Guarding time? Is that a True Orthodox reference? An “Old Calendarist” reference? 

No, but it could be.

Before one of my sons was baptized as a teenager he asked me to explain the Church in a nutshell. I responded that we’re basically the guardians of time. This may not sound like a proper explanation. But it has its purpose. As we now live in an era where a nice chunk of society has gone insane it is now considered a perfectly normal opinion to question if we are “even real”, where Jack can beat up Jill in a boxing ring if he just identifies as “Jane”, and where pedophilia is considered normal by the New York Times, our purpose as Orthodox Christians becomes more and glaringly obvious.

Long ago, when the Church was in Her infancy, society was likewise as sick and perverse and our job was to preserve the teaching of God which could bring people to salvation. Humans have been here since the 6th day of our 7,900 year existence, and –as St Justin Martyr notes in his second apologia to the Roman Senate– when there are no more Christians, there will be no more history:

Wherefore God delays causing the confusion and destruction of the whole world, by which the wicked angels and demons and men shall cease to exist, because of the seed of the Christians, who know that they are the cause of preservation in nature. Since, if it were not so, it would not have been possible for you to do these things, and to be impelled by evil spirits; but the fire of judgment would descend and utterly dissolve all things, even as formerly the flood left no one but him only with his family who is by us called Noah, and by you Deucalion, from whom again such vast numbers have sprung, some of them evil and others good. For so we say that there will be the conflagration, but not as the Stoics, according to their doctrine of all things being changed into one another, which seems most degrading. But neither do we affirm that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer, but that each man by free choice acts rightly or sins; and that it is by the influence of the wicked demons that earnest men, such as Socrates and the like, suffer persecution and are in bonds, while Sardanapalus, Epicurus, and the like, seem to be blessed in abundance and glory. The Stoics, not observing this, maintained that all things take place according to the necessity of fate. But since God in the beginning made the race of angels and men with free-will, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed. And this is the nature of all that is made, to be capable of vice and virtue. For neither would any of them be praiseworthy unless there were power to turn to both [virtue and vice]. And this also is shown by those men everywhere who have made laws and philosophized according to right reason, by their prescribing to do some things and refrain from others. 

So I’d like to claim credit for the idea but I really can’t. It’s rooted in St Justin’s correct and Apostolic teaching on the nature of the Church and I happened to be watching time travel shows and it all fit.

Now to complicate that, a quote that I used to keep in my email signature many years ago is now everywhere, memes and comments galore on social media, that comes from St Anthony the Great: A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad; you are not like us.”

And indeed, at least here in America, a good chunk of us are in crazy town and are absolutely demanding that those who aren’t their co-crazies there in crazy town should go right to jail. For not being supportive enough of people’s crazy theories, or thinking people are nuts who choose to identify as dogs, or for not wearing a mask indoors during flu season. The level of insane we are expected to tolerate is reaching a breaking point. 

Humanity without the grace of God is hellbent on its own destruction. Perhaps this is the end. Perhaps not. But our task as the Church remains the same– to call people to salvation, and ultimately, to act as the sane voice in an insane world, and whether seen as heroes or villains, guard the very existence of the human race– indeed, guard time itself.