It is usually the work of prophets and false prophets to herald the end of days, invoking some nightmarish vision or some ancient apocryphal text they were finally able to crack. These days, though, it was heralded by the media, with Reuters on May 9 saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected to send a “‘doomsday’ warning to the West” during the events marking the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany 77 years ago, on Monday.
As the report was reproduced again and again in the foreign and Greek media, speculation adopted the tone of certainty, and the apocalypse knew glories unseen since a decade ago, when the world braced for its end at 1.13 p.m. on December 21, 2012, as decreed by the ancient Mayans. The world did not end and neither did humanity – though we’re apparently determined to finish the job.
Monday’s parade in Moscow’s Red Square took place and the display of heavy weaponry weighed heavy on our souls, but Putin did not send any doomsday warnings, nor did he officially declare his “special operation” in Ukraine a war. After all, what need does he have of rhetoric when his jets and cannons are doing such a literal job. Unfortunately, he did not declare the end of the war either. His good friend Viktor Orban must have been misinformed when he told Pope Francis a few days ago that this Russian president would be calling an end to hostilities on May 9.
Good Christians, like Putin, who know their Bible inside out and piously uphold its teachings, know that “end of the world” is not just how the Gospel of Matthew ends but also the last words uttered by Jesus while he was still on this Earth. These are very important words, therefore, which is why they are also part of the baptismal mystery: “I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
For the faithful, the end of days is a matter that rests with God. For scientists, it is nature, the universe, that decides. Both sides – and everyone in between – would probably agree that humanity has every chance of placating both – if, of course, we can use the word humanity to describe such reckless, greedy, arrogant and violent beings.