Bar Codes Aren´t the Work of the Antichrist, Russians Say
Orthodox Patriarchate Resolves Dispute Over "666" Fears
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MOSCOW, FEB. 23, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Bar codes are not a satanic sign after all, the Russian Orthodox have decided.
Following three days of intense debate, the Theological Commission of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow arrived at the conclusion that bar codes do not conceal the "number of the beast," "666," mentioned in the book of Revelation.
The assembly, attended by metropolitans, bishops, theologians and some deputies of the Russian Parliament, was held in the Monastery of the Trinity and St. Sergius in the city of Sergijev Posad (formerly Zagorsk).
The meeting was called after many leaders of the Russian Orthodox clergy expressed doubts when they saw that electronic codes, especially bar codes, are based on a structure of three double bars, at the beginning, middle, end, which add up to 6.
Observers added in the "three-ness" factor somehow and concluded that the codes could constitute the dreaded "666." This hypothesis caused a great debate, to the point that some of the Russian Orthodox faithful threatened a schism.
Revelation 13:17-18 describes the action of the Antichrist, and states "no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six."
A document was written at the end of the assembly, which will be published after it is approved by Patriarch Alexis II.
"We have heard the experts and exegetes, and we have come to the conclusion that in the bar codes and other electronic codes the ´666´ is not present," Metropolitan Filaret explained. "According to the opinion of the Holy Fathers, the seal of the Antichrist is imprinted by the Antichrist himself after his coming and after many acknowledge him as God." Since no one divinizes bar codes, the danger is nonexistent, he indicated.
Nevertheless, Metropolitan Filaret warned about another danger: the processes of globalization, of which electronic codes are a sign, which can really present spiritual dangers. "We must follow them closely, study them, and warn the people of God," he said. "However, to spread panic today is unworthy of the name Christians."
Metropolitan Filaret said that it is understandable that certain superstitious fears arise, because they are a consequence of the "Communist period," when there was no possibility to instruct the faithful.
"However, we have not paid enough attention to these processes," he added. "We must repent of this."