Author Topic: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries  (Read 101029 times)

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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #225 on: December 30, 2013, 01:34:24 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.

I will second Father's thoughtful analysis. Monasteries are integral to Orthodoxy and thOe monastic ideal is incredible, BUT, and this is the big caveat, most of us -clergy and bishops (yes, bishops) included, don't live our lives there or have a true monastic calling. That's OK though. We are sowing the seeds of the Church and living our lives in the world. For most, that is their calling. Cultivate your personal relationship with the men with the greatest impact on your spiritual lives - your parish priests. Yes, they too are imperfect, but there is no mythical Othodox holy man sitting crossed legs atop a foggy mountain dispensing THE answers to life's journey. By all means make pilgrimage and visits to monasteries PART of your life, but don't  become obsessed by them.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #226 on: December 30, 2013, 01:50:48 PM »
Fr. Gyrus,
          It seems to me that the "American" Orthodox Church is choking to death on the ignorance of the laity. If people were willing to be or could be better informed what their faith really is, they might just visit a monastery for enrichment & not seeking  desparate (& probably rooted in some sort of cultural supersition) "guidance" . If the average layperson had adequate catechesis, many of these fiascos could probably be avoided. Many of the monastics that people receive inadequate "guidance" from are probably the spiritual descendents of the wandering prophets mentioned in the Didache & should be respected but usually not directly consulted.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 01:53:37 PM by recent convert »
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #227 on: December 30, 2013, 02:19:12 PM »
Fr. Gyrus,
          It seems to me that the "American" Orthodox Church is choking to death on the ignorance of the laity. If people were willing to be or could be better informed what their faith really is, they might just visit a monastery for enrichment & not seeking  desparate (& probably rooted in some sort of cultural supersition) "guidance" . If the average layperson had adequate catechesis, many of these fiascos could probably be avoided. Many of the monastics that people receive inadequate "guidance" from are probably the spiritual descendents of the wandering prophets mentioned in the Didache & should be respected but usually not directly consulted.

Its easy to blame 'catechesis', but superstition and misinformation - and the earnest and pious search for 'answers' - are as old as Christianity itself.

I do agree with you about respecting most monastics, but not looking to them for your own answers. That is a traditional approach indeed.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #228 on: December 30, 2013, 02:23:17 PM »
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.

From what I see, people going to monasteries to look for gurus are isolated cases.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #229 on: December 30, 2013, 02:26:54 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.

I really do not think that the EOC changed that much in the Antiochian Archdiocese.  Most Antiochian parishes used English and had converts long before the EOC came into the Church. There were already many convert priests in the Archdiocese long before the EOC. Had the Antiochian Arcdiocese not been welcoming to converts the EOC would not have been received. Even before them, His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV lectured the clergy telling us "We are not here to preach Arabism. We are here to preach Christ." The coming of the EOC only accelerated a process that had already begun.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #230 on: December 30, 2013, 02:41:56 PM »
Well, a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago have created a website detailing concerns about Elder Ephraim.  No one identifies themselves on the site; there exists a Facebook group; take it for what it's worth:

http://gotruthreform.org/home/

Mission Statement:

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

The real problem is that some of the monks do not show proper respect for the local clergy. When I was in Texas, people would take their children to the monastery to be baptized. I have no problem with that, but before another priest baptizes someone in my parish, I should be informed. There are also many stories of abuse through Confession from monastics who impose excessive penances and ask too many personal questions, especially about sex. Finally, some monastics will tell someone who was received by Chrismation that they are not fully Orthodox and that they should come to the monastery for "corrective baptism," which is wrong and in my opinion heretical because it denies the grace received through Chrismation which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox baptism.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #231 on: December 30, 2013, 02:53:40 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?

I do not know of anyone who hates Mt. Athos. However, the monks of Mt. Athos are not infallible. Sometimes, they or their followers make statements that are not accurate or theoloically sound. The prime example would be the controversy about the reception of converts. It is historical fact that the Orthodox Church has allowed the reception of converts baptized "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" with water through Chrismation. It is wrong when a monk or someone else questions the Orthodoxy of someone who has been received by Chrismation and suggests that they should undergo "corrective baptism."
Thus we should take Mt. Athos and monasticism seriously, but recognize that the monks of Mt. Athos or any other monastic establishment are not infallible or the last word on what is authentic Orthodoxy.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #232 on: December 30, 2013, 02:57:13 PM »
I think the Antiochians have done a lot; changing the name of the church from "Syrian" to "Antiochian" was probably pioneering. The first pocket, pan Orthodox prayer book in English speaking Orthodox Americans has the imprimatur of Metr. Antony Bashir  & it included a catechism derived from the 19th c. one of Metr. Philaret of Moscow. The Archdiocese also printed 5 books &  levels of catechesis during the 1940s for Americans; why these publications discontinued seems most unfortunate.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #233 on: December 30, 2013, 03:04:01 PM »
I think the Antiochians have done a lot; changing the name of the church from "Syrian" to "Antiochian" was probably pioneering.

You can thank this man for that:



 ;)
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #234 on: December 30, 2013, 03:13:03 PM »
I think the Antiochians have done a lot; changing the name of the church from "Syrian" to "Antiochian" was probably pioneering.

You can thank this man for that:



 ;)

Honestly, I cannot tell who this is. I know the church was still "Syrian" Orthodox under Ofesh & before his debacle so is this Metr. Bashir? I have check d photos of both & cannot determine this one though.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 03:13:44 PM by recent convert »
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #235 on: December 30, 2013, 03:31:45 PM »
No, that is Archbishop Mor Athanasius Yeshu Samuel.  My comment alluded to the court case between what is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (EO) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese (OO). 
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #236 on: December 30, 2013, 03:43:45 PM »
No, that is Archbishop Mor Athanasius Yeshu Samuel.  My comment alluded to the court case between what is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (EO) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese (OO). 

OK, I will look into that. Thanks fior the info.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #237 on: December 31, 2013, 12:17:22 AM »
No, that is Archbishop Mor Athanasius Yeshu Samuel.  My comment alluded to the court case between what is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (EO) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese (OO). 

Oh those Syrian-tradition OOs and their court cases. Like something out of Dickens.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #238 on: December 31, 2013, 12:20:48 AM »
No, that is Archbishop Mor Athanasius Yeshu Samuel.  My comment alluded to the court case between what is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (EO) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese (OO). 

Oh those Syrian-tradition OOs and their court cases. Like something out of Dickens.

The Ruthenian/Rusyn Greek Catholics have nothing to hold their heads down when it came to notorious property rights court cases in America. ;)

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #239 on: December 31, 2013, 12:22:54 AM »
It's our inner Slav. 
The whole forum is Mor. We're emanations of his godlike mind.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #240 on: December 31, 2013, 12:24:06 AM »
No, that is Archbishop Mor Athanasius Yeshu Samuel.  My comment alluded to the court case between what is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (EO) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese (OO). 

Oh those Syrian-tradition OOs and their court cases. Like something out of Dickens.

The Ruthenian/Rusyn Greek Catholics have nothing to hold their heads down when it came to notorious property rights court cases in America. ;)


And Metropolitan Platon vs. the Living Church.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #241 on: December 31, 2013, 12:24:47 AM »
It's our inner Slav. 

The Inner Slav doing things the American Way. What does that make?
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #242 on: December 31, 2013, 11:54:47 AM »
Dear RC,

I would say that we are 'choking' no more than the rest of Christianity.  American Protestants, despite years and years of Sunday School and Bible Study, are woefully ignorant of even basic doctrine: just ask the average self-proclaimed Christian in America to name all the Apostles or even the origins of the Biblical canon.  Then they get really puzzled when you ask them why Jesus is always depicted with long hair... is that in the Bible?

I regularly teach a catechism class which is oriented towards Protestant converts, and what we do is read through the Old Testament and show the biblical foundations of Orthodoxy.  The attendees spend most of their time gasping for air, because they once prided themselves on knowing the Bible, until they see that they had a very narrow awareness of it.  Let's also not forget that mainline Protestantism is not only choking on the ignorance of the laity, it is becoming moribund: around here (Los Angeles area), many historic Protestant churches are being sold and 'converted' for other uses.  Sure, part of it is 'white flight' out into the desert, like Simi Valley or Valencia, but our overall church membership numbers are plunging.

In traditional Orthodoxy, people going to monasteries and getting advice is not a mark of desperation, but actually how the 'system' is designed.  In Russia, Romania, etc. the average priest has a high school diploma from a seminary-school.  He's not a theologian, and is only expected to provide sacraments and very basic catechesis.  Only a small number of clergy go on to 'academy' and get graduate degrees.  More in-depth instruction is naturally done in a monastery or at a cathedral with better-trained clergy.

In America, all the clergy are expected to have an MDiv (this more or less happens, though there are plenty of exceptions as Fr. Morris can attest), which is why most priests are made Archpriests after a rather short period of time.  In Romania, Archpriests were mostly limited to Deans, meaning around 1 in 100 priests. Over here, the average priest has a great deal more responsibility, because he is expected to provide everything for his people.

Meanwhile, our monasteries are small and usually inexperienced: most of them are still headed by their founding superior.  The monasteries have little depth of experience, and many of the monks are themselves converts with limited experience.  For example, the OCA's Metropolitan Tikhon converted at St. Tikhon's Monastery and never had any dealings with a parish until he was made a bishop.  You don't find that awkwardness overseas, whereas here this is not only not an impossibility, it is almost expected.

The truth is that, if you are serious about your faith, you cannot depend upon your parish priest, nor can you depend on the local monastery.  You need them all, but you cannot ever say that any one of them is 'infallible.'  You need to read and study and question.  Orthodox Christianity is not about easy answers handed out in easy-to-digest pellets, but rather about an ascetic struggle to find that Pearl of Great Price.  Once you find it, it is yours in a way that cannot be shaken.

You don't learn it, you earn it.  That's why you have to carry your cross while following Christ.



Fr. Gyrus,
          It seems to me that the "American" Orthodox Church is choking to death on the ignorance of the laity. If people were willing to be or could be better informed what their faith really is, they might just visit a monastery for enrichment & not seeking  desparate (& probably rooted in some sort of cultural supersition) "guidance" . If the average layperson had adequate catechesis, many of these fiascos could probably be avoided. Many of the monastics that people receive inadequate "guidance" from are probably the spiritual descendents of the wandering prophets mentioned in the Didache & should be respected but usually not directly consulted.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #243 on: December 31, 2013, 11:59:04 AM »
No, that is Archbishop Mor Athanasius Yeshu Samuel.  My comment alluded to the court case between what is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (EO) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese (OO). 

Oh those Syrian-tradition OOs and their court cases. Like something out of Dickens.

In Arabic, the term Syrian refers to the non-Chalcedonian Syrian or Syriac Orthodox Church. Eastern Orthodox are called Rhum because the Turks organized their government according to religious affiliation. Those called Syrian were the Syriac Church, those called Eastern or Greek Orthodox were called Rhum from their association with the Eastern Roman Empire. In America we call ourselves Antiochian Orthodox in about 1970 because we are under the Patriarchate of Antioch. Besides the title Antiochian has no ethnic implications and is appropriate because we not only have many people of Lebanese and Palestinian heritage, we also have many converts and Orthodox from various other ethnic heritages, because we use English and welcome all people regardless of their ethnic background. Originally some of our Churches called themselves Syrian Orthodox because the people who founded our first parishes came from what was then called Greater Syria for the separate nations of Syria and Lebanon did not yet exist. Since I am neither of Syrian nor of Lebanese heritage, I can identify with Antioch as one of the ancient Churches and as the first place where Christians were first called Christian.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 12:08:35 PM by frjohnmorris »

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #244 on: December 31, 2013, 12:03:48 PM »
Dear Fr. John,

I have a number of old books from the Archdiocese, and they all show that the Archdiocese was originally incorporated using the term 'Syrian.'  'Antiochian' came about late in the time of Metropolitan Antony (Bashir).  This is why SOYO was originally the 'Syrian Orthodox Youth Organization.'


No, that is Archbishop Mor Athanasius Yeshu Samuel.  My comment alluded to the court case between what is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (EO) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese (OO). 

Oh those Syrian-tradition OOs and their court cases. Like something out of Dickens.

In Arabic, the term Syrian refers to the non-Chalcedonian Syrian or Syriac Orthodox Church. Eastern Orthodox are called Rhum because the Turks organized their government according to religious affiliation. Those called Syrian were the Syriac Church, those called Eastern or Greek Orthodox were called Rhum from their association with the Eastern Roman Empire. In America we call ourselves Antiochian Orthodox because we are under the Patriarchate of Antioch. Originally some of our Churches called themselves Syrian Orthodox because the people came from what was then called Greater Syria for the separate nations of Syria and Lebanon did not yet exist.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #245 on: December 31, 2013, 12:24:12 PM »
Dear Fr. John,

I have a number of old books from the Archdiocese, and they all show that the Archdiocese was originally incorporated using the term 'Syrian.'  'Antiochian' came about late in the time of Metropolitan Antony (Bashir).  This is why SOYO was originally the 'Syrian Orthodox Youth Organization.'


No, that is Archbishop Mor Athanasius Yeshu Samuel.  My comment alluded to the court case between what is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese (EO) and the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese (OO). 

Oh those Syrian-tradition OOs and their court cases. Like something out of Dickens.

In Arabic, the term Syrian refers to the non-Chalcedonian Syrian or Syriac Orthodox Church. Eastern Orthodox are called Rhum because the Turks organized their government according to religious affiliation. Those called Syrian were the Syriac Church, those called Eastern or Greek Orthodox were called Rhum from their association with the Eastern Roman Empire. In America we call ourselves Antiochian Orthodox because we are under the Patriarchate of Antioch. Originally some of our Churches called themselves Syrian Orthodox because the people came from what was then called Greater Syria for the separate nations of Syria and Lebanon did not yet exist.

That is correct we were originally called Syrian Antiochian, but dropped the name Syrian in about 1970.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #246 on: December 31, 2013, 01:15:46 PM »
Fr. Gyrus,
          It seems to me that the "American" Orthodox Church is choking to death on the ignorance of the laity. If people were willing to be or could be better informed what their faith really is, they might just visit a monastery for enrichment & not seeking  desparate (& probably rooted in some sort of cultural supersition) "guidance" . If the average layperson had adequate catechesis, many of these fiascos could probably be avoided. Many of the monastics that people receive inadequate "guidance" from are probably the spiritual descendents of the wandering prophets mentioned in the Didache & should be respected but usually not directly consulted.

Its easy to blame 'catechesis', but superstition and misinformation - and the earnest and pious search for 'answers' - are as old as Christianity itself.

I do agree with you about respecting most monastics, but not looking to them for your own answers. That is a traditional approach indeed.

Furthermore, I would assume for converts on a general basis, that 1) catechesis is well done on average but 2) for most "cradles", not so much.  The reason being, not because they are NOT catechized, but that when they enter as a newborn, there is no "education barrier" as with adult (or even pre-adult/child) converts.  You can't make babies read books and test them.  Then it is up to the individual/parents/god-parents to make sure the person keeps going to church, actively TRIES to learn about their faith (and not just culture) and then continues in that faith.  Converts make active decisions as adults and intensely learn about the faith - just that they have "baggage" of varying degrees (minor to major) from their former experiences.  Cradles can be stuck in their culture and with crazy superstitions while converts can be stuck with "baggage" from their former experiences.  On the other hand, cradles can provide "gravitas" and mentoring through a lived experience and converts can bring a fresh zeal to the faith.  These are of course VERY general statements.  At my parish in NorCal, while we have typical Prot/RC converts, we have many that come from non-Christian, agnostic/atheitst, and even pagan backgrounds such that the usual books that "target" converts from Prot/RC backgrounds don't really apply.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #247 on: December 31, 2013, 01:28:36 PM »

...

The truth is that, if you are serious about your faith, you cannot depend upon your parish priest, nor can you depend on the local monastery.  You need them all, but you cannot ever say that any one of them is 'infallible.'  You need to read and study and question.  Orthodox Christianity is not about easy answers handed out in easy-to-digest pellets, but rather about an ascetic struggle to find that Pearl of Great Price.  Once you find it, it is yours in a way that cannot be shaken.

You don't learn it, you earn it.  That's why you have to carry your cross while following Christ.



Fr. Gyrus,
          It seems to me that the "American" Orthodox Church is choking to death on the ignorance of the laity. If people were willing to be or could be better informed what their faith really is, they might just visit a monastery for enrichment & not seeking  desparate (& probably rooted in some sort of cultural supersition) "guidance" . If the average layperson had adequate catechesis, many of these fiascos could probably be avoided. Many of the monastics that people receive inadequate "guidance" from are probably the spiritual descendents of the wandering prophets mentioned in the Didache & should be respected but usually not directly consulted.

I don't normally say this, but POM material above from Fr. Gyrus.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #248 on: December 31, 2013, 01:48:01 PM »
^ Second that.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #249 on: December 31, 2013, 01:54:17 PM »
^ Second that.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #250 on: December 31, 2013, 07:09:04 PM »
Fr. Gyrus,
          It seems to me that the "American" Orthodox Church is choking to death on the ignorance of the laity. If people were willing to be or could be better informed what their faith really is, they might just visit a monastery for enrichment & not seeking  desparate (& probably rooted in some sort of cultural supersition) "guidance" . If the average layperson had adequate catechesis, many of these fiascos could probably be avoided. Many of the monastics that people receive inadequate "guidance" from are probably the spiritual descendents of the wandering prophets mentioned in the Didache & should be respected but usually not directly consulted.

Its easy to blame 'catechesis', but superstition and misinformation - and the earnest and pious search for 'answers' - are as old as Christianity itself.

I do agree with you about respecting most monastics, but not looking to them for your own answers. That is a traditional approach indeed.

Furthermore, I would assume for converts on a general basis, that 1) catechesis is well done on average but 2) for most "cradles", not so much.  The reason being, not because they are NOT catechized, but that when they enter as a newborn, there is no "education barrier" as with adult (or even pre-adult/child) converts.  You can't make babies read books and test them.  Then it is up to the individual/parents/god-parents to make sure the person keeps going to church, actively TRIES to learn about their faith (and not just culture) and then continues in that faith.  Converts make active decisions as adults and intensely learn about the faith - just that they have "baggage" of varying degrees (minor to major) from their former experiences.  Cradles can be stuck in their culture and with crazy superstitions while converts can be stuck with "baggage" from their former experiences.  On the other hand, cradles can provide "gravitas" and mentoring through a lived experience and converts can bring a fresh zeal to the faith.  These are of course VERY general statements.  At my parish in NorCal, while we have typical Prot/RC converts, we have many that come from non-Christian, agnostic/atheitst, and even pagan backgrounds such that the usual books that "target" converts from Prot/RC backgrounds don't really apply.

That is a generalization. We have adult Bible studies for the adults and Sunday School for the children. I have seen too many converts who bring with them Western attitudes, especially legalism and as a result fall victim to fundamentalist within Orthodoxy by obsession with beards, cassocks on the street and other non-essentials. Becoming Orthodox requires more than acceptance of certain doctrines. It also requires that the convert learn how to think like an Orthodox Christian. It sometimes takes years before a convert learns how to think like an Orthodox Christian.

Fr. John W. Morris

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #251 on: December 31, 2013, 07:16:18 PM »
Totally agree Father, some of the things that were mentioned can easily be seen here in Sweden sa well
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #252 on: December 31, 2013, 08:25:04 PM »
Father, you beat me to the response. I agree with you.

By the way, a most Happy New Year! And thanks for joining here, your presence came along at a critical juncture - along with the return of Mor. We may not always agree, but you always post informative and thoughtful comments.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #253 on: December 31, 2013, 08:52:32 PM »
Father, you beat me to the response. I agree with you.

By the way, a most Happy New Year! And thanks for joining here, your presence came along at a critical juncture - along with the return of Mor. We may not always agree, but you always post informative and thoughtful comments.

Thank you for your kind comments on my comments.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #254 on: January 01, 2014, 03:28:14 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.

There are too many stories about problems that are allegedly caused by some monks and nuns for some of them not to be true.
The problem is not what they do in the monasteries. That is only between them, God and the Bishop. The problem is a lack of communication between the monks and the pastors of the people they advise. Sometimes ideas that come from some monks and nuns filter down to the parish and undermine the position of the local pastor. Some of the devotees of The Elder Ephraim have some very radical ideas and can be very judgmental of other Orthodox who do not share their understanding of Orthodoxy.  One problem is that some of the monks and nuns ask too many personal questions about the sexual relations of married people, and teach that all forms of conception control, including those that are non-abortive are sinful. Since the Eastern Orthodox Church has not spoken definitively on this issue the opinion that non-abortive methods of birth control are sinful is at best a theologoumena. If a monk or nun tell someone who was received into the Church by Chrismation that they are not fully Orthodox or should come to the monastery for a so called corrective baptism, they are wrong. If monks baptize someone without first receiving approval from their pastor, they are wrong. If a monk or nun tells someone not to listen to their pastor, because they consider him a "modernist" they are wrong. Most of the criticism of Orthodox ecumenism is false because some people confuse the Protestant view of ecumenism with the Orthodox view of ecumenism. The two views are very different. Orthodox ecumenism is a means to witness the Faith of Orthodoxy to non-Orthodox and has made it clear that union with non-Orthodox can only come about by mutual agreement on the Faith of the ancient undivided Church of the Holy Fathers and the 7 Ecumenical Councils. The witness of Orthodox involved in ecumenical activities is clear and uncompromising. We believe that the Eastern Orthodox Church is "the living realization of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Churh."

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #255 on: January 01, 2014, 03:31:08 PM »
Father, you beat me to the response. I agree with you.

By the way, a most Happy New Year! And thanks for joining here, your presence came along at a critical juncture - along with the return of Mor. We may not always agree, but you always post informative and thoughtful comments.

I agree. Not only are Father's responses calm, reasonable, and sober, but they reflect the teachings of the Orthodox Church.
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Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #256 on: January 05, 2014, 05:31:39 PM »
Well, a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago have created a website detailing concerns about Elder Ephraim.  No one identifies themselves on the site; there exists a Facebook group; take it for what it's worth:

http://gotruthreform.org/home/

Mission Statement:

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

The real problem is that some of the monks do not show proper respect for the local clergy. When I was in Texas, people would take their children to the monastery to be baptized. I have no problem with that, but before another priest baptizes someone in my parish, I should be informed. There are also many stories of abuse through Confession from monastics who impose excessive penances and ask too many personal questions, especially about sex. Finally, some monastics will tell someone who was received by Chrismation that they are not fully Orthodox and that they should come to the monastery for "corrective baptism," which is wrong and in my opinion heretical because it denies the grace received through Chrismation which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox baptism.

Fr. John W. Morris

Which monasteries are these stories attached to, namely the ones you say of monastics asking too many personal questions about sex.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #257 on: January 05, 2014, 06:12:50 PM »
Well, a group of Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago have created a website detailing concerns about Elder Ephraim.  No one identifies themselves on the site; there exists a Facebook group; take it for what it's worth:

http://gotruthreform.org/home/

Mission Statement:

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

The real problem is that some of the monks do not show proper respect for the local clergy. When I was in Texas, people would take their children to the monastery to be baptized. I have no problem with that, but before another priest baptizes someone in my parish, I should be informed. There are also many stories of abuse through Confession from monastics who impose excessive penances and ask too many personal questions, especially about sex. Finally, some monastics will tell someone who was received by Chrismation that they are not fully Orthodox and that they should come to the monastery for "corrective baptism," which is wrong and in my opinion heretical because it denies the grace received through Chrismation which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox baptism.

Fr. John W. Morris

Which monasteries are these stories attached to, namely the ones you say of monastics asking too many personal questions about sex.

We should not make a mountain out of a mole hill. Rarely will monastics ask personal questions about sex as they are trying to live the angelic life. However, there are certain schismatic groups and psychotic personalities whose pastors not only ask too many personal questions about sex in order to micromanage and humiliate the parishioners, but also make off the wall statements in order to throw one off guard. One must be so very careful when choosing a "spiritual father," especially if that "spiritual father" demands unquestioning obedience and wants to micromanage your personal life, including where you work, how you vote, what you wear, what you read, where you shop, and what you buy.

Good Guys Wear Black has some excellent articles warning about those pastors and parish council members who attempt to micromanage. They can destroy parishes and individuals.

http://goodguyswearblack.org/category/general/
« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 06:27:31 PM by Maria »
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #258 on: January 06, 2014, 12:49:16 AM »
I have been to one of the monasteries like half a dozen times both to work and to pray, and no one has ever asked me anything about sex.

I've seen them be very gracious to some pretty inappropriate people.

I've also had two occasions to speak with the Abbot of St. Anthony's while there, and he never said anything inappropriate to me or to a non-Orthodox family member who I took for an urgent issue, for which he stepped right up to the plate.  It was a miracle I got the person there at all.  I called ahead of time, explained the situation, was told I could come, asked for prayer, and I know there is a tremendous amount of grace there that made the whole thing possible.  He gave that person a really frank discussion about certain behaviors though, because that person needed to hear it, and I was too afraid to say it in that situation.  And he told me what to expect as I left the monastery, and it was totally accurate.  For my personal visit, he didn't give me some gigantic monastic burden, and he was really nice to talk with me at all.  He was really straight and clear.  He looked exhausted after talking with so many people, but he talked to every single person every single time.  People waited for hours and hours to talk with him, even his own family, and he just kept going. 

I also know at least two people who have the same Abbot as a Spiritual Father, and though I wouldn't ask them any particulars, I've never heard about all this impossible burden imposed on married couples except on the internet, which now is recited by local Orthodox who've never seen him or been to one of the monasteries.  It looks a) a bunch of hearsay b) none of anyone else's business unless there is some type of abuse going on. 

Otherwise, I just visit to pray with them and try to not be a burden to anyone, nor do I generally seek monastic counsel, but rather deal with our parish priest who knows me and who is very balanced, though he gave a blessing to seek counsel there if I wish to.  He wouldn't do that if he thought there was any problem with it.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #259 on: January 06, 2014, 11:56:21 AM »
Elder Ephraim's monasteries, St. Anthony's included, do not seem, from my experience, to be centers of guruism. Never seen anyone from the monasteries latch on to potential disciple recruits. This has happened at monasteries not associated with Elder Ephraim (or canonical Orthodoxy).
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #260 on: January 06, 2014, 12:50:16 PM »
I have been to one of the monasteries like half a dozen times both to work and to pray, and no one has ever asked me anything about sex.

I've seen them be very gracious to some pretty inappropriate people.

I've also had two occasions to speak with the Abbot of St. Anthony's while there, and he never said anything inappropriate to me or to a non-Orthodox family member who I took for an urgent issue, for which he stepped right up to the plate.  It was a miracle I got the person there at all.  I called ahead of time, explained the situation, was told I could come, asked for prayer, and I know there is a tremendous amount of grace there that made the whole thing possible.  He gave that person a really frank discussion about certain behaviors though, because that person needed to hear it, and I was too afraid to say it in that situation.  And he told me what to expect as I left the monastery, and it was totally accurate.  For my personal visit, he didn't give me some gigantic monastic burden, and he was really nice to talk with me at all.  He was really straight and clear.  He looked exhausted after talking with so many people, but he talked to every single person every single time.  People waited for hours and hours to talk with him, even his own family, and he just kept going. 

I also know at least two people who have the same Abbot as a Spiritual Father, and though I wouldn't ask them any particulars, I've never heard about all this impossible burden imposed on married couples except on the internet, which now is recited by local Orthodox who've never seen him or been to one of the monasteries.  It looks a) a bunch of hearsay b) none of anyone else's business unless there is some type of abuse going on. 

Otherwise, I just visit to pray with them and try to not be a burden to anyone, nor do I generally seek monastic counsel, but rather deal with our parish priest who knows me and who is very balanced, though he gave a blessing to seek counsel there if I wish to.  He wouldn't do that if he thought there was any problem with it.

Thank you for your story.  I have visited a few monasteries under Elder Ephraim, had one of the abbots as my spiritual father, and since moving far from that particular monastery I now have a different abbot as spiritual father.  I have only been very blessed and helped by my spiritual fathers, and as a married man with several children; my wife and I have not felt burdened or treated in any way inappropriately.  The first words that come to mind with regard to the monasteries is they are a great refuge and are springs in the midst of a spiritual desert.  If someone has not been to confession at the monasteries and has not spoken at length with the abbots of any of the monasteries, they simply do not know what they are talking about and should not express themselves on the subject of the monasteries.  Inevitably, those who do so end  up repeating gossip and unverifiable rumors made by anonymous people with uncertain motives.  As Christians, we should refrain from spreading such gossip and rumors lest we inadvertently fall into the sins of slander and bearing false witness. 
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 12:51:41 PM by jah777 »

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #261 on: January 06, 2014, 02:17:43 PM »
I have visited a few monasteries under Elder Ephraim, had one of the abbots as my spiritual father, and since moving far from that particular monastery I now have a different abbot as spiritual father.  I have only been very blessed and helped by my spiritual fathers, and as a married man with several children; my wife and I have not felt burdened or treated in any way inappropriately.  The first words that come to mind with regard to the monasteries is they are a great refuge and are springs in the midst of a spiritual desert.  If someone has not been to confession at the monasteries and has not spoken at length with the abbots of any of the monasteries, they simply do not know what they are talking about and should not express themselves on the subject of the monasteries.  Inevitably, those who do so end  up repeating gossip and unverifiable rumors made by anonymous people with uncertain motives.  As Christians, we should refrain from spreading such gossip and rumors lest we inadvertently fall into the sins of slander and bearing false witness. 

I can't speak from experience regarding issues of confession or spiritual direction, but based on my experience visiting a few of the monasteries under Elder Ephraim (one for men, two for women) and my confessor's account of his experience while on pilgrimage at St Anthony's, these monasteries don't seem to be the creepy culty places they are made out to be.  Even as a non-EO, I've always been made to feel welcome, allowed to pray in the church (though, of course, not to commune), spend time in silence, eat, chat with the monastics...one of the Abbesses even gave me a tour of her monastery, and some visiting Greek ladies told me how blessed I was that she chose to spend time with me and give me the tour herself rather than delegate it to someone else (not sure if and/or to what extent they were exaggerating, but I figure an Abbess has better things to do with her time than show me around).  The monastics I've met were, to a (wo)man, kind, warm, welcoming, loving people (the women more so than the men, but I suppose that's to be expected). 

The people who frequent these monasteries are pious, and piety can seem weird to the non-pious, but other than piety, they were rather normal, not at all groupies.  I've met more bizarre clergy and people in parishes, seminaries, and other conventional places that don't get all the flack that monasteries get.  Some come for spiritual direction, to return to the sacraments, to pray and meditate, but others come to enjoy the peace and quiet, spend time on the grounds, buy baked goods from the gift shop...in other words, they come for a bit of a reprieve from normal life, but choose to do so in a spiritual atmosphere and not in some vacation spot.  They come on their own, or with their priests and with parish groups, and at all of the monasteries I've been to, the monastics have had excellent relations with the local parishes and their clergy.     

I don't want to judge, but certainly the "horror stories" going around about Elder Ephraim's monasteries don't match in any way what I see and experience when I spend time with these people.  Actually, I can't think of a monastery in America, OO or EO, that I've visited where I've had a bad experience, and that includes at least one Old Calendarist monastery.             
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #262 on: January 06, 2014, 03:24:18 PM »
I have been to one of the monasteries like half a dozen times both to work and to pray, and no one has ever asked me anything about sex.

I've seen them be very gracious to some pretty inappropriate people.

I've also had two occasions to speak with the Abbot of St. Anthony's while there, and he never said anything inappropriate to me or to a non-Orthodox family member who I took for an urgent issue, for which he stepped right up to the plate.  It was a miracle I got the person there at all.  I called ahead of time, explained the situation, was told I could come, asked for prayer, and I know there is a tremendous amount of grace there that made the whole thing possible.  He gave that person a really frank discussion about certain behaviors though, because that person needed to hear it, and I was too afraid to say it in that situation.  And he told me what to expect as I left the monastery, and it was totally accurate.  For my personal visit, he didn't give me some gigantic monastic burden, and he was really nice to talk with me at all.  He was really straight and clear.  He looked exhausted after talking with so many people, but he talked to every single person every single time.  People waited for hours and hours to talk with him, even his own family, and he just kept going. 

I also know at least two people who have the same Abbot as a Spiritual Father, and though I wouldn't ask them any particulars, I've never heard about all this impossible burden imposed on married couples except on the internet, which now is recited by local Orthodox who've never seen him or been to one of the monasteries.  It looks a) a bunch of hearsay b) none of anyone else's business unless there is some type of abuse going on. 

Otherwise, I just visit to pray with them and try to not be a burden to anyone, nor do I generally seek monastic counsel, but rather deal with our parish priest who knows me and who is very balanced, though he gave a blessing to seek counsel there if I wish to.  He wouldn't do that if he thought there was any problem with it.

Thank you, Velsigne, for posting your experiences.


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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #263 on: January 06, 2014, 03:30:27 PM »
Inevitably, those who do so end up repeating gossip and unverifiable rumors made by anonymous people with uncertain motives. 

You make an important point.

Thank you as well for posting your experiences.


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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #264 on: January 06, 2014, 07:42:16 PM »
Quote from: Maria link=topic=17649.msg
[/quote

We should not make a mountain out of a mole hill. Rarely will monastics ask personal questions about sex as they are trying to live the angelic life.

Unfortunately, I have heard differently directly from people who have been to confession at some monasteries. I have also had the experience of serving a mission close to one of these monasteries. The monks Baptized  children from my parish without having the courtesy to inform me. One of our Antiochian Bishops has told me about the problems caused by monks telling people received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation that they are were not properly received into the Church and need to come to the monastery for a so called corrective Baptism. It is heresy to Baptize someone who was received into the Eastern Orthodox Church through Chrismation, because it denies the grace that they received through their Chrismation, which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox Baptism.

Fr. John W. Morris

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #265 on: January 06, 2014, 11:49:15 PM »
Unfortunately, I have heard differently directly from people who have been to confession at some monasteries. I have also had the experience of serving a mission close to one of these monasteries. The monks Baptized  children from my parish without having the courtesy to inform me. One of our Antiochian Bishops has told me about the problems caused by monks telling people received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation that they are were not properly received into the Church and need to come to the monastery for a so called corrective Baptism. It is heresy to Baptize someone who was received into the Eastern Orthodox Church through Chrismation, because it denies the grace that they received through their Chrismation, which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox Baptism.

Fr. John W. Morris

Have you gone through the proper jurisdictional channels to address this? 

Glancing at the second Ecumenical Council Canon 7 and sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 95, how is it determined from which group the penitent heretic hails?   

Canon 7:
  "As for those heretics who betake themselves to Orthodoxy, and to the lot of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom; viz.: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, those calling themselves Cathari (or “Puritans”), and (those calling themselves) Aristeri[60] (Note of Translator. — This designation may be based upon the Greek word aristos, meaning “best,” though as a word it signifies “lefthand.”), and the Quartodecimans (quasi “Fourteenthists,” to use the English language in this connection), otherwise known as Tetradites (though in English this term is applied to an entirely different group of heretics), and Apollinarians we accept when they offer libelli (i.e., recantations in writing) and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the catholic and apostolic Church of God, and are sealed first with holy myron (more usually called “chrism” in English) on their forehead and their eyes, and nose, and mouth, and ears; and in sealing them we say: “A seal of a free gift of Holy Spirit.” As for Eunomians, however, who are baptized with a single immersion, and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and the Sabellians, who teach that Father and Son are the same person, and who do some other bad things, and (those belonging to) any other heresies (for there are many heretics here, especially such as come from the country of the Galatians:[61] all of them that want to adhere to Orthodoxy we are willing to accept as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day we make (Note of Translator. — The meaning of this word here is more exactly rendered “treat as”) them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; then, on the third day, we exorcize them with the act of blowing thrice into their face and into their ears; and thus do we catechize them, and we make them tarry a while in the church and listen to the Scriptures; and then we baptize them."


Canon 95: "As for heretics who are joining Orthodoxy and the portion of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom. Arians and Macedonians and Novations, who called themselves Cathari[236] and Aristeri,[237] and the Tessarakaidekatitae, or, at any rate, those called Tetradites and Apolinarists, we accept, when they give us certificates (called libelli); and when they anathematize every heresy that does not believe as the holy catholic and Apostolic Church of God believes, and are sealed, i. e., are anointed first with holy myron on the forehead and the eyes, and the nose and mouth, and the ears, while we are anointing them and sealing them we say, “A seal of a gift of Holy Spirit.” As concerning Paulianists who have afterwards taken refuge in the Catholic Church, a definition has been promulgated that they have to be rebaptized without fail. As for Eunomians, however, who baptize with a single immersion, and Montanists who are hereabouts called Phrygians and Sabellians, who hold the tenet Hyiopatoria (or modalistic monarchianism) and do other embarrassing things; and all other heresies — for there are many hereabouts, especially those hailing from the country of the Galatians[238] — as for all of them who wish to join Orthodoxy, we accept them as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day, we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; after this, on the third day we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and into their ears. And thus we catechize them, and make them stay for a long time in church and listen to the Scriptures, and then we baptize them. As for Manicheans, and Valentinians, and Marcionists, and those from similar heresies, they have to give us certificates (called libelli) and anathematize their heresy, the Nestorians, and Nestorius, and Eutyches and Dioscorus, and Severus, and the other exarchs of such heresies, and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the aforementioned heresies, and thus they are allowed to partake of holy Communion."





On what exactly are you basing your very public charge of heresy? 

My baptismal certificate from the Greek Archdiocese is signed by the Priest who performed the Sacrament of Baptism, the sponsor and approved by the Metropolitan.  Are you saying that the presiding Metropolitan did not approve those baptisms, or that there is something amiss that should be brought to the attention of the Metropolitan? 

Is it correct protocol to bring these charges on an internet forum, without having the Metropolitan in charge of that monastery present, or possibly not even informed of what has taken place?

Here are the only relevant Canons I could find, and which have given me great pause when considering your post:

Second Ecumenical Canon 6:
 

"If, however, certain persons are neither heretics nor excluded from communion, nor condemned, nor previously charged with any offenses, should declare that they have an accusation of an ecclesiastical nature against a Bishop, the holy Council bids these persons to lodge their accusations before all the Bishops of the province and before them to prove the charges against the Bishop involved in the case. But if it so happen that the provincial Bishops are unable to or incompetent to decide the case against the Bishop and make the correction due, then they are to go to a greater synod of the Bishops of this diocese summoned to try this case. And they are not to lodge the accusation until they themselves have in writing agreed to incur the same penalty if in the course of the trial it be proved that they have been slandering the accused Bishop. But if anyone, scorning what has been decreed in the foregoing statements, should dare either to annoy the emperor’s ears or to trouble courts of secular authorities or an ecumenical council to the affrontment of all the Bishops of the diocese, let no such person be allowed to present any information whatever, because of his having thus roundly insulted the Canons and ecclesiastical discipline."



Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 9:


If any Clergyman has a dispute with another, let him not leave his own Bishop and resort to secular courts, but let him first submit his case to his own Bishop, or let it be tried by referees chosen by both parties and approved by the Bishop. Let anyone who acts contrary hereto be liable to Canonical penalties. If, on the other hand, a Clergyman has a dispute with his own Bishop, or with some other Bishop, let it be tried by the Synod of the province. But if any Bishop or Clergyman has a dispute with the Metropolitan of the same province, let him apply either to the Exarch of the diocese or to the throne of the imperial capital Constantinople, and let it be tried before him.




Did the standing Bishops of the Americas not just have a meeting to begin to address these jurisdictional issues in real and tangible ways?  Was this issue brought up before the Bishops in that meeting? 

Did they all point fingers and each other and declare one another a heretic?

Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 12:

It has come to our knowledge that some persons, by resorting to the civil authorities, have obtained pragmatics whereby they have contrived to divide one province into two, contrary to the ecclesiastical Canons, and as a result there are two Metropolitans in one and the same province. The holy Council has therefore made it a rule that no Bishop shall hereafter be allowed to do such a thing. For, if anyone shall attempt to do so, he shall forfeit his own rank. As for all those cities which have already been honored with the name of Metropolis by letters of the Emperor, let them enjoy only the honor, and likewise the Bishop who is administering its church; it being left plain that the rights properly belonging to the real Metropolis are to be preserved to this Metropolis (alone)

Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 18:


The crime of conspiracy, or of faction (i.e., of factious partisanship), already prohibited by secular laws, ought still more to be forbidden to obtain in the Church of God. If, therefore, there be found any Clergymen, or Monastics, to be conspiring or to be engaged in factiousness of any kind, or hatching plots against Bishops or Fellow Clergymen[103] they shall forfeit their own rank altogether.

Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 19:

 It has come to our ears that the canonically prescribed Synods of Bishops are not held in the provinces, and as a result of this fact many ecclesiastical matters in need of correction are neglected. The holy Council, therefore, has made it a rule, in accordance with the Canons of the Holy Fathers, for the Bishops to meet twice a year in convention somewhere in each province, wherever the Bishop of the Metropolis designates, and for all matters to be corrected that may come up. As for those Bishops, on the other hand, who fail to attend the meeting, but who, instead of doing so, remain at home in their respective cities, and lead their lives therein in good health and free from every indispensable and necessary occupation, they are to be reprimanded in a brotherly way.



Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 21:


Clergymen or laymen accusing Bishops or Clergymen are not to be allowed to file charges against them promiscuously and without investigation until their own reputation has been examined into.

Did you perchance wear any non-clerical garb in the week preceding chrismation? 


Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 6:


 Let no one on the Clerical List don inappropriate clothing, either when living in the city or when walking the road; but, on the contrary, let him wear costumes that have already been assigned to the use of those who are enrolled in the Clergy. If anyone should commit such a violation, let him be excommunicated for one week.



Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 31:

 As for those Clergymen who hold a liturgy in oratories or prayerhouses or in private residences, or who carry out a baptism therein, without having obtained the consent of the local Bishop to do this, we decree that if any Clergyman fail to guard against doing this, let him be deposed from office.

Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 34:

In view of the fact that the sacerdotal Canon clearly states that as the crime of conspiracy or of faction is utterly forbidden even by civil laws, it is much more fitting still that this be prohibited from occurring in the Church of God, we too are sedulous to insist that if any Clergymen or Monks be found either conspiring together or engaging in factional intrigues or hatching plots against Bishops or fellow Clergymen, they shall forfeit their own rank altogether.



And for a Father Confessor to speak frankly with soul charged to his care according to his good judgement is provided for in the Canons:



Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 102


Those who have received from God authority to bind and to loose must take into consideration the quality of the sin, and the willingness and readiness of the sinner to return, and thus offer a treatment suited to the sin in question, lest by employing an immoderate adjustment in one direction or the other, they fail in compassing the salvation of the one ailing. For, the diseases called sin are not simple affairs, but, on the contrary, various and complex, and they produce many offshoots of the injury, as a result whereof the evil becomes widely diffused, and it progresses until it is checked[253] by the power of the one treating it. So that a person who is professing the science of treating ailments as a spiritual physician ought first to examine the disposition of the sinner, and ascertain whether he tends to health or on the contrary provokes the malady to attack him by his own actions; at the same time bearing in mind that he must provide against any reversion, and considering whether the patient is struggling against the physician, and whether the ulcer of the soul is being aggravated by the application of the remedy; and accordingly to mete out mercy in due proportion to the merits of the case. For all that matters to God and to the person undertaking pastoral leadership consists in the recovery of the straying sheep, and in healing the one wounded by the serpent. Accordingly, he ought not to drive the patient to the verge of despair, nor give him rein[254] to dissoluteness and contempt of life, but, on the contrary, in at least one way at any rate, either by resorting to extremer and stringent remedies, or to gentler and milder ones, to curb the disease, and to put up a fight to heal the ulcer for the one tasting the fruits of repentance, and wisely helping him on the way to the splendid rehabilitation to which the man is being invited. We must therefore be versed in both, i.e., both the requirements of accuracy and the requirements of custom. In the case of those who are obstinately opposed to extremities, we must follow the formula handed down to us, just as sacred Basil teaches us outright.

 
And so is the marriage bed held to be undefiled in the Canons. 

As a person who is posting on this forum bearing the title of an Orthodox clergyman and who has leveled a charge of heresy against an Orthodox monastery and, it by association it would seem, on the Metropolitan in whose jurisdiction they reside, I hope this matter will be dealt with in a real way affording the parties being accused a chance to address the issue so as not to further alienate jurisdictions which are in reality one, holy, catholic and Orthodox faith.  Otherwise, it seems an injustice is taking place in the form of an accusation on an internet forum and the inevitable judgement in the court of public opinion with only one side represented.

I for one, have heard a ROCOR priest and other clergy express an opinion that it is better for heterodox to be baptized into the faith.   As far as I had read or heard, chrismation as it is practiced now is an economia.

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14.12

Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #266 on: January 07, 2014, 01:06:21 AM »
Quote from: Maria link=topic=17649.msg
[/quote

We should not make a mountain out of a mole hill. Rarely will monastics ask personal questions about sex as they are trying to live the angelic life.

Unfortunately, I have heard differently directly from people who have been to confession at some monasteries. I have also had the experience of serving a mission close to one of these monasteries. The monks Baptized  children from my parish without having the courtesy to inform me. One of our Antiochian Bishops has told me about the problems caused by monks telling people received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation that they are were not properly received into the Church and need to come to the monastery for a so called corrective Baptism. It is heresy to Baptize someone who was received into the Eastern Orthodox Church through Chrismation, because it denies the grace that they received through their Chrismation, which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox Baptism.

Fr. John W. Morris

please pm me or post the names of these monasteries

Also, perhaps those monks thought the people did not have baptisms at all before becoming orthodox, for example, A protestant might get a "baptism" which is not immersion, but sprinkles. second, to say "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" does God give any grace to the protestant minister who does such a baptism since they are outside the Church? What if it was a female minister of the anglican church? Did the holy spirit have any action in such a baptism which was not correct in any way besides "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"? Can it be called a baptism? I ask you since you are a priest so perhaps can give me answers since I am not sure. I have another question, do different jurisdictions have different viewpoints on chrismation vs baptism of converts?

I have heard that at times some heresies, the converts were to be chrismated, in other heresies the converts were to be only baptized, such as for Arians, and of Iconoclasts. Perhaps it is a difference in jurisdiction, as as far as I can tell these decisions were decided by councils, that such converts were to be chrismated, or to be baptized so perhaps the jurisdictions have different methods? I do not know since you have not named the monasteries, were they of the Antioch jurisdiction?

Why to not tell the priest? That is really weird.

personally, I did not trust my baptism in any way which I had got in my protestant church, and would not have felt comfortable with chrismation
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #267 on: January 07, 2014, 01:12:12 AM »
Quote from: Maria link=topic=17649.msg
[/quote

We should not make a mountain out of a mole hill. Rarely will monastics ask personal questions about sex as they are trying to live the angelic life.

Unfortunately, I have heard differently directly from people who have been to confession at some monasteries. I have also had the experience of serving a mission close to one of these monasteries. The monks Baptized  children from my parish without having the courtesy to inform me. One of our Antiochian Bishops has told me about the problems caused by monks telling people received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation that they are were not properly received into the Church and need to come to the monastery for a so called corrective Baptism. It is heresy to Baptize someone who was received into the Eastern Orthodox Church through Chrismation, because it denies the grace that they received through their Chrismation, which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox Baptism.

Fr. John W. Morris

Pretty sure that's not done anymore.
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Offline mike

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #268 on: January 07, 2014, 01:16:21 AM »
Also, perhaps those monks thought the people did not have baptisms at all before becoming orthodox, for example, A protestant might get a "baptism" which is not immersion, but sprinkles. second, to say "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" does God give any grace to the protestant minister who does such a baptism since they are outside the Church? What if it was a female minister of the anglican church? Did the holy spirit have any action in such a baptism which was not correct in any way besides "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"? Can it be called a baptism? I ask you since you are a priest so perhaps can give me answers since I am not sure.

You stick to your priest's decision. Does not matter whether you like it or not.

Quote
I have another question, do different jurisdictions have different viewpoints on chrismation vs baptism of converts?

Yes. You stick to yours.

Quote
I have heard that at times some heresies, the converts were to be chrismated, in other heresies the converts were to be only baptized, such as for Arians, and of Iconoclasts.

IIRC Arians were chrismated according to Trullo.

Quote
Why to not tell the priest? That is really weird.

Your first point here.

Quote
personally, I did not trust my baptism in any way which I had got in my protestant church, and would not have felt comfortable with chrismation

Your comfort is the least important thing in this.
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #269 on: January 07, 2014, 01:21:01 AM »
Also, perhaps those monks thought the people did not have baptisms at all before becoming orthodox, for example, A protestant might get a "baptism" which is not immersion, but sprinkles. second, to say "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" does God give any grace to the protestant minister who does such a baptism since they are outside the Church? What if it was a female minister of the anglican church? Did the holy spirit have any action in such a baptism which was not correct in any way besides "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"? Can it be called a baptism? I ask you since you are a priest so perhaps can give me answers since I am not sure.

You stick to your priest's decision. Does not matter whether you like it or not.

Quote
I have another question, do different jurisdictions have different viewpoints on chrismation vs baptism of converts?

Yes. You stick to yours.

Quote
I have heard that at times some heresies, the converts were to be chrismated, in other heresies the converts were to be only baptized, such as for Arians, and of Iconoclasts.

IIRC Arians were chrismated according to Trullo.

Quote
Why to not tell the priest? That is really weird.

Your first point here.

Quote
personally, I did not trust my baptism in any way which I had got in my protestant church, and would not have felt comfortable with chrismation

Your comfort is the least important thing in this.


Nope, first, the priest does not baptize or chrismate iwthout the concent of the convert so try again.

Second, how can you stick to a jurisdiction if you see a priest from one jurisdiction and a priest from another jurisdiction's monastery?

Third, I did not say the Arians were baptized, i was saying for example, some heretics were baptized, and some were chrismated. I did not list heresies in any particular order.

Fourth, yes my comfort is very important because it is my soul
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 01:21:26 AM by Gunnarr »
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