Before turning specifically to the prophecies about Russia,
I would like to summarize the general Orthodox teaching on what is to happen
just before the end of the world. This will give us a context in which to place
the prophecies regarding the future of Russia.
The events before the end of the world are described in a number of places
in holy Scripture: the 24th chapter of Matthew and parallel places in the
other Gospels; most of the book of the Apocalypse, especially chapter 8 and
onwards; the second chapter of II Thessalonians; II Peter, chapter 3; several
chapter of the book of Daniel; and other passages.
The Apocalypse describes these events in a series of visions: some
bright and positive, relating to the fulfillment of God's justice and the
salvation of His chosen ones; and some dark and negative, relating to the
terrible plagues that will come on earth for the sins of mankind.
Sometimes we today emphasize the dark and negative side, seeing the increase of
evil around us; but that comes from our faintheartedness and worldliness — we
must look at the whole picture.
As the time of the end of this world comes near, it is true that there will
be a time of tribulation such as the world has never seen [Matt 24:21]:
there will be famines, plagues, earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars,
persecutions, false prophets and false Christs, and the love of many (including
Christians) will grow cold. But at the same time the Gospel will be
preached to all nations, and those who endure to the end with the aid of Christ
will be saved.
The evil and false religion in the world will culminate in the reign of
Antichrist, a world ruler who will seem to bring peace out of the world
disorder and will seem to be Christ come again to earth, reigning from the
restored Temple in Jerusalem.
But there will be those who see through the deception. In particular,
two Old Testament prophets who did not die will return to earth — Elijah to
convert the Jews, and Enoch to preach to the other nations. The short
reign of Antichrist — only three and a half years - will end in new disorders
and wars, in the midst of which Christ Himself will come from heaven, preceded
by the sign of the Cross, and this world will be consumed by fire and totally
renewed, at the same time that the bodies of the dead will arise from the tomb
and be rejoined to their souls in order to stand before God's final judgment.
Now, with this general background of the events of the last times, let us look
at the prophecies regarding Russia.
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