A Word On the End of the World

St. Serapion of Vladimir (†1275) was archimandrite of the Kiev Caves Monastery from 1247 to 1274. He was then consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Vladimir, Suzdal, and Nizhny Novgorod, which he ruled until his repose the following year. At the time, the territory of the diocese consisted of the Grand Duchy of Vladimir and the principalities of Gorodets, Kostroma, Moscow, Pereslavl, Starodub, Suzdal, Nizhny Novgorod, and Yuriev. Five sermons from St. Serapion have been preserved, most believed to date from his time as a hierarch.


Brethren, fear the terrible and dread judgment of God, for that fearful day will come suddenly. If we don’t prepare ourselves with virtues, then naked and destitute we shall be condemned to unquenchable fire.

O brethren, live in the fear of God, for the time of this life is short and vanishes like smoke; and many calamities befall us for our sins, and no small sorrow: invasions of the heathen, agitation between people, the disorder of churches, unrest between princes, the lawlessness of priests who please only the flesh, taking no care for the soul. And abbots too. And the monks start to care about feasts, they become irascible and prone to rivalry, and they lead a life unbecoming of the Holy Fathers. The hierarchs cower before the powerful, they judge based on personal gain, they offend orphans and don’t intercede for widows and the poor. In the laity, there is unbelief and fornication; and abandoning the truth, they begin to create untruth.

But in such days, if anyone so desires, he will be saved and will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For so it was in the days of Noah: They ate, they drank, they married, they fornicated, and the flood came and destroyed everyone for their iniquity. How awful to see such a fearful phenomenon! When Noah was building the ark as the Lord commanded him, then the elephants from India and lions from Persia traveled together with sheep and goats without harming each other; the reptiles and birds headed to where Noah was building the ark. And Noah wept and told the people: “Repent! The flood is coming for you.” And even seeing all this, they didn’t heed his words and didn’t listen to his teachings until the flood waters covered them and they suffered a wretched death. O brethren, let us be afraid, for behold, all that is written is coming to an end and the signs foretold are coming true. And there is already little left of our life and age.

Thus, whoever wants to be saved, let him labor now in humility, abstinence, and alms. For if anyone falls into the hands of robbers, beloved, then see how tenderly he entreats that his life be spared and that they take his property instead. How, brethren, is it not bad that for the sake of a bad life we are divested of everything, but we take no care for our spiritual benefit? Why do we regret giving to the poor? Why don’t we abandon evil deeds and why don’t we incline our hearts towards repentance?


So the earth quakes before the face of the Lord to strike us with fear, and many cities have been emptied by God’s wrath. But we don’t fear this either: We don’t stop working evil. And God has let the heathen loose on us: Your sons and daughters have been abused and taken captive, and all so that we might have fear, despite the fact that we work untruth in equal measure! We don’t abandon anger and envy, lust and drunkenness, and we’re no strangers to robbery and other evil deeds that are hateful to God.

O brethren, as long as there is time for repentance, let us strive to live in virtue; let us be merciful, and may the Lord be merciful to us. Behold, brethren, how God spares not His churches, nor the holy books when He leaves the earth desolate because of the sins of mankind in order to compel them to repentance. If the castigated don’t repent and don’t cut themselves off from evil, then even greater anguish and eternal torment await them.

Do not destroy the soul, brethren, by pleasing the body, for St. John the Theologian said: If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 Jn. 2:15). We don’t know at what hour death will befall us. Many went to bed yesterday healthy and in the night they suddenly died—they were caught in a pernicious net, and in the morning they were buried.

Take care, brethren, for the salvation of your souls, for terrible is the Judgment for those who haven’t acquired good deeds. Oh, beloved ones! What will we do then, when the Lord comes to take vengeance upon sinners? We can’t even bear it here when there are strong gales and thunderclaps; and where will we take shelter there, when the Dread Judgment comes, if we don’t prepare now?!

St. Serapion of Vladimir
Translation by Jesse Dominick



Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required