Following the evening prayers, being tired, I laid down for a while to relax in my poorly lit cell. My lampada was hanging in front of the icon of the Mother of God. Half an hour had hardly passed when I heard a creak. Someone touched my left shoulder and with a gentle voice told me, "rise servant of God John, and follow the Will of God!"
I rose and I saw near the window a glorious elder (staretz) with grizzly hair, wearing a black mantia and holding a cane in his hand. He was looking at me tenderly and I had difficulty standing up because of my great fear. My hands and feet trembled, I wished to talk but my tongue would not oblige. The elder made the sign of the Cross on me and soon I was filled with peace and joy. I then crossed myself.
In turn, he indicated with his cane the western wall of my cell, so that I would observe a specific sign. The elder had scratched the following numbers on the wall: 1913, 1914, 1917, 1922, 1924 and 1934. Suddenly the wall disappeared and I walked with the elder in a green valley and observed a large number of crosses, in the thousands, as markers of graves.
They were wooden, ceramic or gold. I asked the elder what was the reason for the crosses. He answered peacefully, "the crosses were for those who suffered and were murdered for their faith in Christ and for the Word of God and became martyrs". We continued to walk.
Suddenly I saw a whole river of blood and I asked the elder, what is the significance of this blood and how much was spilled. The elder looked around and answered, "This is the blood of the true Christians!" He then pointed at some clouds and saw a large number of lit oil lamps that burned with a white flame. They began to fall to the ground one after the other in tens and hundreds. Having fallen their light went out and they turned into ashes.
Then the elder told me: "Look" and I saw on one cloud seven lit oil lamps. I asked him what was the meaning of the burning lamps that fell to the ground and he answered: "These are the Churches of God that fell into heresy, but those seven lit oil lamps in the cloud are the seven Churches of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that will last till the end of time!"
The elder continued, pointing at the air and I saw and heard angels singing "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of Sabaoth". A large crowd of people with lit candles in their hands passed us by, while joy seemed to shine in their faces. They were archbishops, monks, nuns, groups of laity, adults, youth and even children and babies. I asked the miraculous elder who were those people and he replied: "All these are the people who suffered for the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and for the holy icons that had landed in the hands of the destroyers".
Then I asked the great elder, if I could sit besides them. The elder told me: "It is very early for you to suffer, so to sit with them is not blessed by God!" I then saw a large number of newly born that had suffered for Christ by Herod and received the crown from the Heavenly King.
We continued further and went into a large church. I wished to cross myself but the elder advised me: "It is not necessary to cross yourself because this place is the abomination of desolation". The church was dark and depressing. On the altar there was a star and the Bible with stars. Candles made from tar were burning with crackling sound as if logs. The chalice stood there, covered with horrible filth. There was prosphora with stars. A priest stood in front of the altar, with a pitch black face like tar and a woman was under the Holy Altar, dressed in red, with a star in her lips and howled and laughed in the church saying, "I am free" I then thought "My God how terrible".
People as if crazy started to run round the altar, screaming, whistling and clapping. They then started to sing obscene songs. Suddenly a terrible lightning stroke, with a terrible thunder, the earth shook and the church collapsed, sending the woman, the people, the priest and the rest to the abyss. I thought: "My God how terrible, save me".
The elder as well as I saw what had happened. I asked him: "Father, tell me, what is the meaning of this terrible church?" He replied "These are the worldly people, the heretics who left the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and accepted the recent modern church that God did not bless. In this church they do not fast, they do not follow services and do not receive communion!" With fear I said "God has mercy on us but curses those with death!" The elder interrupted me and said: "Do not mourn but pray".
Later I saw a throng of people, each having a star in the lips and were greatly exhausted from thirst, walking up and down. They saw us and called loudly: "Holy Fathers pray for us. It is very difficult for us, because we ourselves can not pray. Our fathers and mothers did not teach us the laws of God. Not even the name of Christ do we not have and we received no peace. We refused the Holy Spirit and the sign of the Cross. Then they started to cry.
I followed the elder. "Look" he said pointing with his finger. I saw a mountain of dead people painted in blood. I became scared and I asked the elder what was the meaning of the corpses. He replied "These are the people that led the monastic life, rejected by the Antichrist and did not receive his seal. They suffered for their faith in Christ and the Apostolic Church and received martyric crowns having died for Christ. Pray for these servants of God".
Without warning the elder turned towards the North and pointed with his arm. I saw an imperial palace, with dogs running around it. Wild beasts and scorpions howled and were attacking, exposing their fangs. And I saw the Tsar sitting on the throne. His face was pale but brave. He was praying the Jesus prayer.
Suddenly he fell as dead. His crown fell. The wild beasts, the dogs and scorpions trampled the king. I was afraid and cried bitterly. The elder took me by the right shoulder. I saw a shrouded figure in white-it was Nicholas the 2nd. On his head was a crown of green leaves and his face was white and somehow bloody. He bore a cross around his neck and whispered a prayer. He then told me with tears "Pray for me, Father John". Tell to all the Orthodox Christians that I the Tsar-martyr, died bravely for my faith in Christ and the Orthodox Church. Tell to the Holy Fathers that they should make a pannikida for me the sinner, but there will be no grave for me".
Soon everything became invisible in the fog. I cried a lot, praying for the martyr Tsar. My hands and legs trembled with fear. The elder said, "Look!" Then I saw a throng of people scattered around the world having died from hunger while others were grazing on grass and plants. The dogs were devouring the corpses and the dead while the stench was awful. I thought, "Lord, these people have no faith". From their mouths came blasphemies and they received the wrath of God.
I also saw a large mountain from books and between the books crawled worms giving out an awful stench. I asked the elder what was the meaning of the books. He said, "These books are immoral and full of blaspheme that will taint all the Christians with heretical teachings. Then the elder touched some books with his cane and they caught fire. The wind blew away the ashes.
Continuing I saw a church round which there was a pile of commemorations for the dead. I bent wishing to read them but the elder said, "These commemorations for the reposed have been here for a few years and the priests have forgotten them. They will never be read but the dead will be asking somebody else to pray for them. I asked him, "Who will pray for them?" and the elder replied, "The angels will pray for them".
We continued further and the elder speeded up his step so much that I had trouble keeping up with him. "Look" he said. I saw a large crowd of people who were persecuted by the demons who were hitting them with poles, with pitchforks and hooks. I asked the elder what was the meaning of these people? He replied, "These are the ones that denied their faith and left the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and accepted the new modernizing church. This group represents the priests, monks, nuns and laymen, who denied their vows or their marriage and bonded with booze, immorality and all type of blasphemies and evil doing". All of them have terrifying faces and terrible breath odour. The demons were hitting them, leading them to the horrible abyss from where great flames were shooting up. I was very scared. I crossed myself while I was praying for the Lord to save us from such fate.
Later, I observed a group of people, young and old who were clothed poorly and were holding high up a large star with 5 signs. At each corner there were 12 demons and in the middle was Satan, himself with horns and straw head. He would froth in the mouth with a foul foam whenever he shouted at the people: "Stand up, you cursed with my seal......".
Suddenly there appeared many demons with iron seals and sealed all the people on their lips, their elbows and on the right hand. I asked the elder, "What does this mean?" and he replied, "This is the sign of the antichrist". I crossed myself and followed the elder.
Suddenly, he stopped and pointed to the East with his hand. I saw a large meeting of people with happy faces who carried crosses and candles in their hands. In their midst there was a Holy Altar as white as snow. On the Holy Altar there was a cross and the Holy Bible and over the Holy Altar in the air was a gold imperial crown on which was inscribed with gold letters, "For the immediate future". Patriarchs, bishops, priests, monks, nuns and laity stood around the Holy Altar. They all sang, "Glory in the highest God and peace on earth". With great joy I crossed myself and glorified God.
Suddenly the elder moved his cross upwards three times and I saw a mountain of corpses covered in human blood and over them flew angels. They were receiving the souls of those who were murdered for the Word of God, to heavens, singing "Alleluia".
I observed all this and I cried greatly. The elder took me by the hand and forbade me to cry. What pleases God is that our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and poured His precious blood for us. Some of these will become martyrs who would refuse the seal of the Antichrist, and all these who will spill their blood will receive the heavenly crowns. The elder then prayed for those servants of God and turned to the east as the words of the Prophet Daniel were fulfilled "The abomination of desolation".
Finally, I saw the dome of the Jerusalem temple. On it there was a star. In the Church millions of people thronged in and many more were trying to get in. I wished to cross myself but my elder grabbed my hand and said, "Here is the abomination of desolation".
So we entered the Church which was full of people. I saw a Holy Altar that burned candles from animal fat. On the Holy Altar there was a king with red, and flaming purple. On his head was a golden crown with a star. I asked the elder, "Who is he?" He replied, "The Antichrist". He was very tall with eyes like fire, black eyebrows, shaved goatee, beastly, wily and devilish, with terrifying face. He was alone in the Holy Altar and stretched his hands to the people. He had sharp nails like a tiger and was screaming: "I am king, I am God. I am the leader. He who does not bear my seal will be killed".
All the people fell to the ground and worshipped and he started placing his seal on their lips and hands, so that they could take some bread that they may not die from hunger and thirst. Around the Antichrist, his servants were leading many people with their hands tied and had not fallen to the ground to worship him. They said, "We are Christians and we all believe in our Lord Jesus Christ". The Antichrist crushed their skulls, lightning fast, and their Christian blood started to run. A child was then led to the Holy Altar of the Antichrist to worship him but boldly declared: "I am Christian and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, but you are a servant of Satan". Death to him shouted the Antichrist. Others that had received the seal of the Antichrist fell to the ground and worshipped him.
Suddenly, a loud sound from a throng was heard again and thousands of bright lightning strokes started to occur. Arrows started to hit the servants of the Antichrist. Later, a large flaming arrow thundered across and hit the Antichrist himself on the head. As he moved his hand, his crown fell and shattered on the ground. Then millions of birds flew and perched on the servants of the Antichrist. I sensed the elder taking me by the hand.
We continued further and I saw again a lot of Christian blood. It was here that I remembered the words of Saint John the Theologian in the Book of Apocalypse (Revelation), that the blood would reach even unto the horse bridles (Rev 14:20). I thought, "God save us". That moment I saw angels flying and singing, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth".
The elder looked back and started to say, "Don't be sad, for soon, very soon the end of the world will come! Pray to the Lord. God is merciful to His servants". The age has come to the end. He pointed to the East, he fell to his knees and started to pray. I too prayed with him. Then the elder started to distance himself fast from the world to the heavenly monasteries. As he was so doing, I remembered that I did not know his name and loudly begged him, "Father what is your name?" Tenderly he answered, "Seraphim of Sarov".
A large bell rung above my head, I heard the sound and got up from bed. "Lord bless me and help me through the prayers of the Holy Elder. You illumined me, your sinful servant, the priest from Cronstadt".