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Author Topic: Monk commits suicide  (Read 10940 times) Average Rating: 0
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LBK
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« Reply #45 on: June 21, 2012, 01:30:41 AM »

Quote
... and neither of you (PtA or JamesRottnek) seem to get it.

I grieve over the sad case of the wayward novice, but I make no apologies for what I have written on this thread.
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #46 on: June 21, 2012, 01:34:44 AM »

Quote
... and neither of you (PtA or JamesRottnek) seem to get it.

I grieve over the sad case of the wayward novice, but I make no apologies for what I have written on this thread.
Where did you get that quote? I don't see it anywhere on this thread.
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« Reply #47 on: June 21, 2012, 01:39:35 AM »

Which quote are you referring to, and what is your point?
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #48 on: June 21, 2012, 01:47:06 AM »

Which quote are you referring to, and what is your point?

This quote:
Quote
... and neither of you (PtA or JamesRottnek) seem to get it.

LBK,

I realize that I allowed myself to get into a little bit of a bickering match with you earlier on this thread, and for that I take full responsibility, but now I'm posting more seriously. IF you did in fact create that quote yourself, which I'm not yet presuming to know for certain that you did, I do see it as the height of dishonesty for you to put your words into the mouths of unnamed others to create the appearance that you have others' support for your personal opinions. You can say of me whatever you want. In the end, even though I may defend myself to a certain extent, what you wish to believe about me really doesn't affect me all that much, even if you are wrong. But at least have the decency to take personal responsibility for your opinions and don't make it look as if they're coming from someone else just to give your opinions the illusion of strength. Don't lie to us.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 01:58:46 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #49 on: June 21, 2012, 01:56:58 AM »

merged into the above post
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 01:58:33 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #50 on: June 21, 2012, 01:57:38 AM »

Formatting error. But I stand by what I wrote in it.
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« Reply #51 on: June 21, 2012, 02:34:18 AM »

For the benefit of everyone else, my intent was not to dismiss any ascetic praxis prescribed by the Church (e.g., abstinence from marital relations during seasons of fasting). I honor this praxis and consider it wise, since it has the support of no less than the Apostle Paul (again, referencing the verse from 1 Corinthians 7 that I cited earlier). I just thought it important to offer a biblical counterbalance to what may often be an excessive focus on just one side of the ascetic coin. St. Paul did seem to recognize that couples do well to abstain from marital relations for a time to devote themselves to fasting and prayer, which counsel I understand to be fundamental to the Orthodox praxis of marital abstinence during the lenten seasons. However, the same Apostle Paul said in the same verse that couples are to do this only by mutual consent, lest one should be tempted by his/her weakness to fall into the even graver sin of adultery, which apostolic advice some seem to have forgotten. This is the counterbalance I hoped to offer from the Scriptures.

(FWIW, I also can't help but appreciate the irony that I, a single man who "knows nothing about marriage", should see my opinions dismissed because I have the temerity to offer a counterbalance to the counsel apparently given quite often by monastics, single men who, like me, "know nothing about marriage". laugh)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 10:25:05 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #52 on: June 21, 2012, 02:37:13 AM »

Has the Church or any Bishops called for an investigation into some of the claims being made about this place and this Elder Monk that runs it. It's very sad to hear of anyone who has taken their own life and hope that G-d helps heal this family's pain.
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« Reply #53 on: June 21, 2012, 04:17:09 AM »

Just to add a little piece to the story, I had heard that he was on some form of drugs and the monks helped get him off of them, and that he may have returned to the drugs upon leaving the monastery.

He also posted this on the Elder Ephraim facebook page:

Quote
I have a new website, www.elderephraimscult.com. We are going to expose this man (Elder Ephraim) as a cult leader, and his monastery as a cult. If you have any experience with him or his monastery, contact me on the website, and I'll add your testimonial to the web page. I'm looking into making t-shirts, stickers, buttons, hats, etc. The cops won't do anything about it, yet, so I'm taking the initiative. If you dislike paedophilia, monks illegally distilling alcohol, moribund satanism, murder, buring people alive, theft, lies, racism, sexism, homophobia, hate-crimes, stupid people, mean people, pharisaism, or just Elder Ephraim in general, then you'll for sure want to help the cause.

As you can see, he also made a website.

As far as St. Anthony's goes, I have been there often, as have many people I know, including the Elder's spiritual children, and I have never heard a word against the monastery from dedicated non-liberal Orthodox Christians. The videos on youtube are ignorant and slanderous. The Antiochian Orthodox "theologian" presented on there is a shame to Orthodoxy for degrading the monastery in his ignorance and calling them "too conservative." He does not understand monasticism, though liberalism seems to be the status quo in the Antiochian jurisdiction.

Quote
Has the Church or any Bishops called for an investigation into some of the claims being made about this place and this Elder Monk that runs it. It's very sad to hear of anyone who has taken their own life and hope that G-d helps heal this family's pain.
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco has been there many times at the provocation of the more liberal members of the Church and has never had anything negative to report.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 04:19:23 AM by Antonis » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: June 21, 2012, 04:45:30 AM »

Saint Anthony intercede for us


After reading jah777's post of details, I think the saint DID exactly that.
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« Reply #55 on: June 21, 2012, 07:28:29 AM »

Lord Have Mercy!

I know two people who went down there for a visit a few months ago and they loved it. I don't understand what people's problem is. Do these people not understand what monasteries are about?

The families need to learn that if their children become monks, they must forsake all worldly things, including (in a way) family. If we even look at Mount Athos and other monasteries, the monks don't even leave if they get word that a family member is dying.

As for how much all of it costs (relating to that video), why does that even matter at all? Couldn't some of the money be coming from the Greek state?

Leave it to American news media to hype up and screw up a news investigation about a holy monastery that promotes rejection of worldly things...

There are traditionally-minded people who have concerns about St. Anthony's Monastery and Fr. Ephraim. It's not just liberal people who don't "get" monasticism.  You say you know two people who loved it there; I know several people who loved it, and several people who thought it was a cult. All are committed Orthodox Christians.

Father,

Can you comment further on what you have written? Is there anything specific about the Monastery that you can say?
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« Reply #56 on: June 21, 2012, 07:38:59 AM »

Just to add a little piece to the story, I had heard that he was on some form of drugs and the monks helped get him off of them, and that he may have returned to the drugs upon leaving the monastery.

He also posted this on the Elder Ephraim facebook page:

Quote
I have a new website, www.elderephraimscult.com. We are going to expose this man (Elder Ephraim) as a cult leader, and his monastery as a cult. If you have any experience with him or his monastery, contact me on the website, and I'll add your testimonial to the web page. I'm looking into making t-shirts, stickers, buttons, hats, etc. The cops won't do anything about it, yet, so I'm taking the initiative. If you dislike paedophilia, monks illegally distilling alcohol, moribund satanism, murder, buring people alive, theft, lies, racism, sexism, homophobia, hate-crimes, stupid people, mean people, pharisaism, or just Elder Ephraim in general, then you'll for sure want to help the cause.

As you can see, he also made a website.

As far as St. Anthony's goes, I have been there often, as have many people I know, including the Elder's spiritual children, and I have never heard a word against the monastery from dedicated non-liberal Orthodox Christians. The videos on youtube are ignorant and slanderous. The Antiochian Orthodox "theologian" presented on there is a shame to Orthodoxy for degrading the monastery in his ignorance and calling them "too conservative." He does not understand monasticism, though liberalism seems to be the status quo in the Antiochian jurisdiction.

Agreed, and the man with the website is insane...I mean murder, buring people alive, and hate-crimes? The reports never even mentioned that.

Then he ran out of things toward the end of his ramble: "...stupid people, mean people..." LOL

And Illegally distilling alcohol? *gasp* WHAT A HORRIBLE CRIME!  Wink

I can't believe some people (especially Orthodox) are buying into this.
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« Reply #57 on: June 21, 2012, 07:44:29 AM »

Looking around for more information on this and I came across this site....

http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/27554-st-anthonys-greek-orthodox-monastery-now-im-on-psych-meds/
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« Reply #58 on: June 21, 2012, 10:18:18 AM »

In 97 when I visited Mount Athos several monasteries pulled me aside to ask what I knew of Fr. Ephraim. Some even felt like police interrogations. These very traditional monastics were concerned by the young men who were showing up from America who had been influenced by the Ephraimite Monasteries. At least three different monasteries on Mount Athos told me to stay away from his monasteries in America because they were not healthy.

That is interesting, as it runs counter to all I have heard from others who have visited monasteries on Mt. Athos, the Holy Land, etc.  Elder Ephraim is still the spiritual father of 5 monasteries on Mt. Athos (and some monasteries in Greece), and monks from Athos and elsewhere regularly come to the monastery in Arizona seeking guidance from him.  A few years ago a friend of mine visited monasteries on Mt. Athos and in the Holy Land and he was constantly asked by monks in these places whether he had visited the monastery in Arizona or knew Elder Ephraim.  Everyone he encountered spoke with great esteem about the Elder and the monasteries he has established.

The greatly esteemed and eminent author Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, who himself spent some years as a monk on Mt. Athos and is well acquainted with the Fathers and with Athonite life, wrote the following in the Prologue to Elder Ephraim’s “Counsels from the Holy Mountain”:

Quote
“Later I met [Elder Ephraim] again on the Holy Mountain when he was
the abbot of the Holy Monastery of Philotheou.  I visited him with a
group of young people, and again I experienced the same sensation.
His words were very compunctious, sweet, penetrating, revealing,
clairvoyant, renewing, healing, and extracted from patristic wisdom.
He was exactly the same person whom one meets in the book Counsels
from the Holy Mountain, for it contains words full of grace, words of
a spiritual father to his spiritual children….

“Father Ephraim, as I remember him very well from my youth and as one
encounters him in this book, is a genuine teacher of the spiritual
life and a reliable guide for the Christian’s journey towards rebirth,
since he himself has experienced and learned the divine, which is why
his words are ‘full of grace and truth.’  And in this case the saying
of St. John of Sinai, the author of the Ladder, applies: ‘A genuine
teacher is he who has received the spiritual tablet of knowledge from
God inscribed by His finger – that is, by the operation of
illumination – and who has no need of other books.’”

[SNIP]

“It is significant that the spiritual words contained in this book,
which emanate from the vigils and stillness of the Holy Mountain, are
presented to America where, on the one hand, a great disillusionment
with the rationalistic and sensualistic atmosphere prevails, and on
the other hand, a search for authentic life is being observed – a
search that extends beyond Vaticanized ecclesiology, academic and
intellectualistic theology, Protestantizing sociology and ethicology,
spiritually void and deluded meditation, atheistic social activism,
etc.  And I believe that this book will be of great help to those who
seek to taste in their personal life – in proportion to their
struggle, of course – the true scriptural and patristic food that
gives meaning to the life of man and constitutes the true bread of
life.

“Papa-Ephraim (as we call him here in Greece), in the words of St.
Symeon the New Theologian, ‘received fire,’ and he has imparted this
fire to many monks of the Holy Mountain and in turn to the Church in
America that has great need of it.  Now, with the English edition of
this book, he will spread this fire to all who seek genuine Orthodox
life.”

Constantine Cavarnos, one of the most significant traditional Orthodox authors who have lived in this country, a frequenter of Mt. Athos, and a man who had the blessing to be acquainted with many of the holy elders of the 20th century, both in Greece and on Mt. Athos, chose to live out the last years of his earthly life as a monk at St. Anthony’s of all places:

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/03/constantine-cavarnos-schemamonk-and.html

Fr. Theodore Zisis, Patristics Professor of the University of Thessaloniki visited the monastery in Arizona as well and spoke very highly of his experience there:

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/03/fr-theodore-zisis-orthodoxy-in-america.html

Here is an account of a profitable pilgrimage to the Arizona monastery by a pilgrim from Greece, which is representative of the accounts I have heard from others who have visited:

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/07/greek-pilgrim-visits-st-anthonys.html

Over the years I (as a married man and father) have visited and confessed at several monasteries under Elder Ephraim and have been very blessed by my experiences with them.  I consider them to be great havens and a blessing for Orthodoxy in this country.  I have known others who have lived as monks at St. Anthony’s before going to other monasteries, and who were novices there for a time and then left, but all of these whom I have known hold St. Anthony’s and the Elder in the highest regard.  Some people I have known, while expressing great esteem and reverence for St. Anthony’s and the Elder, do criticize some of the lay people who frequent the monasteries as being overly cultish and fanatical.  A lot of the concern that has been expressed regarding the monasteries results not from Elder Ephraim or the monks themselves, but from overzealous, groupie types among the laity who think their association with such a traditional expression of Orthodoxy, or their association with Elder Ephraim, gives them the license to go around denouncing their clergy and fellow laity while proclaiming Elder Ephraim as a “living saint”.  This kind of behavior is regularly criticized and spoken against by the monasteries, but people do not listen and so proceed with their very embarrassing behavior.  Having witnessed such foolish behavior myself, I am then not surprised when people who have no personal experience of the monasteries think that they are cults based on the obnoxious and misguided words and behavior of some of the laity who claim association with the monasteries.

Aside from those who criticize the monasteries because of the foolish words and conduct of overzealous and misguided laity who appoint themselves as representatives of the monasteries, the other criticisms typically come from those who do not understand Orthodox monasticism.  From such people, as they elaborate on their objections to Elder Ephraim and his monasteries, it becomes clear that it is traditional Orthodoxy in general, and traditional Orthodox monasticism in particularly, that they fiercely oppose. 

The only critics of the monasteries that I have known who would identify themselves as “traditional Orthodox” are Old Calendarists who believe that Elder Ephraim is wrong because he is on the New Calendar and under Patriarch Bartholomew whom they consider a heretic.  The Old Calendarists believe that faithfulness to Orthodox tradition requires that you break communion with all of the Orthodox patriarchates who have either adopted the New Calendar or are in communion with those who use the New Calendar.  Since the monasteries are very traditional and yet do not support the creation of schisms in the name of Holy Tradition, many Old Calendarists see the monasteries as their enemies, or at least competitors for the souls of those who have a great love for Holy Tradition.  I have unfortunately seen some Old Calendarists spread erroneous information about supposed “false prophecies” of Elder Ephraim with the hope of tarnishing his reputation, having no interest in trying to verify whether such “false prophecies” were ever uttered by him.

Sadly, I have also seen that some monastics and abbots of other monasteries resent the fact that Elder Ephraim has been able to establish so many monasteries here and attract so many to monasticism in such a brief period of time.  Monastics are people too, and when one labors for decades to establish one monastery, barely attracts a handful of monks, and struggles to keep the few monks fed; it is unfortunate but understandable that some jealousy can result when a monk from another land appears and quickly establishes 17 lively monasteries, some having 20-50 monks in residence, many of which are constantly building and never seem to run out of money.

Regarding Fr. Ephraim himself, I have never met him, but those who have known him over the years tell me that he is like a little child, very humble and unassuming. 

So, for what it is worth, this is what I know from my own experience and from those who I have known who are experienced with the monasteries and with Elder Ephraim.  If others have more direct or extensive experience with St. Anthony’s or other monasteries, I would be interested in what they have to say.  Unfortunately, this is a subject where hearsay, speculation, and misinformation tend to dominate.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 10:26:07 AM by jah777 » Logged
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« Reply #59 on: June 21, 2012, 10:52:50 AM »

The reality of this is that Athonite monasticism is not a regimen easily entered into and it is simply not for every soul seeking peace or something other than the materialistic lifestyle most of us live in the world.  It is far easier to blame the physician rather than accept the fragility of the body - the same is true of the soul.Hence the criticism of the monks.

Perhaps if there is fault with the monks it may be that they are not as discerning about American 'wanderers' seeking spiritual comfort as they might be. Maybe this will come in time. Likewise, fault lies with many who think that by finding an Elder or spiritual father that they can transform themselves 'magically' without any real change or true effort on their part.

In any event, the life of the poor man who took his life does indeed seem to have been a difficult one with many troubles and issues. Let us pray that God have mercy on his soul and that his family may find some way to find peace and reconciliation.
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« Reply #60 on: June 21, 2012, 11:35:00 AM »

This may be a surprise to some but this happens at Mt Athos too. I visited there four weeks ago, at a skete, and a monk brought up how a number of people have committed suicide near to where we were.

This is the reality. People who are psychologically or spiritually very sick, or delusional, are unable to cope. They go to a monastery or places like Mt Athos and they are often turned back. Other times they are allowed to stay maybe because the elders see the possibility of them being saved. If you read some of the books about the elders of Mt Athos you will find plenty of examples.

When this tragedy occurs in a country like Greece which a primarily/traditionally Orthodox country, it does not make the headlines it does in a secular, consumerist country like America. To the west, Orthodox spirituality & asceticism is madness, a cult (see my previous post with link).

May the Lord have mercy on all those who have taken their lives.

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« Reply #61 on: June 21, 2012, 11:39:49 AM »


Regarding Fr. Ephraim himself, I have never met him, but those who have known him over the years tell me that he is like a little child, very humble and unassuming. 


I've not met him either but I have watched a video of him. He does seem like a child. Even his speech is more akin to a child than a grown man. The thought of this man doing some of the things attributed to him... I cannot picture or believe it.
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« Reply #62 on: June 21, 2012, 12:24:58 PM »

Quote
It seems you'd rather do that than actually listen to anything I have to say in my defense.
   
Indeed. I respect the tradition and advice of the Church I belong to.  police
However, what you believe about me is totally wrong, but you don't understand that because you won't listen.

Au contraire. Some things in life take the passage of much time, and, in most cases, effort, to "get". Once you get to my age and life experience, you might begin to understand.   Wink

I think what you may be overlooking, is that while it is a part of fasting and part of life in the Church, it cannot and should not be a part of someone's penance which they are bound to. Fasting from sex has to be a mutual agreement between husband and wife and has to stop when either of the two experiences unhealthy lustful temptations. If a couple is having trouble in their marriage, they need to go to a confessor who is married or who was married for a long time, not to a monastic who hasn't experienced the asceticism of marriage.
These monks and nuns are holy people, but they are still human and their knowledge is specialized towards monasticism, not towards marriage.

Case in point, I know a good man who became a Priest and who's Bishop forced him to move away from home and directly led to him being separated from his wife and kids who had to stay behind. He had to live like this for a year or two, and this made things hard on his family. His Bishop had never been married and didn't understand that you can never separate the two for long periods like that. When that young man grew up and after his wife passed on, he promised to never put a married couple through that.

The monastics know the spiritual life very well, and they know separation from the world and worldly things. That is their asceticism, their expertise, but they are still limited and usually dont understand life in the world or married life.
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« Reply #63 on: June 21, 2012, 01:58:16 PM »

Another impasse at Conjecture Junction.  "I have a friend who.... ergo I know what I'm talking about and it's 100% true."

Regarding Fr. Ephraim and his practices: There are so many things we don't know, so much that has been left out, that it's impossible to make an accurate verdict.  There are those who have bad experiences, but then there are those who have had wonderful experiences.  Why don't we suspend judgement until we all can visit St. Antony's?  All we know is that a young man has committed suicide and his family needs our prayers.   Undecided
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« Reply #64 on: June 21, 2012, 02:08:28 PM »

A side but related question: If I visit a monastery to get some spiritual advice from an elder whom I haven't met before, am I thereby obligated to put into practice whatever advice he gives me?
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« Reply #65 on: June 21, 2012, 02:18:33 PM »

^^
Here is the youtube video that I was referring to:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rw8SDZVsbc&feature=related

Modified to comply with rule regarding naked links. Priolo--please acquaint yourself with the rules ASAP. Thanks, Second Chance

What a hack job !    Pffft..
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« Reply #66 on: June 21, 2012, 02:34:17 PM »

^^
Here is the youtube video that I was referring to:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rw8SDZVsbc&feature=related

Modified to comply with rule regarding naked links. Priolo--please acquaint yourself with the rules ASAP. Thanks, Second Chance

What a hack job !    Pffft..
The video, or what Second Chance did to clothe the naked link? Would you please make clear what you're criticizing here? Thank you.
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« Reply #67 on: June 21, 2012, 02:50:32 PM »


When I was in Greece I had an Old Calendarist and an Orthodox Christian both ask me about Elder Ephraim and if I'd ever been to Arizona. They showed me a calendar and stuff they'd gotten in the mail from there...

I know many Priests who've warned their faithful to watch out, not just at these, but all monasteries because the monastics are deep into the spiritual life and experts at monastic asceticism, but they don't know much about married asceticism and life in (but not of) the world.

I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

I've also heard of other things, but monasteries are for going for quiet and solitude, for rest and spiritual exercises. But they aren't for us "worldly" ascetics to go seek advice and penance.

I don't know what you mean by a worldly ascetic, unless you mean a person who can't achieve the spiritual heights that  an ascetic can reach, and rather than admitting it to himself and giving credit where credit is due, wants to rationalize away his own spiritual limitations.  Don't, we're all sinners.  God did not call everyone to sanctity. 

As for monasteries, they follow the canons of the Orthodox Church, and if these Orthodox rules causes marital problems, then they should pray that someday they will acquire the spiritual growth required to be a 'true Orthodox', not just a traditional Orthodox  who is Orthodox in name and appearance only.

It behooves me how so many people who are against the Orthodox canons, are at the same time critical of Protestant faiths who do not have those canons...I really wish they'd make up their minds.  Huh
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« Reply #68 on: June 21, 2012, 02:51:57 PM »

A side but related question: If I visit a monastery to get some spiritual advice from an elder whom I haven't met before, am I thereby obligated to put into practice whatever advice he gives me?

No! Wink
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« Reply #69 on: June 21, 2012, 03:04:57 PM »

I can imagine how grieved Elder Ephraim and the other monks must be that they couldn't save this young man's soul.  The man was obviously possessed and there was no way the Elder could free him from the entity that he  'willingly'  subjected himself to.   Their prayers though did protect the monks from the harm he, (or the demon inside of him),  was ready to inflict on them.   Cry
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« Reply #70 on: June 21, 2012, 03:11:57 PM »

Quote
I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

If the advice was for the couples to refrain from marital relations during lenten periods, what's the hassle in that? This is standard Orthodox teaching and advice. If certain Orthodox couples couldn't handle such advice, then it's not the fault of him who advised them.

It wasn't for the Lenten Period it was part of their penance for confession. From what I've seen, it's wrong for anyone to get that personal in confession, the confessor has no business in your sexual activities in marriage.

Besides, we need to look at St Paul who says it is only to be done by consent of both husband and wife and as soon as lustful feelings begin to overtake them, they must cease.

I am sure someone can find tha famous quote from the EP saying that they don't interfer in such matters like marital relations.
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« Reply #71 on: June 21, 2012, 03:18:27 PM »


When I was in Greece I had an Old Calendarist and an Orthodox Christian both ask me about Elder Ephraim and if I'd ever been to Arizona. They showed me a calendar and stuff they'd gotten in the mail from there...

I know many Priests who've warned their faithful to watch out, not just at these, but all monasteries because the monastics are deep into the spiritual life and experts at monastic asceticism, but they don't know much about married asceticism and life in (but not of) the world.

I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

I've also heard of other things, but monasteries are for going for quiet and solitude, for rest and spiritual exercises. But they aren't for us "worldly" ascetics to go seek advice and penance.

I don't know what you mean by a worldly ascetic, unless you mean a person who can't achieve the spiritual heights that  an ascetic can reach, and rather than admitting it to himself and giving credit where credit is due, wants to rationalize away his own spiritual limitations.  Don't, we're all sinners.  God did not call everyone to sanctity. 

As for monasteries, they follow the canons of the Orthodox Church, and if these Orthodox rules causes marital problems, then they should pray that someday they will acquire the spiritual growth required to be a 'true Orthodox', not just a traditional Orthodox  who is Orthodox in name and appearance only.

It behooves me how so many people who are against the Orthodox canons, are at the same time critical of Protestant faiths who do not have those canons...I really wish they'd make up their minds.  Huh

Zenovia, there are two kinds of asceticism. There is the ascetism of marriage and the asceticism of monasticism. Those of us who are called to the married life have to live in the world. Those of us living in the world are called to asceticism, but it is much different than the asceticism that monastics are called to. Monastics are called to avoid the world and separate themselves from it totally, whereas we have to live within it without being of it.
For example: monastics are called to worship multiple times of day and exercise themselves in intense spiritual discipline, including active prayer. We, however, cannot attend church as often as monastics and the kind of prayer we offer to God is different than monastics.

Monasticism is not higher than marriage, and marriage is not higher than monasticism. Simply put, the two are two different roads to the same goal. We shouldn't be arrogant and think that monastics are lesser than us because they don't live in the world, yet monastics also shouldnt be arrogant and think married people and chaste people living in the world are less than monastics because they live in the world...

Most importantly, we cannot hold one group to the same standards as the others. Just because an elderly couple doesn't exhibit clairvoyance, bilocation or other spiritual gifts doesn't mean they should be regarded as less ascetic than the monks.

Remember that monasticism didn't exist in Christianity for over 200 years until St Anthony fled the city for the desert. Prior to that, all Christians lived in the cities, in the world, working side by side with the pagans and participating in everyday life (so much as our faith allowed). In fact, St Peter himself was married. Yet we don't see any of them locking themselves away in their cells and forming monastic communities. But that certainly doesn't mean thu weren't practicing asceticism...

You must lead that the path we follow and the path monastics follow are two paths to Christ. Both are equally valid and holy. Yet because we are human beings, we shouldn't pretend to be experts in the lives of the others and we shouldn't pretend our advice to the others is the best advice they can receive. If you are a monastic and want advice for your monastic lifestyle, you will naturally need to seek a monastic rather than a married Priest. Same for the opposite, if you're married, you will seek advice from a married Priest rather than a monastic who has never been married.

We shouldnt make the mistake of confusing the two paths or falling into arrogance and begin assuming one path is more "holy" than the other.
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« Reply #72 on: June 21, 2012, 03:23:48 PM »


When I was in Greece I had an Old Calendarist and an Orthodox Christian both ask me about Elder Ephraim and if I'd ever been to Arizona. They showed me a calendar and stuff they'd gotten in the mail from there...

I know many Priests who've warned their faithful to watch out, not just at these, but all monasteries because the monastics are deep into the spiritual life and experts at monastic asceticism, but they don't know much about married asceticism and life in (but not of) the world.

I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

I've also heard of other things, but monasteries are for going for quiet and solitude, for rest and spiritual exercises. But they aren't for us "worldly" ascetics to go seek advice and penance.

I don't know what you mean by a worldly ascetic, unless you mean a person who can't achieve the spiritual heights that  an ascetic can reach, and rather than admitting it to himself and giving credit where credit is due, wants to rationalize away his own spiritual limitations.  Don't, we're all sinners.  God did not call everyone to sanctity. 

As for monasteries, they follow the canons of the Orthodox Church, and if these Orthodox rules causes marital problems, then they should pray that someday they will acquire the spiritual growth required to be a 'true Orthodox', not just a traditional Orthodox  who is Orthodox in name and appearance only.

It behooves me how so many people who are against the Orthodox canons, are at the same time critical of Protestant faiths who do not have those canons...I really wish they'd make up their minds.  Huh

Zenovia, there are two kinds of asceticism. There is the ascetism of marriage and the asceticism of monasticism. Those of us who are called to the married life have to live in the world. Those of us living in the world are called to asceticism, but it is much different than the asceticism that monastics are called to. Monastics are called to avoid the world and separate themselves from it totally, whereas we have to live within it without being of it.
For example: monastics are called to worship multiple times of day and exercise themselves in intense spiritual discipline, including active prayer. We, however, cannot attend church as often as monastics and the kind of prayer we offer to God is different than monastics.

Monasticism is not higher than marriage, and marriage is not higher than monasticism. Simply put, the two are two different roads to the same goal. We shouldn't be arrogant and think that monastics are lesser than us because they don't live in the world, yet monastics also shouldnt be arrogant and think married people and chaste people living in the world are less than monastics because they live in the world...

Most importantly, we cannot hold one group to the same standards as the others. Just because an elderly couple doesn't exhibit clairvoyance, bilocation or other spiritual gifts doesn't mean they should be regarded as less ascetic than the monks.

Remember that monasticism didn't exist in Christianity for over 200 years until St Anthony fled the city for the desert. Prior to that, all Christians lived in the cities, in the world, working side by side with the pagans and participating in everyday life (so much as our faith allowed). In fact, St Peter himself was married. Yet we don't see any of them locking themselves away in their cells and forming monastic communities. But that certainly doesn't mean thu weren't practicing asceticism...

You must lead that the path we follow and the path monastics follow are two paths to Christ. Both are equally valid and holy. Yet because we are human beings, we shouldn't pretend to be experts in the lives of the others and we shouldn't pretend our advice to the others is the best advice they can receive. If you are a monastic and want advice for your monastic lifestyle, you will naturally need to seek a monastic rather than a married Priest. Same for the opposite, if you're married, you will seek advice from a married Priest rather than a monastic who has never been married.

We shouldnt make the mistake of confusing the two paths or falling into arrogance and begin assuming one path is more "holy" than the other.

Great post. Thank you!
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« Reply #73 on: June 21, 2012, 03:31:02 PM »


Regarding Fr. Ephraim himself, I have never met him, but those who have known him over the years tell me that he is like a little child, very humble and unassuming. 


I've not met him either but I have watched a video of him. He does seem like a child. Even his speech is more akin to a child than a grown man. The thought of this man doing some of the things attributed to him... I cannot picture or believe it.

I suggest you read the book on Saint Nektarios by Chondropoulos: The Saint of our Times or Saint of Our Century.  Saint Nektarios suffered the worse calumny throughout his life as do all saints.   God allows it so as to humble their pride and thereby help them grow in Grace.   Because saints have always been calumniated, I have no doubt this is why  the Catholic Church ignored  the accusations towards its priests. 

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« Reply #74 on: June 21, 2012, 03:43:18 PM »

One of the problems of us converts that I've found (myself included) is that our initial fire and zeal often leads to a fascination with the spiritual life, which is wonderful, but many of us take it to far and begin automatically assuming we should become monastics, no matter how sure we were before of our desire for the married life. We fall in love with and take the call for unceasing prayer very literally and purchase 100 knot prayer ropes and trying to emulate the monastics...

Then once the honeymoon is over and we cool down, we can finally become serious without a mind clouded by wonder, amazement and zeal. We begin to learn that both paths are venerable and that monasticism isn't for everyone just as marriage isn't for everyone. We can choose to continue our journey towards monasticism or continue in our search for the ascetic married life.

But we begin learning that active, constant prayer doesn't always mean thumbing the prayer rope constantly. Prayer takes many more forms than just speaking to God. We should attend church, but only as often as possible.

The initial fire for Orthodoxy is good, but we have to come back down to earth and more seriously direct ourselves to our spiritual lives without jumping headlong into something we don't yet understand.

The ascetic life in monasticism is wonderful and the idea is indeed romantic, but we cannot forget that the married life is equally wonderful and equally holy, even though it's a different path.
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« Reply #75 on: June 21, 2012, 03:50:21 PM »

A side but related question: If I visit a monastery to get some spiritual advice from an elder whom I haven't met before, am I thereby obligated to put into practice whatever advice he gives me?

No. And if you ask him, he'll tell you the same, if he's good. Elder Porphyrios, a man of great sanctity the like of which is only rarely seen, never made demands or placed burdens on people. If people came to him for help, he helped them. Sometimes, the decided not to take his advice, and things didn't go well, but that's because his advice was good, not some sort of divine retribution.
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« Reply #76 on: June 21, 2012, 04:15:56 PM »

Saint Nektarios suffered the worse calumny throughout his life as do all saints.

Not all. There were no calumny against Saints like St. Vladimir who was a Duke, or St. Sophie of Slutsk who was a noble. Many of the Saints were considered to be gifted during their lives so they also didn't suffer the calumny.
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« Reply #77 on: June 21, 2012, 04:18:53 PM »


When I was in Greece I had an Old Calendarist and an Orthodox Christian both ask me about Elder Ephraim and if I'd ever been to Arizona. They showed me a calendar and stuff they'd gotten in the mail from there...

I know many Priests who've warned their faithful to watch out, not just at these, but all monasteries because the monastics are deep into the spiritual life and experts at monastic asceticism, but they don't know much about married asceticism and life in (but not of) the world.

I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

I've also heard of other things, but monasteries are for going for quiet and solitude, for rest and spiritual exercises. But they aren't for us "worldly" ascetics to go seek advice and penance.

I don't know what you mean by a worldly ascetic, unless you mean a person who can't achieve the spiritual heights that  an ascetic can reach, and rather than admitting it to himself and giving credit where credit is due, wants to rationalize away his own spiritual limitations.  Don't, we're all sinners.  God did not call everyone to sanctity.
BULLS**T! Angry We're all called to sanctity.
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« Reply #78 on: June 21, 2012, 04:23:08 PM »


When I was in Greece I had an Old Calendarist and an Orthodox Christian both ask me about Elder Ephraim and if I'd ever been to Arizona. They showed me a calendar and stuff they'd gotten in the mail from there...

I know many Priests who've warned their faithful to watch out, not just at these, but all monasteries because the monastics are deep into the spiritual life and experts at monastic asceticism, but they don't know much about married asceticism and life in (but not of) the world.

I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

I've also heard of other things, but monasteries are for going for quiet and solitude, for rest and spiritual exercises. But they aren't for us "worldly" ascetics to go seek advice and penance.

I don't know what you mean by a worldly ascetic, unless you mean a person who can't achieve the spiritual heights that  an ascetic can reach, and rather than admitting it to himself and giving credit where credit is due, wants to rationalize away his own spiritual limitations.  Don't, we're all sinners.  God did not call everyone to sanctity. 

As for monasteries, they follow the canons of the Orthodox Church, and if these Orthodox rules causes marital problems, then they should pray that someday they will acquire the spiritual growth required to be a 'true Orthodox', not just a traditional Orthodox  who is Orthodox in name and appearance only.

It behooves me how so many people who are against the Orthodox canons, are at the same time critical of Protestant faiths who do not have those canons...I really wish they'd make up their minds.  Huh

Zenovia, there are two kinds of asceticism. There is the ascetism of marriage and the asceticism of monasticism. Those of us who are called to the married life have to live in the world. Those of us living in the world are called to asceticism, but it is much different than the asceticism that monastics are called to. Monastics are called to avoid the world and separate themselves from it totally, whereas we have to live within it without being of it.
For example: monastics are called to worship multiple times of day and exercise themselves in intense spiritual discipline, including active prayer. We, however, cannot attend church as often as monastics and the kind of prayer we offer to God is different than monastics.

Monasticism is not higher than marriage, and marriage is not higher than monasticism. Simply put, the two are two different roads to the same goal. We shouldn't be arrogant and think that monastics are lesser than us because they don't live in the world, yet monastics also shouldnt be arrogant and think married people and chaste people living in the world are less than monastics because they live in the world...

Most importantly, we cannot hold one group to the same standards as the others. Just because an elderly couple doesn't exhibit clairvoyance, bilocation or other spiritual gifts doesn't mean they should be regarded as less ascetic than the monks.

Remember that monasticism didn't exist in Christianity for over 200 years until St Anthony fled the city for the desert. Prior to that, all Christians lived in the cities, in the world, working side by side with the pagans and participating in everyday life (so much as our faith allowed). In fact, St Peter himself was married. Yet we don't see any of them locking themselves away in their cells and forming monastic communities. But that certainly doesn't mean thu weren't practicing asceticism...

You must lead that the path we follow and the path monastics follow are two paths to Christ. Both are equally valid and holy. Yet because we are human beings, we shouldn't pretend to be experts in the lives of the others and we shouldn't pretend our advice to the others is the best advice they can receive. If you are a monastic and want advice for your monastic lifestyle, you will naturally need to seek a monastic rather than a married Priest. Same for the opposite, if you're married, you will seek advice from a married Priest rather than a monastic who has never been married.

We shouldnt make the mistake of confusing the two paths or falling into arrogance and begin assuming one path is more "holy" than the other.

Actually I was referring to the comment about married people being told to refrain from being  together for certain lengths of time.  That has to do with fasting and it is a canon.  It is true though that the monastic can't understand a person's secular existence and the problems that exist within it.  Human beings what they are, and this includes those in a higher spiritual existence such as a monastic elder, can only understand the world from their own experiences and through their own 'cultural' eyes.   

One thing I have to disagree with you though is when you say one is not more holy than the other, since the sacrifices of a monastic have to be greater than that of a married priest.  Yet, the Grace God gives them does comfort them so  what might be  impossible in  others,  is possible with monks.   This does not mean a married person cannot achieve sanctity.  Of course they can, and God has called many a married person to become saints.   I'm sure though at the time they were not living in a married state. 

Usually the growth towards sanctity starts  after the death of a spouse; such as Saint Xenia of Saint Petersburg, or Saint Elizabeth the Kind of Russia.   Saint John of Kronstadt was married but they lived as brother and sister, much to the chagrin of her father.   If we deny this as a fact, then wouldn't we be denying that which God Himself is showing us through the miracles these saints are able to perform?   
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« Reply #79 on: June 21, 2012, 04:24:46 PM »

One thing I have to disagree with you though is when you say one is not more holy than the other, since the sacrifices of a monastic have to be greater than that of a married priest.  Yet, the Grace God gives them does comfort them so  what might be  impossible in  others,  is possible with monks.   This does not mean a married person cannot achieve sanctity.  Of course they can, and God has called many a married person to become saints.   I'm sure though at the time they were not living in a married state.

This is so wrong.
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« Reply #80 on: June 21, 2012, 04:25:11 PM »


When I was in Greece I had an Old Calendarist and an Orthodox Christian both ask me about Elder Ephraim and if I'd ever been to Arizona. They showed me a calendar and stuff they'd gotten in the mail from there...

I know many Priests who've warned their faithful to watch out, not just at these, but all monasteries because the monastics are deep into the spiritual life and experts at monastic asceticism, but they don't know much about married asceticism and life in (but not of) the world.

I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

I've also heard of other things, but monasteries are for going for quiet and solitude, for rest and spiritual exercises. But they aren't for us "worldly" ascetics to go seek advice and penance.

 God did not call everyone to sanctity. 


(insert jaw-dropping emoticon)

Do you not pay attention to Liturgy, where we pray for the sanctity of all?  
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« Reply #81 on: June 21, 2012, 04:34:46 PM »

One of the problems of us converts that I've found (myself included) is that our initial fire and zeal often leads to a fascination with the spiritual life, which is wonderful, but many of us take it to far and begin automatically assuming we should become monastics, no matter how sure we were before of our desire for the married life. We fall in love with and take the call for unceasing prayer very literally and purchase 100 knot prayer ropes and trying to emulate the monastics...

Then once the honeymoon is over and we cool down, we can finally become serious without a mind clouded by wonder, amazement and zeal. We begin to learn that both paths are venerable and that monasticism isn't for everyone just as marriage isn't for everyone. We can choose to continue our journey towards monasticism or continue in our search for the ascetic married life.

But we begin learning that active, constant prayer doesn't always mean thumbing the prayer rope constantly. Prayer takes many more forms than just speaking to God. We should attend church, but only as often as possible.

The initial fire for Orthodoxy is good, but we have to come back down to earth and more seriously direct ourselves to our spiritual lives without jumping headlong into something we don't yet understand.

The ascetic life in monasticism is wonderful and the idea is indeed romantic, but we cannot forget that the married life is equally wonderful and equally holy, even though it's a different path.

You say things beautifully.  Either way can lead to a purification of ones heart through God's Grace.  It's the intent that matters.  I will warn you though that the suffering in being married might be greater since God's demands might include those you love, and that's lot more painful than when those demands are made only on yourself.  angel   
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« Reply #82 on: June 21, 2012, 04:36:02 PM »


When I was in Greece I had an Old Calendarist and an Orthodox Christian both ask me about Elder Ephraim and if I'd ever been to Arizona. They showed me a calendar and stuff they'd gotten in the mail from there...

I know many Priests who've warned their faithful to watch out, not just at these, but all monasteries because the monastics are deep into the spiritual life and experts at monastic asceticism, but they don't know much about married asceticism and life in (but not of) the world.

I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

I've also heard of other things, but monasteries are for going for quiet and solitude, for rest and spiritual exercises. But they aren't for us "worldly" ascetics to go seek advice and penance.

 God did not call everyone to sanctity. 


(insert jaw-dropping emoticon)

Do you not pay attention to Liturgy, where we pray for the sanctity of all?  

I guess you find your calling equal to Saint Pauls?  Huh
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« Reply #83 on: June 21, 2012, 04:38:10 PM »

^^
Here is the youtube video that I was referring to:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rw8SDZVsbc&feature=related

Modified to comply with rule regarding naked links. Priolo--please acquaint yourself with the rules ASAP. Thanks, Second Chance

What a hack job !    Pffft..
The video, or what Second Chance did to clothe the naked link? Would you please make clear what you're criticizing here? Thank you.

The TV report ..  Especially how at the end they tossed a grenade about antisemitism when nothing in the report was about that. Just a little eyebrow raiser for good measure??  It was poorly done IMHO
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« Reply #84 on: June 21, 2012, 04:43:20 PM »


When I was in Greece I had an Old Calendarist and an Orthodox Christian both ask me about Elder Ephraim and if I'd ever been to Arizona. They showed me a calendar and stuff they'd gotten in the mail from there...

I know many Priests who've warned their faithful to watch out, not just at these, but all monasteries because the monastics are deep into the spiritual life and experts at monastic asceticism, but they don't know much about married asceticism and life in (but not of) the world.

I've even heard of some of Elder Ephraim's monks advising couples to fast from each other for a period of time, which inevitably caused undue tensions and conflict in the marriage, sometimes causing lustful passions to flare in one or each party and causing terrible strife between the couple...

I've also heard of other things, but monasteries are for going for quiet and solitude, for rest and spiritual exercises. But they aren't for us "worldly" ascetics to go seek advice and penance.

 God did not call everyone to sanctity. 


(insert jaw-dropping emoticon)

Do you not pay attention to Liturgy, where we pray for the sanctity of all?  

I guess you find your calling equal to Saint Pauls?  Huh

When did he ever say that?
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« Reply #85 on: June 21, 2012, 04:50:16 PM »

One thing I have to disagree with you though is when you say one is not more holy than the other, since the sacrifices of a monastic have to be greater than that of a married priest.  Yet, the Grace God gives them does comfort them so  what might be  impossible in  others,  is possible with monks.   This does not mean a married person cannot achieve sanctity.  Of course they can, and God has called many a married person to become saints.   I'm sure though at the time they were not living in a married state.

This is so wrong.

It might appear  wrong to you, but God has shown us otherwise and many times through the special charisms He gives His Saints.

Okay let's get something clear, a saint in the Protestant Churches is anyone that is within God's Grace and has acquired the Holy Spirit within them, but that is not so in the Apostolic Churches.  In the Apostolic Churches a Saint implies someone that is in a higher state of existance while still in this world.  Anyway this is what I've gathered from the books I've read on the lives of the saints...both Orthodox books and Catholic books.

But even among saints, (or blesseds), there seems to be lesser ones and greater ones.  Isn't there supposed to be seven heavens...and I'm not talking about Buddhism.  Smiley
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« Reply #86 on: June 21, 2012, 04:53:52 PM »

Quote
Of course they can, and God has called many a married person to become saints.   I'm sure though at the time they were not living in a married state.  

This is nonsense. Many saints were married throughout their whole life.

And another thing:
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24. It was revealed to Abba Anthony in his desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels.
 
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 04:56:24 PM by Ansgar » Logged

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« Reply #87 on: June 21, 2012, 04:55:29 PM »

In the Apostolic Churches a Saint implies someone that is in a higher state of existance while still in this world.  

Wrong. Sainthood does not concern earthly living. The Saints are those, who achieved salvation.

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But even among saints, (or blesseds), there seems to be lesser ones and greater ones.

So Roman Catholic.

That is not the Orthodox position.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 04:55:48 PM by Michał Kalina » Logged

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« Reply #88 on: June 21, 2012, 05:18:38 PM »

Saint Nektarios suffered the worse calumny throughout his life as do all saints.

Not all. There were no calumny against Saints like St. Vladimir who was a Duke, or St. Sophie of Slutsk who was a noble. Many of the Saints were considered to be gifted during their lives so they also didn't suffer the calumny.

I don't doubt there might have been exceptions, though most of the calumny  a saint suffered would be unknown by their biographers.  Very little is known about a saint's personal life and what they went through because humility is a perquisite of sanctity.  All saints consider themselves the most sinful of men and constantly pray for God's forgiveness.

When I started to read on the lives of the saints, I could only find books on Catholic saints.  Because of the charisms given to them, the priests assumed they were saints and had them keep a diary of their thoughts and experiences  under the order of 'obedience'.  Also these saints were more modern so more was known about them... not to mention that the Italians also seemed to be sticklers about keeping records of things...unlike the Greeks.

Today in the Orthodox Church we have the excellent book by Chondropoulos on Saint Nektarios:  A Saint of Our Times or a Saint of Our Century and also the Russian Saint Luke the Surgeon, and the compilation of stories about Father Arseny who spent thirty years in the Gulag.   Sad
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« Reply #89 on: June 21, 2012, 05:35:20 PM »

This is what is called 'deja vu all over again' in the States (a famous American malapropism FYI). We just had this same discussion last month about marriage and sanctity. Nothing new here.
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