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Author Topic: Elder Ephraim of Arizona  (Read 1353 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alexander_Kuzmin
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« on: June 26, 2014, 03:55:43 AM »

I have a question about elder Ephraim from the Holy Mount who opened a dozen of mpnateries on Arizona and who lives (lived?) in the monastery of St.Anthony in Arizona. I heard something bad happened there. Could somebody give me more details or a link to it?
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 05:09:48 AM »

Oh, you have a lot to read, my friend.

www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,17649.0.html

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41260.0.html

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,45402.0.html
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 05:10:36 AM by Ansgar » Logged

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Alexander_Kuzmin
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 07:11:58 AM »

Thank you very much, dear Friend!  Smiley
Could you give me some most important links because I live in Russia and I do not read very fast in English.  Sad
Are there some final reviews anywhere?
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2014, 12:45:37 AM »

One person, who was there for a time, I think a novice, left the community. In fact I have talked to him once.

His family felt the monastery brainwashed their "boy", and they had him go in some intense therapy. The runaway monastic claimed that Elder Ephraim is a false man, a liar, demonic, fraud ectect. He claimed that he was threatened in the monastery by Elder Eprhaim, Abbot Paisios, and other monks. I met him actually on youtube comment and messaged him directly about this. He told me that they bury the monks alive there. All kinds of things, I do not have the message anymore, but he did not seem very mentally stable. He was also very hostile to the Abbot Paisios. But anyway, he went back there with two guns. Apparently he threatened Abbot Paisios on the phone or something. He went back to the monastery, I do not remember the events, but he shot himself there and died. His name was Scott Nevins.

His parents have been on a crusade against the monastery for quite some years.

I think the final review is that the man was mentally unstable, and the monastery is not at fault.

there is an article somewhere about his suicide, I will try to find it
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 12:54:19 AM by Gunnarr » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2014, 12:55:58 AM »

here is an article explaining many of the events, I found it

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2012/06/troubled-monk-apparently-commits.html

But, you said you do not read english very well. I do not think there is any Russian articles about this subject.



The monastery denies that they ever threatened them, although they did throw away his retainers. Scott demanded 4000 US dollars in repayment, which they countered with paying for an orthodontist appointment for him to replace them which he refused.


Welcome to the forum by the way, we need more Russians!
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 12:58:32 AM by Gunnarr » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2014, 01:10:23 AM »

I visit the monastery regularly as I live about an hour away. Feel free to ask any other questions you might have!
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Alexander_Kuzmin
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2014, 02:34:46 AM »

Thank you very much! I can read English, but not very fast.
I will probably have more questions later.
And thank you for welcoming me!  Smiley
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 02:59:10 AM by Alexander_Kuzmin » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2014, 03:05:20 AM »

Welcome to the forum by the way, we need more Russians!

Agreed. Too many Americans!  Wink
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Alexander_Kuzmin
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2014, 03:18:16 AM »

Thank you for a very informative article. It seems like the man was mentally ill. So it could happen in any monastery or civil organisation.
Were there any other stories there or this is the only one?
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2014, 03:25:47 AM »

Thank you for a very informative article. It seems like the man was mentally ill. So it could happen in any monastery or civil organisation.
Were there any other stories there or this is the only one?

Well, that is the only bad story as far as I know.
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2014, 03:31:38 AM »

Very good! Thank you very much!
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2014, 09:21:44 AM »

I have a question about elder Ephraim from the Holy Mount who opened a dozen of mpnateries on Arizona and who lives (lived?) in the monastery of St.Anthony in Arizona. I heard something bad happened there. Could somebody give me more details or a link to it?

For a general background history read this article first and then follow up with the links in the article:

http://religion.info/english/articles/article_555.shtml

For the suicide at St. Anthony's Monastery:  http://www.pokrov.org/suicide-incident-shocks-monks-st-anthony-monastery-in-arizona/
http://www.pokrov.org/the-arizona-monastery-depitcs-a-larger-problem-the-perpetuation-of-cultish-mentalities/

http://www.pokrov.org/in-the-shadow-of-the-monks-suicide-the-clergy-laity-congress-in-arizona/
http://www.pokrov.org/american-monastery-money-intrigue/
http://www.pokrov.org/editorial-second-anniversary-scott-nevins-suicide/
Also:http://gotruthreform.org/
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2014, 10:15:27 AM »

I wouldn't rely on those for a general background because of their obvious slant. These are people who have not an inkling of an idea about the monks inhabiting these monasteries or how they are run.

This is what happens when hollow Orthodoxy meets Athonite Orthodoxy. St. Anthony's isn't perfect, but it is nothing like what it is being accused of. Shame on these gossip rags masquerading as the faithful.
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2014, 11:05:05 AM »

I have a question about elder Ephraim from the Holy Mount who opened a dozen of mpnateries on Arizona and who lives (lived?) in the monastery of St.Anthony in Arizona. I heard something bad happened there. Could somebody give me more details or a link to it?

For a general background history read this article first and then follow up with the links in the article:

http://religion.info/english/articles/article_555.shtml

For the suicide at St. Anthony's Monastery:  http://www.pokrov.org/suicide-incident-shocks-monks-st-anthony-monastery-in-arizona/
http://www.pokrov.org/the-arizona-monastery-depitcs-a-larger-problem-the-perpetuation-of-cultish-mentalities/

http://www.pokrov.org/in-the-shadow-of-the-monks-suicide-the-clergy-laity-congress-in-arizona/
http://www.pokrov.org/american-monastery-money-intrigue/
http://www.pokrov.org/editorial-second-anniversary-scott-nevins-suicide/
Also:http://gotruthreform.org/

I would also not recommend either of these sites.  The man behind gotruthreform has very little understanding of Orthodoxy and openly supports having Freemason meetings in Orthodox churches.  That the monasteries find this unacceptable is one of the many things that he objects to about the monasteries.  Gotruth posts some stories that sound shocking, but they are all anonymous so it is impossible to verify any claims that are made.  If one actually visits any of Elder Ephraim's monasteries, speaks with the spiritual fathers there, and compares what is done and taught there to what has been done and taught for centuries by the Holy Fathers and on Mt. Athos in particular, one will get an entirely different perspective than one will get by reading such sites.
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2014, 11:15:01 AM »

If one wants to know the truth of the monastery's spiritual inheritance, I recommend reading "Counsels from the Holy Mountain" by the Elder Ephraim himself. It is excellent and displays a phronema no different than any other Athonite text.
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2014, 01:25:48 AM »

My priest has been to St. Anthony's and has spoken to Elder Ephraim several times.  He says the Elder is a humble and kind man.
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2014, 04:05:41 PM »

One person, who was there for a time, I think a novice, left the community. In fact I have talked to him once.

His family felt the monastery brainwashed their "boy", and they had him go in some intense therapy. The runaway monastic claimed that Elder Ephraim is a false man, a liar, demonic, fraud ectect. He claimed that he was threatened in the monastery by Elder Eprhaim, Abbot Paisios, and other monks. I met him actually on youtube comment and messaged him directly about this. He told me that they bury the monks alive there. All kinds of things, I do not have the message anymore, but he did not seem very mentally stable. He was also very hostile to the Abbot Paisios. But anyway, he went back there with two guns. Apparently he threatened Abbot Paisios on the phone or something. He went back to the monastery, I do not remember the events, but he shot himself there and died. His name was Scott Nevins.

His parents have been on a crusade against the monastery for quite some years.

I think the final review is that the man was mentally unstable, and the monastery is not at fault.

there is an article somewhere about his suicide, I will try to find it

I think this is also the guy who took hallucinogenic mushrooms and claimed they were God.
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2014, 04:59:25 PM »

One person, who was there for a time, I think a novice, left the community. In fact I have talked to him once.

His family felt the monastery brainwashed their "boy", and they had him go in some intense therapy. The runaway monastic claimed that Elder Ephraim is a false man, a liar, demonic, fraud ectect. He claimed that he was threatened in the monastery by Elder Eprhaim, Abbot Paisios, and other monks. I met him actually on youtube comment and messaged him directly about this. He told me that they bury the monks alive there. All kinds of things, I do not have the message anymore, but he did not seem very mentally stable. He was also very hostile to the Abbot Paisios. But anyway, he went back there with two guns. Apparently he threatened Abbot Paisios on the phone or something. He went back to the monastery, I do not remember the events, but he shot himself there and died. His name was Scott Nevins.

His parents have been on a crusade against the monastery for quite some years.

I think the final review is that the man was mentally unstable, and the monastery is not at fault.

there is an article somewhere about his suicide, I will try to find it

I think this is also the guy who took hallucinogenic mushrooms and claimed they were God.

That was someone else who had a spiritual experience while a novice at the monastery, was told that it was a delusion, was unable to accept this explanation, and eventually was asked to leave the monastery because he could not be convince to reject and turn away from his delusion. The man then turned to hallucinogenic drugs to bring back the experience and came to the conclusion that Jesus was a hallucinogenic mushroom, essentially confirming that he was deluded as the Fathers at the monastery had explained.
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« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2014, 06:47:41 PM »

I don't know much about them personally, but I know of an old woman who confessed there and was ordered not to take communion for five years, and have heard at least one priest recommend that people visit non-Ephraimite monasteries.
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« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2014, 07:23:04 PM »

I think part of the problem is that the Ephraim-associated monasteries seem to do things more traditionally, and most Americans aren't used to that. Many Orthodox who are Americans have probably never been given a difficult penance, let alone one that can stretch on for years. In earlier centuries, in places where Orthodoxy was the norm, this was not uncommon. How many lay people would have followed through faithfully, I don't know, but certainly there are plenty of examples of such things being talked about.

To the traditional person the more modern way looks lax to the point of putting someone's soul in peril; and to the ordinary Joe the traditional way can often seem absurdly exaggerated and needlessly harsh. I think the main problem is false or misplaced expectations. If you go to a monk, elder, or even parish priest who you know might give you a difficult teaching or penance or bit of counsel/advice, then you can't really blame him/her for doing so. And if you get advice you don't think you can follow, you shouldn't treat it like an infallible rule (unless that is the relationship you have with them, such as some monks have--but even here you would not void your free-will, just be in willing obedience to another).

If you find what was said or ordered or advised is too difficult or harsh, then by all means talk to your priest, or bishop, or spiritual father, or whoever, but when it comes to judging the adviser let the bishop decide if it was too harsh in general (ie. if the person is doing harm and needs to be corrected or stopped). Your main concern should merely be to be honest, and whether the thing at issue is too much for you (and those impacted by your activity/life).

I'm not saying cover your eyes to abuses, and certainly not to abuses of a more damaging kind, only that something seeming overboard doesn't necessarily equate to someone being nuts or cultish. People are called to obedience, exercising free-will responsibly, and following the order/system that God has guided the church to set up. Until that system breaks down, it would seem to be best to stick to it.

That system doesn't include excusing crimes and harmful mistreatment, but neither does it include blind obedience and intellectual slavery, nor 'outing' people you think make unreasonable demands. If you wish to be obedient to someone then be obedient; if you are unable to do so then come to terms with that and do as you must. It is good to seek guidance, even if it is difficult, but not at the expense of damaging your mind or soul.

'If your hand offends, cut it off'--what is your 'hand'? Something that is generally good, but for you is causing a serious fall. It is something good for many or most, yet for you it is harmful. We think this means to speak of sins like lust or greed. But what if the sin is obedience or doing things a certain way? A good thing misused or warped can be a sin. Indeed, many would say that this is essentially the substance of sin. Obedience is good, but only if it's healthy. Discussing what such-and-such elder/priest/etc. can be good, but it can also be harmful and/or misleading.
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Alexander_Kuzmin
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« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2014, 07:28:15 AM »

Thank you for all your thoughs.
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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2014, 12:56:45 PM »

I recall hearing Archimandrite Sophrony of the EP monastery in Essex, England, saying how he found on coming to Western Europe he had to soften his approach to penitents considerably.
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2014, 06:08:16 PM »

http://stnektariosmonastery.tumblr.com/

Is this website, blog, or whatever a tumblr is officially sponsored by St Nektarios Monastery? 

There are some stories and claims made in its entries which I find troubling, and I wanted to confirm whether this is indeed an official organ of the monastery or if someone is using their name and legitimacy to put forward their own ideas. 

I have already brought it to the attention of the monastery via an email through what I know for sure is their website, but I thought maybe some of you might know what's going on. 
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2014, 06:47:03 PM »

http://stnektariosmonastery.tumblr.com/

Is this website, blog, or whatever a tumblr is officially sponsored by St Nektarios Monastery? 

There are some stories and claims made in its entries which I find troubling, and I wanted to confirm whether this is indeed an official organ of the monastery or if someone is using their name and legitimacy to put forward their own ideas. 

I have already brought it to the attention of the monastery via an email through what I know for sure is their website, but I thought maybe some of you might know what's going on. 

Indeed. I found this piece disturbing (bolded sections my emphasis):

Quote
During this visit to Filotheou, big Geronda suffered a severe health issue and was thus rushed off Mount Athos via helicopter to a hospital on the mainland. He took this opportunity to secretly smuggle St. Joseph’s skull off the mountain, thus bypassing all the paper work that would’ve been necessary to bring to take it off the Holy Mountain (not to mention relics cannot be permanently removed from the Mount Athos, only taken on tour after the proper forms are filled out). However, being a man of God and one of the holiest saints in the history of the Orthodox Church, big Geronda foresaw the necessity of bringing such a holy relic to North America to benefit and work miracles for the faithful here. As well, he was St. Joseph’s best and most obedient disciple and rightfully deserves to have the holy skull of his Elder in Arizona. It is said that when big Geronda lived at Filotheou Monastery, he kept this skull in his cell, and it –i.e. St. Joseph through the skull—would speak to him.
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« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2014, 07:15:32 PM »

http://stnektariosmonastery.tumblr.com/

Is this website, blog, or whatever a tumblr is officially sponsored by St Nektarios Monastery? 

There are some stories and claims made in its entries which I find troubling, and I wanted to confirm whether this is indeed an official organ of the monastery or if someone is using their name and legitimacy to put forward their own ideas. 

I have already brought it to the attention of the monastery via an email through what I know for sure is their website, but I thought maybe some of you might know what's going on. 

Indeed. I found this piece disturbing (bolded sections my emphasis):

Quote
During this visit to Filotheou, big Geronda suffered a severe health issue and was thus rushed off Mount Athos via helicopter to a hospital on the mainland. He took this opportunity to secretly smuggle St. Joseph’s skull off the mountain, thus bypassing all the paper work that would’ve been necessary to bring to take it off the Holy Mountain (not to mention relics cannot be permanently removed from the Mount Athos, only taken on tour after the proper forms are filled out). However, being a man of God and one of the holiest saints in the history of the Orthodox Church, big Geronda foresaw the necessity of bringing such a holy relic to North America to benefit and work miracles for the faithful here. As well, he was St. Joseph’s best and most obedient disciple and rightfully deserves to have the holy skull of his Elder in Arizona. It is said that when big Geronda lived at Filotheou Monastery, he kept this skull in his cell, and it –i.e. St. Joseph through the skull—would speak to him.

There are other goodies in there.  I cannot believe that this is an official website.  I would very much like to learn that it isn't.  It certainly doesn't sound like anything I've experienced in the handful of Elder Ephraim's monasteries I've visited. 
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« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2014, 07:17:12 PM »

Quote
There are other goodies in there.

Oh, I know. I only picked one of them ....  Tongue Shocked
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« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2014, 07:26:34 PM »

Quote
There are other goodies in there.

Oh, I know. I only picked one of them ....  Tongue Shocked

Well, I just got off the phone with one of the fathers at St Nektarios Monastery, and he confirmed that that site is not affiliated with them in any way, rejected some of the claims made there, and said he was going to look into the matter and see what this was all about because this is the first anyone there has heard of this site.  I didn't expect such a quick response, but I am glad.   

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« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2014, 07:43:50 PM »

Well done, that man.  Wink
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« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2014, 07:46:27 PM »

Well done, that man.  Wink

I think the monk was a little surprised that a non-Chalcedonian was looking out for them.  Tongue
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« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2014, 09:59:58 PM »

I can vouch that St Anthony's does have the skull of the Elder Joseph--regardless of how it was acquired--as I have venerated it.
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« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2014, 10:03:58 PM »

I can vouch that St Anthony's does have the skull of the Elder Joseph--regardless of how it was acquired--as I have venerated it.

Let's go to St Nektarios together sometime, BFF.  You can introduce me as this guy and having a Greek friend may make my visit more enjoyable than if I just went as a solitary non-believer.  Tongue
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« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2014, 10:06:33 PM »

I can vouch that St Anthony's does have the skull of the Elder Joseph--regardless of how it was acquired--as I have venerated it.

Let's go to St Nektarios together sometime, BFF.  You can introduce me as this guy and having a Greek friend may make my visit more enjoyable than if I just went as a solitary non-believer.  Tongue
I will definitely take you up on that, I've wanted to see St Nektarios for some time.
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2014, 08:58:16 AM »

I suspect that the conflicting "signals" out there on this subject may arise from a distinction between Elder Ephraim himself, his life and his teachings and some who fashion themselves as "Ephraimites" by picking and choosing what they hear and learn. It would hardly be the first time that happened in either church or secular history.
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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2014, 09:07:22 AM »

I can vouch that St Anthony's does have the skull of the Elder Joseph--regardless of how it was acquired--as I have venerated it.

Let's go to St Nektarios together sometime, BFF.  You can introduce me as this guy and having a Greek friend may make my visit more enjoyable than if I just went as a solitary non-believer.  Tongue

I went there once by myself (I'm as Greek as you are) and the fathers were quite warm and friendly.
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« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2014, 11:55:52 AM »

I can vouch that St Anthony's does have the skull of the Elder Joseph--regardless of how it was acquired--as I have venerated it.

Let's go to St Nektarios together sometime, BFF.  You can introduce me as this guy and having a Greek friend may make my visit more enjoyable than if I just went as a solitary non-believer.  Tongue

I went there once by myself (I'm as Greek as you are) and the fathers were quite warm and friendly.

I've never been badly treated in a monastery, Greek or non-Greek.  Actually, the fathers (or mothers) have always been wonderful.  One brotherhood even told me they were praying daily during the Divine Liturgy for my enlightenment and conversion.  Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2014, 12:01:00 PM »

I can vouch that St Anthony's does have the skull of the Elder Joseph--regardless of how it was acquired--as I have venerated it.

Let's go to St Nektarios together sometime, BFF.  You can introduce me as this guy and having a Greek friend may make my visit more enjoyable than if I just went as a solitary non-believer.  Tongue

I went there once by myself (I'm as Greek as you are) and the fathers were quite warm and friendly.

I've never been badly treated in a monastery, Greek or non-Greek.  Actually, the fathers (or mothers) have always been wonderful.  One brotherhood even told me they were praying daily during the Divine Liturgy for my enlightenment and conversionSmiley
Me too!  Wink
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« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2014, 12:38:56 PM »

I can vouch that St Anthony's does have the skull of the Elder Joseph--regardless of how it was acquired--as I have venerated it.

Let's go to St Nektarios together sometime, BFF.  You can introduce me as this guy and having a Greek friend may make my visit more enjoyable than if I just went as a solitary non-believer.  Tongue

I went there once by myself (I'm as Greek as you are) and the fathers were quite warm and friendly.

I've never been badly treated in a monastery, Greek or non-Greek.  Actually, the fathers (or mothers) have always been wonderful.  One brotherhood even told me they were praying daily during the Divine Liturgy for my enlightenment and conversionSmiley
Me too!  Wink

That particular brotherhood would probably also pray for your conversion, even after you converted.  Wink
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« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2014, 12:49:19 PM »

I can vouch that St Anthony's does have the skull of the Elder Joseph--regardless of how it was acquired--as I have venerated it.

Let's go to St Nektarios together sometime, BFF.  You can introduce me as this guy and having a Greek friend may make my visit more enjoyable than if I just went as a solitary non-believer.  Tongue

I went there once by myself (I'm as Greek as you are) and the fathers were quite warm and friendly.

I've never been badly treated in a monastery, Greek or non-Greek.  Actually, the fathers (or mothers) have always been wonderful.  One brotherhood even told me they were praying daily during the Divine Liturgy for my enlightenment and conversionSmiley
Me too!  Wink

That particular brotherhood would probably also pray for your conversion, even after you converted.  Wink
LOL!!  The more baptisms, the merrier.  laugh
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« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2014, 05:26:09 PM »

Alexander, if you want information in Russian, Google "Старец Ефрем Аризонский". This should give you why you need. Elder Ephraim seems to be an upstanding man, albeit with some powerful enemies. An Ephraim of Philotheou was accused of fraud nd later acquitted. I don't know if this is the  same person.
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« Reply #39 on: September 02, 2014, 06:07:32 PM »

Alexander, if you want information in Russian, Google "Старец Ефрем Аризонский". This should give you why you need. Elder Ephraim seems to be an upstanding man, albeit with some powerful enemies. An Ephraim of Philotheou was accused of fraud nd later acquitted. I don't know if this is the  same person.
Vatopaidi, he is still there.
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« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2014, 04:57:41 PM »

OK. So the Ephrem in Vatopaidi and the Ephrem who established the monastery in Arizona are different people. The Ephrem in Arizona came from Philotheou. How could I have mixed the two up? Anyway, God grant many years to both Archimandrites Ephraim.
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