Now one day Abba Hezekiah called all the monks from the entire region to gather, saying that he had been given a divinely-inspired dream. Everyone dropped what they were doing and immediately started out for the place where Hezekiah resided. Within a week everyone had gathered, with enough provisions brought in to feed the multitudinous gaggle of flesh. Every imaginable type of person was there: high and lowborn, sick and healthy, strong and weak, good and evil, black and white, male and boy, learned and nonlearned--in a word, it was like the entire area had become a funnel, and everyone had spun round and round till they were all concentrated in one place.
The local monks prepared a great valley in the desert for use as a place for the Abba to give his talk, for when speaking there your voice would echo and boom and could be heard for 5000 arm-lengths or more. When everyone was gathered Abba Hezekiah climbed up onto a small outcropping of rocks in the center, and looked around sadly. "God has shown me the future," he began, "and it is ghastly. However, he commanded me to tell you all that I saw. This will be written down and passed from generation to generation, until that time when the steel meets bone and madness breaks loose into the world. Now some of you will think me crazy when you hear these words. 'He is drunk on the foulest of wines' one will say. 'He has been ingesting some of that crazy elephant dust that merchants sell to unwary tourists' another will say. But it is not so. I have indulged in no wine, and I have sniffed no dust. I am sober--more sober than I have ever been! Now you too listen sober-mindedly to what I must tell you. You must also write it down, for all that I am about to say will not take place until a time when the world will not believe anything at all unless they can see it written down. They will be in such sick madness for writings and scribblings that they will invent machines to make books without human help, and create such a number of books that they are beyond count. I even foresaw in my vision someone writing words on a box with only his hands touching another box, and then God allowed me to see the words disappear from the box, float magically through the air, and finally reappear a great distance away on the surface of another box. 'This,' and angel said to me, 'is how they will communicate in the future.' I was much afraid, and asked the angel if people who not still talk face to face. 'No' the angel replied with anger.
“It is in this far off land of sorcery that a recently-formed empire will grow mighty in stature, until it thinks itself the envy of the world. And there will be a war of such size that the world has never seen its match—everyone from the silkman of the east to the miners of Gaul, from the seaman of the north to the snake worshippers of the south will join in. And this war will end after much bloodshed, but then there will be a second, even more terrible war, and all of humanity will be consumed, with nothing on their mind but death and destruction. Then, finally, the world will emerge from these, scarred but still breathing. And that will be the decisive moment! A man will come in the name of a rose, but his theology will be foul-smelling! He will be raised by heretics—nay, even pan-heretics—and will dabble in various philosophies during his youth. But then he will come across the glories of true Christianity, and meet a saintly man named John, who will preach with power and truth. And the man will convert to the holy apostolic orthodox Christianity—though it will not be the church of ours, or even the church of the imperials, but rather one started among the northmen, where barbarians now run amuck. Thus this man will leave his own, to join those who left their own and now reside among this man’s own.
“And next I saw the man and the saintly John in a church, and at the request of the saint a Seraphim came down to the man, and touched him, and then vanished. The touch did not give the man the gift he wanted, and the Lord did not give him the strengths he desired. Nonetheless, this man would go about his life as though they had. And this will be a terrible misfortune to those of that time! This man will have all the appearances of holiness: he will be a monk, he will have a beard, he will be celibate, he will have overcome a terrible sin which I will not even name... in a word, he will seem to the world to be holy. And perhaps he will be holy. Even holy men can make mistakes: for example consider our own Abba Nisterus of thrice-blessed memory. No one on earth could question that Abba was holy and sanctified, yet he believed all his life that donkeys and crocdiles talked when humans weren’t around. Nonsense! None of our much-wearying experiments ever showed the slightest signs of it! Thus we must accept the holy actions of such men, but like the sons of Noah cover the nakedness of our fathers without looking.
“We must therefore beware the writings of this man. He will write about the beginning of the world, and its end; he will write against the unbelievers; he will write about our earthly lives, and life in the world to come; he will write about the first man and the last man, though he himself is nothing more than the middle man. And we must beware all of it! The weak in faith and understanding in particular must not read his words! But most of all... most of all...” and at this point Abba Hezekiah shed a single tear, which slowly ran down his cheek, finally parting from his face and falling like a bitter shard of his soul, before being smashed on the rock and lost to human perception. “Most of all...” he said with profound sadness, “you must not give ear to his words about our holy orthodoxy and that religion which at some point in the future he thinks will come. You must not!”