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Fr Seraphim Rose: “Do not be deceived !”

“It is later that you think, hasten therefore to do the work of God” – Fr Seraphim Rose

Many Orthodox Christians look to the times of the “Church of the Catacombs” as something yet to come, not understanding that that time is in fact now. This statement may be surprising to many Orthodox Christians lacking the historical understanding on which this statement is based. Most Orthodox Christians know that the Church in the end times will only exist in the catacombs, but few understand that we are indeed living through those times right now.

Fundamental to understanding where things are at today is knowing that the Church of the Catacombs had already been established at beginning of the 20th century by Patriarch Tikhon’s decree #362. Soon after the seal holding Satan bound had been taken away through the death of the last Orthodox Emperor (Tsar Nikolai), having foreseen the falling away of the official church by submitting to the communist regime (the red beast of the apocalypse) through Metropolitan Sergius, Patriarch Tikhon ruled that “dioceses of the Church of Russia that were cut off from the governance of the highest Church authority (i.e. the Holy Synod and the Patriarch) should be managed independently until such time as normal relations with the highest Church authority could be resumed”.

Apocalypse 12:14 – “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent”

Quote: “This form of church governance is stipulated by St. Patriarch Tikhon’s Decree #362 November 20, 1920, on whose principals the Catacomb True Orthodox Church was founded in the homeland, and in exile, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad”

Contrary to many in the official Orthodox Churches considering that the the words of Patriarch Tikhon “until such time as normal relations with the highest Church authority could be resumed” had been fulfilled with the falling of the communist regime in Russia in 1989 and assimilation of most of the ROCOR by the Moscow Patriarchate, the fact that the official Church of Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate, have never officially denounced Metropolitan Sergius’s decision (that he made in the name of the institution he represented) means that Patriarch Tikhon’s decree is still in effect. The principles that apply to individuals in regards to repentance as a condition of salvation are equally valid in the case of the institution represented by the Moscow Patriarchate, and since no official denunciation for the mistakes of the past have been expressed by its synod we cannot conclude that Patriarch Tikhon’s words have already been fulfilled. On the contrary, Moscow Patriarchate maintains a close relationship with the Vatican and is an active participant in the ecumenical movement (also see this and this).

The time when normal relations could be re-established with the official Church of Russia as indicated by Patriarch Tikhon, will rather occur around the time when lawfulness will be reinstated in Russia by the anointment of an Orthodox Tsar through a miracle of God as foretold by many Holy Russian Saints.

For this reason, through its one bishop that did not sell to the Moscow Patriarchate, ROCA still caries forward the mission as established by Patriarch Tikhon, even though having been severely reduced to a very small flock and hiding due to the constant persecution of its members.

After all, this was indeed prophecised by St John Maximovich:

“On the day of his departure [being transferred from France to America] Blessed John was in our Church for his last farewell….he closed the holy gates, came out from the altar and, standing in the middle of the church, kept looking all around saying, ‘No, nothing should be changed in the church.”. “Your Eminence,” I then said, “I love our church very much, but unfortunately it is so small.”. “And soon even this will seem big,” Blessed John answered. “And in general soon our Church will remain such a tiny one”, and he pointed to the very tip of his middle finger. And again he looked in all directions, saying, “No, nothing should be changed in the Church.” (Letter of Zinaida V. Julem, from Paris to Father Herman, Summer, 1978; Fr. Seraphim Rose and Fr. Herman P., “Blessed John the Wonderworker”, Platina, CA (1987): Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska, pp.135-137.)

Fr Seraphim Rose himself wrote in his book “Orthodoxy and the religion of the future” (found in the 1983 edition on page 220; in later editions some parts of the following paragraph have “mysteriously” disappeared):

Unknown to the fevered Orthodox “revivalists,” the Lord has reserved in the world, even as in the days of Elijah the Prophet, seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal [Rom. 11:4] — an unknown number of true 0rthodox Christians who are neither spiritually dead, as the 0rthodox “charismatics” complain that their flocks have been, nor the pompously “spirit-filled,” as these same flocks become under “charismatic” suggestion. They are not carried away by the movement of apostasy nor by any false “awakening,” but continue rooted in the holy and saving Faith of Holy Orthodoxy in the tradition the Holy Fathers have handed down to them, watching the signs of the times and traveling the narrow path to salvation. Many of them follow the bishops of the few Orthodox jurisdicitions that have strong stands against the apostasy of our times: the Catacomb Church of Russia, the Russian Church 0utside of Russia, the True Orthodox Christians [Old Calendarists] of Greece. But there are some left in other jurisdictions also, grieving over the ever more evident apostasy of their hierarchs and striving somehow to keep their own Orthodoxy intact; and there are still others outside of the Orthodox Church who by God’s grace, their hearts being open to His call, will undoubtedly yet be joined to genuine Holy Orthodoxy. These “seven thousand “are the foundation of the future and only 0rthodoxy of the latter times.

“Do not be deceived !”

“In the end, when critical times come, I think it will be seen how useful it was that there were some [jurisdictions] which stayed behind, and some bishops and priests who stayed in a sort of backward point of view in order to be of help when a crisis comes. Because it is true that many of the Orthodox hierarchs are going much too far in following Rome which is following the Western confessions. It will come to a disaster before very long.” (Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) at a gathering of an Orthodox student fellowship at UC Santa Cruz, 1981 http://www.roca.org/OA/132/132k.htm)

It is later than you think !

Sign of the times part 1
Sign of the times part 2

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