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of Bingen Prophecy
Nearly 900 years ago, the Abbess Hildegard, founder of the Benedictine convents at Bingen and Eibingen, predicted such events as the coming of Protestantism, the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, the diminution of both the spiritual and temporal powers of the Holy See, and the universal secularization of Church property. Three popes, two emperors, and many bishops, saints, and common people sought advice from "The Sibyl of the Rhine".
She was born in 1098 at Bockelheim. When Hildegard was 8 years old, her parents placed her in the care of a recluse nun, and she remained in the service of God for the rest of her life. While still a child, she began to have beatific visions:
"Up to my fifteenth year I saw much, and related some of the things seen to others, who would inquire with astonishment, whence such things might come. ... Frequently, I my conversations, I would relate future things which I saw as if present, but, noting the amazement of my listeners, I became more reticent."
When she was about 40 years old, Hildegard received a spiritual command to publish her visions for the world to share. Her best known work, Scrivias, (ca. 1145) is a record of 26 visions. Like many other prophets, Hildegard foresaw the decline of the Church and the rise of Antichrist, whose career she described in detail:
"The time is coming when princes and people will renounce the authority of the Pope. Individual countries will prefer their own Church rulers to the Pope. The German Empire will be divided. Church property will be secularized. Priests will be persecuted. After the birth of Antichrist heretic will preach their false doctrines undisturbed, resulting in Christians having doubts about their holy Catholic faith."
"Toward the end of the world, mankind will be purified through sufferings. This will be true especially of the clergy, who will be robbed of all property. When the clergy has adopted a simple manner of living, conditions will improve.
"A powerful wind will rise in the North carrying heavy fog and the densest dust by divine command and it will fill their throats and eyes so they will cease their savagery and be stricken with great fear. After that there will be so few men left that seven women will fight for one man, that they will say to the man: "Marry me to take the disgrace from me." For in those days it will be a disgrace for a woman to be without child, as it was by the Jews in the Old Testament.
"Before the Comet comes, many nations, the good excepted, will be scoured with want and famine. The great nation in the ocean that is inhabited by people of different tribes and descent by an earthquake, storm and tidal waves will be devastated. It will be divided, and in great part submerged. That nation will also have many misfortunes at sea, and lose its colonies in the east through a Tiger and a Lion. The Comet by its tremendous pressure, will force much out of the ocean and flood many countries, causing much want and many plagues. All sea coast cities will be fearful and many of them will be destroyed by tidal waves, and most living creatures will be killed and even those who escape will die from a horrible disease. For in none of these cities does a person live according to the laws of God.
"Peace will return to Europe when the white flower again takes possession of the throne of France. During this time of peace the people will be forbidden to carry weapons and iron will be used solely for making agricultural implements and tools. Also during this period the soil will be very productive and many Jews, heathens and heretics will join the Church.
"The son of perdition (the Antichrist), who will reign very few of times, will come at the end day of the duration of the world, at the times corresponding to the moment just before the sun disappears from the horizon...
"After having passed a licentious youth among very perverted men, and in a desert, she being conducted by a demon disguised as an angel of light, the mother of the son of perdition will conceive and give birth without knowing the father. In another land, she will make men believe that her birth was some miraculous thing, seeing that she had not appointed a spouse, and she will ignore that, she will say, how the infant she had brought into the world had been formed in her womb, and the people will regard it as a saint and qualified to the title.
"The son of perdition is this very wicked beast who will put to death those who refuse to believe in him; who will associate with kings, priests, the great and the rich; who will mistake the humility and will esteem pride; who will finally subjugate the entire universe by his diabolic means.
"He will gain over many people and tell them: "You are allowed to do all that you please; renounce the fasts; it suffices that you love me; I who am your God."
"He will show them treasures and riches, and he will permit them to riot in all sorts of festivities, as they please. He will oblige them to practice circumcision and other Judaic observances, and he will tell them: "Those who believe in me will receive pardon of their sins and will live with me eternally."
"He will reject baptism and evangelism, and he will reject in derision all the precepts the Spirit has given to men of my part.
"Then he will say to his partisans, "Strike me with a sword, and place my corpse in a proper shroud until the day of my resurrection." They will believe him to have really given over to death, and from his mortal wound he will make a striking semblance of resuscitation.
"After which, he will compose himself a certain cipher, which he will say is to be a pledge of salute; he will give it to all his servitors like the sign of our faith in heaven, and he will command them to adore it. Concerning those who, for the love of my name, will refuse to render this sacrilegious adoration to the son of perdition, he will put them to death amidst the cruelest torments.
"But I will defend my two Witnesses, Enoch and Elias, whom I have reserved for those times. Their mission will be to combat the man of evil and reprimand him in the sight of the faithful whom he has seduced. They will have the virtue of operating the most brilliant miracles, in all the places where the son of perdition has spread his evil doctrines. In the meanwhile, I will permit this evildoer to put them to death; but I will give them in heaven the recompense of their travails.
"Later, however, after the coming of Enoch and Elias, the Antichrist will be destroyed, and the Church will sing forth with unprecedented glory, and the victims of the great error will throng to return to the fold."
Hildegard elaborated on the life of Antichrist in her book Heptachronon:
"The Man of Sin will be born of an ungodly woman who, from her infancy, will have been initiated into occult sciences and the wiles of the demon. She will live in the desert with perverse men, and abandon herself to crime with so much the greater ardor, as she will think she is authorized thereby to by the revelations of an angel. And thus, in the fire of burning concupiscence she will conceive the Son of Perdition, without knowing by what father. Then she will teach that fornication is permitted, declaring herself holy and honored as a saint.
"But Lucifer, the old and cunning serpent, will find the fruit of her womb with his infernal spirit and entirely possess the fruit of sin.
"Now when he shall have attained the age of manhood, he will set himself up as a new master and teach perverse doctrine. Soon he will revolt against the saints; and he will acquire such great power that in the madness of his pride he would raise himself above the clouds; and as in the beginning Satan said: "I will be like unto the most high", and fell; so in those days, he will fall when he will say in the person of his son, "I am the Savior of the World!"
"He will ally himself with the kings, the princes and the powerful ones of the earth; he will condemn humility and will extol all the doctrines of pride. His magic art will feign the most astonishing prodigies; he will disturb the atmosphere, command thunder and tempest, produce hail and horrible lightning. He will move mountains, dry up streams, reanimate the withered verdure of forests. His arts will be practiced upon the elements, but chiefly upon man will he exhaust his infernal power. He will seem to take away health and restore it. How so? By sending some possessed soul into a dead body, to move it for a time. But these resurrections will be of short duration.
"At the sight of these things, many will be terrified and will believe in him; and some, preserving their primitive faith, will nevertheless court the favor of the Man of Sin or fear his displeasure. And so many will be led astray among those who, shutting the interior eye of their soul, will live habitually in exterior things...
"After the Antichrist has ascended a high mountain and been destroyed by Christ, many erring souls will return to truth, and men will make rapid progress in the ways of holiness."
Hildegard gave more details about the Antichrist in her Vision X:
"Nothing good will enter into him nor be able to be in him. For he will be nourished in diverse and secret places, lest he should be known by men, and he will be imbued with all diabolical arts, and he will be hidden until he is of full age, nor will he show the perversities which will be in him, until he knows himself to be full and superabundant in all iniquities.
"He will appear to agitate the air, to make fire descend from heaven, to produce rainbows, lightning, thunder and hail, to tumble mountains, dry up streams, to strip the verdure of trees, of forests, and to restore them again. He will also appear to be able to make men sick or well at will, to chase out demons, and at times even to resuscitate the dead, making a cadaver move like it was alive. But this kind of resurrection will never endure beyond a little time, for the glory of God will not suffer it.
"Ostensibly he will be murdered, spill his blood and die. With bewilderment and consternation, mankind will learn that he is not dead, but has awakened from his deathsleep.
"From the beginning of his course many battles and many things contrary to the lawful dispensation will arise, and charity will be extinguished in men. In them also will arise bitterness and harshness and there will be so many heresies that heretics will preach their errors openly and certainly; and there shall be so much doubt and incertitude in the Catholic faith of Christians that men shall be in doubt of what God they invoke, and many signs shall appear in the sun and moon, and in the stars and in the waters, and in other elements and creatures, so that, as it were in a picture, future events shall be foretold in their portents.
"Then so much sadness shall occupy men at that time, that they shall be led to die as if for nothing. But those who are perfect in the Catholic faith will await in great contrition what God wills to ordain. And these great tribulations shall proceed in this way, while the Son of Perdition shall open his mouth in the words of falsehood and his deceptions, heaven and earth shall tremble together. But after the fall of the Antichrist the glory of the Son of God shall be increased.
"As soon as he is born, he will have teeth and pronounce blasphemies; in short, he will be a born devil. He will emit fearful cries, work miracles, and wallow in luxury and vice. He will have brothers who are also demons incarnate, and at the age of twelve, they will distinguish themselves in brilliant achievements. They will command an armed force, which will be supported by the infernal legions.
"After the Son of Perdition has accomplished all of his evil designs, he will call together all of his believers and tell them that he wishes to ascend into heaven.
"At the moment of his ascension, a thunderbolt will strike him to the ground, and he will die.
"The mountain where he was established for the operation of his ascension, in an instant will be covered with a thick cloud which emits an unbearable odor of truly infernal corruption... At the sight of his body, the eyes of great number of persons will open and they will be made to see their miserable error.
"After the sorrowful defeat of the Son of Perdition, the spouse of my Son, who is the Church, will shine with a glory without equal, and the victims of the error will be impressed to reenter the sheepfold.
"As to the day, after the fall of Antichrist, when the world will end, man must not seek to know, for he can never learn it. That secret the Father has reserved for Himself."
Hildegard repeated much of the above in more detail in Scivias, Vision XI: 25-27, 33-41.