“In times past, a table used to stand in the corner wherein the holy icons were. Then, however, that space will be occupied by seductive instruments for the deception of men. Many who have departed away from the Truth will say: we need to watch and hear the news. And it is in the news that antichrist will appear; and they will accept him.” St. Lavrenty (Lawrence) of Chernigov (he was born in 1868 and reposed in the Lord in 1950.)
In times past, humanity was mindful of God. Sovereignty belongs to Him alone. Western civilization of olde was indisputably Christian. Inevitably it — civilization — was imperfect, there are no perfect institutions on earth. But it was governed by the mindset that there exist immutable realities, principles, that have their origin in God. And humanity is answerable to these Divinely instituted principles, be it the king, the civil authorities or the people. Sovereignty resided only in God. By Him, rulers ruled, and the people lived.
In Orthodox Christian societies, the icon corner, or prayer corner, was one of the ways this sovereignty materialized itself (icons are divinely inspired images which Christians have used in prayer for thousands of years). There, God-fearing Orthodox Christians start their day and end their day (in prayer). The point of reference is (was) God. From that point, the events of the world were encountered and interpreted, processed: in light of eternity; in light of Good and evil. As humanity actively turns from God, it encounters only sin – godlessness – just as there is only darkness without the sun. A person only sees in the light; so much more do we only see, perceive, reality in the eternal Light of the Three-fold Godhead.
Now the aura of electronic screens has replaced the light of God. Many people now orientate themselves, not according to everlasting virtues, but according to the brokenness of fallen existence.
The question is: to where, to whom, are we looking for our in-formation, our orientation?
On a basic level, news should be informative information. But news today is a teaspoon of information with a pound of propaganda. One writer, Paul Craig Roberts, frequently calls modern mainstream news providers the “presstitute,” it seems a valid term. Through the “news” we are taught to fear, to despise, to worry, to be desensitized, to dehumanize others, to support war and conflict, to condone amorality, and the list could go on. We must understand clearly that we do not have news, we have propaganda. And it has a very clear anti-Christ intent and purpose. It is striving to prepare people for something, or someone. It desires to create chaos, confusion, and darkness. It is mind-numbing, it actively seeks to de-intellectualize people: don’t try and think for yourself (or worse, according to higher principles), we will instruct you on how you should receive events and happenings. And folks drink the kool-aid, ahh, so tasty!
The mainstream secular media is laboring to cultivate a certain atmosphere, a mentality, in which people will be prone to accept the anti-Christ spirit. And it is working to build an environment wherein it will control all information and narratives. After all, they have to protect us! It is for our own good, they are ever so benevolent to us lowly ones! They will tell us who our enemies are, and we will hate them; in fact, bomb them into oblivion! They will tell us what race we can hate, O those evil whites! They will tell us who should rule over us, and who we should cast to the inquisition! They will tell us how we should understand history, and we will blindly follow. The bell rings and the mob mindlessly grabs their pitchforks!
The effect (fruit) of the “news” (presstitute) shows that as St. Lavrenty foretold, it is a primary purveyor of the anti-Christ mindset. We are easily lead astray because we have abandoned Truth.
It is time that we, as Christians, turn back to the icon corner as the main source of our news; the facts that we get there are sure and immutable. Then come what may, we will, by God’s grace, have the wisdom to discern. There is a battle for minds and hearts. If we are preoccupied with and look to modern news media, then our hearts will begin to feel the effect of its intentions.
Remember the words of St. Paul, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2).
(An aside: there do exist independent news sources that seem to be trying to simply relay news, information; I would encourage folks to find these sources. Reading news is not bad per se, what is being addressed here is what seems to be the evident agenda of modern America mainstream media “news.” But again, we must be preoccupied with the One Who is Sovereign over all, then we will be capable of encountering and processing the events around us in a Higher manner.)
About the author
Husband, father, and Priest.
Schooling: Kharkov State University (Ukraine); Brownsville School of Ministry; St. Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary (M.Div.).
Author and illustrator of St. Patrick, Enlightener of the Irish Lands (Conciliar Press, out of print) and illustrator of The Life of St. Brigid (authored by Jane G. Meyer).
Proprietor and writer at the Inkless Pen Blog, at which, based on the foundation of the teachings of Orthodox Christianity, a wide variety of topics are addressed. Fr. Zechariah has translated some works by St. Dimitry of Rostov and New Hieromartyr Seraphim (Zvesdensky), these translations are also available on his blog.