Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesos [Cyprus] talks about the right Christian attitude regarding the signs of the end of the age.

Met. Athanasios:

“God Himself has concealed this from us…

People have always been anxious, and it’s a good anxiety, about the signs of times. Christ Himself told us to act upon and observe the signs of the times and to show a positive interest as to where things are heading and how to direct ourselves. It’s not good for a person to be indifferent and not to participate in this positive interest and positive effort.

Good observation depends on the spirit that our Lord has taught us in the Gospel and it’s in this spirit that He taught His students…

Of course, He told them general things, which would precede His coming. He spoke to us of turmoil, of wars, of many deceptions, many people who’d mislead many others. He spoke to us of a diminution of man’s love for God with all the concomitant sins that involves. He spoke to us and told us that the Gospel would be preached to all of creation…

But Christ didn’t say all these things in order for us to discover when the Second Coming would occur because He told His disciples that it wasn’t their business to learn when it would happen… This is none of our business. The heavenly Father kept it to Himself. He revealed it to no one, so that no saint, no prophet, no angel, nothing in existence would know the timing of the coming of God…

Christ gave us some advice. Ho told us to watch and to pray so that we may avoid temptation and deception. He told us to beware of the false prophets, to beware of those who would tell us that Christ is coming now, that Christ is there or here, or that He will come in a few years at such and such time. This is how you know false prophets. These are the features of those who are out to agitate God’s people, and to present the Church as a place full of feather-brained people who are terrified and waiting in horror and fear for that day and the moment that God will appear.

However, the main feature that typifies the word of God is that the coming of Christ into the world is a joyous event, it’s an event to be desired. What does the Nicene Creed say? “I await the resurrection of the dead.” I’m waiting, expecting, anticipating the moment and time with longing, with joy and peace… without a trace of fear, terror, psychological panic or any other negative emotion… the children of the Church are looking forward to it with joy…

So joy is one element.

The next… the devil won’t prevail, nor will the Antichrist or the frightening events that will unfold as time goes by… Christ will conquer all of these difficulties. And what is our duty? Our attitude? To remain faithful to Him. To remain faithful to Christ united with the Church.

When the first rumors and fears of the Antichrist first began to spread, about 666, or about various cards and scratches and all the other things, I was on the Holy Mountain and there was well, quite a commotion among the monks. So I asked the elders what would happen and how we should react… The response of these elders was: “stay united with God, stay united to the Church.” If you are in the Church, it is as if you were in the ark at the time of the flood. They were afraid of nothing and nothing happened to them… Nobody who calls upon the name of the Lord and stays in the ark of the Church will be lost.

On the other hand there are those who believe they have found their own path to salvation and who create their own escape routes from these events. In this way they are excluding the Church because they believe it is compromised. As if the Church of Christ were a human construct and not the work of the Holy Spirit, as if God didn’t reside within the Church. How could the Church, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth of Christ, be mistaken?

We must be concerned, but in the knowledge that we must be careful not to be misled, not to be separated from the Church, no to concoct our own interpretations and our own labyrinthine mazes, all the while having the peace of God in our hearts.

At any moment now, we are all in the departure lounge, ready for take-off. Who can say they still have years ahead of them? No-one.

Therefore, my friends, may Christ be the expectation for each of us. And the signs of Christ are the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, restraint… anything else is not from God… Stay united with Me and I with you and don’t concern yourselves with the Antichrist. We do better concern ourselves with Christ Who is our Love, Who is the object of our love and our lives…”




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