How understandable this is, how logical and how completely opposite this clear and definite, pure Gospel teaching is to the propaganda so fashionable today of some pseudo-Christian love and unconditional all-forgiveness, just too all-encompassing, which supposedly extends even to the enemies of the Christian faith who actively war with the Church and faith in God itself and are undoubtedly the servants of the coming Antichrist!
This sermon was delivered by the ever-memorable Archbishop Averky (Taushev) of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1971. Many Orthodox were very concerned about the formation of new, ecumenical endeavors, especially the release of mutual excommunications between Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople and the Roman Catholic Pope Paul VI, and the entry of a number of Local Orthodox Churches into the World Council of Churches. Meetings were also being held in preparation for what would finally be called the Council of Crete.
An angel in the flesh and the cornerstone of the prophets, / the second forerunner of the coming of Christ…” With these words the Holy Church glorifies the great Old Testament righteous man who lived 900 years before Christ - the glorious holy prophet of God, Elijah. By his unusually strict ascetic life, he appeared more like an angel than a man.
From the second chapter of St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians it is clear that the teaching about the Antichrist enters into the content of the earliest apostolic evangelization. After giving a description of the Antichrist in the third and fourth verses of that chapter, the holy Apostle writes further to the Thessalonians. “Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you this?” (1 Thess. 5:5)
The warlike prince, though he decided to convert to Christianity, could not without Divine intervention, humble his soul to the degree sufficient to appeal to the Greeks with the meek request to be baptized and to be taught, together with his people, about the new faith. At the same time, his innate wisdom and refined political instinct told him asking this of the Greeks would not be without danger.