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Author Topic: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries  (Read 36252 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 on: February 01, 2010, 01:54:38 AM »

Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

Everyone is called to be a Christian. Out of Christians, some are called to Marriage and some to Monasticism as their path to theosis. St. Paul was clear that the monastic life is the higher of the two callings because their focus on Christ is undistracted by the matters of this life. The ulitmate aim, as you put it, of both paths is complete union with God for all eternity.

Can you explain why Our Lord called married men as his disciples and Apostles?

Jesus called both married and unmarried men then as disciples and Apostles as well as now to the priesthood. But only unmarried men are called to become Bishops.
That's now, not then.

Were the married disciples less than disciples because they were married?  Where does that leave St. Peter, their chief?
Can anyone involved in this tangent tell me what this has to do with the specifics of the Elder Ephraim Monasteries?
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« Reply #136 on: February 01, 2010, 02:14:15 AM »

Well, a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago have created a website detailing concerns about Elder Ephraim.  No one identifies themselves on the site; there exists a Facebook group; take it for what it's worth:

http://gotruthreform.org/home/

Mission Statement:

Quote
We Greek Orthodox Christians of the Metropolis of Chicago will no longer accept the conditions that have spread and caused irreparable harm to our Faith. We are of the opinion that our current Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago are complicit in allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our church. Therefore, we will focus the efforts and attention of our members to expose inappropriate teachings, practices and customs as they concern our Faith.
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« Reply #137 on: February 01, 2010, 02:15:40 AM »

Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

Everyone is called to be a Christian. Out of Christians, some are called to Marriage and some to Monasticism as their path to theosis. St. Paul was clear that the monastic life is the higher of the two callings because their focus on Christ is undistracted by the matters of this life. The ulitmate aim, as you put it, of both paths is complete union with God for all eternity.

Can you explain why Our Lord called married men as his disciples and Apostles?

Jesus called both married and unmarried men then as disciples and Apostles as well as now to the priesthood. But only unmarried men are called to become Bishops.
That's now, not then.

Were the married disciples less than disciples because they were married?  Where does that leave St. Peter, their chief?
Can anyone involved in this tangent tell me what this has to do with the specifics of the Elder Ephraim Monasteries?

If a monastic tells a man to leave his wife or tells a single man not to marry, does that go against what Christ and St. Paul taught?
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« Reply #138 on: February 01, 2010, 03:06:33 AM »

Having had an in-depth experience with an 'angry parent' of a monastic, I found that most of the collective angst came from families where there was either only one or two children.  The parents I encountered had certain expectations of their children which monasticism interfered with (the above-mentioned parent had detailed requirements for his son to have girlfriends, get married, raise grandchildren for the parent, go to college, build a career, take over the family business... essentially return the 'investment' made by the parent in the child).

Most of the rage comes from modern families with few children.  Back in the old days when families were larger, parents were less upset by a child going off to a monastery or to sea, because their worldly expectations (or spiritual ones for that matter) could still be met.  One child might be handicapped, but there were six or seven other healthy ones.  Not so big of a deal.

The modern family is far more vested in the few children it produces, and so parents are far more demanding of the few children they have.  I think this is the untold side of the story, but it seems to be a theme I have seen over and over again.
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« Reply #139 on: February 01, 2010, 08:11:58 AM »

Well, a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago have created a website detailing concerns about Elder Ephraim.  No one identifies themselves on the site; there exists a Facebook group; take it for what it's worth:

http://gotruthreform.org/home/

Mission Statement:

Quote
We Greek Orthodox Christians of the Metropolis of Chicago will no longer accept the conditions that have spread and caused irreparable harm to our Faith. We are of the opinion that our current Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago are complicit in allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our church. Therefore, we will focus the efforts and attention of our members to expose inappropriate teachings, practices and customs as they concern our Faith.
Their website has nothing of substance so I suspect that this is some contingent that has an interest in smearing elder Ephraim's monasteries. The one I have visited near White Haven, Pa. (Hagia Skepe) receives many visitors, is welcoming, and traditional. Some lay blogs or websites  like Mark Stokoe investigate valid wrongdoing but this one seems suspect and lax in even posting content (which is probably for the better).
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 08:13:36 AM by recent convert » Logged

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« Reply #140 on: February 01, 2010, 11:17:49 AM »

Well, a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago have created a website detailing concerns about Elder Ephraim.  No one identifies themselves on the site; there exists a Facebook group; take it for what it's worth:

http://gotruthreform.org/home/

Mission Statement:

Quote
We Greek Orthodox Christians of the Metropolis of Chicago will no longer accept the conditions that have spread and caused irreparable harm to our Faith. We are of the opinion that our current Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago are complicit in allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our church. Therefore, we will focus the efforts and attention of our members to expose inappropriate teachings, practices and customs as they concern our Faith.
What does this prove?  That some people have a problem with the Ephraimite Monasteries is a given.  That they really should, however, remains to be seen.
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« Reply #141 on: February 01, 2010, 11:18:33 AM »

Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

Everyone is called to be a Christian. Out of Christians, some are called to Marriage and some to Monasticism as their path to theosis. St. Paul was clear that the monastic life is the higher of the two callings because their focus on Christ is undistracted by the matters of this life. The ulitmate aim, as you put it, of both paths is complete union with God for all eternity.

Can you explain why Our Lord called married men as his disciples and Apostles?

Jesus called both married and unmarried men then as disciples and Apostles as well as now to the priesthood. But only unmarried men are called to become Bishops.
That's now, not then.

Were the married disciples less than disciples because they were married?  Where does that leave St. Peter, their chief?
Can anyone involved in this tangent tell me what this has to do with the specifics of the Elder Ephraim Monasteries?

If a monastic tells a man to leave his wife or tells a single man not to marry, does that go against what Christ and St. Paul taught?
What's the context of the advice?  Without this I am not able to offer even the least jot or tittle of judgment of the advice given, IF this advice was ever really given.
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« Reply #142 on: February 01, 2010, 12:51:07 PM »

Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

Everyone is called to be a Christian. Out of Christians, some are called to Marriage and some to Monasticism as their path to theosis. St. Paul was clear that the monastic life is the higher of the two callings because their focus on Christ is undistracted by the matters of this life. The ulitmate aim, as you put it, of both paths is complete union with God for all eternity.

Can you explain why Our Lord called married men as his disciples and Apostles?

Jesus called both married and unmarried men then as disciples and Apostles as well as now to the priesthood. But only unmarried men are called to become Bishops.
That's now, not then.

Were the married disciples less than disciples because they were married?  Where does that leave St. Peter, their chief?
Can anyone involved in this tangent tell me what this has to do with the specifics of the Elder Ephraim Monasteries?

If a monastic tells a man to leave his wife or tells a single man not to marry, does that go against what Christ and St. Paul taught?
What's the context of the advice?  Without this I am not able to offer even the least jot or tittle of judgment of the advice given, IF this advice was ever really given.

This thread was nice and quiet until people started digging it up again.  I thought the context quoted by Marina14 was adequate for Isa and I to respond to.  The highlighted text below has been marked red for my understanding of the context.

Quote
Everyone is called to be a Christian. Out of Christians, some are called to Marriage and some to Monasticism as their path to theosis. St. Paul was clear that the monastic life is the higher of the two callings because their focus on Christ is undistracted by the matters of this life. The ulitmate aim, as you put it, of both paths is complete union with God for all eternity.

Not every Christian is called to marriage nor is every Christian called to monasticism.  Monastics have no business telling people any differently and/or convincing them otherwise.  People have free will not to accept marriage or to accept monasticism and I surely don't need a marketing pitch from a monastic whether it comes to marriage, monasticism or buying stock in Toyota.
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« Reply #143 on: February 01, 2010, 12:58:58 PM »

Their website has nothing of substance so I suspect that this is some contingent that has an interest in smearing elder Ephraim's monasteries. The one I have visited near White Haven, Pa. (Hagia Skepe) receives many visitors, is welcoming, and traditional. Some lay blogs or websites  like Mark Stokoe investigate valid wrongdoing but this one seems suspect and lax in even posting content (which is probably for the better).

#12 on their web links points to an Elder Ephraim Monastery outside of Athens, Greece.  To me, this website feels like some kind of straw man (if that's the right term) set up to record names and e-mail addresses of those who make allegations against Elder Ephraim and possibly as a response against Met. Iakovos as evident by the bolded text.

Quote
12.One can ask why concerned Orthodox Christians have taken their time and resources to start this website. There is an excellent article that discusses the need of the laity to educate and protect the faith. It also addresses issues such as “Can the laity (the members of the Church who are not ordained into the priesthood) involve itself in matters of the Faith? Can laypeople who are not empowered to officiate in Sacraments of the Church censure Bishops when those Bishops deviate from the truth? How justified are they who maintain an indifferent stance behind the backs of their Priests and Spiritual Fathers when the teaching and the Faith of the Church are being distorted, with the excuse that their Leaders and their Spiritual Fathers likewise do not witness and confess the truth of Orthodoxy because “they have undergone something human”? These questions are answered in an article that can be found at the following link:http://www.impantokratoros.gr/D1C49130.en.aspx

source
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« Reply #144 on: February 01, 2010, 01:08:01 PM »

Having had an in-depth experience with an 'angry parent' of a monastic, I found that most of the collective angst came from families where there was either only one or two children.  The parents I encountered had certain expectations of their children which monasticism interfered with (the above-mentioned parent had detailed requirements for his son to have girlfriends, get married, raise grandchildren for the parent, go to college, build a career, take over the family business... essentially return the 'investment' made by the parent in the child).

Most of the rage comes from modern families with few children.  Back in the old days when families were larger, parents were less upset by a child going off to a monastery or to sea, because their worldly expectations (or spiritual ones for that matter) could still be met.  One child might be handicapped, but there were six or seven other healthy ones.  Not so big of a deal.

The modern family is far more vested in the few children it produces, and so parents are far more demanding of the few children they have.  I think this is the untold side of the story, but it seems to be a theme I have seen over and over again.


I think this coupled with such absurdities as child beauty pageants, schools to get on the right waiting list and the overscheduled child.

It seems the richer we become, the more impoverished we are. As Mother Theresa said "It is a poverty to think that a child must die to preserve your lifestyle."
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« Reply #145 on: February 01, 2010, 01:24:18 PM »

Having had an in-depth experience with an 'angry parent' of a monastic, I found that most of the collective angst came from families where there was either only one or two children.  The parents I encountered had certain expectations of their children which monasticism interfered with (the above-mentioned parent had detailed requirements for his son to have girlfriends, get married, raise grandchildren for the parent, go to college, build a career, take over the family business... essentially return the 'investment' made by the parent in the child).

Most of the rage comes from modern families with few children.  Back in the old days when families were larger, parents were less upset by a child going off to a monastery or to sea, because their worldly expectations (or spiritual ones for that matter) could still be met.  One child might be handicapped, but there were six or seven other healthy ones.  Not so big of a deal.

The modern family is far more vested in the few children it produces, and so parents are far more demanding of the few children they have.  I think this is the untold side of the story, but it seems to be a theme I have seen over and over again.


Excellent and commonsensical post! I think the same thing applies to parental reactions to their child's  homosexuality. If they had several other children, perhaps the blow wouldn't be as harsh. But since most people these days only have one or two, the announcement brings, in a sense, a death to many hopes and dreams for the child.
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« Reply #146 on: February 01, 2010, 01:28:49 PM »


Not every Christian is called to marriage nor is every Christian called to monasticism.  Monastics have no business telling people any differently and/or convincing them otherwise.  People have free will not to accept marriage or to accept monasticism and I surely don't need a marketing pitch from a monastic whether it comes to marriage, monasticism or buying stock in Toyota.


Maybe I'm mistaken, but if monastics are equal to lay people and you ban monastics from giving advice or voicing their opinions, does it necessarily follow that lay people should also refrain from giving advice or voicing their opinions?

If you censor one and not the other, than you are acknowledging that they are not equal, that monastics are more powerful in some way.  To some, this may be their impression.  However, the problem is with the perceiver rather than the perceived.  If you punish the monastic just because someone does not properly understand his role in the Church, where is the justice in that?

The responsibility lies with the laity to not overly-glamorize monasticism.  It is the job of the advice-seeker to find the right person to get advice from and not treat all monks like 'spiritual vending machines.'  The real problem is that those getting advice from monks don't see the monks as people.

The issue here is the education of the laity, which is poorly handled in many ways.  Censoring monks or banning pilgrims does not take care of the real problem, becuase it does not cure the false perception and, in fact, cements it (i.e. "Monks are very powerful, so don't talk to them.")

Blaming the monks as a group is part of the 'victim mentality' that has taken hold of our culture.  It creates a dichotomy of victim and perpetrator, absolving the former of his responsibility.  This is evil.  We must all bear our true responsibility for exercising free-will and weighing advice before taking it.  Like in the medical profession, if I forgo a second opinion and follow a doctor's advice without checking it out, I bear part of the responsibility for the outcome.

As a priest, I know that people can over-value or under-value my advice based on their misguided notions of the priesthood.  However, I do not refrain from doing what I think is right just because someone might misconstrue my advice as coming directlt from God.  I do warn people about this juvenile idealism, but I don't stop everything I am doing because someone might act in a foolish manner.  Neither should monks.

It would be helpful if monks offered disclaimers, and I know those who do.  However, most laypeople offer no disclaimers to their opinions (until after they are called on them).  So, I think that monks should have the same freedom if they are considered full equals to the laity.

For the record, I think it is darn foolish to be asking a monk about buying stock, but who is the bigger fool: the fool or the fool who follows him?

I'm sorry if some people find this offensive, but I think it very funny that here, in a place where advice is routinely offered blindly and received much the same, that we should talk about telling some people not to give advice while we ourselves feel free to offer all manner of advice to those we don't know.

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« Reply #147 on: February 01, 2010, 01:35:08 PM »


I think this coupled with such absurdities as child beauty pageants, schools to get on the right waiting list and the overscheduled child.

It seems the richer we become, the more impoverished we are. As Mother Theresa said "It is a poverty to think that a child must die to preserve your lifestyle."

I absolutely agree.

It is very sad that many 'Christian' families no longer 'have time' for church, prayer, etc. because they are 'too busy' either making wealth, preparing to make wealth or spending it.

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« Reply #148 on: February 01, 2010, 03:41:22 PM »

Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

Everyone is called to be a Christian. Out of Christians, some are called to Marriage and some to Monasticism as their path to theosis. St. Paul was clear that the monastic life is the higher of the two callings because their focus on Christ is undistracted by the matters of this life. The ulitmate aim, as you put it, of both paths is complete union with God for all eternity.

Can you explain why Our Lord called married men as his disciples and Apostles?

Jesus called both married and unmarried men then as disciples and Apostles as well as now to the priesthood. But only unmarried men are called to become Bishops.
That's now, not then.

Were the married disciples less than disciples because they were married?  Where does that leave St. Peter, their chief?
Can anyone involved in this tangent tell me what this has to do with the specifics of the Elder Ephraim Monasteries?

If a monastic tells a man to leave his wife or tells a single man not to marry, does that go against what Christ and St. Paul taught?
What's the context of the advice?  Without this I am not able to offer even the least jot or tittle of judgment of the advice given, IF this advice was ever really given.

This thread was nice and quiet until people started digging it up again.  I thought the context quoted by Marina14 was adequate for Isa and I to respond to.  The highlighted text below has been marked red for my understanding of the context.

Quote
Everyone is called to be a Christian. Out of Christians, some are called to Marriage and some to Monasticism as their path to theosis. St. Paul was clear that the monastic life is the higher of the two callings because their focus on Christ is undistracted by the matters of this life. The ulitmate aim, as you put it, of both paths is complete union with God for all eternity.

Not every Christian is called to marriage nor is every Christian called to monasticism.  Monastics have no business telling people any differently and/or convincing them otherwise.  People have free will not to accept marriage or to accept monasticism and I surely don't need a marketing pitch from a monastic whether it comes to marriage, monasticism or buying stock in Toyota.

But you still haven't offered any context for your initial question of whether monastics should be counseling a married man to leave his wife or a single man to not marry.  All you're doing is venting your indignation that they would ever do such a thing.  I'm not going to join you in your umbrage if you won't tell me why such advice was given.
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« Reply #149 on: February 01, 2010, 03:49:37 PM »

But you still haven't offered any context for your initial question of whether monastics should be counseling a married man to leave his wife or a single man to not marry.  All you're doing is venting your indignation that they would ever do such a thing.  I'm not going to join you in your umbrage if you won't tell me why such advice was given.

I cannot offer any personal context.

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« Reply #150 on: February 01, 2010, 03:51:37 PM »

But you still haven't offered any context for your initial question of whether monastics should be counseling a married man to leave his wife or a single man to not marry.  All you're doing is venting your indignation that they would ever do such a thing.  I'm not going to join you in your umbrage if you won't tell me why such advice was given.

I cannot offer any personal context.


Then why are you indignant?
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« Reply #151 on: February 01, 2010, 04:14:50 PM »

But you still haven't offered any context for your initial question of whether monastics should be counseling a married man to leave his wife or a single man to not marry.  All you're doing is venting your indignation that they would ever do such a thing.  I'm not going to join you in your umbrage if you won't tell me why such advice was given.

I cannot offer any personal context.
Since you can't give us any context, I will.

A person may be married to a very abusive spouse.  The abuse may not be physical; it may instead be emotional--for instance, the abuse of constant criticism and judgment--but it is still abuse.  How is the abused wife not justified to leave her abusive husband (which, in this scenario, was the case), and how is it wrong for the monastic to counsel her to do so?

An unmarried man may also have a lot of psychosocial disorders that make him unfit for marriage, making it very unwise for such a man to ever marry.  Should not a monastic with the wisdom to discern these faults counsel such a man to remain single?  It seems to me that that's just a common-sense decision to make.

You see, it's not so cut and dried as "This monk told so-and-so to leave his wife and counseled whatshisname to never marry, which runs totally counter to St. Paul's teachings on marriage."  There's often more to the situation than meets your eyes.
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« Reply #152 on: February 01, 2010, 07:41:43 PM »

An unmarried man may also have a lot of psychosocial disorders that make him unfit for marriage, making it very unwise for such a man to ever marry.  Should not a monastic with the wisdom to discern these faults counsel such a man to remain single?  It seems to me that that's just a common-sense decision to make.
I'm not sure. To counsel a young man that his "psychosocial disorders" should preclude him from ever marrying would seem to suggest that the Church is unable to heal people's psychosocial disorders.
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« Reply #153 on: February 01, 2010, 08:03:54 PM »

An unmarried man may also have a lot of psychosocial disorders that make him unfit for marriage, making it very unwise for such a man to ever marry.  Should not a monastic with the wisdom to discern these faults counsel such a man to remain single?  It seems to me that that's just a common-sense decision to make.
I'm not sure. To counsel a young man that his "psychosocial disorders" should preclude him from ever marrying would seem to suggest that the Church is unable to heal people's psychosocial disorders.
Yes, I realize my choice of words was probably a bit strong in its projection of current disorders into the indefinite future, but I think that somewhat peripheral to my point.  Therefore, let me back off a bit and say that one's psychosocial disorders may make him unfit for marriage at this moment.  Even so, I would think that a monastic with the wisdom to recognize this would still be acting properly to counsel such a person to not marry until (s)he has attained much more order in his/her life.

(BTW, I recognize now that SolEX01 never said that a monastic counseled a man to never marry--he merely implied that a monastic counseled the man to not marry--so my reply to his inquiry was somewhat stronger than the inquiry itself and was thus not warranted by the initial question.)
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« Reply #154 on: February 01, 2010, 08:09:44 PM »

An unmarried man may also have a lot of psychosocial disorders that make him unfit for marriage, making it very unwise for such a man to ever marry.  Should not a monastic with the wisdom to discern these faults counsel such a man to remain single?  It seems to me that that's just a common-sense decision to make.
I'm not sure. To counsel a young man that his "psychosocial disorders" should preclude him from ever marrying would seem to suggest that the Church is unable to heal people's psychosocial disorders.
Yes, I realize my choice of words was probably a bit strong in its projection of current disorders into the future, but I think that somewhat peripheral to my point.  Therefore, let me back off a bit and say that one's psychosocial disorders may make him unfit for marriage at this moment.  Even so, I would think that a monastic with the wisdom to recognize this would still be acting properly to counsel such a person to not marry until (s)he has attained much more order in his/her life.
OK, but I still have a problem with how we are to discern whether a monastic does have the wisdom to counsel people correctly. People who seek counseling are often very vulnerable psychologically, and I think it is a mistake to assume that a monastic automatically has the wisdom to counsel them. I have seen too many disasters in that regard.
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« Reply #155 on: February 01, 2010, 08:26:24 PM »

An unmarried man may also have a lot of psychosocial disorders that make him unfit for marriage, making it very unwise for such a man to ever marry.  Should not a monastic with the wisdom to discern these faults counsel such a man to remain single?  It seems to me that that's just a common-sense decision to make.
I'm not sure. To counsel a young man that his "psychosocial disorders" should preclude him from ever marrying would seem to suggest that the Church is unable to heal people's psychosocial disorders.
Yes, I realize my choice of words was probably a bit strong in its projection of current disorders into the future, but I think that somewhat peripheral to my point.  Therefore, let me back off a bit and say that one's psychosocial disorders may make him unfit for marriage at this moment.  Even so, I would think that a monastic with the wisdom to recognize this would still be acting properly to counsel such a person to not marry until (s)he has attained much more order in his/her life.
OK, but I still have a problem with how we are to discern whether a monastic does have the wisdom to counsel people correctly. People who seek counseling are often very vulnerable psychologically, and I think it is a mistake to assume that a monastic automatically has the wisdom to counsel them. I have seen too many disasters in that regard.
I'm not assuming that every monastic is blessed with such discernment.  I don't doubt that some are, but I would venture to say that most are not and that one does need to be very careful and discerning of any counsel a monastic might offer.  Such monastic counsel should never be seen as a substitute for psychiatric treatment--maybe a good complement, but never a replacement.

However, we're now speaking of a subject that I see as somewhat separated from my earlier reply to SolEX01's question regarding how monastic counsel to specific individuals squares with St. Paul's general teachings vis-à-vis marriage and monasticism.  I still hold that there's much more to what SolEX01 thinks he sees than meets his eyes.  One needs to know the context of such advice that a man leave his wife or that a single man not marry to be able to judge such advice.
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« Reply #156 on: February 01, 2010, 08:55:40 PM »

Having had an in-depth experience with an 'angry parent' of a monastic, I found that most of the collective angst came from families where there was either only one or two children.  The parents I encountered had certain expectations of their children which monasticism interfered with (the above-mentioned parent had detailed requirements for his son to have girlfriends, get married, raise grandchildren for the parent, go to college, build a career, take over the family business... essentially return the 'investment' made by the parent in the child).

Most of the rage comes from modern families with few children.  Back in the old days when families were larger, parents were less upset by a child going off to a monastery or to sea, because their worldly expectations (or spiritual ones for that matter) could still be met.  One child might be handicapped, but there were six or seven other healthy ones.  Not so big of a deal.

The modern family is far more vested in the few children it produces, and so parents are far more demanding of the few children they have.  I think this is the untold side of the story, but it seems to be a theme I have seen over and over again.


Excellent and commonsensical post! I think the same thing applies to parental reactions to their child's  homosexuality. If they had several other children, perhaps the blow wouldn't be as harsh. But since most people these days only have one or two, the announcement brings, in a sense, a death to many hopes and dreams for the child.

Let's not honestly compare monasticism with homosexuality.

I would hope that a parents reaction to practicing Homosexuality is not the loss of hopes and dreams for their child, but being a afraid of their slavation and thier dread judgement before Christ.

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« Reply #157 on: February 01, 2010, 09:12:54 PM »

Having had an in-depth experience with an 'angry parent' of a monastic, I found that most of the collective angst came from families where there was either only one or two children.  The parents I encountered had certain expectations of their children which monasticism interfered with (the above-mentioned parent had detailed requirements for his son to have girlfriends, get married, raise grandchildren for the parent, go to college, build a career, take over the family business... essentially return the 'investment' made by the parent in the child).

Most of the rage comes from modern families with few children.  Back in the old days when families were larger, parents were less upset by a child going off to a monastery or to sea, because their worldly expectations (or spiritual ones for that matter) could still be met.  One child might be handicapped, but there were six or seven other healthy ones.  Not so big of a deal.

The modern family is far more vested in the few children it produces, and so parents are far more demanding of the few children they have.  I think this is the untold side of the story, but it seems to be a theme I have seen over and over again.


Excellent and commonsensical post! I think the same thing applies to parental reactions to their child's  homosexuality. If they had several other children, perhaps the blow wouldn't be as harsh. But since most people these days only have one or two, the announcement brings, in a sense, a death to many hopes and dreams for the child.

Let's not honestly compare monasticism with homosexuality.

I would hope that a parents reaction to practicing Homosexuality is not the loss of hopes and dreams for their child, but being a afraid of their slavation and thier dread judgement before Christ.


Let us please remember the current moratorium and not discuss homosexuality on this thread.  Thank you.
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« Reply #158 on: February 01, 2010, 09:27:58 PM »

Although I have never met Elder Ephfraim my wife and her family knows him well. He would visit their home personally when he would go to Montreal. I was shocked to have come across the articles I have seen against him. I attend one of his Monasteries currently (every chance I get between their and my Church). I adore everything about this man, if you could hear the stories my wife tells of him you would feel the same way. God willing we will get a chance to visit him in the Monastery (St. Anthony's) in Arizona where he resides. What he is doing is needed, the Monastic lifestyle is not an easy one and not for everyone. This is where I believe a lot of people really do not understand it and are so quick to judge it.
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« Reply #159 on: February 01, 2010, 09:43:42 PM »

An unmarried man may also have a lot of psychosocial disorders that make him unfit for marriage, making it very unwise for such a man to ever marry.  Should not a monastic with the wisdom to discern these faults counsel such a man to remain single?  It seems to me that that's just a common-sense decision to make.
I'm not sure. To counsel a young man that his "psychosocial disorders" should preclude him from ever marrying would seem to suggest that the Church is unable to heal people's psychosocial disorders.

I would tend to agree-but I think sometimes it is more physiological than spiritual. In fact I know more than a few young men, who, before they married had quite severe psychosocial disorders which were caused by celibacy, and after they were married and were allowed to have a normal married life, they were miraculously "cured". I will grant, this is not always the case, but sometimes it is related to this very thing.
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« Reply #160 on: February 01, 2010, 10:39:46 PM »


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Let us please remember the current moratorium and not discuss homosexuality on this thread.  Thank you.

My apologies-this was my fault completely! I had not noticed the announcement of the moratorium and thank you for the reminder and I shall try to obey it.
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« Reply #161 on: February 02, 2010, 08:11:58 PM »

An unmarried man may also have a lot of psychosocial disorders that make him unfit for marriage, making it very unwise for such a man to ever marry.  Should not a monastic with the wisdom to discern these faults counsel such a man to remain single?  It seems to me that that's just a common-sense decision to make.
I'm not sure. To counsel a young man that his "psychosocial disorders" should preclude him from ever marrying would seem to suggest that the Church is unable to heal people's psychosocial disorders.

I would tend to agree-but I think sometimes it is more physiological than spiritual. In fact I know more than a few young men, who, before they married had quite severe psychosocial disorders which were caused by celibacy, and after they were married and were allowed to have a normal married life, they were miraculously "cured". I will grant, this is not always the case, but sometimes it is related to this very thing.

No view exists whatsoever among the scientific community that celibacy causes any mental disturbance like what you've described.  If someone is suffering from an anti-social disorder (take your pick from the DSM-IV), it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, not stemming from a lack of sexual activity.  
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« Reply #162 on: February 02, 2010, 08:29:09 PM »

Well, a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago have created a website detailing concerns about Elder Ephraim.  No one identifies themselves on the site; there exists a Facebook group; take it for what it's worth:

http://gotruthreform.org/home/

Mission Statement:

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We Greek Orthodox Christians of the Metropolis of Chicago will no longer accept the conditions that have spread and caused irreparable harm to our Faith. We are of the opinion that our current Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago are complicit in allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our church. Therefore, we will focus the efforts and attention of our members to expose inappropriate teachings, practices and customs as they concern our Faith.

I have seen the homepage of the group in Chicago, and I feel they are gutless. If you are going to attack anyone and try to dig and investigate them than you should be out in the open, I feel that says everything about this "group" in Chicago
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« Reply #163 on: February 02, 2010, 08:35:07 PM »

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No view exists whatsoever among the scientific community that celibacy causes any mental disturbance like what you've described.  If someone is suffering from an anti-social disorder (take your pick from the DSM-IV), it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, not stemming from a lack of sexual activity

I'm merely going by the living proof and testimonies I've seen and heard amongst acquaintances. Several male friends of mine have confided in me their(unsolicited) thoughts and experiences on these matters...I personally do not need to have them verify these things.
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« Reply #164 on: February 02, 2010, 11:59:36 PM »

Well, a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago have created a website detailing concerns about Elder Ephraim.  No one identifies themselves on the site; there exists a Facebook group; take it for what it's worth:

http://gotruthreform.org/home/

Mission Statement:

Quote
We Greek Orthodox Christians of the Metropolis of Chicago will no longer accept the conditions that have spread and caused irreparable harm to our Faith. We are of the opinion that our current Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Chicago are complicit in allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our church. Therefore, we will focus the efforts and attention of our members to expose inappropriate teachings, practices and customs as they concern our Faith.
Having read this web site's multi-point description of what they call "Ephraimites", I would honestly have to say that even the elders of the Ephraimite monasteries themselves should be concerned that some would follow them in such an extreme, cult-like way.  That said, the tactics I've read there on how to out the "Ephraimites" strikes me as the secret informant tactics I would associate with my understanding of McCarthyism.  I can't see how that's any healthier than the extreme way some are reported to follow Elder Ephraim and his monastic disciples.
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« Reply #165 on: February 03, 2010, 01:08:54 PM »

Having read this web site's multi-point description of what they call "Ephraimites", I would honestly have to say that even the elders of the Ephraimite monasteries themselves should be concerned that some would follow them in such an extreme, cult-like way.  That said, the tactics I've read there on how to out the "Ephraimites" strikes me as the secret informant tactics I would associate with my understanding of McCarthyism.  I can't see how that's any healthier than the extreme way some are reported to follow Elder Ephraim and his monastic disciples.

Actually, having read the actual history regarding the House Un-American Activities Committee, I think 'McCarthyism' is a bit of a misnomer.  Especially now when you see the naked political aggression in Hollywood...

What this does smack of is emotion over reason.  There is nothing really in the site that is able to provide through Church canon and tradition how the 'Ephraimites' depart from true Tradition.  Again, I am not saying that those who part of the movement around Elder Ephraim are or are not.  But the site does not establish a coherent argument for its case.

One of the sad realities of modern life is that we are so bombarded by information that we hardly have time to process it all.  Therefore, we react without thinking.  I think this is a reaction without sufficient thought.  They may well have genuine complaints, but I cannot find it on this site for as far as I have been able to look.  Perhaps I have missed something.   Huh




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« Reply #166 on: February 03, 2010, 01:34:43 PM »

Maybe I'm mistaken, but if monastics are equal to lay people and you ban monastics from giving advice or voicing their opinions, does it necessarily follow that lay people should also refrain from giving advice or voicing their opinions?

If you censor one and not the other, than you are acknowledging that they are not equal, that monastics are more powerful in some way.  To some, this may be their impression.  However, the problem is with the perceiver rather than the perceived.  If you punish the monastic just because someone does not properly understand his role in the Church, where is the justice in that?

The responsibility lies with the laity to not overly-glamorize monasticism.  It is the job of the advice-seeker to find the right person to get advice from and not treat all monks like 'spiritual vending machines.'  The real problem is that those getting advice from monks don't see the monks as people.

The issue here is the education of the laity, which is poorly handled in many ways.  Censoring monks or banning pilgrims does not take care of the real problem, becuase it does not cure the false perception and, in fact, cements it (i.e. "Monks are very powerful, so don't talk to them.")

Blaming the monks as a group is part of the 'victim mentality' that has taken hold of our culture.  It creates a dichotomy of victim and perpetrator, absolving the former of his responsibility.  This is evil.  We must all bear our true responsibility for exercising free-will and weighing advice before taking it.  Like in the medical profession, if I forgo a second opinion and follow a doctor's advice without checking it out, I bear part of the responsibility for the outcome.

As a priest, I know that people can over-value or under-value my advice based on their misguided notions of the priesthood.  However, I do not refrain from doing what I think is right just because someone might misconstrue my advice as coming directlt from God.  I do warn people about this juvenile idealism, but I don't stop everything I am doing because someone might act in a foolish manner.  Neither should monks.

It would be helpful if monks offered disclaimers, and I know those who do.  However, most laypeople offer no disclaimers to their opinions (until after they are called on them).  So, I think that monks should have the same freedom if they are considered full equals to the laity.

For the record, I think it is darn foolish to be asking a monk about buying stock, but who is the bigger fool: the fool or the fool who follows him?

I'm sorry if some people find this offensive, but I think it very funny that here, in a place where advice is routinely offered blindly and received much the same, that we should talk about telling some people not to give advice while we ourselves feel free to offer all manner of advice to those we don't know.

Amen.  Post-of-the-Month material, IMO.
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« Reply #167 on: February 13, 2010, 02:08:14 AM »

On Mt, Athos, there was a strict, but less severe, attitude.  For example, at one monastery the abbott, seeing that I had a wedding ring, began to berate me for wearing it as a clergyman. 


Dear Father,

In the Russian Church the wedding ring of a priest is often removed from his hand at ordination and crushed with something like a pair of pliers.  It is a symbol that his love for the Church and his Priesthood should be greater than any earthly love.

Is this what the abbot on Mount Athos had in mind?  Or was it something else?

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« Reply #168 on: February 13, 2010, 09:16:44 AM »

An unmarried man may also have a lot of psychosocial disorders that make him unfit for marriage, making it very unwise for such a man to ever marry.  Should not a monastic with the wisdom to discern these faults counsel such a man to remain single?  It seems to me that that's just a common-sense decision to make.
I'm not sure. To counsel a young man that his "psychosocial disorders" should preclude him from ever marrying would seem to suggest that the Church is unable to heal people's psychosocial disorders.

I would tend to agree-but I think sometimes it is more physiological than spiritual. In fact I know more than a few young men, who, before they married had quite severe psychosocial disorders which were caused by celibacy, and after they were married and were allowed to have a normal married life, they were miraculously "cured". I will grant, this is not always the case, but sometimes it is related to this very thing.

No view exists whatsoever among the scientific community that celibacy causes any mental disturbance like what you've described.  If someone is suffering from an anti-social disorder (take your pick from the DSM-IV), it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, not stemming from a lack of sexual activity.  
not necessary, e.g. depression.

Anti-social disorder is more a Axis-II (personality) rather than Axis-I (clinical) disorder
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« Reply #169 on: February 13, 2010, 11:53:49 AM »

Father Efrem is a comemorationist? Why his monasteries are on gregorian calendar?
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« Reply #170 on: February 13, 2010, 12:10:42 PM »

On Mt, Athos, there was a strict, but less severe, attitude.  For example, at one monastery the abbott, seeing that I had a wedding ring, began to berate me for wearing it as a clergyman. 


Dear Father,

In the Russian Church the wedding ring of a priest is often removed from his hand at ordination and crushed with something like a pair of pliers.  It is a symbol that his love for the Church and his Priesthood should be greater than any earthly love.

Is this what the abbot on Mount Athos had in mind?  Or was it something else?

I've never heard of that practice, so I can't say for sure.  I do know some priests wear their wedding ring with their Baptismal cross around their necks.  I've taken to the practice as well, but mostly because my knuckles have gotten too big as I have aged. Undecided

I have a reservation about destroying a ring that was blessed and used during in a Mystery of the Church.
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« Reply #171 on: February 13, 2010, 12:18:53 PM »

Quote
Dear Father,

In the Russian Church the wedding ring of a priest is often removed from his hand at ordination and crushed with something like a pair of pliers.  It is a symbol that his love for the Church and his Priesthood should be greater than any earthly love.

Is this what the abbot on Mount Athos had in mind?  Or was it something else?

Father, this is very interesting! I too had long noticed that our clergy, even if married, did not wear wedding bands. Being only familiar with the Russian way, it always surprised and perplexed me to see other clergy wearing wedding bands.
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« Reply #172 on: December 29, 2011, 12:58:08 AM »

I remember when my Diocese buried the Metropolitan, I saw Elder Ephraim once. He seemed to be very austere, and thin and quiet. He did not say much. That is what little I know of him. This was at a convent of nuns where the Bishop had been buried. This was my second experience with monasticism. There was another experience I had at a different location under different circumstances. I visited a monastery  that only had two monks, and one happened to have a profession as a lawyer. I thought that strange, since I thought Monk's leave the world behind. Of course it is strange to only have two monks in one monastery. The other thing I thought was strange was that during the praying of the hours none of these monks used any incense! Every Liturgy I have attended for the past 10 years as a convert , every Paraklesis, every Royal Hours, Akatheist etc always always uses incense. This monastery also had a website dedicated to discussions about the plausibility of rationalism and evolutionism! Clearly this is not a monastery in the strict sense of the term. My thinking is this , that there is nothing wrong with Orthodox Monasticism, but there is something wrong with people's  misinterpretation of what that is and how its applied. It doesn't matter who you are no one is fallen is not susceptible to the sin of pride and taking Christ as the center and making oneself the center of everyone and everything around them.
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« Reply #173 on: December 30, 2011, 04:03:05 PM »

Why is everyone harsh on the Elder? I got back from St. Anthony's yesterday, one of many trips I have made there. They have brought beautiful and pious monastic tradition to the US, where it is oftentimes sorely lacking and needed.

Demons seeking to drive away people from the wellspring available to them? What are these accusations against the monasteries, they all seem like gossip and hearsay, completely unfounded, with nobody able to provide anything definitive.
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« Reply #174 on: December 30, 2011, 08:11:01 PM »

Why is everyone harsh on the Elder? I got back from St. Anthony's yesterday, one of many trips I have made there. They have brought beautiful and pious monastic tradition to the US, where it is oftentimes sorely lacking and needed.

Demons seeking to drive away people from the wellspring available to them? What are these accusations against the monasteries, they all seem like gossip and hearsay, completely unfounded, with nobody able to provide anything definitive.

What you see is nothing more than the friction between Secularism vs a faith based life. Secularism wants to control, dominate and eradicate the religious. Thus they use the examples of the Jones Town Massacre and a few other suicidal groups as an excuse to have their way with the religious.

If a person is seen as being too committed to religion then in a secular society that is seen as an evil and bad thing. If a person questions their religion, rejects most of the tenets of their religion while at the same time is fully devoted and committed to the ways and values of secular society then such a person will be seen as good and just in that secular world.


And so what you see is a friction of the two worlds.


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« Reply #175 on: December 30, 2011, 08:14:00 PM »

FREE ELDER EPHRAIM!

Different Elder Ephraim.
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« Reply #176 on: December 30, 2011, 08:15:21 PM »

FREE ELDER EPHRAIM!

Different Elder Ephraim.

Thanks for the correction!
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« Reply #177 on: December 30, 2011, 09:11:33 PM »

I remember when my Diocese buried the Metropolitan, I saw Elder Ephraim once. He seemed to be very austere, and thin and quiet. He did not say much. That is what little I know of him. This was at a convent of nuns where the Bishop had been buried. This was my second experience with monasticism. There was another experience I had at a different location under different circumstances. I visited a monastery  that only had two monks, and one happened to have a profession as a lawyer. I thought that strange, since I thought Monk's leave the world behind. Of course it is strange to only have two monks in one monastery. The other thing I thought was strange was that during the praying of the hours none of these monks used any incense! Every Liturgy I have attended for the past 10 years as a convert , every Paraklesis, every Royal Hours, Akatheist etc always always uses incense. This monastery also had a website dedicated to discussions about the plausibility of rationalism and evolutionism! Clearly this is not a monastery in the strict sense of the term. My thinking is this , that there is nothing wrong with Orthodox Monasticism, but there is something wrong with people's  misinterpretation of what that is and how its applied. It doesn't matter who you are no one is fallen is not susceptible to the sin of pride and taking Christ as the center and making oneself the center of everyone and everything around them.

Would that happen to be a monastery in Maine where a monk is a lawyer?
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SeraphimMark
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« Reply #178 on: December 30, 2011, 11:50:51 PM »

Would that happen to be a monastery in Maine where a monk is a lawyer?

IXOYE, thanks and no , but that interesting . Its a monastery in California actually. Maybe im wrong , but I can't fathom being a monk and a lawyer , or banker or anything like that  Huh
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Shanghaiski
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« Reply #179 on: December 31, 2011, 01:27:41 PM »

Would that happen to be a monastery in Maine where a monk is a lawyer?

IXOYE, thanks and no , but that interesting . Its a monastery in California actually. Maybe im wrong , but I can't fathom being a monk and a lawyer , or banker or anything like that  Huh

And if lawyers and bankers become monks...?

Most monastics today do not enter monasteries fresh out of school, never having had a career. And if something in their previous life--some skill, education, or qualification--is needed, the monastery will often make use of it. It has nothing whatever to do with Elder Ephraim's monasteries--it is a universal thing.
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