St Lavrenty of Chernigov (1868-1950)
On Monday, the Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of St Lavrenty of Chernigov, who died in 1950. He said that many of his spiritual children would survive until the arrival of the Antichrist. “Pray more often, go to church, whilst it is still possible, especially the liturgy, which is the bloodless sacrifice for the sins of the world. Go to confession as often as you can and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ and the Lord will strengthen you”, the elder told his spiritual children.
St Lavrenty of Chernigov (in the world Luka Evseyevich Proskura) was born in 1868 in the village of Karilskom in Chernigov Guberniya into a pious family. His temperament was quiet and gentle, and, most of all, he loved solitude and silence. Luka’s father died when Luka was still a little boy and his mother was often ill. So, the young lad carried on with the heavy peasant labour right alongside the grown men. As a result, Luka studied harder than his peers did, therefore, the teacher trusted him to teach the junior classes. On top of all of this, as a child, he learned to play the violin.
When he was 20-years-old, Luka went to the monastery. Subsequently, he became a hieromonk. Later on, he was promoted to the rank of Igumen. In 1930, the Soviet government closed Holy Trinity Monastery, which was where Fr Lavrenty had conducted his monastic struggle (подвизался). Prior to the closure of the monastery, he said, “What is being done now is contrary to the Law of God. Yes, all the church holidays will end. But, in the end, we shall shake it all off. Then, they will reopen the monasteries, and people will repent and pray, and God, in His mercy, will give them a little time to replenish the number of witnesses before God, which was devastated by the falling away of part of the angels”.
After the closure of the monastery, St Lavrenty lived with a pious widow. Soon after the beginning of the Second Great Patriotic War, the monastery reopened. In 1941, St Lavrenty gathered all of the nuns that belonged to the sisterhood of Holy Trinity Monastery. His kellion was on the convent grounds. St Lavrenty not only helped the nuns, but lay people as well, giving advice, displaying clairvoyance, and healing the sick. He died in 1950 at Holy Trinity Convent. In the 90′s, after the canonisation of St Lavrenty, his tomb was opened, a sweet fragrance filled the air, and his relics were found to be incorrupt.
St Lavrenty said that many of his spiritual children would survive until the last time and would see Antichrist. Once, he said, “The vile seducers of the world will stand in the holy place and make it an abomination of desolation, and they will deceive the people, cause them to rebel against God, and create false miracles. After them, the Antichrist will come, and the whole world shall see him at the same time”. Then, someone asked him, “Where in the holy place? In the church?” In reply, he said, “No, not in church, in every home; in the corner where we now hang holy icons, a seductive box will deceive all the people. Many will say, ‘We need to watch and listen to the news’. They will turn on the news and the Antichrist will be on it. The coronation of Antichrist as king would be in Jerusalem in a magnificent church with many clergy and the patriarch present. During the coronation, the patriarch would exclaim, ‘This is the Antichrist!’ For this, he would be killed. There will be free entry and exit from Jerusalem for every human being. But, don’t go there, because everything will be set up to deceive you”.
He said that at the time of the Antichrist, churches would be open, but that Orthodox people wouldn’t be able to attend them, because the bloodless sacrifice of Jesus Christ would cease and all that would remain would be “Satanic Assemblies”. He told people, “Pray more often, go to church, whilst it is still possible, especially the liturgy, which is the bloodless sacrifice for the sins of the world. Go to confession as often as you can and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ and the Lord will strengthen you”,
According to St Lavrenty, in the last days the demons in will not be confined to hell, they will all be on the earth, and some will possess human beings. His eyes full of tears, he said, “The abyss is full of human souls! All of the world will fall into the burning abyss. The demons will rise up and possess people who will be unbaptised and who don’t pray, but whose sole ability will be murder. Murder is the original sin! The demons will try as much as possible to seduce people to commit that sin”.
St Lavrenty was moved to tears when women confessed to the sin of abortion. He said that one needed to pray much to God to ask for forgiveness for this terrible sin. On the bearing of sorrows, St Lavrenty told the faithful, “The more one bears it, the more one is rewarded”.
11 January 2010
Almost invariably, I avoid using “official” Church sources. Firstly, official accounts can be “laundered” and “sanitised” to favour the powers-that-be. Secondly, it gives a glimpse of what is available from ordinary journalistic sources… rather more than here, as one can see. The above is not from a religious source… it’s from an ordinary secular news agency.
One telltale marks off the ignorant from the informed. If you see someone put a bishop’s name in all capital letters or puts a cross before their name, they are ignorant of proper journalistic practise in the Orthodox countries. The only time when you put a cross before a bishop’s name is when one wishes to simulate the bishop’s signature. FULL STOP. As for all caps, suffice it to say, I have seen it in no responsible Russian or Greek media source… believe me, I check things in Interfax, ANN, ITAR-TASS, RIA-Novosti, VOR, and the major papers such as NG and KP. NONE of these sources do it… so, I don’t. Neither should you. If you see someone doing so… if you are in person, don’t argue with them… it does no good. If you see that on a regular basis on any website, be wary of anything that you see. I have NEVER translated a Russian original where the bishop’s name had a cross before it or where it was in all caps.
In short, mistrust any sign of hagiography or fulsome obsequiousness… there’s a pig in a poke somewhere, and somebody’s going to try to sell it to you if you’re not wary. As always, caveat lector. Be good, and enjoy the Svyatki… then, make sure you a have a good stiff slug after you jump in the Iordane on the 19th!