Written by Vladimir Moss



     “The whole world lies in evil”, said the holy Apostle John (I John 5.19). The whole world. Therefore there is nothing to hope for from the world; nothing in the world or of the world will save us. Only that which is not of this world – Christ and His Holy Church – can save us. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 19.7). 

     Having said that, there are degrees of evil; not all evil is equally destructive of our souls. The worst evil is that which is closest to the heart of our spiritual life. Less evil than the wolf that openly bares its teeth against us from outside is the wolf that puts on sheep’s clothing and creeps into the sheepfold. 

     For the Orthodox Christian, that means that the worst evil is the evil coming from within the Orthodox Church. But how can evil come from “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3.15), the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church? Only when the True Church is transformed into a coven of heresies…

     Approximately one hundred years ago, St. Anatoly the Younger, the great Optina elder, said: "Heresies will spread everywhere and deceive many people. The enemy of the human race will act with cunning in order to draw into heresy, if possible, even the elect. He will not begin by crudely rejecting the dogmas of the Holy Trinity, the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the virtue of the Theotokos, but he will begin imperceptibly to distort the teachings and statutes of the Church and their very spirit, handed down to us by the Holy Fathers through the Holy Spirit. Few will notice these wiles of the enemy, only those more experienced in the spiritual life. Heretics will seize power over the Church and will place their servants everywhere; the pious will be regarded with contempt. He (the Lord) said, 'by their fruits ye shall know them', and so, by their fruits, as well as by the actions of the heretics, strive to distinguish them from the true pastors. These are spiritual thieves, plundering the spiritual flock, and they will enter the sheepfold (the Church), climbing up some other way, as the Lord said: They will enter by an unlawful way, using force and trampling upon the Divine statutes. The Lord calls them robbers (cf. John 10.1). Indeed, their first task will be the persecution of the true pastors, their imprisonment and exile, for without this it will be impossible for them to plunder the sheep.”

     There can be absolutely no doubt that, in accordance with this prophecy, all the official Orthodox Churches have now been taken over by heretics. The inter-war period, roughly from 1918 to 1945, was the period in which the true pastors were killed or exiled – and in such numbers as has not been seen in the whole history of Christianity. Since then, there has been no comparable persecution of the Orthodox Church from outside for the simple reason that the official Orthodox Churches have been taken over from within; they are already ruled by Satan, so he does not need to destroy them physically.

     This is not to say that the True Church has ceased to exist. The True Church will never cease to exist: in accordance with the Saviour’s promise that she will prevail against the very gates of hell (Matthew 16.18) – that is, soul-destroying heresies, so-called because they open the gates directly into hell. But it is small, persecuted, divided, scarcely noticed or talked about even by the multitudes of those who call themselves Orthodox.

     For "there will be a storm,” said St. Anatoly, “and the Russian ship will be destroyed. Yes, it will happen, but, you know, people can be saved on splinters and wreckage. Not all, not all will perish..." 

     So if you find yourself, not in a “splinter group”, but in one of the great official Orthodox Churches numbering millions of people, you can be sure you are not in the True Church. For you the word of the Lord is applicable: “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18.4). If on the other hand you find yourself in a splinter group, you may be among those who are surviving, albeit with difficulty.

     Of course, this is not an infallible criterion: even into those splinter groups that have separated themselves from the prevailing apostasy, the wolf of heresy may enter and start devouring the sheep. Moreover, there is the ever-present danger that the True Christian, living on one of these islands of God’s Archipelago, may lose hope, may come to believe that his little island will be eventually overwhelmed by the tsunami of apostate Orthodoxy, and therefore decide to throw himself into the waves of the sea, or decide to join himself to one of the false churches of official Orthodoxy. To such a Christian the word of the Lord is applicable: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12.32).

     Moreover, we must remember that the splinters of True Orthodoxy will not always remain splinters. For St. Anatoly also prophesied: "A great miracle of God will be revealed. And all the splinters and wreckage will, by the will of God and His might, be gathered together and united, and the ship will be recreated in its beauty and will go along the path foreordained for it by God. That's how it will be, a miracle manifest to all..."


May 10/23, 2018.

Holy Apostle Simon the Zealot.


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