St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow
IT came to me last summer like lightning, a bolt out of the blue.
Russia will be a refuge for God’s people.
This was at a time when tensions between Russia and the Ukraine were heightening. And so, I decided to simply sit on this “word” and “watch and pray.” As the days and weeks and now months have rolled by, it seems more and more that this may be a word from beneath la sacré bleu—the sacred blue mantle of Our Lady… that mantle of protection.
For where else in the world, at this time, is Christianity being protected as it is in Russia?
FATIMA AND RUSSIA
Have you ever wondered why Russia has been so key to the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart”? Of course, on the one hand, Our Lady called for the consecration of Russia, when she appeared at Fatima in 1917, because of imminent dangers to the faithful. That was mere weeks before Lenin stormed Moscow and sparked the Communist revolution. The philosophies behind the revolution—atheism, Marxism, materialism, etc., hatched during the Enlightenment period—were now finding their incarnation in Communism, which Our Lady predicted would do immense damage to humanity if left to itself.
[Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. —visionary Sr. Lucia in a letter to the Holy Father, May 12th, 1982; The Message of Fatima, vatican.va
And then the Queen of Peace gave an extraordinary, and seemingly simple antidote to the revolution:
To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world… Ibid.
By the way, her antidote should be a hint to all of us as to how the simple little act of consecrating oneself—or a nation—to her, is at the same time powerful. cf. The Great Gift For, God has deigned that this Woman, a symbol and prototype of the Church, would be the vessel through which Jesus would conquer.
On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be linked to her… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 221
But in truth, the popes hesitated. The Consecration was delayed. And thus, in the same letter to Pope John Paul II, Sr. Lucia lamented:
Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfillment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides. If we do not reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge, injustice, violations of the rights of the human person, immorality and violence, etc.
And let us not say that it is God who is punishing us in this way; on the contrary it is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment. In his kindness God warns us and calls us to the right path, while respecting the freedom he has given us; hence people are responsible. —visionary Sr. Lucia in a letter to the Holy Father, May 12th, 1982; The Message of Fatima, vatican.va
It is not that the Pope’s ignored the requests at Fatima. However, to say that the Lord’s conditions were fulfilled “as asked” has been the source of endless debate to this present day.
In a letter to Pope Pius XII, Sr. Lucia repeated the demands of Heaven, which were made in Our Lady’s final apparition on June 13th, 1929:
The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. —Our Lady to Sr. Lucia
With urgency, Sr. Lucia wrote Piux XII:
In several intimate communications our Lord has not stopped insisting on this request, promising lately, to shorten the days of tribulation which He has determined to punish the nations for their crimes, through war, famine and several persecutions of the Holy Church and Your Holiness, if you will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with a special mention for Russia, and order that all the Bishops of the world do the same in union with Your Holiness. —Tuy, Spain, December 2nd, 1940
Pius XII thus consecrated the “world” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary two years later. And then in 1952 in the Apostolic Letter Carissimis Russiae Populis, he wrote:
We consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mother of God, in a most special way, so now We dedicate and consecrate all the peoples of Russia to that same Immaculate Heart. —see Papal Consecrations to the Immaculate Heart, EWTN.com
But the consecrations were not done with “all the Bishops of the world.” Likewise, Pope Paul VI renewed the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart in the presence of the Fathers of the Vatican Council, but without their participation.
After the assassination attempt upon his life, John Paul II ‘immediately thought of consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and he composed a prayer for what he called an “Act of Entrustment”’ The Message of Fatima, vatican.va He celebrated this consecration of the “world” in 1982, but many bishops did not receive invitations in time to participate (and thus, Sr. Lucia said the consecration did not fulfill the necessary conditions). Then, in 1984, John Paul II repeated the consecration, and according to the organizer of the event, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the Pope was to consecrate Russia by name. However, Fr. Gabriel gives this fascinating first-hand account of what took place.
Sr Lucy always said that Our Lady requested the Consecration of Russia, and only Russia… But time passed and the consecration was not done, so Our Lord was deeply offended… We can influence events. This is a fact!… Our Lord appeared to Sr. Lucy and told her: “They will do the consecration but it will be late!” I feel shivers running down my spine when I hear those words “it will be late.” Our Lord goes on to say: “The conversion of Russia will be a Triumph that will be recognized by the entire world”… Yes, in 1984 the Pope (John Paul II) quite timidly attempted to consecrate Russia in St Peter’s Square. I was there just a few feet away from him because I was the organizer of the event… he attempted the Consecration but all around him were some politicians who told him “you can’t name Russia, you can’t!” And he asked again: “Can I name it?” And they said: “No, no, no!” —Fr. Gabriel Amorth, interview with Fatima TV, November, 2012; watch interview here
And so, the official text of the “Act of Entrustment” reads:
In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated. ‘We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God!’ Despise not our petitions in our necessities. — POPE JOHN PAUL II, The Message of Fatima, vatican.va
At first, both Sr. Lucia and John Paul II were not certain that the consecration met Heaven’s requirements. However, Sr. Lucia later confirmed in personal hand-written letters that the Consecration was in fact accepted.
Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II wrote to all the bishops of the world asking them to unite with him. He sent for the statute of Our Lady of Fátima — the one from the little Chapel to be taken to Rome and on March 25, 1984—publicly—with the bishops who wanted to unite with His Holiness, made the Consecration as Our Lady requested. They then asked me if it was made as Our Lady requested, and I said, “YES.” Now it was made. —letter to Sr. Mary of Bethlehem, Coimbra, August 29, 1989
And in a letter to Fr. Robert J. Fox, she said:
Yes, it was accomplished, and since then I have said that it was made. And I say that no other person responds for me, it is I who receive and open all letters and respond to them. —Coimbra, July 3, 1990, Sister Lucia
She affirmed this again in an interview that was both audio and video-taped with his Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in 1993. However, in a message to the late Fr. Stefano Gobbi, who was very close to John Paul II, Our Lady gives a different view:
Russia has not been consecrated to me by the Pope together with all the bishops and thus she has not received the grace of conversion and has spread her errors throughout all parts of the world, provoking wars, violence, bloody revolutions and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. —given to Fr. Stefano Gobbi in Fatima, Portugal on May 13th, 1990 on the anniversary of the First Apparition there; with Imprimatur; cf. countdowntothekingdom.com
So, if anything, has an imperfect consecration produced imperfect results?
Our Lady, as though perhaps anticipating humanity’s slow response, promised:
In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. —The Message of Fatima, vatican.va
But since the Consecration was delayed and somewhat imperfect, can we also not say that the conversion itself will be less than smooth and somewhat imperfect? Besides, we have to resist the temptation to think that post-Consecration, Tinkerbell simply waves her wand and all is well. But that’s not how conversion happens in your heart or mine, let alone an entire nation, even more so when we post-pone, compromise, or play with sin. The longer we remain unrepentant, the more wounds, struggles, and knots we accumulate. It is evident that, at times, Russia continues to struggle with its ghosts of the past, what Putin called “national catastrophes of the twentieth century.” The result, he said, “was a devastating blow to our nation’s cultural and spiritual codes; we were faced with the disruption of traditions and the consonance of history, with the demoralization of society, with a deficit of trust and responsibility. These are the root causes of many pressing problems we face.” speech to the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Sept. 19th, 2013; rt.com
But then, let us see what has happened in Russia since the Consecration of 1984 was apparently accepted by Heaven.
• On May 13th, less than two months after John Paul II”s “Act of Entrustment,” one of the largest crowds in Fatima’s history gathers at the shrine there to pray the Rosary for peace. On the same day, an explosion at the Soviets’ Severomorsk Naval Base destroys two-thirds of all the missiles stockpiled for the Soviets’ Northern Fleet. The blast also destroys workshops needed to maintain the missiles as well as hundreds of scientists and technicians. Western military experts called it the worst naval disaster the Soviet Navy has suffered since WWII.
• December 1984: the Soviet Defense Minister, mastermind of the invasion plans for Western Europe, suddenly and mysteriously dies.
• March 10, 1985: Soviet Chairman Konstantin Chernenko dies.
• March 11, 1985: Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev elected.
• April 26, 1986: Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident.
• May 12, 1988: An explosion wrecked the only factory that made the rocket motors for the Soviets’ deadly SS 24 long-range missiles, which carry ten nuclear bombs each.
• November 9, 1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Nov-Dec 1989: Peaceful revolutions in Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania.
• 1990: East and West Germany are unified.
• December 25, 1991: Dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics reference for timeline: “Fatima Consecration – Chronology”, ewtn.com
Those are the more proximate events following the Consecration. Fast forward now to our time. In the Western World, Christianity is under siege…Prayer is banned from the public square. Marriage and family are being redefined and dissenters increasingly banned, fined, or harassed for maintaining traditional views. Homosexuality has been raised to acceptable behavior and is being taught in grade school as normal and healthy sexual exploration. Churches are closing in many dioceses while hockey rinks, casinos, and soccer fields are filling up on Sunday mornings. Movies, music, and popular culture are saturated with the occult, immorality, and violence. And what is perhaps one of the most notable fulfillments of the prophecies of Fatima is the spread of “Russia’s errors” as socialist/Marxist politicians like President Obama and Bernie Sanders gain traction with the youth. In fact, while still a Senator, Obama stated that America is “no longer a Christian nation.” cf. June 22nd, 2008; wnd.com And the European Union rejected any mention of its Christian heritage in its constitution. cf. Catholic World Report, Oct. 10th, 2013
And what is happening in Russia at the same time?
In what has to be one of the more powerful speeches given by the Head of a State in our times, President Vladimir Putin decried the decline of the West.
Another serious challenge to Russia’s identity is linked to events taking place in the world. Here there are both foreign policy and moral aspects. We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual… And people are aggressively trying to export this model all over the world. I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis. What else but the loss of the ability to self-reproduce could act as the greatest testimony of the moral crisis facing a human society? —speech to the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Sept. 19th, 2013; rt.com
It is no secret that Vladimir Putin has been vociferously defending Christian values during his presidency. And now he is defending Christians themselves. In a meeting with Putin, Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relation chief of the Russian Orthodox Church, noted that, “Every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the world.” He explained that Christians face persecution in many nations; from church demolition in Afghanistan and bombings of churches in Iraq, to the violence against Christians taking place in rebellious towns in Syria. When Metropolitan Hilarion asked Putin to make protection and defense of Christianity around the globe a major part of his foreign policy, Interfax reported Putin’s reply: “You needn’t have any doubt that that’s the way it will be.” cf. Feb. 12th, 2012, ChristianPost.com
So when Vladimir Putin vetoed the United Nations’ motion calling for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down, one Syrian woman was reported by the Global Post to say, “Thank God for Russia. Without Russia we are doomed.” cf. Feb. 12th, 2012, ChristianPost.com That’s because Assad allowed Christians to peacefully exist as a minority in Syria. But that is no longer the case as American funded “rebels”, that is, ISIS, have thrown the nation into civil war. Indeed, it is Russia who is aggressively bombing ISIS today while the President of the United States visits a mosque to proclaim how peaceful Islam is. Yet, the evidence remains that it was actually the U.S. that enabled ISIS in the first place.
What has been omitted from mainstream circles though is the intimate relationship between US intelligence agencies and ISIS, as they have trained, armed and funded the group for years. —Steve MacMillan, August 19th, 2014; global research.ca
Now, brothers and sisters, we are all familiar with the propaganda that the Soviet Union spewed during its violent and insufferable reign. But now, the West likewise has its propaganda machine. What is actually happening in the world—and what the West reports—are often two different things. And this is very much true of events pertaining to Russia. This is not to say that Vladimir Putin does not do some odd things, or that all that Russia does politically is flawless. As I say, it would seem the country is going through a powerful, but imperfect conversion.
Yet, it is clear that something profound is happening in and through Russia.
Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi in his article Has Russia Been Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?, notes that in Russia, “new churches are being built [while existing churches] are filled with the faithful to the brim… monasteries and convents are packed with new novices.” cf. PDF: “Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?” Furthermore, Putin has invited Orthodox priests to bless public buildings and personnel; schools have been encouraged to “keep their Christianity and teach pupils their catechism”; cf. “Has Russia Been Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?” the Ministry of Health signed a joint document with the Orthodox Church that includes prevention of abortion, pregnancy crisis centers, care and support for mothers with malformed fetuses, and provision of palliative care. Feb. 7th, 2015; pravoslavie.ru And Putin signed two controversial laws strengthening the penalties for “propagating homosexuality among minors” and for publically insulting ‘religious feelings.’ cf. June 30th, 2013; rt.com
All this is to say that Russia has suddenly become one of the few places on earth where Christianity is not only protected but encouraged. And that reality was only further strengthened by the recent historical meeting between the Russian Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis. In what is a prophetic joint statement, they decried the slaughter of Christians… but presaged that their blood would bring about the unity of Christians. cf. The Coming Wave of Unity
We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. —Inside the Vatican, Feb. 12th, 2016
As China continues to clamp down on public displays of the Cross, the Middle East mercilessly evicts or slaughters Christians, and the West de facto legislates Christianity out of the public sphere… is Russia going to become a literal and physical refuge for Christians fleeing their persecutors? Is this part of Our Lady’s plan, that Russia—once the greatest persecutor of the faithful in the 20th century—will become ground zero for an Era of Peace after the Great Storm that is now covering the earth? That her Immaculate Heart is the spiritual refuge for the Church, while its physical counterpart is found, in part, in Russia?
The image of the Immaculate will one day replace the large red star over the Kremlin, but only after a great and bloody trial. —St. Maximilian Kolbe, Signs, Wonders and Response, Fr. Albert J. Herbert, p.126
What a time to be alive as we watch the very fulfillment of Fatima taking place before our eyes…
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!
—Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, February 12th, 2016
|↑1||cf. The Great Gift|
|↑2||The Message of Fatima, vatican.va|
|↑3||speech to the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Sept. 19th, 2013; rt.com|
|↑4||reference for timeline: “Fatima Consecration – Chronology”, ewtn.com|
|↑5||cf. June 22nd, 2008; wnd.com|
|↑6||cf. Catholic World Report, Oct. 10th, 2013|
|↑7||cf. Feb. 12th, 2012, ChristianPost.com|
|↑8||cf. Feb. 12th, 2012, ChristianPost.com|
|↑9||cf. PDF: “Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?”|
|↑10||cf. “Has Russia Been Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?”|
|↑11||Feb. 7th, 2015; pravoslavie.ru|
|↑12||cf. June 30th, 2013; rt.com|
|↑13||cf. The Coming Wave of Unity|