Archbishop Averky Taushev of blessed memory (who fell asleep in the Lord in 1976) wrote a note-worthy essay on Antichrist. We have posted a few word-sharings below, but we encourage all to read the whole work (the address to the web page is at the end). It begins,
From the second chapter of St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians it is clear that the teaching about the Antichrist enters into the content of the earliest apostolic evangelization. After giving a description of the Antichrist in the third and fourth verses of that chapter, the holy Apostle writes further to the Thessalonians.
“Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you this?” (1 Thess. 5:5)
One cannot help considering it noteworthy that in the short period that he spent in Thessalonika that holy Apostle Paul not only did not pass over the teaching on the Antichrist in silence, as something of secondary nature and not very important, but rather considered it necessary to expound this teaching in complete detail. And in this, his second epistle, he merely repeats what he had earlier said about the Antichrist with his own mouth.
But why is it so important to know this teaching?
Because, as the Holy Fathers warn us beforehand, he who ignores this teaching, considering it unimportant and not essential in Christianity, will not recognize the Antichrist and will worship him.
This is what Bishop Ignatii (Brianchaninov), who collected into one place everything said about Antichrist by the ancient Holy Fathers, says about it: [quotes from Vol. IV, p. 297]
“Antichrist will call himself a preacher and restorer of true knowledge of God: those who do not understand Christianity will see in him a representative and champion of true religion and will join themselves to him. Antichrist will appear to be gentle, merciful, full of love and of all virtues: he will be recognized as such and obeyed on account of his most exalted virtues by those who recognize fallen human nature as the truth… Antichrist will offer to mankind the organization of the highest earthly well-being and prosperity, he will offer honors, wealth, majesty, and bodily comforts and pleasures: those who seek earthly things will accept the Antichrist and call him their master.
Antichrist will reveal before mankind a shameful display of striking miracles similar to the cunning presentation of the theater… he will instill fear by the terrors and wonders of his miracles, and by them satisfy vanity and human pride, he will satisfy carnal sophistry and superstition, and will confuse human learning: all men who are guided by the light of their fallen nature and who are foreign to guidance by the Light of God will be attracted to obey the deceiver.”
The Antichrist will be accepted with excitement by apostates from Christianity, but is deserving of deep attention and mourning, as the Holy Fathers note, that the chosen themselves will be uncertain about the person of the Antichrist, so skillfully will he be able to conceal from external observation the Satanic evil roots in him.
. . .
Once again, particularly as the captive peoples of the [u]nited States are in the midst of a federal election campaign, it is worth stressing the kinship between forms of government (and the ideologies underpinning them) and Antichrist’s appearance:
. . . “Since the Antichrist will have as his main task the drawing away of everyone from Christ,” says the other great spirit-filled preceptor of our time, Bishop Theophan the Recluse,
“he will not appear as long as royal authority remains in force. It will not allow him to develop, it will hinder his acting in his own spirit. This, then, is the “one who holds back” (II Thess. 2:7). But when royal authority falls, and the people everywhere institute self-government (republics, democracies), then there will be room for the Antichrist to act. It will not be hard for Satan to prepare voices in favor of renouncing Christ, as experience showed during the French revolution. There will be no one to pronounce an authoritative veto. And so when such regimes, suitable for disclosing the Antichrist’s aspirations are instituted everywhere, then the Antichrist will appear. [Commentary on II Thess. 2:6, page 504]
What Bishop Theophan predicted has happened: the Antichrist’s “forerunners” have done their job—the “spirit of Antichrist” is installed everywhere, having everywhere established “regimes suitable for disclosing the Antichrist’s aspirations”. . . .
. . . It is distressing to see to whom the sheep of Christ have been entrusted, to whom their direction and salvation have been committed. But this has been permitted by God … God’s merciful patience delays and postpones the decisive disintegration for the small remnant of those being saved, while those who are decaying or have decayed attain the fullness of their corruption. Those who are being saved must understand this and make use of the time given them for salvation. May the merciful Lord shield the remnant of those who believe in Him! But, this remnant is meager and is becoming more and more so…
“Let him who is being saved save his soul,” [Vol. IV and the Patericon]
says the Spirit of God to remnant Christians. . . .
Source: ‘Is It Possible to Recognize the Antichrist?’, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/92434.htm, accessed 16 April 2016