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Author Topic: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries  (Read 34870 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 27, 2008, 04:12:46 PM »

I'm sorry, I don't get what you are saying?

Father A., my apologies for obfuscation.  I'm not a big fan of the US/Canada based Elder Ephraim Monasteries, like St. Anthony's.  What I read into the sermon sounded more like cult thinking than Orthodox Christianity and the "sinister religious figures" were meant to be direct comparisons to cults whose "center of worship" was in the center of the compound, just as Father Peck proposed.

Are you saying that the guy is influenced by St Athony's, or, are you saying he wants to become the next "St Anthony's" but for converts? Or something entirely different?

Something entirely different - like the monasteries of the Elder Ephraim are now starting mission churches with no problems vs. the struggles of the 2 Churches mentioned in the Metropolis of NJ.  Note, Father A., that neither Church is physically in NJ.
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2008, 04:52:14 PM »

I'm sorry, I don't get what you are saying?

Father A., my apologies for obfuscation.  I'm not a big fan of the US/Canada based Elder Ephraim Monasteries, like St. Anthony's.  What I read into the sermon sounded more like cult thinking than Orthodox Christianity and the "sinister religious figures" were meant to be direct comparisons to cults whose "center of worship" was in the center of the compound, just as Father Peck proposed.

Are you saying that the guy is influenced by St Athony's, or, are you saying he wants to become the next "St Anthony's" but for converts? Or something entirely different?

Something entirely different - like the monasteries of the Elder Ephraim are now starting mission churches with no problems vs. the struggles of the 2 Churches mentioned in the Metropolis of NJ.  Note, Father A., that neither Church is physically in NJ.

Oh I see. Well, I share some of your concerns.
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2008, 07:15:33 PM »


 I'm not a big fan of the US/Canada based Elder Ephraim Monasteries, like St. Anthony's.  What I read into the sermon sounded more like cult thinking than Orthodox Christianity and the "sinister religious figures" were meant to be direct comparisons to cults whose "center of worship" was in the center of the compound, just as Father Peck proposed.


For those that don't know. Elder Ephraim was a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mount Athos.  Elder Ephraim is the first to establish an authentic Athonite monastery on American soil. I don't see why so many people are so critical about anything having to do with the Orthodox Monastic life.
Elder Ephraim has 17 monastery's in NA that are under his spiritual guidance. Along with many more on Mount Athos. From what I hear Elder Ephraim is a very humble man. I just don't see why he is so often criticized.
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2008, 08:36:29 PM »

Why does everyone hate Mt. Athos so much?  I'm asking seriously.  People have talking about waiting for the monks up there to die, and I don't understand why.  Are the monks supposed to be the conscience of the Church?

What does everyone hate about these monasteries under the supervision of Athos?
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2008, 09:44:15 PM »

Why does everyone hate Mt. Athos so much?  I'm asking seriously.

My personal opinion?  Because of what St. Paul predicted 2,000 years ago:

Quote from: St. Paul, 2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2008, 12:11:55 AM »


 I'm not a big fan of the US/Canada based Elder Ephraim Monasteries, like St. Anthony's.  What I read into the sermon sounded more like cult thinking than Orthodox Christianity and the "sinister religious figures" were meant to be direct comparisons to cults whose "center of worship" was in the center of the compound, just as Father Peck proposed.


For those that don't know. Elder Ephraim was a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mount Athos.  Elder Ephraim is the first to establish an authentic Athonite monastery on American soil. I don't see why so many people are so critical about anything having to do with the Orthodox Monastic life.
Elder Ephraim has 17 monastery's in NA that are under his spiritual guidance. Along with many more on Mount Athos. From what I hear Elder Ephraim is a very humble man. I just don't see why he is so often criticized.

I'm certainly very pro-monasticism. Just have some reservations about Fr Ephraim. Why are people who have reservations about Fr Ephraim automatically assumed to "have issues" with monasticism?
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2008, 12:14:17 AM »

Why does everyone hate Mt. Athos so much?  I'm asking seriously.  People have talking about waiting for the monks up there to die, and I don't understand why.  Are the monks supposed to be the conscience of the Church?

What does everyone hate about these monasteries under the supervision of Athos?

Mt Athos is just like any other place: there are some good, and some bad. The careless promotion of any one type of Orthodox place as the "Mecca" of Orthodoxy leads people who go there and have bad experiences to feel very let down.  They then become bitter and often go to the other extreme. Much better is to have a balanced view going in: there are some very good things about Mt Athos and it certainly is a treasure of Orthodoxy. But it's not all there is about Orthodoxy, and it's not perfect.
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2008, 12:47:25 AM »

For those that don't know. Elder Ephraim was a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mount Athos.  Elder Ephraim is the first to establish an authentic Athonite monastery on American soil.

Why did Elder Ephraim have to establish monasteries on American soil?  Didn't the other Orthodox Jurisdictions have their own monasteries?  Also note that Elder Ephraim founded his monasteries at a time when the GOA was $15 Million in debt and near bankruptcy in the mid 1990's.

I don't see why so many people are so critical about anything having to do with the Orthodox Monastic life.

I'm not critical about Orthodox monastic life; I'm critical about the Elder Ephraim's Monasteries and their "questionable" circumstances.

Elder Ephraim has 17 monastery's in NA that are under his spiritual guidance. Along with many more on Mount Athos. From what I hear Elder Ephraim is a very humble man. I just don't see why he is so often criticized.

Until you hear stories of cult brainwashing and deprogramming and see the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh drive a Rolls Royce down the middle of thousands of mud drenched devotees, you will then recognize that Orthodox Christianity has no room for those who espouse cultism.  Here's an excerpt of what he believed:

Quote
He taught a form of Monism, that God was in everything and everyone. There is no division between "God" and "not-God". People, even at their worse, are divine. He recognized Jesus Christ as having attained enlightenment, and believed that he survived his crucifixion and moved to India where he died at the age of 112. Osho was noted for reading very offensive jokes; some were anti-Semitic; others were anti-Roman Catholicism; others insulted just about every ethnic and religious group in the world. He explained that the purpose of these jokes was to shock people and to encourage them to examine their identification with and attachment to their ethnic or religious beliefs. His contention was that national, religious, gender and racial divisions are destructive.
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2008, 12:53:36 AM »

Why does everyone hate Mt. Athos so much?  I'm asking seriously.

My personal opinion?  Because of what St. Paul predicted 2,000 years ago:

Quote from: St. Paul, 2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

I would add verse 5:

5  But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

The busloads of people who donate big money to the Elder Ephraim monasteries have suffered loss of family members and affliction.  Some people have relatives who are homosexual.  Others have fallen deeply into sin or suffer from chronic health issues.  A few endured messy divorces before biased Spiritual Courts.  Others have become jaded with conventional Orthodox Churches and seek escape and refuge.  My own relatives invite me to visit the Elder Ephraim Monasteries in White Haven, PA and Roscoe, NY.  I tell them that I would probably shake the dust off my shoes if I feel offended during the visit.   Sad
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2008, 01:01:48 AM »


 I'm not a big fan of the US/Canada based Elder Ephraim Monasteries, like St. Anthony's.  What I read into the sermon sounded more like cult thinking than Orthodox Christianity and the "sinister religious figures" were meant to be direct comparisons to cults whose "center of worship" was in the center of the compound, just as Father Peck proposed.


For those that don't know. Elder Ephraim was a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mount Athos.  Elder Ephraim is the first to establish an authentic Athonite monastery on American soil. I don't see why so many people are so critical about anything having to do with the Orthodox Monastic life.
Elder Ephraim has 17 monastery's in NA that are under his spiritual guidance. Along with many more on Mount Athos. From what I hear Elder Ephraim is a very humble man. I just don't see why he is so often criticized.

I'm certainly very pro-monasticism. Just have some reservations about Fr Ephraim. Why are people who have reservations about Fr Ephraim automatically assumed to "have issues" with monasticism?

Maybe you can fill us in on those reservations. I'm not aware of anything negative with any of his monastery's. We are on the subject of North America and the Athonite monastery's. Correct? Not monasticism in general.
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2008, 01:04:05 AM »

Until you hear stories of cult brainwashing and deprogramming and see the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh drive a Rolls Royce down the middle of thousands of mud drenched devotees, you will then recognize that Orthodox Christianity has no room for those who espouse cultism.

This guy wasn't even Orthodox, so what specifically are you referring to that has to do with these Orthodox monasteries?
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2008, 01:14:11 AM »

This guy wasn't even Orthodox, so what specifically are you referring to that has to do with these Orthodox monasteries?

From a cult recipe 1/2:

Quote
Sects were recognized as offshoots that, for the most part, still held to the religious and cultural traditions from which they emerged. Cults, meanwhile, had a religious structure wholly alien to the prevalent religious communities. In a 1978 article written for the Annual Review of the Social Sciences of Religion, sociologist James T. Richardson explained that

a cult is usually defined as a small informal group lacking a definite authority structure, somewhat spontaneous in its development (although often possessing a somewhat charismatic leader or group of leaders), transitory, somewhat mystical and individualistically oriented, and deriving its inspiration and ideology from outside the predominant religious culture.

So, the Elder Ephraim monasteries are described as:

small informal groups lacking a definite authority structure, although they are under the Jurisdiction of the Metropolitans where said monastery is located.

somewhat spontaneous in their development, like they sprouted from the ground overnight.

possessing a somewhat charismatic leader or group of leaders.

somewhat mystical.

individualistically oriented

Finally, the Elder Ephraim monasteries derive their inspiration and ideology from outside the predominant religious culture (e.g. Mt. Athos in Greece, forbidden to women, etc.)
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2008, 01:23:11 AM »

For those that don't know. Elder Ephraim was a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mount Athos.  Elder Ephraim is the first to establish an authentic Athonite monastery on American soil.

Why did Elder Ephraim have to establish monasteries on American soil?  Didn't the other Orthodox Jurisdictions have their own monasteries?  Also note that Elder Ephraim founded his monasteries at a time when the GOA was $15 Million in debt and near bankruptcy in the mid 1990's.

So, what, Elder Ephraim should have pulled GOA's fat out of the fire?  Pray tell - why? I hardly see how GOA fiscal mismanagement should have any bearing whatsoever on the founding of monastic communities.

I find that nearly all of those who criticize St. Anthony and the other Athonite monasteries in North America have never actually visited them as a guest.  When I lived in Arizona I dwelt less than 30 miles from St. Anthonys, visited on numerous occasions, and it was always a grace filled experience to join the brothers in worship.  It truly is a little bit of paradise on earth.

Quote
My own relatives invite me to visit the Elder Ephraim Monasteries in White Haven, PA and Roscoe, NY.  I tell them that I would probably shake the dust off my shoes if I feel offended during the visit.

Or you might actually be blessed and then have to repent of your slander and libel.  Roll Eyes   

« Last Edit: September 28, 2008, 01:30:48 AM by Heracleides » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2008, 01:30:12 AM »

So, what, Elder Ephraim should have pulled GOA's fat out of the fire?  Pray tell - why? I hardly see how GOA fiscal mismanagement should have any bearing whatsoever on the founding of monastic communities.

People stop going to Church and take busses to monasteries like the ones in Greece.

I find that nearly all of those who criticize St. Anthony and the other Athonite monasteries in North America have never actually visited them as a guest.  When I lived in Arizona I dwelt less than 30 miles from St. Anthonys, visited on numerous occasions, and it was always a grace filled experience to join the brothers in worship.  It truly is a little bit of paradise on earth.

OK, review just one of the comments made by some individual below and tell me if this "disciple" of the Elder Ephraim has any idea what he's saying to Rick Ross, a known cult investigator.

Rick Ross' Hall of Flames

Quote
"Don't you dare call Geronta Ephraim a cult leader. If you do not understand our religion read the New Testament. The true messiah came, but Jews like you denied him. Father Ephraim is the cup of the Holy Spirit! May God's holy angels and Mary, Mother of God protect him from a Satan worshipper like you. Just as the Catholics have the Pope, we have our Geronta. By the way, I'm not brainwashed either. I could say the same thing about you and your Satanic Hebrew cult, which will be the end of all of us until Jesus comes back to save us from your tyranny! The New Testament says that the whole world is going to suffer because of the Jews. I believe it! I dare you to call me an 'anti-Semite.' I'll just call you the 'anti-Christ.' Do me a favor and go get an exorcism!"

One person already feels his Geronta is equal to the Pope; Is His Geronta Infalliable?
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2008, 01:34:36 AM »

Or you might actually be blessed and then have to repent of your slander and libel.  Roll Eyes   

The Geronta is going to beat a confession out of me?
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2008, 01:36:56 AM »

So, what, Elder Ephraim should have pulled GOA's fat out of the fire?  Pray tell - why? I hardly see how GOA fiscal mismanagement should have any bearing whatsoever on the founding of monastic communities.

People stop going to Church and take busses to monasteries like the ones in Greece.

So, let's see...

1) In Phoenix I can go to the GOA Cathedral and endure a 20 minute monologue on the glories of all things Greek, where Christ is mentioned once in passing during the entire homily. Or, 2) I can go to St. Anthony's monastery, worship in one of it's three churches, and hear Christ proclaimed to the heavens...

Truly a difficult choice.  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2008, 01:39:02 AM »

Or you might actually be blessed and then have to repent of your slander and libel.  Roll Eyes   

The Geronta is going to beat a confession out of me?

Actually visit one of the monasteries and then get back to me.  As it is, you're simply proclaiming your ignorance whilst spouting BS and know not whereof you speak.
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2008, 01:49:57 AM »

So, let's see...

1) In Phoenix I can go to the GOA Cathedral and endure a 20 minute monologue on the glories of all things Greek, where Christ is mentioned once in passing during the entire homily.

I don't have that problem at my GOA Cathedral.  Maybe the Phoenix GOA Cathedral is trying too hard to compete against the monastery.   Grin

Or, 2) I can go to St. Anthony's monastery, worship in one of it's three churches, and hear Christ proclaimed to the heavens...

Truly a difficult choice.  Roll Eyes

3 Churches.  Why does a monastic complex need 3 Churches other than to serve the busloads of people from all over.
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2008, 01:52:45 AM »

Actually visit one of the monasteries and then get back to me.  As it is, you're simply proclaiming your ignorance whilst spouting BS and know not whereof you speak.

I'm ignorant - I guess the Geronda can tell me that as well; hence, why bother going there?   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2008, 02:05:50 AM »

Quote
I don't have that problem at my GOA Cathedral.  Maybe the Phoenix GOA Cathedral is trying too hard to compete against the monastery.   Grin

Or maybe it is simply an ethnic club masquerading as an Orthodox Cathedral. Grin

Quote
3 Churches.  Why does a monastic complex need 3 Churches other than to serve the busloads of people from all over.

Lol - You'd be hard pressed to gather all the Orthodox in Arizona and fill more than four or five buses. Would it do any good to tell you that during my many visits I never once spotted a bus in the monastery parking lot?  If you'd ever actually visited St. Anthony's, you'd know that it serves as a retreat center.  The churches were built to serve the brotherhood, the day visitors such as myself, and those staying for extended spiritual retreats.

Truly, set your obvious bias aside and educate yourself by means other than internet sources.  Roll Eyes


« Last Edit: September 28, 2008, 02:16:39 AM by Heracleides » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2008, 02:09:25 AM »

Actually visit one of the monasteries and then get back to me.  As it is, you're simply proclaiming your ignorance whilst spouting BS and know not whereof you speak.

I'm ignorant - I guess the Geronda can tell me that as well; hence, why bother going there?   Roll Eyes

You are ignorant on this subject, and apparently take great pride in remaining so.  No need for him or any other monastic to point out the obvious. Roll Eyes

(I, on the other hand, am more than happy to do so.  Grin )
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2008, 03:05:33 AM »

Quote
"Don't you dare call Geronta Ephraim a cult leader. If you do not understand our religion read the New Testament. The true messiah came, but Jews like you denied him. Father Ephraim is the cup of the Holy Spirit! May God's holy angels and Mary, Mother of God protect him from a Satan worshipper like you. Just as the Catholics have the Pope, we have our Geronta. By the way, I'm not brainwashed either. I could say the same thing about you and your Satanic Hebrew cult, which will be the end of all of us until Jesus comes back to save us from your tyranny! The New Testament says that the whole world is going to suffer because of the Jews. I believe it! I dare you to call me an 'anti-Semite.' I'll just call you the 'anti-Christ.' Do me a favor and go get an exorcism!"

One person already feels his Geronta is equal to the Pope; Is His Geronta Infalliable?
And, from the above quote of this person, one could conclude that he has other more serious problems than merely believing Geronta Ephraim to be equal to the Pope.  Should we conclude from this freak's idolization of Elder Ephraim that the elder condones such worship of his personality?
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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2008, 03:20:12 AM »

I don't understand the criticisms about busloads of people coming or having multiple churches.  Most monasteries have more than one church. That's pretty standard.

As for the person who compared Elder Ephraim to the Pope, well yes, that is weird. From what I have heard though, the Elder basically spends most of his time hearing confessions and he really has no clue about what some people are saying about him, how there are a small number of people who revere him a bit too much, to say the least, and he would be apalled if he did know.  I have heard, though, from people who know him that he helped bring them to repentence and closer to Christ.
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« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2008, 09:29:15 AM »


 I'm not a big fan of the US/Canada based Elder Ephraim Monasteries, like St. Anthony's.  What I read into the sermon sounded more like cult thinking than Orthodox Christianity and the "sinister religious figures" were meant to be direct comparisons to cults whose "center of worship" was in the center of the compound, just as Father Peck proposed.


For those that don't know. Elder Ephraim was a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast of Mount Athos.  Elder Ephraim is the first to establish an authentic Athonite monastery on American soil. I don't see why so many people are so critical about anything having to do with the Orthodox Monastic life.
Elder Ephraim has 17 monastery's in NA that are under his spiritual guidance. Along with many more on Mount Athos. From what I hear Elder Ephraim is a very humble man. I just don't see why he is so often criticized.
I met him once, and he struck me as very humble and kindly, a living saint.

I have heard a number of things about him, but I haven't heard confirmation, pro or con.

I do think that SOME of his enthusiasts are cult-like, but I got the impression that is more coming from themselves (they are Old Calendarist types).

Why does everyone hate Mt. Athos so much?  I'm asking seriously.  People have talking about waiting for the monks up there to die, and I don't understand why.  Are the monks supposed to be the conscience of the Church?

What does everyone hate about these monasteries under the supervision of Athos?

Some elements have the idea that Mt. Athos is THE Church, that Monasticism is THE (Only) Christian Life, etc.  It is very dangerous for monks to come into the world and tell people how they should live in the world.

For instance, the idea that the Pedalion is, next to the Gospel, the post imporant work of Christian literature (yes, I've seen people express that), putting the rule book ahead of the spirit of the Definitions of the Councils (elevating the canons above them).  The commentary in the Pedalion on married families, for instance, shows little or no pastoral concern.

Now there is a job for monks from Athos and elsewhere, as witnesses to the angelic life.  One such monk wrote a condensed horologion, with the express purpose that those in the world could take it an pray the hours for five minutes at work, knowing that those in the world can't do so for the hours it takes on Athos.

Why does everyone hate Mt. Athos so much?  I'm asking seriously.  People have talking about waiting for the monks up there to die, and I don't understand why.  Are the monks supposed to be the conscience of the Church?

What does everyone hate about these monasteries under the supervision of Athos?

Mt Athos is just like any other place: there are some good, and some bad. The careless promotion of any one type of Orthodox place as the "Mecca" of Orthodoxy leads people who go there and have bad experiences to feel very let down.  They then become bitter and often go to the other extreme. Much better is to have a balanced view going in: there are some very good things about Mt Athos and it certainly is a treasure of Orthodoxy. But it's not all there is about Orthodoxy, and it's not perfect.

I fully agree, and will just add that part of the problem is that many of its enthusiasts look at Athos like the adherents to the Vatican look at it, and look at you askance for expressing the view you just stated.

When I hear "Holy Mountain,"  I think of Sinai.

So, what, Elder Ephraim should have pulled GOA's fat out of the fire?  Pray tell - why? I hardly see how GOA fiscal mismanagement should have any bearing whatsoever on the founding of monastic communities.

People stop going to Church and take busses to monasteries like the ones in Greece.

So, let's see...

1) In Phoenix I can go to the GOA Cathedral and endure a 20 minute monologue on the glories of all things Greek, where Christ is mentioned once in passing during the entire homily. Or, 2) I can go to St. Anthony's monastery, worship in one of it's three churches, and hear Christ proclaimed to the heavens...

Truly a difficult choice.  Roll Eyes



LOL.  Yes.  I will say that the followers of Ephraim are very Greek, but NOT ethnocentric.

I don't understand the criticisms about busloads of people coming or having multiple churches.  Most monasteries have more than one church. That's pretty standard.

As for the person who compared Elder Ephraim to the Pope, well yes, that is weird. From what I have heard though, the Elder basically spends most of his time hearing confessions and he really has no clue about what some people are saying about him, how there are a small number of people who revere him a bit too much, to say the least, and he would be apalled if he did know.  I have heard, though, from people who know him that he helped bring them to repentence and closer to Christ.
Yes, I have to say the time I met him fully fits your description of the situation.
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« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2008, 09:38:54 AM »

Why does everyone hate Mt. Athos so much?  I'm asking seriously.  People have talking about waiting for the monks up there to die, and I don't understand why.  Are the monks supposed to be the conscience of the Church?

What does everyone hate about these monasteries under the supervision of Athos?

Mt Athos is just like any other place: there are some good, and some bad. The careless promotion of any one type of Orthodox place as the "Mecca" of Orthodoxy leads people who go there and have bad experiences to feel very let down.  They then become bitter and often go to the other extreme. Much better is to have a balanced view going in: there are some very good things about Mt Athos and it certainly is a treasure of Orthodoxy. But it's not all there is about Orthodoxy, and it's not perfect.
Fr, have you been to Mt Athos?
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« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2008, 09:52:48 AM »

So, let's see...

1) In Phoenix I can go to the GOA Cathedral and endure a 20 minute monologue on the glories of all things Greek, where Christ is mentioned once in passing during the entire homily.

I don't have that problem at my GOA Cathedral.  Maybe the Phoenix GOA Cathedral is trying too hard to compete against the monastery.   Grin

It's telling what they do for advertising then.  Barbarians (oops, sorry, Barbaroi, oops, sorry, Varbari) need not apply.

Or, 2) I can go to St. Anthony's monastery, worship in one of it's three churches, and hear Christ proclaimed to the heavens...

Truly a difficult choice.  Roll Eyes

3 Churches.  Why does a monastic complex need 3 Churches other than to serve the busloads of people from all over.

The HORROR!  Busloads of people from all over going to Church! So much that they need THREE Churches.  And the Churches SERVE them.

By all means, we have to put a stop to this! police
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« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2008, 11:46:43 AM »

ke, but I got the impression that is more coming from themselves (they are Old Calendarist types).


Please. Elder Ephraim is too liberal for us  Cool
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« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2008, 12:12:09 PM »


I'm certainly very pro-monasticism. Just have some reservations about Fr Ephraim. Why are people who have reservations about Fr Ephraim automatically assumed to "have issues" with monasticism?

Maybe you can fill us in on those reservations. I'm not aware of anything negative with any of his monastery's. We are on the subject of North America and the Athonite monastery's. Correct? Not monasticism in general.

1) A friend of mine lived in Arizona and was involved in the monasteries for 2 years.  He was, during high school, given a prayer rule that was almost 2 hours a night. Attempts to ask for reductions were met with accusations that he was giving in to Satan.  This friend was not baptized on his reception to the GOA, so Fr Paisius arranged for him to be baptized on Mt Athos.  While I think all converts should be baptized, that is not the policy of the bishop over St Anthony's monastery. So when my friend went over to Athos, they arranged for him to get baptized. When he came back, they told him to go back to the parish he came from (!) and pretend like nothing happened--and told him to *lie* if anyone asked him what happened!  They later constructed a chapel off site to do their secret baptisms.

2) Another friend of mine went there about two months ago and was told that he should not even hold a girl's hand before marriage because that was sinful....(ok.....right)

3) One of our Old Calendarist priests was a disciple of Fr Ephraim and was with him when he announced that the Theotokos had appeared to him and told him to go to the ROCOR. Then, a month later, he told him that well, the "mafia" had "approached him" and "thrown him in a car" and threatened to "kill all his spiritual Children" if he did not go back to the GOA, so he did; but he told our priest "you can stay in ROCOR, they won't care about you, you are American." But he told others the Theotokos had told him to go back. So was the Theotokos confused? Or was he lying? Or did the mafia want him for some reason (and if so, why?)

Those are a few of my *reservations* with Fr Ephraim, Fr Paisius, and their circle. Note, however, that I am not *against* Fr Ephraim. It's quite possible that a lot of the nuttiness comes from the people, not from the Elder. However, it is incumbent on spiritual leaders to disabuse their people of these attachments.

To sum it up, my objections are:

1) Promoting disobedience to the local bishops
2) Overstrictness on issues of relations with members of the opposite sex (not as big of an objection as I have with #1)
3) Using alleged visions to back up jurisdictional changes.
4) Creating a para-parish situation in some monasteries.


I must say I am highly impressed with the fact that Fr Ephraim has been able to start all these monasteries and I believe they are having a good impact on the GOA. However, I would like to see greater integration between his monasteries and the regular GOA structure, which I believe would help to alleviate some of these concerns.
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« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2008, 01:32:20 PM »

It's telling what they do for advertising then.  Barbarians (oops, sorry, Barbaroi, oops, sorry, Varbari) need not apply.

In other words, the Orthodox in Phoenix, AZ are divided between GOA "Varbari" and St. Anthony's.  In other words, there is an us (St. Anthony's) against them (GOA Churches in Phoenix) mentality which suits a cult perfectly.   

The HORROR!  Busloads of people from all over going to Church! So much that they need THREE Churches.  And the Churches SERVE them.

By all means, we have to put a stop to this! police

We need to put a stop to cultism in the Orthodox Church because to me, cultism breeds things like sex abuse, pederasty and other non-Orthodox practices.  We are all sinners except that I don't pretend to be a charismatic religious leader.

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« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2008, 01:41:08 PM »

And, from the above quote of this person, one could conclude that he has other more serious problems than merely believing Geronta Ephraim to be equal to the Pope.  Should we conclude from this freak's idolization of Elder Ephraim that the elder condones such worship of his personality?

Who knows?  Like I cited in an earlier example, thousands frolicked in the mud to worship the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Just because the Elders & Abbesses at the monasteries don't have Rolls Royces doesn't mean that the GOA is not benefiting from the generosity of those who visit said monasteries.  From a logical perspective, if Greek-Americans can't travel to Athos, bring Athos to the Americas.
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« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2008, 01:42:47 PM »

You are ignorant on this subject, and apparently take great pride in remaining so.  No need for him or any other monastic to point out the obvious. Roll Eyes

(I, on the other hand, am more than happy to do so.  Grin )

The subject of my priest's homily today: God is love.   Wink

Love doesn't mean getting beat up by a Geronda.
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« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2008, 01:50:27 PM »

In other words, the Orthodox in Phoenix, AZ are divided between GOA "Varbari" and St. Anthony's.  In other words, there is an us (St. Anthony's) against them (GOA Churches in Phoenix) mentality which suits a cult perfectly.

Hardly, but hey, if it suits your unfounded slander against a community of monks whom you have no firsthand knowledge of, go for it.  Roll Eyes  

We need to put a stop to cultism in the Orthodox Church because to me, cultism breeds things like sex abuse, pederasty and other non-Orthodox practices.  We are all sinners except that I don't pretend to be a charismatic religious leader.

Perhaps because you are in fact not a charismatic religious leader?  Always wise to acknowledge ones limitations.  Wink
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« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2008, 01:50:52 PM »

Or maybe it is simply an ethnic club masquerading as an Orthodox Cathedral. Grin

Father John Peck's sermon was directed at people who express the above sentiments.  I'm not such people.

Lol - You'd be hard pressed to gather all the Orthodox in Arizona and fill more than four or five buses. Would it do any good to tell you that during my many visits I never once spotted a bus in the monastery parking lot?

You weren't there 24x7.   Cheesy
I think their website has recommended days and times where buses can visit. 

If you'd ever actually visited St. Anthony's, you'd know that it serves as a retreat center.  The churches were built to serve the brotherhood, the day visitors such as myself, and those staying for extended spiritual retreats.

I've never been to the Taj Mahal in India....  Edited out comments comparing Taj Mahal to St. Anthony's

Truly, set your obvious bias aside and educate yourself by means other than internet sources.  Roll Eyes

I cried the day David Koresh's compound went up in smoke and he had as much right to exist as the Elder Ephraim Monasteries.  The difference is that David Koresh's beliefs were well known while I don't know what the Elder Ephraim added and/or subtracted from the Orthodox faith.  Both you and ialmstry can argue that the monasteries are benign and I argue that they are dangerous.  Only God can reveal the truth to us rather than us hashing it out on this forum.   Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2008, 01:54:03 PM »

Hardly, but hey, if it suits your unfounded slander against a community of monks whom you have no firsthand knowledge of, go for it.  Roll Eyes

Another defense typical for a cult - accuse others of unfounded slander.
 
Perhaps because you are in fact not a charismatic religious leader?  Always wise to acknowledge ones limitations.  Wink

I'm not .... Edited out questionable comments regarding slicing tomatoes and receiving beatings.
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« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2008, 01:56:36 PM »

And, from the above quote of this person, one could conclude that he has other more serious problems than merely believing Geronta Ephraim to be equal to the Pope.  Should we conclude from this freak's idolization of Elder Ephraim that the elder condones such worship of his personality?

Who knows?  Like I cited in an earlier example, thousands frolicked in the mud to worship the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Just because the Elders & Abbesses at the monasteries don't have Rolls Royces doesn't mean that the GOA is not benefiting from the generosity of those who visit said monasteries.  From a logical perspective, if Greek-Americans can't travel to Athos, bring Athos to the Americas.

So in actuality, your real beef with the Athonite monasteries in North America boils down to what you perceive as a loss of dollars donated by pilgrims to the monasteries which could instead be used to fill GOA coffers?  What's the matter, those GreekFest carnivals.. er, fundraisers not raking in enough cash?  Excuse me while I weep for GOA's tragic loss.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2008, 02:12:10 PM »

So in actuality, your real beef with the Athonite monasteries in North America boils down to what you perceive as a loss of dollars donated by pilgrims to the monasteries which could instead be used to fill GOA coffers?
 

False.  My beef is the taking advantage of vulnerable people by charismatic religious leaders which can happen in a Church, at a Monastery or anywhere else. 

What's the matter, those GreekFest carnivals.. er, fundraisers not raking in enough cash?  Excuse me while I weep for GOA's tragic loss.  Roll Eyes

The law of diminishing returns will eventually shut down every Greekfest as people will conclude that the money is well spent elsewhere.  If anything, a Greekfest can be seen as forced stewardship from most people who have nothing to do with the Church.
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« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2008, 03:08:30 PM »

I cried the day David Koresh's compound went up in smoke and he had as much right to exist as the Elder Ephraim Monasteries.  The difference is that David Koresh's beliefs were well known while I don't know what the Elder Ephraim added and/or subtracted from the Orthodox faith.  Both you and ialmstry can argue that the monasteries are benign and I argue that they are dangerous.  Only God can reveal the truth to us rather than us hashing it out on this forum.   Smiley

Exactly - you DON'T know and have amply demonstrated your lack of knowledge.  Educate yourself and then come back and share with us your informed thoughts - rather than your current unfounded speculations and outright slander.

P.S. Your editing out several extremely offensive comments in a few of your posts above is a good start.  Wink
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« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2008, 03:18:42 PM »

Exactly - you DON'T know and have amply demonstrated your lack of knowledge.  Educate yourself and then come back and share with us your informed thoughts - rather than your current unfounded speculations and outright slander.

I've educated myself enough.  I'm sad that we don't see things the same way.   Cry
I don't see what authority you have in saying that I've made unfounded speculations and outright slander; I reserve such authority for the Mods.

P.S. Your editing out of your extremely offensive comments in a few of your posts above is a good start.  Wink

I moderated myself after seeing how I went over the top on some of those posts except I feel that the rest of the posts are OK unless informed otherwise.   Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2008, 04:19:07 PM »

It's telling what they do for advertising then.  Barbarians (oops, sorry, Barbaroi, oops, sorry, Varbari) need not apply.

In other words, the Orthodox in Phoenix, AZ are divided between GOA "Varbari" and St. Anthony's.  In other words, there is an us (St. Anthony's) against them (GOA Churches in Phoenix) mentality which suits a cult perfectly.

Hmmm.  I note that "them" is the GOA Churches, and Heracleidas jurisdiction designation says: Antiochian.

There seems to be some confusion between Greek and Orthodox here.

Quote
The HORROR!  Busloads of people from all over going to Church! So much that they need THREE Churches.  And the Churches SERVE them.

By all means, we have to put a stop to this! police

We need to put a stop to cultism in the Orthodox Church because to me, cultism breeds things like sex abuse, pederasty and other non-Orthodox practices.  We are all sinners except that I don't pretend to be a charismatic religious leader.

And phyletism leads where? (and I'm not sure that the sermon that Herakleidas quoted even qualifies as phyletist: it would have to be more Christian).

Or maybe it is simply an ethnic club masquerading as an Orthodox Cathedral. Grin

Father John Peck's sermon was directed at people who express the above sentiments.  I'm not such people.

Lol - You'd be hard pressed to gather all the Orthodox in Arizona and fill more than four or five buses. Would it do any good to tell you that during my many visits I never once spotted a bus in the monastery parking lot?

You weren't there 24x7.   Cheesy
I think their website has recommended days and times where buses can visit. 

If you'd ever actually visited St. Anthony's, you'd know that it serves as a retreat center.  The churches were built to serve the brotherhood, the day visitors such as myself, and those staying for extended spiritual retreats.

I've never been to the Taj Mahal in India....  Edited out comments comparing Taj Mahal to St. Anthony's

Truly, set your obvious bias aside and educate yourself by means other than internet sources.  Roll Eyes

I cried the day David Koresh's compound went up in smoke and he had as much right to exist as the Elder Ephraim Monasteries.  The difference is that David Koresh's beliefs were well known while I don't know what the Elder Ephraim added and/or subtracted from the Orthodox faith.  Both you and ialmstry can argue that the monasteries are benign and I argue that they are dangerous.  Only God can reveal the truth to us rather than us hashing it out on this forum.   Smiley

I'm all open for proof.

But I have no time for slander.

Hardly, but hey, if it suits your unfounded slander against a community of monks whom you have no firsthand knowledge of, go for it.  Roll Eyes

Another defense typical for a cult - accuse others of unfounded slander.
Then find, it and found it.
Off the wall accusations about the guru and David Koresh, without any documented comparison of the Geronta with either doesn't cut it.


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« Reply #39 on: September 28, 2008, 04:29:51 PM »


I'm certainly very pro-monasticism. Just have some reservations about Fr Ephraim. Why are people who have reservations about Fr Ephraim automatically assumed to "have issues" with monasticism?

Maybe you can fill us in on those reservations. I'm not aware of anything negative with any of his monastery's. We are on the subject of North America and the Athonite monastery's. Correct? Not monasticism in general.

1) A friend of mine lived in Arizona and was involved in the monasteries for 2 years.  He was, during high school, given a prayer rule that was almost 2 hours a night. Attempts to ask for reductions were met with accusations that he was giving in to Satan.  This friend was not baptized on his reception to the GOA, so Fr Paisius arranged for him to be baptized on Mt Athos.  While I think all converts should be baptized, that is not the policy of the bishop over St Anthony's monastery. So when my friend went over to Athos, they arranged for him to get baptized. When he came back, they told him to go back to the parish he came from (!) and pretend like nothing happened--and told him to *lie* if anyone asked him what happened!  They later constructed a chapel off site to do their secret baptisms.

2) Another friend of mine went there about two months ago and was told that he should not even hold a girl's hand before marriage because that was sinful....(ok.....right)

3) One of our Old Calendarist priests was a disciple of Fr Ephraim and was with him when he announced that the Theotokos had appeared to him and told him to go to the ROCOR. Then, a month later, he told him that well, the "mafia" had "approached him" and "thrown him in a car" and threatened to "kill all his spiritual Children" if he did not go back to the GOA, so he did; but he told our priest "you can stay in ROCOR, they won't care about you, you are American." But he told others the Theotokos had told him to go back. So was the Theotokos confused? Or was he lying? Or did the mafia want him for some reason (and if so, why?)

Those are a few of my *reservations* with Fr Ephraim, Fr Paisius, and their circle. Note, however, that I am not *against* Fr Ephraim. It's quite possible that a lot of the nuttiness comes from the people, not from the Elder. However, it is incumbent on spiritual leaders to disabuse their people of these attachments.
To sum it up, my objections are:

1) Promoting disobedience to the local bishops
2) Overstrictness on issues of relations with members of the opposite sex (not as big of an objection as I have with #1)
3) Using alleged visions to back up jurisdictional changes.
4) Creating a para-parish situation in some monasteries.


I must say I am highly impressed with the fact that Fr Ephraim has been able to start all these monasteries and I believe they are having a good impact on the GOA. However, I would like to see greater integration between his monasteries and the regular GOA structure, which I believe would help to alleviate some of these concerns.
Fr. do you have any documented sources about the allegations against Fr. Ephraim.  I've heard some things, but it's all rather whispered. As I said, I only met with him once, and I saw no substance to the charges, although I do see something in a number of his followers.  As you said, a geronta should address that.
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« Reply #40 on: September 28, 2008, 04:55:58 PM »

Solexo1,


The whole cult vs noncult thing is a product of America. It started in the 1970's, so why are you putting much weight in what was started some 30 years ago?

Why are you judging this form of Monasticism in light of a 30 year old American concept?

Being in a cult isn't always bad. There are alot of normal and smart people in cults. Also just because some Orthodox may use some of the same methods as non Orthodox cultic leaders doesn't mean that the method in and of itself is bad.

A method is a method, and it can be used for both good and evil. I don't see a problem with being brainwashed. If you are a willing participant then what's the problem?


Some cults offer discipline. And believe it or not, some people actually want discipline in their lives. It's just like the Armed forces in some ways. As long as they are not trying to kill you then I really don't see a problem with it.






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« Reply #41 on: September 28, 2008, 08:14:55 PM »

Hmmm.  I note that "them" is the GOA Churches, and Heracleidas jurisdiction designation says: Antiochian.

There seems to be some confusion between Greek and Orthodox here.

Athos used to be populated by other Orthodox Jurisdictions until Communism reduced and/or eliminated their numbers.  As a consequence, ethnic Greeks dominated Athos; Hence, the emphasis on Greek even though the idea of Greek got thrown out the window in Father John Peck's sermon where this entire thread was started.

I'm all open for proof.

But I have no time for slander.

I drew a comparison between a known cult leader and the monasteries and I did not slander anyone or anything.  Slander is an oral utterance according to dictionary.com.

Then find, it and found it.
Off the wall accusations about the guru and David Koresh, without any documented comparison of the Geronta with either doesn't cut it.

Again, there is a difference between making a comparison and slander.  The monasteries went on their best behavior after the Dioceses were elevated to Metropolitans in 2002.  Greek-Americans are no different when it comes to bottling up emotions when experiencing shame and guilt especially if something unfortunate happens to them.   Sad
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« Reply #42 on: September 28, 2008, 08:23:54 PM »

Solexo1,
The whole cult vs noncult thing is a product of America. It started in the 1970's, so why are you putting much weight in what was started some 30 years ago?

Mostly to protect others.

Why are you judging this form of Monasticism in light of a 30 year old American concept?

Do you remember Jim Jones and the Kool-Aid?

Being in a cult isn't always bad. There are alot of normal and smart people in cults.

I haven't heard of one good cult.  What is an example of a "good" cult?

Also just because some Orthodox may use some of the same methods as non Orthodox cultic leaders doesn't mean that the method in and of itself is bad.

I'm starting to think you're playing Devil's Advocate.   Wink

A method is a method, and it can be used for both good and evil. I don't see a problem with being brainwashed. If you are a willing participant then what's the problem?

"Good" brainwashing?

Some cults offer discipline. And believe it or not, some people actually want discipline in their lives. It's just like the Armed forces in some ways. As long as they are not trying to kill you then I really don't see a problem with it.

I repeat my statement about Jim Jones and the Kool-Aid....

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zebu
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« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2008, 08:41:03 PM »

Solex01, why are you just fundamentally opposed to monasteries? Because that's what it seems like to me...As someone who has spent four months in a monastery, I don't understand why someone would be opposed to them.  I think monasteries are beautiful places of healing and repentance.

If you are reading about monasteries online on certain gossip-oriented websites, do be aware of two things:
1) It is very easy to make a monastery SOUND like a cult. I could easily describe my own experiences in the Monastery as being extremely cult-like, if I so chose, but it isn't a cult.  You can make almost anyone or anything sound bad without lying if you just phrase it right.
 2) There are a lot of odd people who visit monasteries, and a lot of people who have a lot of problems. This can mean that they come away from it with a lot of very strange ideas, but normally, these ideas are their own and not those of the monastery or the abbot or anything. 
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« Reply #44 on: September 28, 2008, 08:44:40 PM »

I haven't heard of one good cult.  What is an example of a "good" cult?

Show an average American the inside of an Orthodox Church and their you have it. Wink
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