Author Topic: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries  (Read 100776 times)

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Offline Knee V

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #180 on: December 31, 2011, 02:48:16 PM »
At Holy Archangels there is a monk who is an MD. He finished his residency and then became a novice (he has since been tonsured a monk). Now his skill is useful for the monastery, as he can write prescriptions for the monks if needed, provide their medical care (if he has the supplies/facilities for it), and can give some emergency attention to visitors should the need arise. He is, of course, a monk first, but his skills as an MD are beneficial when the circumstances require a doctor.

It might be a different story if he were working at a nearby hospital and spending most of his time away from the monastery. But that would be between him, his abbot, and God.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #181 on: January 01, 2012, 10:43:12 AM »
One monastery in Poland runs a dental clinic.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #182 on: January 01, 2012, 07:05:04 PM »
At Holy Archangels there is a monk who is an MD. He finished his residency and then became a novice (he has since been tonsured a monk). Now his skill is useful for the monastery, as he can write prescriptions for the monks if needed, provide their medical care (if he has the supplies/facilities for it), and can give some emergency attention to visitors should the need arise. He is, of course, a monk first, but his skills as an MD are beneficial when the circumstances require a doctor.

It might be a different story if he were working at a nearby hospital and spending most of his time away from the monastery. But that would be between him, his abbot, and God.

Keep in mind that in order to continue to practice medicine his state will require a certain amount of continuing education credits.

Offline SeraphimMark

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #183 on: January 01, 2012, 07:13:24 PM »
OK yes I understand there are monks that have professions I understand that of course that wasn't what I was thinking or talking about when I was speaking about the particular monastery I visited, sorry I wasn't clear . To be frank the monastery that I visited I think was a facade. The monks asked personnel questions like " how much do you make " etc They also accepted money donations but that was it.Other kinds of donations weren't as welcomed.Not using incense during the services , that was strange .

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #184 on: January 02, 2012, 06:11:49 PM »
OK yes I understand there are monks that have professions I understand that of course that wasn't what I was thinking or talking about when I was speaking about the particular monastery I visited, sorry I wasn't clear . To be frank the monastery that I visited I think was a facade. The monks asked personnel questions like " how much do you make " etc They also accepted money donations but that was it.Other kinds of donations weren't as welcomed.Not using incense during the services , that was strange .

Sadly, there are several monasteries in America with only the appearance, but not the substance of Orthdooxy--empty censers indeed.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #185 on: January 03, 2012, 04:49:29 PM »
At Holy Archangels there is a monk who is an MD. He finished his residency and then became a novice (he has since been tonsured a monk). Now his skill is useful for the monastery, as he can write prescriptions for the monks if needed, provide their medical care (if he has the supplies/facilities for it), and can give some emergency attention to visitors should the need arise. He is, of course, a monk first, but his skills as an MD are beneficial when the circumstances require a doctor.

It might be a different story if he were working at a nearby hospital and spending most of his time away from the monastery. But that would be between him, his abbot, and God.

I believe there are a few M.D. monks on Athos who provide the same sort of service.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #186 on: January 03, 2012, 05:22:54 PM »
St Luke of Simferopol (1877-1961) was a monk, later a bishop; he was also a distinguished professor of surgery. His monastic status was no secret to the Soviet authorities.
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Offline KBN1

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #187 on: January 10, 2012, 05:15:14 PM »
I just returned from four days at the Monastery of St. Anthony in Arizona.  I see reason to be concerned about some of the pilgrims, but I didn't see reason to be concerned about Elder Ephraim or the monks.  A few of the people visiting the monastery would talk about the Elder like he had magical powers and would say things like "He is the greatest saint that has ever lived.", and "He possesses the fullness of every single spiritual gift."  They had lots of tales of miracles he performed that always started with something like, "I met a person who's sister-in-law heard from a friend that..." There was also the belief that getting a blessing from Elder Ephraim was a much better blessing than available from any other Orthodox priest.  I only saw that from the visitors though. 

When we arrived at the monastery a monk greeted us and gave us a run down of the rules, service times, dress code, etc., and concluded by saying, "Elder Ephraim insists that no one kneels before him, or make prostration or the sign of the cross towards him.  That is unacceptable."  So they are aware of the problem.  What I saw of the Elder, he seems like he is full of love and joy and has lots of energy for how old he is.  And the monks that I interacted with and worked with seemed perfectly sane and were nothing but kind.  I know that four days is not a long time, but those are my impressions, for what its worth.

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #188 on: January 10, 2012, 05:30:06 PM »
I just returned from four days at the Monastery of St. Anthony in Arizona.  I see reason to be concerned about some of the pilgrims, but I didn't see reason to be concerned about Elder Ephraim or the monks.  A few of the people visiting the monastery would talk about the Elder like he had magical powers and would say things like "He is the greatest saint that has ever lived.", and "He possesses the fullness of every single spiritual gift."  They had lots of tales of miracles he performed that always started with something like, "I met a person who's sister-in-law heard from a friend that..." There was also the belief that getting a blessing from Elder Ephraim was a much better blessing than available from any other Orthodox priest.  I only saw that from the visitors though. 

When we arrived at the monastery a monk greeted us and gave us a run down of the rules, service times, dress code, etc., and concluded by saying, "Elder Ephraim insists that no one kneels before him, or make prostration or the sign of the cross towards him.  That is unacceptable."  So they are aware of the problem.  What I saw of the Elder, he seems like he is full of love and joy and has lots of energy for how old he is.  And the monks that I interacted with and worked with seemed perfectly sane and were nothing but kind.  I know that four days is not a long time, but those are my impressions, for what its worth.

Elder worship has probably always existed. St. John of Kronstadt had to take out a full page newspaper ad denouncing the idiocies of the "Ioannites" who claimed he was something like an incarnation of Christ and whatnot. The people were deluded and caused trouble for St. John.
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Offline Knee V

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #189 on: January 13, 2012, 12:07:01 PM »
At Holy Archangels there is a monk who is an MD. He finished his residency and then became a novice (he has since been tonsured a monk). Now his skill is useful for the monastery, as he can write prescriptions for the monks if needed, provide their medical care (if he has the supplies/facilities for it), and can give some emergency attention to visitors should the need arise. He is, of course, a monk first, but his skills as an MD are beneficial when the circumstances require a doctor.

It might be a different story if he were working at a nearby hospital and spending most of his time away from the monastery. But that would be between him, his abbot, and God.

Keep in mind that in order to continue to practice medicine his state will require a certain amount of continuing education credits.

Indeed. They have a system to ensure that that can happen.

Offline Knee V

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #190 on: January 13, 2012, 12:08:45 PM »
To be frank the monastery that I visited I think was a facade. The monks asked personnel questions like " how much do you make " etc They also accepted money donations but that was it.Other kinds of donations weren't as welcomed.Not using incense during the services , that was strange .

That's unfortunate.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #191 on: January 13, 2012, 01:28:43 PM »
St Luke of Simferopol (1877-1961) was a monk, later a bishop; he was also a distinguished professor of surgery. His monastic status was no secret to the Soviet authorities.
Indeed, it was a source of profound embarrassment (btw, IIRC, St. Luke was first married, but widowed).  They had to give him the Lenin award, as he was that outstanding.  When they questioned him if he had ever seen a soul during surgery, he replied no, but then he never saw love, compassion or any other emotion either.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #192 on: January 13, 2012, 01:48:18 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.

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.


It is an honest look.  And comparison.  In both there is a loss of hopes and dreams.  That is an honest statement of fact.  That there is a new hope in one and not in the other doesn't change that.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #193 on: January 13, 2012, 01:53:26 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.  
So all that burning that St. Paul talks about is just hot air?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #194 on: January 13, 2012, 02:01:45 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.
On the incense, could it be that neither were hieromonks, i.e. had not been ordained?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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Offline Hamartolos

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #195 on: January 13, 2012, 03:28:25 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. 
So all that burning that St. Paul talks about is just hot air?

I doubt the 'burning' is referring to any psychological disturbance, if so then the Church has been wrong to ask their bishops and monastics to be celibate.  Also, why are you bringing up a quote I made nearly 2 years ago?

Offline Incognito777

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #196 on: December 23, 2013, 05:11:38 AM »
COMMENT: 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.

MY REPLY: Most Greek Orthodox people today only care about Greek culture and nation. Christianity is of second importance to them.

COMMENT: 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...

MY REPLY: Yeah, you'll hear him proclaimed in the Greek language, whom only a few people understand. Speaking in Greek, when most people understand English, is selfish and a tradition of men, which negates the Word of God. The purpose of language is to communicate, not to preserve culture.



Offline mike

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #197 on: December 23, 2013, 06:08:37 AM »
The purpose of language is to communicate, not to preserve culture.

Not really. Culturogenic function of language is quite obvious. The question is, should churches be a places to preserve culture and to what extent?
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #198 on: December 24, 2013, 12:19:36 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. 
So all that burning that St. Paul talks about is just hot air?

I doubt the 'burning' is referring to any psychological disturbance, if so then the Church has been wrong to ask their bishops and monastics to be celibate.  Also, why are you bringing up a quote I made nearly 2 years ago?

Temptations of any sort can have psychological and physiological components.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #199 on: December 24, 2013, 12:21:50 AM »
COMMENT: 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.

MY REPLY: Most Greek Orthodox people today only care about Greek culture and nation. Christianity is of second importance to them.

COMMENT: 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...

MY REPLY: Yeah, you'll hear him proclaimed in the Greek language, whom only a few people understand. Speaking in Greek, when most people understand English, is selfish and a tradition of men, which negates the Word of God. The purpose of language is to communicate, not to preserve culture.


And yet you can converse with the monastics in English and even be provided with English translations of the services. St. Anthony's even has a translation/musical notation project for church hymns.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #200 on: December 24, 2013, 09:12:08 AM »
By virtue of Orthodoxy's organizational model, culture and faith are inexorably linked. Maintaining a sound balance is difficult and sadly, far too often, it seems culture has the upper hand with some.

I'm a fervent advocate for liturgical vernacular. Here in America that often still means more than one language. We just have to deal with it.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #201 on: December 24, 2013, 09:33:38 AM »
Quote
COMMENT: 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.

MY REPLY: Most Greek Orthodox people today only care about Greek culture and nation. Christianity is of second importance to them.

This is spot on and is my only criticism of the Church.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #202 on: December 24, 2013, 09:38:51 AM »
Quote
COMMENT: 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.

MY REPLY: Most Greek Orthodox people today only care about Greek culture and nation. Christianity is of second importance to them.

This is spot on and is my only criticism of the Church.

Can anyone actually prove this beyond providing personal anecdotes? I have quite a different experience with Greek churches.
Quote
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Offline Shiny

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #203 on: December 24, 2013, 10:25:39 AM »
Quote
COMMENT: 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.

MY REPLY: Most Greek Orthodox people today only care about Greek culture and nation. Christianity is of second importance to them.

This is spot on and is my only criticism of the Church.

Can anyone actually prove this beyond providing personal anecdotes? I have quite a different experience with Greek churches.
You mean you found a parish that isn't an ethnic club outside of Antiochian/ACROD/OCA, even if the later can be seen as having Americanism.

Ive talked with GOA priests who observed and confirmed the same thing because I brought it up to my bishop as well.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #204 on: December 24, 2013, 10:27:15 AM »
By virtue of Orthodoxy's organizational model, culture and faith are inexorably linked.

It's not only a matter of our organisational model.  Culture and faith are linked because they involve people.  People don't come in a "generic" variety, we are always born in a particular culture: if we identify some as more "cultural" or "ethnic" than others, it has more to do with our own perception of what is "normal" or "the default setting".  Faith, as we understand it, is a uniquely human phenomenon.  Put them together, and there's more of the same: "religion" is a type of culture in many ways, and our beliefs about God often have an effect on society.  You can't compartmentalise these things anymore than you can chop up people and see how well they thrive in pieces as opposed to whole.  
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Offline Shiny

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #205 on: December 24, 2013, 10:28:47 AM »
^ sorry but people who identify more with their ethnicity and go to DL because of that rather than God is unacceptable. And that this mentality is allowed is worrisome.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #206 on: December 24, 2013, 10:35:19 AM »
Quote
COMMENT: 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.

MY REPLY: Most Greek Orthodox people today only care about Greek culture and nation. Christianity is of second importance to them.

This is spot on and is my only criticism of the Church.

Can anyone actually prove this beyond providing personal anecdotes? I have quite a different experience with Greek churches.
You mean you found a parish that isn't an ethnic club outside of Antiochian/ACROD/OCA, even if the later can be seen as having Americanism.

Ive talked with GOA priests who observed and confirmed the same thing because I brought it up to my bishop as well.

Yes, I have run into several Greek parishes that are open and welcoming to non-Greeks and quite serious about their Christianity. That doesn't mean they efface their own culture. And yes, I believe you when you say you have had a different experience- my question is, is there really any basis beyond such anecdotes to say that "Most Greek Orthodox people today only care about Greek culture and nation."
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #207 on: December 24, 2013, 10:36:44 AM »
Can anyone actually prove this beyond providing personal anecdotes? I have quite a different experience with Greek churches.

My personal experience with Greek churches (limited) is that there is certainly some promotion/praise of Greek culture, but it would be wrong to say that Christ is secondary to this.  Actually, one of the most solid parishes I've ever attended was a Greek parish where the chanters sang everything in Greek--everything--but the priest tried to incorporate a lot of English, was a solid preacher, and devoted to pastoral and educational work and a complete parochial liturgical life.  If I still lived in that area as opposed to where I am now, that would've continued to be my parish, whether or not I eventually switched sides.  

That said, I have enough personal experience with "ethnic" churches generally to believe that others' experience with Greek churches might not be too far off the mark.  But I always feel bad for Greeks because they seem to be the easiest target: Ukrainians, Serbs, Russians, Romanians, even Antiochians have this problem to a greater or lesser extent.  It's not like the Greeks handed over Orthodoxy to all those people and suddenly became godless.  
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #208 on: December 24, 2013, 10:46:02 AM »
^ sorry but people who identify more with their ethnicity and go to DL because of that rather than God is unacceptable. And that this mentality is allowed is worrisome.

I don't know where you got this from my post (maybe you weren't addressing mine).  But I would ask two questions:

1.  How do you know if a person is going to Divine Liturgy because "It's what Greeks do on Sunday" as opposed to "I want to worship God"?  The only person I've ever heard admit anything close was Frank Schaeffer...hardly a Greek's Greek.  However proud a person is of their culture, usually their participation in church services has to do with God because "Church" isn't the only way to engage in cultural activities. 

2.  Even if you did know that someone was attending divine services out of ethnic and not religious considerations, why would it be "unacceptable"?  They're not going to Divine Liturgy for you, after all.  I'd rather that they were there for good reasons than for bad reasons, but I'd prefer them to be there rather than to be absent.  God can and does work through all manner of circumstances to draw people to himself.  That little bit of spiritual effort, practiced for dubious reasons, may be enough for God to work with.  But for the sake of the perfect, you would oppose the good.  That's silly. 
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #209 on: December 24, 2013, 10:49:02 AM »
Can anyone actually prove this beyond providing personal anecdotes? I have quite a different experience with Greek churches.

My personal experience with Greek churches (limited) is that there is certainly some promotion/praise of Greek culture, but it would be wrong to say that Christ is secondary to this.  Actually, one of the most solid parishes I've ever attended was a Greek parish where the chanters sang everything in Greek--everything--but the priest tried to incorporate a lot of English, was a solid preacher, and devoted to pastoral and educational work and a complete parochial liturgical life.  If I still lived in that area as opposed to where I am now, that would've continued to be my parish, whether or not I eventually switched sides.  

That said, I have enough personal experience with "ethnic" churches generally to believe that others' experience with Greek churches might not be too far off the mark.  But I always feel bad for Greeks because they seem to be the easiest target: Ukrainians, Serbs, Russians, Romanians, even Antiochians have this problem to a greater or lesser extent.  It's not like the Greeks handed over Orthodoxy to all those people and suddenly became godless.  

While we're on the subject of juridictional stereotypes... this year I will likely be moving to a place where there is an Indian Jacobite Orthodox parish about 5 minutes away. There are also Greek churches in the area but further away. Which parish am I more likely to feel uncomfortable in (Chalcedon aside)?
Quote
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- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #210 on: December 24, 2013, 10:51:29 AM »
While we're on the subject of juridictional stereotypes... this year I will likely be moving to a place where there is an Indian Jacobite Orthodox parish about 5 minutes away. There are also Greek churches in the area but further away. Which parish am I more likely to feel uncomfortable in (Chalcedon aside)?

Depends...what would you consider "comfortable" and "uncomfortable"?
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #211 on: December 24, 2013, 10:59:38 AM »
While we're on the subject of juridictional stereotypes... this year I will likely be moving to a place where there is an Indian Jacobite Orthodox parish about 5 minutes away. There are also Greek churches in the area but further away. Which parish am I more likely to feel uncomfortable in (Chalcedon aside)?

Depends...what would you consider "comfortable" and "uncomfortable"?

I guess generally speaking how might someone who is not at all Indian expect to be received? Will people talk to him? Will they be friendly or what what the hell he's doing there? Etc.
Quote
“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #212 on: December 24, 2013, 11:12:20 AM »
While we're on the subject of juridictional stereotypes... this year I will likely be moving to a place where there is an Indian Jacobite Orthodox parish about 5 minutes away. There are also Greek churches in the area but further away. Which parish am I more likely to feel uncomfortable in (Chalcedon aside)?

Depends...what would you consider "comfortable" and "uncomfortable"?

I guess generally speaking how might someone who is not at all Indian expect to be received? Will people talk to him? Will they be friendly or what what the hell he's doing there? Etc.

I don't think you can make that judgment based on ethnicity (Greek, Indian, Arab, Russian, etc.).  It wouldn't be right anyway.  It would be better just to see what the parish dynamic is for yourself.  I've never been to an Indian church, but every Indian I met was kind.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #213 on: December 24, 2013, 11:42:03 AM »
Can anyone actually prove this beyond providing personal anecdotes? I have quite a different experience with Greek churches.

My personal experience with Greek churches (limited) is that there is certainly some promotion/praise of Greek culture, but it would be wrong to say that Christ is secondary to this.  Actually, one of the most solid parishes I've ever attended was a Greek parish where the chanters sang everything in Greek--everything--but the priest tried to incorporate a lot of English, was a solid preacher, and devoted to pastoral and educational work and a complete parochial liturgical life.  If I still lived in that area as opposed to where I am now, that would've continued to be my parish, whether or not I eventually switched sides.  

That said, I have enough personal experience with "ethnic" churches generally to believe that others' experience with Greek churches might not be too far off the mark.  But I always feel bad for Greeks because they seem to be the easiest target: Ukrainians, Serbs, Russians, Romanians, even Antiochians have this problem to a greater or lesser extent.  It's not like the Greeks handed over Orthodoxy to all those people and suddenly became godless.  

While we're on the subject of juridictional stereotypes... this year I will likely be moving to a place where there is an Indian Jacobite Orthodox parish about 5 minutes away. There are also Greek churches in the area but further away. Which parish am I more likely to feel uncomfortable in (Chalcedon aside)?

Go and see....  :)
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #214 on: December 24, 2013, 12:06:58 PM »
Depends...what would you consider "comfortable" and "uncomfortable"?

I guess generally speaking how might someone who is not at all Indian expect to be received? Will people talk to him? Will they be friendly or what what the hell he's doing there? Etc.

Like any other group, it depends on the parish. 

Some parishes are decades old, fairly big, more or less established, people are at various stages of assimilation to American life, and those parishes in my experience are welcoming.  Typically there are no ushers or greeters, so you're on your own walking in, but in such parishes someone will usually introduce himself, if only to hand you a liturgy book and tell you where they are in the service or help you along.  Afterwards, the priest will greet you, and there are usually some outgoing or hospitable people who will introduce themselves, sit with you, chat for a while, etc. 

Some parishes, though, are fairly young, small, composed of recent immigrants or people who haven't quite made the adjustment, etc.  In those parishes, you will also be welcomed, but it will be different.  You might feel ignored or unwelcome, but it's not necessarily because no one wants you around.  They're probably wondering a non-Indian would ever be so interested in them and their church that he would want to visit.  They probably feel bad that you had to stand for a few hours and listen to an utterly foreign language sung in not necessarily the best possible way.  They might feel bad that they want to welcome you but aren't sure how to do that.  It's not "He's not one of us, get him out of here", it's more like "We don't know how to welcome him properly, it will be bad if we treat him wrong"...even if it means that people stay away.  I hope that makes sense. 

I would visit and keep an open mind.  Usually, if you introduce yourself to the priest or to some parishioner, say you're Orthodox (since you're OCA, I'd say "Russian Orthodox", they likely haven't heard of the OCA enough for it to be familiar), talk about some of the things you find similar with your own church experience, ask some questions, etc.  That's usually enough to get people going.  :)
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #215 on: December 24, 2013, 12:28:40 PM »

You mean you found a parish that isn't an ethnic club outside of Antiochian/ACROD/OCA, even if the later can be seen as having Americanism.
As a note of curiosity, what were the Antiochians like before the mid-1980s? Lots of people talk about how the EOC cohort brought a sea change in how things were done, but despite their very vocal influence to this day the original EOC group was only about 2,000-ish (?) people.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #216 on: December 24, 2013, 01:09:18 PM »

You mean you found a parish that isn't an ethnic club outside of Antiochian/ACROD/OCA, even if the later can be seen as having Americanism.
As a note of curiosity, what were the Antiochians like before the mid-1980s? Lots of people talk about how the EOC cohort brought a sea change in how things were done, but despite their very vocal influence to this day the original EOC group was only about 2,000-ish (?) people.
they broke the dam though.  I've been to a number (including our home parish) which, although former Protestant parishes, were not EOC.

The AOC's were mostly assimilated.  It was the problems of the Middle East which increased the Arabic in the local Arab parishes in the '80s (Intifadah, etc.).
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #217 on: December 26, 2013, 11:20:45 PM »
I don't know what they do at that monastery. Maybe they use English sometimes. I take back what I said, and any other potentially slanderous information.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #218 on: December 27, 2013, 11:56:29 PM »
^ sorry but people who identify more with their ethnicity and go to DL because of that rather than God is unacceptable. And that this mentality is allowed is worrisome.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #219 on: December 27, 2013, 11:58:15 PM »
Can anyone actually prove this beyond providing personal anecdotes? I have quite a different experience with Greek churches.

My personal experience with Greek churches (limited) is that there is certainly some promotion/praise of Greek culture, but it would be wrong to say that Christ is secondary to this.  Actually, one of the most solid parishes I've ever attended was a Greek parish where the chanters sang everything in Greek--everything--but the priest tried to incorporate a lot of English, was a solid preacher, and devoted to pastoral and educational work and a complete parochial liturgical life.  If I still lived in that area as opposed to where I am now, that would've continued to be my parish, whether or not I eventually switched sides.  

That said, I have enough personal experience with "ethnic" churches generally to believe that others' experience with Greek churches might not be too far off the mark.  But I always feel bad for Greeks because they seem to be the easiest target: Ukrainians, Serbs, Russians, Romanians, even Antiochians have this problem to a greater or lesser extent.  It's not like the Greeks handed over Orthodoxy to all those people and suddenly became godless.  

While we're on the subject of juridictional stereotypes... this year I will likely be moving to a place where there is an Indian Jacobite Orthodox parish about 5 minutes away. There are also Greek churches in the area but further away. Which parish am I more likely to feel uncomfortable in (Chalcedon aside)?

You'd get better food at coffee hour with the Indians, I think.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #220 on: December 28, 2013, 12:00:00 AM »

You mean you found a parish that isn't an ethnic club outside of Antiochian/ACROD/OCA, even if the later can be seen as having Americanism.
As a note of curiosity, what were the Antiochians like before the mid-1980s? Lots of people talk about how the EOC cohort brought a sea change in how things were done, but despite their very vocal influence to this day the original EOC group was only about 2,000-ish (?) people.

The Antiochians in America were worshiping in English early on.
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Offline vorgos

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #221 on: December 28, 2013, 03:38:46 AM »
At Holy Archangels there is a monk who is an MD. He finished his residency and then became a novice (he has since been tonsured a monk). Now his skill is useful for the monastery, as he can write prescriptions for the monks if needed, provide their medical care (if he has the supplies/facilities for it), and can give some emergency attention to visitors should the need arise. He is, of course, a monk first, but his skills as an MD are beneficial when the circumstances require a doctor.

It might be a different story if he were working at a nearby hospital and spending most of his time away from the monastery. But that would be between him, his abbot, and God.

I believe there are a few M.D. monks on Athos who provide the same sort of service.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #222 on: December 28, 2013, 04:32:51 AM »
COMMENT: 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.

MY REPLY: Most Greek Orthodox people today only care about Greek culture and nation. Christianity is of second importance to them.

COMMENT: 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...

MY REPLY: Yeah, you'll hear him proclaimed in the Greek language, whom only a few people understand. Speaking in Greek, when most people understand English, is selfish and a tradition of men, which negates the Word of God. The purpose of language is to communicate, not to preserve culture.
As a native Phoenician I can say that the Cathedral is by far the most ethnic of the Greek parishes in the city. Does your first statement still hold water with the Cathedral's new, non-Greek priest?

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I don't know what they do at that monastery. Maybe they use English sometimes. I take back what I said, and any other potentially slanderous information.
From my experience and speaking with the monks, St. Anthony's uses Greek exclusively.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 04:37:56 AM by Antonis »
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #223 on: December 28, 2013, 12:29:15 PM »
There is nothing wrong with Elder Ephraim and his monasteries. The problem is that the critics are falling for the lies created by the social engineers who want to create the illusion that Elder Ephraim and his monasteries have something wrong with them, when in reality they don't. The monastery is under attack by modernists, ecumenists and possibly masons which are working against the Orthodox Church. I also think protestant minded and modernist lay people and clergy who don't have a proper understanding of the Church are confused and attacking the monastery.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #224 on: December 30, 2013, 12:40:00 PM »
Well, I think the problem is more complicated than that.

Elder Ephraim largely secludes himself from most people, and has no public voice of his own.  So, there is no way to verify what his teaches are or are not.  To get to him, you have to go through one of a number of people who are within orbit of him.

To do this, many pilgrims come to his monasteries, and talk to the first monk they meet.  The problem is that this monk may or may not share the opinions of Elder Ephraim, but he will talk nonetheless if he has a blessing to do so.  He will share his own opinions, and usually be able to reference them in some way to what he heard the Elder say or, since the elder so rarely speaks at all, what someone else told him the elder said.

The pilgrims assume they have received a 'fatwa' from a genuine spiritual source, and go about executing it with all vigor, only to have it blown up because it was third-hand to begin with and did not suit the actual circumstances.  By the time the divorce is over and the wounds stop bleeding, the damage is done.  Yet, there is no accountability, because monks are not held accountable for their spiritual advice, and laypeople are rarely told to be careful what they ask for.

We want everyone in the parish to be zealous, and on occasion someone takes us up on the offer, not realizing what they are getting themselves into.  Most parishes are in a completely different reality from these monasteries, and most of the monks have forgotten how secularized the average parish is.

We also forget that almost none of us would walk up to a parishioner in the average parish and expect to get teachings exactly as the parish priest does, yet this is what people do all the time in the monastery, forgetting that the monastery is exactly like a parish: there are people at all levels of spiritual development.

What's really sad is that some quarters in Orthodoxy have become personality-cult-driven.  Sure, people are important in the handing down of tradition, but I think that it has become distorted of late.  Anyone who is the least bit observant can see how this is playing out as Greece slowly disappears.  People want 'The Leader' to save them, be it Patriarch Bartholomew or Elder Ephraim.  These are just the Greek examples... you can find it elsewhere, but since we are talking about monasteries in the thick of it, one can see how the desperation for a solution to community problems can lead to over-valuing a single person.

I'm not for or against the monasteries, having never met Elder Ephraim nor visited any of his institutions.  I know a few people who have, and the feedback has been mixed.  So, I will go with that.


There is nothing wrong with Elder Ephraim and his monasteries. The problem is that the critics are falling for the lies created by the social engineers who want to create the illusion that Elder Ephraim and his monasteries have something wrong with them, when in reality they don't. The monastery is under attack by modernists, ecumenists and possibly masons which are working against the Orthodox Church. I also think protestant minded and modernist lay people and clergy who don't have a proper understanding of the Church are confused and attacking the monastery.
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