One day Elder Porphyrios had told me:
"Father Athanasios (taking me by the hand tightly), I'm blind now, my eyes do not work physically because I have cancer of the pituitary gland, but I have spiritual eyes and see. Before you leave, I want you to tell me, what did Elder Aemilianos say about 666 and the Antichrist?"
This was in the days of Chernobyl. People were upset by this and went by the dozens every day, particularly to Elder Porphyrios near Athens, asking: "What will happen? Will the Antichrist come and stamp us with 666"?
The Elder asked me: "Tell me, my child, what did Elder Aemilianos say about 666 and the Antichrist?"
I told him: "He told us in a gathering a few days ago to not worry. We should be interested in having a vibrant relationship with Christ and not give much attention to the Antichrist, because then he will become the center of our lives and not Christ."
Immediately the Elder hit his hands against his bed and said: "What did you say, my child, what did you say?! Glory to You, O God, that I found a spiritual father who agrees with me! My child, these spiritual fathers here in the world, what have they done?! They have upset souls and created many problems psychologically and with families with the 666. People in the world cannot sleep and are taking psychiatric drugs and sleeping pills in order to sleep. What is this thing? Christ does not want these things, my child. And can I tell you something?"
"What Elder?" I said.
He told me: "For us Christians, when we experience Christ there is no Antichrist. Tell me something, on this bed I sit here, can you also sit on it?"
I said to him: "No, Elder."
He asked: "Why?"
I responded: "Because if I sit on you I will crush you."
He asked again: "Will you never be able to sit here?"
I said to him: "When you leave, Elder, I can sit."
He said to me: "Precisely, my child. The same happens with our souls. When we have Christ inside us, can the Antichrist come? Can anything opposite this enter our souls? For this reason, my child, today we do not have Christ within us and because of this we worry about the Antichrist.
When Christ is within us, everything becomes Paradise. Christ is everything, my child, and the Opposer we should not fear; this you should always tell people. And let me tell you something. If the same Antichrist came now with a device that shot laser beams and sealed me by force with 666, I would not be upset. You will tell me, 'Elder, is this not the seal of the Antichrist?' Yes, but even if he wrote 666 on me a thousand times with laser beams, indelibly, I would not be upset.
Why? Because, my child, the first martyrs they cast to the wild beasts, and when they did their cross the wild beasts became like lambs. They cast them in the sea, but when they did their cross the sea became like dry land and they walked on it. They cast them in the fire, but when they did their cross the fire was cooled. My blessed child, what have we become today? Do we believe in Christ? In our cross? Why did Christ come? Didn't Christ come to strengthen us in our sicknesses?
This is what you should say to the Elder, my child. And you should tell the people to not fear the Antichrist. We are children of Christ, we are children of the Church."
All this made quite an impression on me.
And he added: "Can I tell you something?"
I said: "Please, Elder."
"Patriarch Demetrios, how did he come to Athens?"
"With an aeroplane", I said.
"Well, yes, I know he came with an aeroplane. Did you think the man swam over? With what documents?"
"With a passport, Elder", I said.
"Greek or Turkish?"
"I don't know", I said.
"Well, you play the wise man. He came with a Turkish one. And what is the emblem of Turkey, you know?"
I said: "I don't know, Elder."
"Now you have overdone it, not knowing the emblem of Turkey? It is the crescent. And do you know what the Fathers of the Church called the crescent after the appearance of Muhammad?"
"No, Elder", I said.
Jokingly he said: "Well, I should take your degree and tear it up. What kind of a theologian are you?
The crescent is a symbol of the Antichrist. If the crescent is a symbol of the Antichrist and the passport of the Patriarch has a symbol of the Antichrist (and in their seals, how many seals do they put inside and out?), does this mean our Patriarch is the Antichrist?
No, my child, no! Do not restrict the Gospel message so much! Christ is not as narrow-minded as us people who want to defend our opinions.
This is what you should tell the Elder and this is what you should tell the people: We ought not to fear the Antichrist or 666."
Source: Ανθολόγιο Συμβουλών Γέροντος Πορφυρίου, σελ. 71, 72-75, δ΄ έκδ. 2003.
Translated by John Sanidopoulos