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The life of a Christian in our modern world
Archbishop Averky

The Christian world nowadays presents a terrifying and cheerless picture of profound religious and moral decay. The servants of Antichrist do their utmost to completely displace God from people’s lives, in order that mankind, content with its well-being, not feel any need to turn to God in prayer, not think of God at all, but live as though God did not exist. Thus the entire structure of contemporary life in the so-called “free” world, where there is no open and bloody persecution of faith, where everyone has the right to believe as he wishes, represents a far greater danger to a Christian’s soul by drawing the Christian wholly down to earth and making him forget heaven.

The entire modern culture, which is aimed at purely worldly achievements, and the resultant whirlwind of everyday life keep a person in such a state of constant busyness and absent-mindedness that he has no opportunity to do any soul-searching, and spiritual life within him gradually dies out. Everything that is now happening at the summit of mankind’s religious, national, and social life, particularly since the fall of Orthodox Russia, is nothing else but an intense preparation by the servants of the coming Antichrist for his future reign.

All those who wish to remain loyal to Christ our Saviour must especially guard themselves from becoming attracted to material things, from being tempted by them. It is extremely dangerous to allow oneself to be lured into making a career, making a name for oneself, attempting to gain power and influence in society, acquiring great wealth, surrounding oneself with luxury and comfort.

Now is the time for confessing Christ, for standing up firmly, even unto death if need be, for our Orthodox faith, which is being subjected everywhere to open and secret assault, persecution, and oppression by the servants of the coming Antichrist. We must remain true Christians, not succumbing to the spirit of the times, and making the Church the center of our lives. We must be true and faithful children of our Orthodox Church, and at the same time we must be its missionaries, combatants for the true faith of Christ, both within the non-Orthodox environment that surrounds us and among those who have fallen away or are falling away from the Church.

Despite the false promises of modern progress, the path which lies before us is the path of suffering. The Lord has clearly said that it is not “progress” which awaits us but ever increasing trials and tribulations, resulting from “increasing iniquity” and the “scarcity of love,” and that when He comes, He shall hardly find any faith on earth (Luke 18:8).

The power of true Christians in present and forthcoming times lies in the anticipation of the second coming of Christ. The spirit of constant waiting for the second coming of Christ is the spirit of early Christianity, which prayerfully cried out to the Lord: “Yea, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). And the opposite spirit to this is undoubtedly the spirit of Antichrist, which tries in all ways to distract Christians from the thought of the second coming of Christ and the subsequent universal judgment. Those who succumb to this spirit are in danger of not recognizing the Antichrist when he comes and of falling into his nets. It is this which is most terrifying in our modern world, full of all kinds of temptations and delusions. The servants of Antichrist, as the Lord warned us, will attempt to deceive, if possible, even the chosen ones (Matt. 24:24). However, the thought of this should not depress us, but, on the contrary: “Look up, – says the Lord, – and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).

Archbishop Averky of Syracuse and Trinity

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