Audio length: 19:53 minutes
Transcript published: July 29, 2010
Fr. Peter examines the crisis in Greece from a spiritual standpoint, pointing us toward two important developments that have worldwide implications. Fr. Peter places these developments in the larger context of salvation history, as well as in the mysteries of salvation and iniquity which are at work in the world
Well, it’s been quite some time since we last spoke, and I want to ask forgiveness from all of you for the great delay in responding to your call for another postcard. I make a prostration before all of you and ask you to pray that such a delay will not again occur soon.
In today’s program, we are going to address an issue that has been in the news around the world, and of course in America as well—that is, the crisis that Greece is going through. It is certainly an issue that deserves our attention. We’re going to do our best to give you a taste, a perspective on the matter from here in Greece.
Many in the Church of Greece have said rightly that this is a spiritual crisis first and foremost, and only secondly is it an economic crisis. Of course, that’s true—always the spiritual precedes the economic and the worldly. However, usually the comments stop there, or, if it continues, the impression one has is that this crisis can be solved by simply improving the moral condition of people, improving and extending philanthropic work, or social action and social programs, etc.
Of course, greed is, without question, at the heart of the problem. But if every crisis is fed by the fuel of the passions, every passion is thrown into the fire by someone, or rather someone in cooperation with some being, namely a demon. Every passion has its demon which pushes man into slavery to that passion.
But the demons don’t simply work on a personal level for each and every man’s enslavement. The angels are not limited to being guardians of particular souls, but have been appointed guardians of nations as well. So too, the demons work through the passions, through each person, to bring about at the same time the enslavement of nations and of the whole world.
This process is called in Holy Scripture the mystery of iniquity. St. Paul says that the “mystery of iniquity doth already work” and that “wicked man shall be revealed. Him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they receive not the love of the truth”.
While one may or may not be readily disposed to entertain conspiracy theories involving men, as Christians we have been duly warned that there is a demonic conspiracy to enslave mankind as a whole. Furthermore, this mystery of iniquity is at work and has been for many centuries now, or rather millennia. Already, with the slaying of Abel by Cain, the evil is at work to bring the economy of salvation to naught.
Satan heard God say to the first-formed, Adam and Eve, that the descendant of Eve will “bruise thy head”. God says to the serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed.” “It”—the seed, a descendant of Eve—“shall bruise thy head and thou shall bruise his heel.” Seeing the obedience and goodness of Abel, the evil one incited Cain to become jealous, to give in to his passions and to kill his brother. Thus, he thought, bringing an end to Eve’s descendants and doing away with the future Messiah.
But if the evil one has been at work since the time of the first-formed to sabotage man’s salvation, he’s been burning the midnight oil since the Incarnation. St. John was speaking of his work toward global enslavement of man already in the first century when he said, “Little children, it is the last time and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists whereby we know that it is the last time. Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. And this is that spirit of antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come and even now already is in the world.”
There have been many types of the final antichrist of the Apocalypse, just as there have been many types of the Messiah and there were many types of the Messiah in the Old Testament. The evil one is nothing but the ape of God, quite unoriginal and not creative, but simply copying the Creator. There really aren’t, for Orthodox Christians, too many surprises as to how the mystery of iniquity is and will work itself out. Indeed, the story has already been told to a great degree. It remains for us to learn it and apply it today, and there is plenty of opportunity to do just that.
As we said, the evil one is a copycat. He wants to do and be what Christ did and is. He wants to evangelize the world with his gospel. His church is, in one important way, just like the Church. He has his inner circle of disciples, perhaps twelve, perhaps more. He has seventy apostles. He has his hierarchy, his clergy, his special forces like our monks, as well as his faithfully enslaved and obedient to their demon-inspired passions. And, like the Church, he has many more who are not very well initiated into his program, but at least they don’t obstruct it.
Together with his synagogue, his assembly, his goal is to attain universality, just as Christ and his saints have done. But unlike Christ and his saints, the universality he will achieve will only be external, temporary, imposed with the help of the passions.
You see, without God, true universality is impossible. The evil one is the ruler of this world, and the powers of this world—governments, money lenders, armies—are his preferred avenues for mission. His end game is for every knee to bow to him and not to the Christ. In order for that to happen, however, he needs a stand-in, for he is a spirit. He needs a vehicle to feign his own incarnation, as it were. This is the Antichrist, not another type but the real thing. He will be as full of the demonic spirit as is humanly possible.
He knows that people aren’t normally inclined to bow the knee to God, let alone another man. Normally, he likes that. But for his plan of “taking the place of Christ”—that is what “antichrist” means—he will need them to want to do just this—bow down to his chosen one, a man. Most won’t want to worship creation, the antichrist, another man, but he knows that if they love their passions and the world enough and these are threatened, they will want to preserve these even if it means showing veneration to a mere man, even supposedly a great man.
How is the whole world going to end up venerating one man? Remember, he wants every knee to bow to him. He wants universality. If he can get the whole world organized under one roof, one system, economic and governmental, then he can place his chosen one there at the top. Then little by little, with carrots and with sticks, bring them into line, into discipline, into his program of enslavement to the passions, his demons, his savior.
This now brings us back to the much discussed crisis. What does it mean? What does it mean for us as Orthodox? The Lord wants us to be watchful so that we don’t miss his signs, so that we don’t become deceived, so that we are with him eternally. Therefore, having in mind what we said about the end game of the evil one, what do we see in this crisis which could be considered signs to watch out for? I will mention only two of the most prominent and unmistakable.
Several months ago the President of Greece spoke at a major conference in Europe, in Copenhagen. In his speech he mentioned in passing that we are already witnessing the emergence of global governance. About three weeks ago, the same President of Greece spoke in London at a gathering sponsored by The Economist magazine. He was speaking about the crisis in Greece and said that we all have our problems here, and Greece has its problems, but this should be a clarion call to the whole world that we need global governance quickly and we need financial global governance quickly.
This is quite an event, really, if one has a sense of recent history in Greece and generally has a sense of history that, as a fruit of this crisis, the President of Greece, an Orthodox country, is calling for a quick establishment of global governance. Global governance, as we just said, is one of the major presuppositions for the ascent of the man of iniquity, for the working out of, for the fulfillment of the mystery of iniquity that St. Paul talks about, for that final antichrist to come.
So this is definitely a sign for us Orthodox Christians, and it shows that the cause of this crisis is not so simple. It’s not just economic. Nothing is just economic. But it has a spiritual root—not just a moral root, not just that the Greek people or the American people day after tomorrow, or the people of Portugal or Ireland or whatever country might come next have not been saving but spending, and borrowing too much. This is really quite superficial.
It means that at a much deeper, spiritual working out of the mystery of iniquity is at work when it brings such fruit as a calling for global governance and quickly.
The second sign that is quite important for us to take notice of—there are many, but I’ll mention these two important ones—is that Greek sovereignty is a thing of the past. The Greek nation is no longer a sovereign nation. It really hasn’t been since November of last year when the President of Greece signed the Lisbon Treaty, and Greece ceased to exist as a sovereign nation. The President of Europe was elected, and, for all intents and purposes, Greece became what is akin to one of the states of America.
But with the intervention now of the IMF—the takeover of the nation’s economy and economic policy by the International Monetary Fund—we have the practical signing away of the Greek nation and a major step toward the practical implementation of global governance and the doing away of national sovereignty.
To understand the severity of this development, you have to imagine America on the verge of bankruptcy—the decision being made to take major funds from the IMF (which could happen not too further down the line here) —and for a committee of bankers from Brussels, from Europe, to come over and basically take control of the economic policy of America. Of course the economic policy is not limited to the bottom line but crosses over into the whole social fabric of the nation.
I’ll give you one example from Greece. The IMF committee is already calling for the doing away with religious holidays—Theophany, the Second Day of Pascha, and Holy Spirit Day (the day after Pentecost) —and calling upon Greek people to work more. This is not an accident. If one cannot see a human conspiracy, it’s a demonic conspiracy and the demons are celebrating if this comes to pass. This is just one of many changes in Greece. There are so many fast moving developments here in Greece that one is at a loss to stay abreast of them. In the area of schools, there are changes in curriculum, changes in policies regarding the Church, and many, many others.
Greece has ceased to be a sovereign nation. The leaders of Greece are calling for global governance. These are definitely signs of the working out of the mystery of iniquity, the working of the demons behind the passions and the directing of the course of history toward that desired goal which is the ascent of the man of iniquity.
Yes, we’re suffering from a crisis here in Greece. Yes, it is a spiritual crisis. What kind of spiritual crisis is it? On the one hand, it’s nothing new. Christ is our crisis in the sense of are with him or with the imposter, the one who wants to be in his place, the one who is behind the passions that we feed on a daily basis.
Every day each of us is choosing to be with Christ or to be with the antichrist; one who is struggling against his passions or one who is giving into his passions. On that level, the mystery of iniquity is also at work. But on a much more macro level, in history we will see the coming about, the fulfillment, of the mystery of iniquity until the Second Coming. Christ is the end of history, and history is coming to its end. We know that he will be victorious in the end.
Behind every historical event, behind every economy, is economia—the economy of salvation. It is incumbent upon those, who have been given the riches in Orthodoxy to interpret and understand the signs of the times, to take advantage of these riches, to see through the lens of the prophets, apostles, and the saints and to not be left unaware, but to be prepared. And this is what the Lord, in his loving kindness, has given us—to see the signs of the times and to interpret them correctly.
Until we meet again and discuss another aspect of the economy of our salvation, I greet you.