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Europe Greets Antichrist

On the evening of Saturday 20 May, after the Church had remembered the Samaritan woman in her hymns, the 51st annual Eurovision Song Contest took place in Athens, Greece.

According to those who saw the whole Contest, of the 24 European and Non-European countries (Turkey and Israel) which took part, very few of the contestants even bothered to sing a song in their own language, preferring instead to use the jargon of transnational pop, a meaningless and ungrammatical form of American English. Only two of the countries participating, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, bothered to sing songs which reflected something of their national traditions. Furthermore, several semi-naked female contestants, representing various European countries, resembled, to put it politely, harlots.

Among the contestants were a ‘horror rock’ group from Finland called ‘Lordi’, whose latest album is called ‘Arocalypse’. Dressed as demons, they sang something called ‘Hard Rock, Hallelujah’. To the astonishment and shock of Orthodox believers, and indeed anyone with a minimum of taste, they were declared winners by a clear majority of the popular SMS vote. Notably, they received a maximum of points from the host-nation, Greece - formerly an Orthodox country.

The next day, in his Sunday sermon, the leader of the Orthodox Greeks, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, called the group ‘satanists’. An official spokesman for the Patriarchate in Moscow, Fr Michael Prokopenko, mentioned how the group represented the ‘ambivalence’ of contemporary Western culture, with Christian roots, but now veering to the opposite. This was ‘the fruit’, he said, ‘of many years of aggressive secularism and theomachy’ (fighting against God) and added that the same trends can nowadays be seen ‘in literature, art and even fashion’.

For us Orthodox who have always lived in Western Europe, we do not actually need to be told the above – we know it already. However, it is reassuring to know that there are voices representing both the Russian and the Greek Churches who think the same as us. (But where are the voices of others, for instance, those of the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Romania?)

To some, all this might seem exaggerated. After all, the Finns were merely singers ‘having fun’, dressed up in costumes as ‘monsters’. However, why do they dress as demonic beings, why do they call themselves ‘Lordi’, why do they proclaim ‘Hallelujah’ (a greeting to the coming Lord), why do they speak of ‘Arocalypse’? Who, in fact, is the Lord that they greet? They may well be simply unconscious and irresponsible - but those who manipulate them, putting words into their mouths, are definitely not.

In this matter we are reminded of George Harrison, who also wanted a world without religion, except the religion of his ‘Sweet Lord’, a sugary song of 1970, in which he greeted not the Christian Lord, but another ‘Lord’. Further back, we are reminded of the Russian poet, Alexander Blok who, in January 1918, wrote a poem, called ‘The Twelve’, in which he thought he saw through a snow storm, ‘Jesus Christ’, 'crowned with a flowery diadem of frost', leading a band of destructive, depraved and atheistic revolutionaries. He too was mistaken, the ‘sweet’ Lord that he saw was not Jesus Christ, but that very one who was welcomed by the demons in Athens last Saturday.

In case there are those who still believe that we exaggerate, let us remind ourselves that the Eurovision incident, unthinkable only a generation ago, took place on the first weekend after the European release of the film ‘The Da Vinci Code’. After Box Office success in the USA, it garnered tens of millions of dollars in Italy, as people there flocked to see it. Thus, success in a Protestant-inspired culture was followed by success in a Roman-Catholic-inspired culture. Instead of ignoring the insult to the Creator of all things, large numbers of Western Europeans have chosen to pay to see it, whereas they would never pay to attend a church.

In itself, of course, there is no harm in a fictional work based on historical religious facts. In 1896, just over four generations ago and, as we might think, on a different planet, the Polish author, Henryk Sienkiewicz, wrote a novel called ‘Quo Vadis’, which is still read and respected today. However, as we know, the author of ‘The Da Vinci Code’, chose not only in his crass ignorance to confuse the Early Church with later Roman Catholicism, but, much more seriously, to blaspheme Christ. Little wonder that in Moscow another Patriarchal spokesman, Deacon Andrei Kurayev, has spoken of that whole work as yet another masonic ‘volley’ in the attack against Roman Catholicism. Throughout the Orthodox world, from Greece to Bulgaria and Belorussia, the faithful have called for the Hollywood blasphemy to be banned.

Since the 1970s, images of evil and devils have become very widespread in Western societies through commercial imagery of anything from kitchen knives (‘kitchen devils’), to lawn mowers (‘power devils’), cartoons, soap operas (‘Bewitched’, ‘Charmed’ etc) and horror films of satanic violence (‘The Exorcist’ etc). The media worldwide, and their centre in the United States, have quite been taken over by forces inimical to Christ and wish to make them seem attractive. It has to be said that even films which show the triumph of good over evil, such as the ‘Harry Potter’ films or ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, have also contributed to the currency of images of hellish evil.

There has also been the obsession with ‘flying saucers’ (‘The X-Files’) and the ridiculous theories that aliens constructed the pyramids and various other ancient monuments, theories based on the incredible arrogance of modern man, believing that in ancient times people were so stupid that they were incapable of civilization. These theories too made common the images of demons, to the extent that even children would buy balloons of ‘aliens’ and other such ‘toys’. Children were further corrupted by the worldwide spread of ‘Hallowe’en’, a celebration of demonic power, in which children were manipulated by commercial forces to disguise themselves as figures of evil, promising gifts of confectionery.

Through the portrayal of aliens, the imagery of devilry (and devils are precisely that, aliens - at least to all Christian folk) became well-known. As for blasphemy, it has become widespread. Thus, years ago, a vulgar Italo-American porn star called herself after the Most Holy Virgin and since has become one of the richest women in the world. Now she portrays herself in her latest show as Jesus Christ crucified. Such images and blasphemies have all prepared the Western sub-conscious for the next stage.

Today, that next stage is well under way. The demons in hell, and those many now let loose on earth though human consent to their presence, gloat. Western Europe, at least, has reached a turning-point. Today, it trembles on the brink. Since, through ‘political correctness’, mention of Christianity in the European Constitution or simply images of the cross in public places, are banned (‘because they might upset Non-Christians’, or, for that matter, the French government), all is in place for him who is to come.

Europe accepts blasphemy and greets Antichrist. Another verse of the Book of Revelation is read and those who recognize it are ignored. But this is spiritual suicide - and we will not cease to denounce it.

Fr Andrew

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