Author Topic: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries  (Read 118817 times)

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Offline antiderivative

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #90 on: October 23, 2008, 09:47:57 PM »
Has anyone read the monk's side of the Rick Ross story?

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #91 on: October 23, 2008, 10:08:06 PM »
I honestly don't really have an opinion on the Ephraimite monasteries, as I have had little contact with them... I just wanted to add another source to the discussion.  There used to be a website... www.concernedpoem.com (Concerned Parents Of Ephraimite Monastics), which was run by a coalition of parents of monastics in his monasteries who were concerned (obviously, from the name).  The last time I saw the site was a couple of years ago.  Oddly, the site is gone now.  I haven't been able to even find mention of the group, other than on pokrov.org.  If anyone finds more about this group, I would be interested in re-reading about what the issues were.  All I can remember about the site is that the main stories revolved around one specific novice (whose credibility was questionable), and the stories were primarily written by Theodore Kalmoukos (also of questionable credibility, in my view).  I remember thinking that they were blowing things way out of proportion and making a big deal where there was none. But I would be interested to know what has become of them.

If someone mentioned this group previously and I missed the post, I apologize!  I really just skimmed a lot of the thread, to be honest.  So if I'm repeating what's already been said, I apologize!
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #92 on: October 23, 2008, 10:32:54 PM »
Has anyone read the monk's side of the Rick Ross story?

http://www.athosinamerica.org/

Very good, thorough article.  Thanks for sharing it.
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Offline iustinos

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #93 on: January 26, 2010, 07:45:57 PM »
At the risk of resurrecting a "hot" thread, I noticed that this thread is linked at the website of a new anti-Elder Ephraim website.  I don't have time to get into specifics, although I may some day, but so many of the teachings alleged against Elder Ephraim and those in the other GOA monasteries in this country are a problem of over-zealous, guru-seeking lay people that lack a basis in Orthodox teaching and Scriptural understanding.  Full disclosure:  my sons' godmother is Abbess Markella of Life-Giving Spring Monastery in Dunlap, California, an "Ephraimite" monastery.  I'm a former Catholic seminarian, now a lawyer.  We have visited Life-Giving Spring monastery numerous times.  I have also visited St. Anthony's where I spoke with Elder Ephraim and confessed to Fr. Paisios.  I have confessed to Fr. Paisios one other time and have spoken with him informally on one or two other occasions.  I have also visited St. Paraskevi's Monastery in Texas and spoke with Gerondissa Paraskevi there.  I have also had occasion to speak with Fr. Joseph from the monastery in Michigan a few times.  I also know the parents of three "Ephraimite" monastics and knew another before she became a novice.  Finally, my confessor (a parish priest) himself confesses to Fr. Paisios.

In all of my experiences with "Ephraimite" monastics, I have not experienced the various excesses alleged of them.  While they do have a particularly Athonite, and therefore, traditionalist Greek mentality, I have only benefitted from this.  The occasional advice given about my relationship with my wife---only ever given at my request---has been solid advice, very beneficial, and not inconsistent with advice from other "non-Ephraimites."  For example, recommending that just saying our daily prayers separately is insufficient; we should find time, even if briefly, to pray together every day.

But what I have seen, in particular from one person in our parish, is that certain Orthodox, sometimes converts, sometimes cradle, who experience a renaissance in their spiritual life but who have insecurities and a lack of basic education, will lach onto Elder Ephraim to an excess.  They will, through their lack of understanding of the lives of the Saints and the Church's theology, misinterpret what Elder Ephraim says and then repeat it as though the Gospel for everyone around.  This person in parish would hear the same thing that I heard from a monk or nun, and then subtley (and unconsciously) change it into something else.  She would then run around telling others, and thereby give them impression that the monastics are teaching something very different than what they are.  I suspect this happens quite often.

Now, I know that some will say that given my connections to the monasteries I am just an apologist and advocating, rather than being truthful (I've seen it alleged against others before).  Such is truly a cynical view and inconsistent with Christ's exhortations.  I've avoided getting into many specifics, but am happy to discuss further via private message.

I've noticed that if you search for commentary on the Orthodox Church online, you can find many unflattering commentaries by those that claim to either be in the Church or to have left the Church and even some by those who have only ever looked in from outside.  Probably anyone on this forum would read them and say that they do not correspond with the Orthodox Church we know and that the author suffers from a lack of understanding of our faith and piety.  I believe such is also the case with many commentaries on the monasteries available online.  No one should form a judgment as to the merit or lack of merit of Elder Ephraim, the monasteries, and their superiors without having first visited and discussed the matter with them.  Christian charity demands such.

Offline samkim

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #94 on: January 26, 2010, 08:15:16 PM »
I really don't want to go through three pages of this thread. Can someone summarize for me the objections to St. Anthony's and Fr. Ephrem?
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #95 on: January 26, 2010, 08:19:33 PM »
I really don't want to go through three pages of this thread. Can someone summarize for me the objections to St. Anthony's and Fr. Ephrem?

I had to laugh when I read this! :D
What an age we live in! Here we are with an abbreviated three page list of people's opinions from different parts of the world and different times all combined into one relatively short thread- something which could never have been done before the Internet, and now, even this is too mundane and people want a summary of the summary! :D
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« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 08:20:12 PM by ozgeorge »
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Offline jnorm888

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #96 on: January 26, 2010, 08:39:35 PM »
I really don't want to go through three pages of this thread. Can someone summarize for me the objections to St. Anthony's and Fr. Ephrem?

Some people don't like discipline....or they feel that religious groups shouldn't be real serious and about discipline. Everyone is not built the same and so for every person who hates religious discipline, there will be another person who will love it and thrive off it.





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« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 08:41:09 PM by jnorm888 »
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #97 on: January 26, 2010, 08:43:20 PM »
I really don't want to go through three pages of this thread. Can someone summarize for me the objections to St. Anthony's and Fr. Ephrem?

Fr Ephraim is actually a space alien and St Anthony's was built by the same people who built the pyramids and produced the movie Stargate. I think that's a pretty accurate summary.
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Offline Andrew21091

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #98 on: January 26, 2010, 09:46:46 PM »
The accusations against him and the monasteries are that they are trying to pollute the faith or something. What they say are lies and slander. The Elder Ephraim monasteries are traditional and they want Orthodoxy to be pure but those who are slaves to the world do not like this. I believe the accusations againts the monasteries are from parents who did not want their children to become monastics so they were convinced they were being brainwashed. One guy who went to St. Anthony's and became a novice left and said that they tried to brainwash him by making him go to church for long hours, having to do a cell rule, and working though I'm not sure what he was expecting going to a monastery. They think they are fanatical since they express a pure Orthodox spirit. What the slanderers of the Elder are afraid of is Orthodoxy. I'm sure all they want is to keep their churches as ethnic clubs and fight against Orthodoxy. The monasticism of the Elder Ephraim monasteries is the monasticism of the Fathers.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 09:52:19 PM by Andrew21091 »

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #99 on: January 26, 2010, 09:48:09 PM »
I really don't want to go through three pages of this thread. Can someone summarize for me the objections to St. Anthony's and Fr. Ephrem?

Fr Ephraim is actually a space alien and St Anthony's was built by the same people who built the pyramids and produced the movie Stargate. I think that's a pretty accurate summary.
LOL. That's about it.

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

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

So, let's see...

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

Truly a difficult choice.  ::)



LOL.  Yes.  I will say that the followers of Ephraim are very Greek, but NOT ethnocentric.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 09:53:33 PM by ialmisry »
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #100 on: January 27, 2010, 12:09:21 AM »
St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona is totally awesome and super-duper Orthodox.  And they're on the Revised Julian Calendar, which doesn't fit with the vibe there (being ultra-traditionalist), but whatever.  The only thing that seemed odd to me is that Elder Ephraim lives in some ridiculous palatial estate, but he seemed very humble and holy to me.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 12:09:55 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #101 on: January 27, 2010, 12:26:04 AM »
The only thing I know about St Anthony's is that they were responsible for that ridiculous publication "Would You Like to Initiate Your
Children to Satanism", an inaccurate and alarmist ramble about the evils of Harry Potter and his creator.
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Offline arimethea

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #102 on: January 27, 2010, 12:30:39 AM »
Just thought I would share something with you all to ponder. When I visited Agios Oros in 1997 every monastery I visited there when they found out I was from America secluded me and would ask me one question before allowing me to stay; "What do you know of Ephraim?" Without a fault every monastery on the mountain had their guard up and when I asked who he was I was told to be weary of him.

Having visited some of the monasteries he has founded here in America I do not believe that all of them are bad and many are in fact filled with true monastics who are searching for salvation. As in all cases we must be aware of the wolf in sheep's clothing.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #103 on: January 27, 2010, 12:33:23 AM »
I visited Holy Protection Monastery in Pennsylvania... all I can say is that this place, to me, just radiates peace and kindness and I can't imagine them being connected with anything bad.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #104 on: January 27, 2010, 10:04:54 AM »
Forum posters,

It appears I inadvertently offended a poster by my response to samkim; said poster viewed my response as rude and patronizing.  My intent was not to insult samkim, but rather to use humor to point out that when you ask for a summary of a summary, you may end up getting a completely irrelevant and inaccurate summation. As some of you know, I have stated that I would like to see the level of discourse raised on this forum; I did not see my post as contradicting such stated goal but rather as using humor as a vehicle to communicate my point that we need to not always be looking for quick answers to complex issues.

For any offense caused anyone, I apologize.

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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #105 on: January 27, 2010, 10:14:31 AM »
St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona is totally awesome and super-duper Orthodox.  And they're on the Revised Julian Calendar, which doesn't fit with the vibe there (being ultra-traditionalist), but whatever.  The only thing that seemed odd to me is that Elder Ephraim lives in some ridiculous palatial estate, but he seemed very humble and holy to me.
I wonder if he lives there or receives there.
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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #106 on: January 27, 2010, 12:32:21 PM »
I have never visited an Ephraimite monastery, but I do know them by their fruits, and I think I can say that, as with our parishes, the fruits are mixed.

On the one hand, they have helped many folks.  On the other hand, some of the advice they give is not appropriate to the people they give it to.  For example, I know of numerous divorces that have occured because one spouse is given marital advice that bring him/her into conflict with the other.  When you take a person raised as a nominal Orthodox and suddenly, all-at-once, dump a whole lot of discipline on them, they either run or go a bit nuts.

On Mt, Athos, there was a strict, but less severe, attitude.  For example, at one monastery the abbott, seeing that I had a wedding ring, began to berate me for wearing it as a clergyman.  He went on and on, and the poor monk assisting us raced to keep pace with the translation.  In the end, the translating monk looked at me (looking rather bewildered) and said, "Don't worry about it."  It was an opinion, one strongly held, but still only an opinion.  The monk knew about how things are done in America and that my wearing a ring was not impious here.  Essentially, I wasn't considered impious for not following the admonition.  Those who have had monastic experiences here in America have told me that some monastics expect every jot and tittle of their opinions be fulfilled.

In defense of St. Anthony's Monastery, they have taken up the very difficult and much-needed task of building an understanding of Byzantine music in English.  I am very grateful that the monastery has taken a more pro-English appoach which was different from when they were first established as Greek-only institutions.  I have been told the original idea of keeping them all Greek language was to ensure that if the monasteries were driven out by necessity, the monks could be easily assimilated into Mt. Athos or other Greek monasteries.  However, now that they have become well-established and are not going anywhere, they are looking to minister to the Church here in America.

While I have a great deal of respect for monastics and monasticism, I think it is important not to idealize them.  They are imperfect and tempted as we all are.  I would be cautious about taking advice from someone who has no experience in the area in which he speaks.  For example, when I am asked to give marital advice, I always begin with a disclaimer that I am not a couselor and that I can only speak of my own experience in marriage.

And, one must take responsibility for the advice one is given.  Many people want a mind-reading elder who will save them the great hassle of having to peer within themselves and discover, through tears, what it is that ills them.  Clarvoyance is only helpful to kick-start a soddened conscience, but reliance on it is laziness.  We need to discover our inner world for ourselves.

Anyway, that's my 2¢.

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Offline Michael L

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #107 on: January 27, 2010, 02:05:49 PM »
I think that the bad advice that is given could be miscommunication, for example:

An overzealous visitor to the monastery will ask Elder Ephraim for his blessing to sell his home and move near the monastery when The Elder gives a blessing for the visitor to do so. Said Visitor misconstrues this blessing as Elder Ephraim advised me to sell my home and move near the monastery.

See the difference!

Offline iustinos

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #108 on: January 27, 2010, 03:28:18 PM »
Fr. Giryus--Thank you for your comment.
It reminded me of now-Metropolitan Jonah's article "Five Good Reasons NOT To Visit A Monastery" which he wrote while abbott of St. John's Monastery, linked below.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1403441/posts

Asking your blessing.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 03:31:29 PM by iustinos »

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #109 on: January 27, 2010, 03:47:17 PM »
And, one must take responsibility for the advice one is given.  Many people want a mind-reading elder who will save them the great hassle of having to peer within themselves and discover, through tears, what it is that ills them.  Clarvoyance is only helpful to kick-start a soddened conscience, but reliance on it is laziness.  We need to discover our inner world for ourselves.

Anyway, that's my 2¢.

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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #110 on: January 27, 2010, 04:21:59 PM »
I think that the bad advice that is given could be miscommunication, for example:

An overzealous visitor to the monastery will ask Elder Ephraim for his blessing to sell his home and move near the monastery when The Elder gives a blessing for the visitor to do so. Said Visitor misconstrues this blessing as Elder Ephraim advised me to sell my home and move near the monastery.

See the difference!


Absolutely.  This is one of the great dangers in giving advice, particularly when it isn't written down.  People hear what they want and remember what they want, and most folks are too scared to be so honest as to remember exactly what they are told.

Met. Jonah's article is one of the best I think on the topic.  Russian now is struggling with a 'mini-staretz' phenomenon in which many priests think they have the right to direct every detail of their parishioners' lives.  It is very sad, and borders on heresy.

I say 'heresy' because free-will is a DOGMA of the Church (read about the two wills of Jesus Christ if you think I am kidding).  Even when we obey, it is a free will decision done with mindfulness and an understanding.  Therefore, a monk who submits himself to obedience does so voluntarily.  When his abbot asks him to do something sinful, the monk can refuse if it is a sin and brings harm to others.

Very often, people ask for a 'blessing' as a magic talisman against failure.  Then, when they do fail, they can blame someone else.  I've been asked to 'bless' major decisions of parishioners and have refused, though I have no problem discussing the issue and going through their choices and the facts.  But, if I bless something in the name of God and the person fails, it can become a stumbling block to their relationship with the Church.  So, I tell people they still need to take their chances and realize that failure is always an option, but, in the hands of God, it is never a waste.  Most of the blessings I have now are either the direct or the indirect results of failure.

Your point is well taken about twisting facts.  If you want a scary book about the topic, read People of the Lie by Scott Peck.

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Offline monkvn

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #111 on: January 30, 2010, 01:50:11 AM »
Actually, Fr. Panteleimon of Brookline, another disciple of Elder Joseph, was first for found a genuine Athonite Monastery in North America, in the 1960s. Of course, his reputation was self-destructed, but he did found the first Athonite Monastery on this continent. About the opinions toward the monasteries, one might bear in mind that monasticism has also served as a safety valve for Gnostic tendencies in the Church. People with such an orientation often become monastics and monastery founders. It is clear historically that Manichean Monasticism (which was older than Orthodox monasticism) did influence many ascetic writings and concepts in the Orthodox Church. Monasticism is a necessary aspect of Christian life, but marriage is equally a path of salvation. The Church would not be complete without both active marriage and active monasticism.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #112 on: January 30, 2010, 02:21:26 AM »
Welcome to the forum.  Just skimming through Elder Ephraim's writings over the last few days, but especuially his writings on paradise, he actually seems quite "gnostic" in his negative portrayal of material reality, seeming to feel that every aspect of this world is a lie and all we can do his look toward the better spiritual world.  One free of flesh and corruption.  Maybe I was misreading him, but I just kept waiting to read something about returning to the pleroma.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #113 on: January 30, 2010, 12:39:10 PM »
Welcome to the forum.  Just skimming through Elder Ephraim's writings over the last few days, but especuially his writings on paradise, he actually seems quite "gnostic" in his negative portrayal of material reality, seeming to feel that every aspect of this world is a lie and all we can do his look toward the better spiritual world.  One free of flesh and corruption.  Maybe I was misreading him, but I just kept waiting to read something about returning to the pleroma.

I would be cautious about leveling the charge of heresy (albeit based on 'skimming') against anyone in the Church without substantial proof.  'Seems' and 'seeming' imply an uncertainty of content, which would be better served with a few actual citations of the offending passages rather than giving the appearance of bearing false witness.

Pardon my sensitivity, but I am one who has been accused of things based on others' interpretations of 'seeming' which has led to all kinds of trouble.  I have not read anything of Elder Ephraim, but am taking issue with how the implication of heresy is being made here.

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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #114 on: January 30, 2010, 01:18:29 PM »
I think the accusation of Gnosticism tends to get thrown around rather liberally these days, often with little warrant. One can read many passages in the ascetic writings of the saints, such as the Ladder of Divine Ascent, which might sound "Gnostic" at first glance to some people. We will be resurrected with our bodies, but there is a very real sense that we are at war with the flesh, insofar as we are subjugated to it when bodily appetites override our higher faculties.
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Offline observer

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #115 on: January 30, 2010, 04:24:16 PM »
What is active marriage -am I missing something?  I still take to heart the words of Elder John of Varlaam. "Don't trust yourself this side of the grave".
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #116 on: January 30, 2010, 11:47:32 PM »
I would be cautious about leveling the charge of heresy (albeit based on 'skimming') against anyone in the Church without substantial proof.  'Seems' and 'seeming' imply an uncertainty of content, which would be better served with a few actual citations of the offending passages rather than giving the appearance of bearing false witness.

Forgive my passive accusation.  I fully revoke it as it was not qualified nor called for.  I was just making a careless comment.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #117 on: January 31, 2010, 12:04:44 AM »
Quote
I say 'heresy' because free-will is a DOGMA of the Church (read about the two wills of Jesus Christ if you think I am kidding).  Even when we obey, it is a free will decision done with mindfulness and an understanding.  Therefore, a monk who submits himself to obedience does so voluntarily.  When his abbot asks him to do something sinful, the monk can refuse if it is a sin and brings harm to others.

Father, I always very much enjoy reading your posts, and this little snippet is no exception. I remember, upon reading something of the unfortunate history of Fr. Panteleimon and HTM, and of some of the terrible scandals which occured there, being amazed at the fact that the young men agreed to go along with these repugnant sins even ONCE without immediately having grave doubts and loud alarm bells ringing in their heads. Such behaviour is befitting  a cult, not a respected church. I could never understand why anyone in their right mind would tolerate such behaviour from a leader if one was truly a christian and had even read the NT slightly...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 12:07:47 AM by Rosehip »
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline Marina14

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #118 on: January 31, 2010, 09:46:16 PM »
I just spend about 3 hours reading through the 3 pages of posts and reading the linked websites and link YouTube Videos and let me say: WOW!!!

I have visited 3 of Elder Ephraim's Monasteries. The first in North Carolina while I was a catchecumin. Then the one in CA after I'd converted and it was there I was told about St. Anthony's. I went to St. Anthony's in AR. I've been back to the one in CA several times and was baptized and chrimated there with my daughter since although we'd been brought into the Orthodox Church we'd never before been actually baptized. This was something I'd felt in my heart was lacking and was relieved when the Monks and Nuns from AR & CA told me it should and could be remedied.

I've had nothing but WONDERFUL experiences at each of the monasteries. I'd LOVE to be able to go back to St. Anthony's when I was there I confessed to Elder Paisius as Elder Ephraim had to address something and could not see me. I was only able to be there for less than 24 hours - drove back & forth took more time than I spent there. Totally worth it though! :)

I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I also noticed that those who have posted anything negative here about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries have NEVER visited one. I agree with others here that those how have never gone should GO! They are beautiful and soul enriching. Nothing negative about them. (Although being afraid of dogs, I didn't like the idea of dogs at the NC Monastery - but that is a problem with ME, not the Monastery!)

Anyone who hasn't yet, please do yourself a true spiritual favor and visit one of Elder Ephraim's Monasteries! :)
I'm a Greek Orthodox Christian whose spiritual father is a Russian Orthodox priest and who is currently attending an OCA Church.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #119 on: January 31, 2010, 09:56:26 PM »
I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I don't think we can assume that the parents of the monk are "not practising Orthodox". Nor can we assume that "becoming a Christian" is equivalent to "becoming a monk".
I think these kinds of equations ("Practising Christian = Monk") are the problem.
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #120 on: January 31, 2010, 09:57:54 PM »
I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I don't think we can assume that the parents of the monk are "not practising Orthodox". Nor can we assume that "becoming a Christian" is equivalent to "becoming a monk".
I think these kinds of equations ("Practising Christian = Monk") are the problem.


Reading/ hearing the parents' words, it became apparent to me that they knew very little about Orthodoxy or Orthodox monasticism.
Quote
When a time revolts against eternity, the only thing to set against it is genuine eternity itself, and not some other time which has already roused, and not without reason, a violent reaction against itself.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #121 on: January 31, 2010, 10:06:22 PM »
Reading/ hearing the parents' words, it became apparent to me that they knew very little about Orthodoxy or Orthodox monasticism.
What specifically did they say to make you think they knew little about Orthodoxy?
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Marina14

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #122 on: January 31, 2010, 11:37:53 PM »
I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I don't think we can assume that the parents of the monk are "not practising Orthodox". Nor can we assume that "becoming a Christian" is equivalent to "becoming a monk".
I think these kinds of equations ("Practising Christian = Monk") are the problem.


It's not an assumption that the parents are not practicing Orthodox...the witnesses of the parents, their own children, state that they never fasted, never confessed (save the mother once & her husband was upset by it & had her stop), they had no icon corner, did not pray, father announced after retirement/reading the Bible with his free time that he did not believe in a Christian God, etc.

Some of those Saints I have read about not only had parents become upset like the priest/monk's parents when they became Christians, but some of the Saints from Christian families became upset when their daughter's became nuns. The reaction of the parents were the same. Obiously becoming a monk or a nun is a much deeper spiritual step then becoming a Christian.

I did not make an equation of becoming a Christian with becoming a Monastic, but I did make an equation between the negative reaction of the parents in those situations.
I'm a Greek Orthodox Christian whose spiritual father is a Russian Orthodox priest and who is currently attending an OCA Church.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #123 on: January 31, 2010, 11:47:59 PM »
I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I don't think we can assume that the parents of the monk are "not practising Orthodox". Nor can we assume that "becoming a Christian" is equivalent to "becoming a monk".
I think these kinds of equations ("Practising Christian = Monk") are the problem.


It's not an assumption that the parents are not practicing Orthodox...the witnesses of the parents, their own children, state that they never fasted, never confessed (save the mother once & her husband was upset by it & had her stop), they had no icon corner, did not pray, father announced after retirement/reading the Bible with his free time that he did not believe in a Christian God, etc.

Some of those Saints I have read about not only had parents become upset like the priest/monk's parents when they became Christians, but some of the Saints from Christian families became upset when their daughter's became nuns. The reaction of the parents were the same. Obiously becoming a monk or a nun is a much deeper spiritual step then becoming a Christian.
Wrong.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Marina14

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #124 on: January 31, 2010, 11:53:19 PM »
I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I don't think we can assume that the parents of the monk are "not practising Orthodox". Nor can we assume that "becoming a Christian" is equivalent to "becoming a monk".
I think these kinds of equations ("Practising Christian = Monk") are the problem.


It's not an assumption that the parents are not practicing Orthodox...the witnesses of the parents, their own children, state that they never fasted, never confessed (save the mother once & her husband was upset by it & had her stop), they had no icon corner, did not pray, father announced after retirement/reading the Bible with his free time that he did not believe in a Christian God, etc.

Some of those Saints I have read about not only had parents become upset like the priest/monk's parents when they became Christians, but some of the Saints from Christian families became upset when their daughter's became nuns. The reaction of the parents were the same. Obiously becoming a monk or a nun is a much deeper spiritual step then becoming a Christian.
Wrong.

Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
I'm a Greek Orthodox Christian whose spiritual father is a Russian Orthodox priest and who is currently attending an OCA Church.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #125 on: February 01, 2010, 12:08:25 AM »
I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I don't think we can assume that the parents of the monk are "not practising Orthodox". Nor can we assume that "becoming a Christian" is equivalent to "becoming a monk".
I think these kinds of equations ("Practising Christian = Monk") are the problem.


It's not an assumption that the parents are not practicing Orthodox...the witnesses of the parents, their own children, state that they never fasted, never confessed (save the mother once & her husband was upset by it & had her stop), they had no icon corner, did not pray, father announced after retirement/reading the Bible with his free time that he did not believe in a Christian God, etc.

Some of those Saints I have read about not only had parents become upset like the priest/monk's parents when they became Christians, but some of the Saints from Christian families became upset when their daughter's became nuns. The reaction of the parents were the same. Obiously becoming a monk or a nun is a much deeper spiritual step then becoming a Christian.
Wrong.
Rather than post a smart-alecky one-word reply that calls this belief wrong, why don't you explain for us how this belief is wrong?
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #126 on: February 01, 2010, 12:08:40 AM »
I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I don't think we can assume that the parents of the monk are "not practising Orthodox". Nor can we assume that "becoming a Christian" is equivalent to "becoming a monk".
I think these kinds of equations ("Practising Christian = Monk") are the problem.


It's not an assumption that the parents are not practicing Orthodox...the witnesses of the parents, their own children, state that they never fasted, never confessed (save the mother once & her husband was upset by it & had her stop), they had no icon corner, did not pray, father announced after retirement/reading the Bible with his free time that he did not believe in a Christian God, etc.

Some of those Saints I have read about not only had parents become upset like the priest/monk's parents when they became Christians, but some of the Saints from Christian families became upset when their daughter's became nuns. The reaction of the parents were the same. Obiously becoming a monk or a nun is a much deeper spiritual step then becoming a Christian.
Wrong.

Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
No.
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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Offline LBK

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #127 on: February 01, 2010, 12:08:59 AM »
My dear Marina, while I know that there are nominally Orthodox parents who are alarmed at their children showing a desire to be monastics, there are also good numbers who are indeed practicing Orthodox, who, nevertheless, are concerned when their child expresses a wish to be a monk or a nun, simply because of the age of the child (anywhere from early teens to early twenties).

In quite a few cases, this can be simply a faddish idea on the part of the child/teenager, and it is quite proper for a parent versed in the faith to want to get to the bottom of this idea. Is it simply a teenage phase, or a true spiritual calling? Experienced abbots and abbesses are pretty good at sifting out youngsters who have misguided youthful idealism, and those who have a true spiritual calling.

I speak from experience here. These are but two examples:

1: Someone close to my family, who, even as a child, was drawn to the life of the Church, ran off to a monastery when he was 15 or 16; his father soon worked out that a life in the world was futile for his first-born son. Not an easy decision for any father or family to come to terms with. The teenage novice not only became a monk, but has been, for quite some years, an abbot. He is now in his late fifties. It would not surprise me if he is appointed as a bishop before long.

2: Another friend, very zealous in his Orthodoxy, explored monastic possibilities after the breakup of his marriage. He entered a monastery as a novice (without great resistance from his family), spent a few months there, but the wisdom and discernment of the abbot carried a lot of weight. This young man was simply on the rebound from his failed relationship, and thought that monasticism was the answer. This lad soon returned to the world.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 12:13:57 AM by LBK »
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #128 on: February 01, 2010, 12:09:33 AM »
I read the website linked which was an interview with the monk-priest whose parents have launched all the controversy. Sounds like he deeply loves his parents, but his parents were not practicing Orthodox and were/are deadset against their son's choice to be a monk. Reading it, I'm reminded of many Saints' lives I've read that their parents were deadset against them becoming Christians. Exactly the same.

I don't think we can assume that the parents of the monk are "not practising Orthodox". Nor can we assume that "becoming a Christian" is equivalent to "becoming a monk".
I think these kinds of equations ("Practising Christian = Monk") are the problem.


It's not an assumption that the parents are not practicing Orthodox...the witnesses of the parents, their own children, state that they never fasted, never confessed (save the mother once & her husband was upset by it & had her stop), they had no icon corner, did not pray, father announced after retirement/reading the Bible with his free time that he did not believe in a Christian God, etc.

Some of those Saints I have read about not only had parents become upset like the priest/monk's parents when they became Christians, but some of the Saints from Christian families became upset when their daughter's became nuns. The reaction of the parents were the same. Obiously becoming a monk or a nun is a much deeper spiritual step then becoming a Christian.
Wrong.
Rather than post a smart-alecky one-word reply that calls this belief wrong, why don't you explain for us how this belief is wrong?
Patience.  It's coming.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #129 on: February 01, 2010, 12:11:56 AM »
Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Marina14

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #130 on: February 01, 2010, 12:19:06 AM »
Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

Everyone is called to be a Christian. Out of Christians, some are called to Marriage and some to Monasticism as their path to theosis. St. Paul was clear that the monastic life is the higher of the two callings because their focus on Christ is undistracted by the matters of this life. The ulitmate aim, as you put it, of both paths is complete union with God for all eternity.
I'm a Greek Orthodox Christian whose spiritual father is a Russian Orthodox priest and who is currently attending an OCA Church.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #131 on: February 01, 2010, 12:32:25 AM »
Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

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

Can you explain why Our Lord called married men as his disciples and Apostles?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Marina14

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #132 on: February 01, 2010, 01:00:30 AM »
Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

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

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

Jesus called both married and unmarried men then as disciples and Apostles as well as now to the priesthood. But only unmarried men are called to become Bishops.
I'm a Greek Orthodox Christian whose spiritual father is a Russian Orthodox priest and who is currently attending an OCA Church.

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #133 on: February 01, 2010, 01:20:18 AM »
Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

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

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

Jesus called both married and unmarried men then as disciples and Apostles as well as now to the priesthood. But only unmarried men are called to become Bishops.

How did a Bishop require to be an unmarried man today?  Was that restriction always true?  There are threads on this board which discuss the marriage requirements for the episcopacy.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #134 on: February 01, 2010, 01:26:02 AM »
Okay, I take it you reject the Orthodox teachings concerning Monasticism.
Marina, perhaps I'm wrong, but you seem to think that there is some difference between being a Christian and being a monastic, as though "being a Christian" is "the bare minimum" and "being a monastic" is "the ultimate aim" or "the Christian life lived perfectly".

No.

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

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

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

Were the married disciples less than disciples because they were married?  Where does that leave St. Peter, their chief?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth