Updated: Jun 24
St. John Maximovitch
St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+1966), from a homily given in 1956 on the Sunday of the Dread Judgment:
"St. John the Theologian "himself says that he was 'in the Spirit' - meaning that the Holy Spirit Itself was in him - when the fate of the Church and the world was revealed to him in various symbols. That is why this is a Divine Revelation. He presents the fate of the Church in the image of a woman who hides in the wilderness during these times. She is not obvious in life. This is happening now in Russia [...] Reaching the summit of power, the Antichrist will demand people acknowledge that he has achieved what no earthly power and no one else has been able to do, and will demand worship of himself as an exalted being - a God. (St. John elsewhere states the Antichrist, 'will have a helper, a Magus, who, by the power of false miracles, will fulfill his will and kill those that do not recognize the authority of Antichrist.') He will do only what pleases people, under the condition that they recognize him as the Supreme Power.
He will provide opportunities for Church life, allow her to hold services, and promise that wonderful temples will be built, provided that he be recognized as "Supreme Being" and worshipped. He will have a personal hatred for Christ. He will thrive on this hatred and will rejoice in people's apostasy from Christ and the Church. There will be a mass falling away from the faith, during which many bishops will betray the faith, and point to the wonderful position of the Church as justification. A search for compromise will be the characteristic state of the people's faith. Directness of confession will vanish. People will subtly justify their fall, and solicitous evil will support such a general state of mind. People will grow used to apostatizing from the truth and will be accustomed to the sweetness of compromise and sin. The Antichrist will allow people anything as long as they, falling down before him, worship him."(https://orthodoxlifemagazines.blogspot.com/2021/03...)
The ROCOR Synod of 1938 (in which St. John participated) further relates:
“Since the epoch we have lived through was without doubt an epoch of apostasy, it goes without saying that for the true Church of Christ a period of life in the wilderness, of which the twelfth chapter of the Revelation of St. John speaks, is not, as some may believe, an episode connected exclusively with the last period in the history of mankind. History show us that the Orthodox Church has withdrawn into the wilderness repeatedly, from whence the will of God called her back to the stage of history, where she once again assumed her role under more favourable circumstances. At the end of history the Church of God will go into the wilderness for the last time to receive Him, Who comes to judge the quick and the dead. Thus the twelfth chapter of Revelation must be understood not only in an eschatological sense, but in a historical and educational sense as well: it shows up the general and typical forms of Church life.
If the Church of God is destined to live in the wilderness through the Providence of the Almighty Creator, the judgement of history, and the legislation of the proletarian state, it follows clearly that she must forego all attempts to reach a legalization, for every attempt to arrive at a legalization during the epoch of apostasy inescapably turns the Church into the great Babylonian whore of blasphemous atheism. The near future will confirm our opinion and prove that the time has come in which the welfare of the Church demands giving up all legalizations, even those of the parishes. We must follow the example of the Church prior to the Council of Nicaea, when the Christian communities were united not on the basis of the administrative institutions of the State, but through the Holy Spirit alone.”
A. Gustavson, The Catacomb Church (Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery Publications, 1960), 102.