There, in a coffeehouse, we met together, and our invisible Lord was in our midst, teaching us His precious and all-powerful Word through our discourses with each other, helping us to understand that our lives, which we three had given to Him, really are now in His mighty and yet tender hands. There, a few hours of chrónos time were plucked out of this plummeting age and, transformed into kairós time, were laid up for us in the “city not made with hands.”
One of us, a man I know in Christ, spoke at one point with such calm passion and Christ-like simplicity and order, about the lives we have been given back by Jesus, lives of willingness to suffer for His name, all I could say, over and over, after each pause in his voice, was "Ameen" but softly, so as not to interrupt him. He spoke like the “good angel” I know him to be. Almost never have I heard such a discourse from a priest, and certainly never from anyone, except in the writings of the Fathers, expressed with such God-imploring humility.
Kept coming to my mind the remembrance of the new martyrs of Russia who, though young in years like my brother, were wise like the ancient Fathers. They struggled against an atheistic Christ-hating state, refusing to take the “mark of the beast” in any form. They suffered for the Truth, and the wonder-working faith that was the fruit of their endurance, fed each other as they were, one by one, led as Christ's innocent lambs to the slaughter. Two of the young men pictured met this fate, one came through it alive. Yet their three-fold unity mirrored the three-fold radiance of the all-holy God, the Almighty, the Deathless, the unearthly Triad, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
What is my purpose in writing this? I need to memorialize those moments which I shared with my brother and sister in Christ. I cannot evade testifying that there is Truth on earth, even now. Defying the barking dogs in their mangers who do not go into the Kingdom of Heaven themselves yet prevent those who want to from going in, Jesus walking among us still casts the money-changers from His Father's house, crying out, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for to such as them belongs the Kingdom of God!”
When I was not much older than you, adelphós mou kai adelphí mou, while persecution still raged in Russia, there was a book, Russia's Catacomb Saints, by I. M. Andreyev, that had this symbol in the frontispiece, saying “This book is dedicated to the Christian Martyrs, today in Russia, tomorrow in America.” I pondered then what form this martyrdom would take. Now, thirty years later, the words are coming true, and the form of our martyrdom is gradually appearing, and I am alive to see that this will be your cross, and I want to share it with you. What is different and perhaps even more cruel than an atheistic Christ-hating state is what we have to face now, in America… I cannot even say it, but you know what it is, because you have already seen in your young lives what the divine, God-breathed scriptures was telling us of, when Jesus said, “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or Me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you.” (John 16:2-4 NIV)
The time is now very close. “O gar kairós engýs” (Revelation 1:3). That is why we are reading the Apokálypsis more and more, even in Greek, to understand its message intimately and spiritually—not like the expounders of end times theoretica—but as men and women of faith, “who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4). How can we know that the time is very close? We can see what is happening to the churches. Though we do not abandon our institutional churches, we cannot let ourselves be trapped in them. The time is now very close. We do the work we see our Father doing and, following Jesus, in company with Him, we know and accept His great commission, to go forth with Him to seek that which was lost. And where Jesus is, there is the Holy Spirit, there is the Church. “With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us…” (Hebrews 12:1 JB).