or was that period of Church history just a “blip”, an exception, and we can now go back to business as usual?!!


     Of course, it is possible to panic, to exaggerate the threat, and to see the mark of the beast even when the personal Antichrist has not yet appeared. We must not forget that many prophecies of the Holy Scriptures and the saints have yet to be fulfilled. We are not at the end yet (Matthew 24.14)… But that is no reason for complacency. One thing is certain: we live in apocalyptic times. So let us consider the following hypothesis: that the plague of antichristian statehood, far more virulent and death-dealing than any physical virus, that began in Russia in 1917 has now spread all around the world, and we have to react accordingly. Antichristian statehood, the collective Antichrist, first seized power in Russia, then, from 1945, in Eastern Europe, and then, during the Cold War, in many countries of Asia, Africa and South America (notably China). Finally, in 2021, it is establishing itself in the West, in fulfilment of the prophecies of Elder Ignaty of Harbin (+1958): “What began in Russia will end in America,” and of Elder Aristocles of Moscow (+1918): “America will feed the world, but will finally collapse.”


     It is fitting that America should be the last bastion of legitimate government to fall, first because it has been the most consistent and powerful opponent of Soviet and neo-Soviet communism in the world, and because it has a large population of Orthodox Christians, who, if they wake up to the spiritual danger facing them, could both save their own souls and inspire soul-saving rebellion in Orthodox Christians in many other parts of the world.


     Not that we have to stop paying our taxes and go into the hills with our shot-guns. But we must refuse to obey any order which involves transgression of the commandments or changes our human nature. This is what the best True Orthodox Churches, such as that of Russia under Archbishop Tikhon of Omsk, and of Romania under Metropolitan Vlasie, have already done and mandated to their flocks.


     Some may argue that we cannot compare the God-hating “authorities” of the time of Diocletian or Stalin with those of Vladimir Putin or Joe Biden. Can we not? Is Fr. Thomas really right that our present authorities are “paragons of uprightness” compared with the ancient ones? I think not, or only superficially so… No doubt the modern authorities are less outwardly cruel than the older ones. This is through God’s providence and mercy. For He knows that we are weak, probably weaker than any previous Christian generation, and He will not lead us into a temptation that is too strong for us, but will give us a way to escape from it.


     But let us make no mistake about it: “the path to hell is paved with good intentions”, they are killing us by their “kindness”. If they succeed in saving our bodies through the vaccine (supposedly; although, as Archbishop Tikhon has written, “there are now disturbing news from medics from around the world with regard to the vaccination. We shall not ignore them” (private letter to the writer)), they would actually be killing our souls if they force us to accept a vaccine that stops us worshipping together in church or changes the genome that God gave us at our creation, the Divinely-implanted code that makes us who we are. For in essence any authority, whether kind or cruel, whether civilised or uncivilised, which forces us to disobey God is God-hating, God-accursed and must be resisted – at any cost.


     For “whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge” (Acts 3.19).


January 14/27, 2021.

Apodosis of Holy Theophany.


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