Author Topic: Elder Ephraim of Arizona  (Read 11719 times)

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Offline Alexander_Kuzmin

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Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Offline Alexander_Kuzmin

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 07:11:58 AM »
Thank you very much, dear Friend!  :)
Could you give me some most important links because I live in Russia and I do not read very fast in English.  :(
Are there some final reviews anywhere?

Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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 »
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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 »
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Offline Antonis

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Offline Alexander_Kuzmin

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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!  :)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 02:59:10 AM by Alexander_Kuzmin »

Offline The Fool

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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!  ;)
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Offline Alexander_Kuzmin

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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?

Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Offline Alexander_Kuzmin

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2014, 03:31:38 AM »
Very good! Thank you very much!

Offline Orest

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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/

Offline Antonis

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Offline jah777

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.

Offline Antonis

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Offline hecma925

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Offline Aquensis

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.

Offline jah777

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.

Offline truthseeker32

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 07:24:14 PM by Justin Kissel »

Offline Alexander_Kuzmin

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2014, 07:28:15 AM »
Thank you for all your thoughs.

Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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. 
Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

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The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline LBK

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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. 
Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline LBK

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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 ....  :P :o
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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 ....  :P :o

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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The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2014, 07:43:50 PM »
Well done, that man.  ;)

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2014, 07:46:27 PM »
Well done, that man.  ;)

I think the monk was a little surprised that a non-Chalcedonian was looking out for them.  :P
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The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Antonis

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.  :P
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The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Antonis

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.  :P
I will definitely take you up on that, I've wanted to see St Nektarios for some time.
Somewhere on Athos, Antonis groans, and the skulls of the holy brethren with him!

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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.  :P

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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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.  :P

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.  :)
Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.  :P

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:)
Me too!  ;)
God bless!

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.  :P

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:)
Me too!  ;)

That particular brotherhood would probably also pray for your conversion, even after you converted.  ;)
Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.  :P

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:)
Me too!  ;)

That particular brotherhood would probably also pray for your conversion, even after you converted.  ;)
LOL!!  The more baptisms, the merrier.  :laugh:
God bless!

Offline ilyazhito

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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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Offline ilyazhito

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« 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.

Offline Argo

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2015, 03:55:12 PM »
Quote
There are other goodies in there.

Oh, I know. I only picked one of them ....  :P :o

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.

This is probably quite old now, but I just wanted to add a couple things. First, thank you for alerting the monasteries. That was kind.

Second, although the blog does not have a name associated with it, the singular views expressed align with those of a disgruntled ex-monastic from St. Nektarios. His name is Jason McCullough, and he now resides in Canada.  He was the second Fr. Symeon of the Elder Ephraim's monastics in America.  He also appears to be running other blogs along similar themes—at least one more Tumblr and two Wordpress accounts.  It is possible he has help—perhaps from two other former monastics that live near him, Damian (Fr. Dionysios) and Novice Basil (Ellis)—but I doubt the former would spend so much time wallowing in negativity.

It's hard to find the handles on the blog to even describe it.  Many of the "facts" are just patently wrong. He has, for example, some names and dates wrong.  This could happen to anyone, so we'll not comment on those.  But there are SO MANY stories that are complete hearsay, and these are quite shocking, considering that the author mocks the use of hearsay by the group(s) he attacks. In still other cases, Jason is well aware of the facts and chooses to twist them.  In many other cases, I believe he is simply ignorant of the facts, having likely gleaned incorrect information from his source(s).

The sheer insidiousness of the blogs becomes apparent when one comes to the realization that Jason no longer identifies as Orthodox. Yet, chanting plays in the background of the blog, and he posts icons and quotes from saints and modern Orthodox thinkers, particularly the Elder Ephraim, to lure Orthodox Christians into reading his poisonous words.  He presents the stories in an innocent manner, as if he's giving a tour.  Packaged with factual material, lies are quickly inserted into the narrative to give the readers something disturbing to chew on. It is a dishonest presentation.

The most baffling thing of all is why someone who no longer wishes to participate in either the monastic life or Orthodoxy—someone who is free to choose to do anything he wants with his life and time—would spend so many precious hours carefully crafting pieces, albeit negative, about the monasteries and Orthodoxy.

Thank you again for reading your own gut on the matter and digging a little deeper. I can only hope other people do the same.

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2015, 05:05:57 PM »
^^
I went to the Tumblr site and I concur that it is indeed a poisoned well.

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2015, 07:23:40 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Argo!

Thank you for your post.


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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2015, 04:51:47 PM »
Second, although the blog does not have a name associated with it, the singular views expressed align with those of a disgruntled ex-monastic from St. Nektarios. His name is Jason McCullough, and he now resides in Canada.  He was the second Fr. Symeon of the Elder Ephraim's monastics in America.  He also appears to be running other blogs along similar themes—at least one more Tumblr and two Wordpress accounts.  It is possible he has help—perhaps from two other former monastics that live near him, Damian (Fr. Dionysios) and Novice Basil (Ellis)—but I doubt the former would spend so much time wallowing in negativity.

Now we can pray for those associated with the blogs by name.

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #45 on: July 29, 2015, 03:24:30 PM »
I have visited this monastery and while theynare very traditional, down to details like the schedule of services and the order in which one enters the refectory, and in their exclusive use of Greek in the liturgy (at least one of the hieromonks is a convert priest who learned enough Greek to serve the liturgy), I saw nothing but love there.  The grounds were beautiful.

In the mens guesthouse of the large number of gentlemen staying there, some were teenagers and one or two were young men who had dabbled in narcotics and were a bit unstable; fortunately they do not stay in the more comfortable rooms upstairs where men of greater age reside.  However given the extreme hospitality they appear to offer, it does not surprise me that such a tragedy as documented here would happen, because this is inevitable when your monastery among other things functions as a sort of spiritual ICU.  It is that however and not a mental asylum, and no one is forced to stay there, so it is alas just a tragedy this occurred.   I auspect incidents like this of people who are on the edge going to a monastery but not getting better in some cases occur, for example, on Mount Athos or in other Orthodox lands, but there it would not be regarded as out of the ordinary.  However in the US I can definitely see how people of Protestant cultural values would regard a place like St. Anthony's in Florence as a cult.  Even a more relaxed monastery like Coptic St. Anthonys in Barstow might fall under such suspicion tragically.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #46 on: July 29, 2015, 03:41:43 PM »
I have visited this monastery and while theynare very traditional, down to details like the schedule of services and the order in which one enters the refectory, and in their exclusive use of Greek in the liturgy (at least one of the hieromonks is a convert priest who learned enough Greek to serve the liturgy), I saw nothing but love there. The grounds were beautiful.
Were they aware of your ecclesiological affiliation?
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Offline jah777

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #47 on: July 29, 2015, 04:14:40 PM »
Quote
There are other goodies in there.

Oh, I know. I only picked one of them ....  :P :o

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.

This is probably quite old now, but I just wanted to add a couple things. First, thank you for alerting the monasteries. That was kind.

Second, although the blog does not have a name associated with it, the singular views expressed align with those of a disgruntled ex-monastic from St. Nektarios. His name is Jason McCullough, and he now resides in Canada.  He was the second Fr. Symeon of the Elder Ephraim's monastics in America.  He also appears to be running other blogs along similar themes—at least one more Tumblr and two Wordpress accounts.  It is possible he has help—perhaps from two other former monastics that live near him, Damian (Fr. Dionysios) and Novice Basil (Ellis)—but I doubt the former would spend so much time wallowing in negativity.

It's hard to find the handles on the blog to even describe it.  Many of the "facts" are just patently wrong. He has, for example, some names and dates wrong.  This could happen to anyone, so we'll not comment on those.  But there are SO MANY stories that are complete hearsay, and these are quite shocking, considering that the author mocks the use of hearsay by the group(s) he attacks. In still other cases, Jason is well aware of the facts and chooses to twist them.  In many other cases, I believe he is simply ignorant of the facts, having likely gleaned incorrect information from his source(s).

The sheer insidiousness of the blogs becomes apparent when one comes to the realization that Jason no longer identifies as Orthodox. Yet, chanting plays in the background of the blog, and he posts icons and quotes from saints and modern Orthodox thinkers, particularly the Elder Ephraim, to lure Orthodox Christians into reading his poisonous words.  He presents the stories in an innocent manner, as if he's giving a tour.  Packaged with factual material, lies are quickly inserted into the narrative to give the readers something disturbing to chew on. It is a dishonest presentation.

The most baffling thing of all is why someone who no longer wishes to participate in either the monastic life or Orthodoxy—someone who is free to choose to do anything he wants with his life and time—would spend so many precious hours carefully crafting pieces, albeit negative, about the monasteries and Orthodoxy.

Thank you again for reading your own gut on the matter and digging a little deeper. I can only hope other people do the same.

Thank you for this information.  Just the other day I corresponded with a former novice from St. Nektarios Monastery.  According to these websites, this novice had been scandalized by what he saw at the monastery and even spoke out against what he saw there prior to leaving.  A lot of other information was mentioned on the website about this former novice but when I asked the former novice in a private conversation he told me:

Quote
I suppose the only thing I saw wrong at the monastery when I was there was me, my ego.

He said he never spoke out against anything in the monastery "because there was never anything to speak out against."

One man does appear to be behind several similar sites which sound convincing because of all of the name-dropping and insinuation of detailed inside knowledge.  However, when scrutinized the stories fall apart. 

I should say that I have stayed many times at St. Nektarios Monastery and Geronda Joseph was my spiritual father for a time before we moved far from there.  I was greatly edified and strengthened by my time there and never saw anything of concern. 

Offline Argo

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2015, 05:27:58 PM »
Well said. I think if any person is going to any monastery expecting to find perfect people, he or she is living in a fantasy land.  But the supposed imperfections suggested on these sites are way out of bounds.

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #49 on: July 30, 2015, 11:28:57 PM »
I have visited this monastery and while theynare very traditional, down to details like the schedule of services and the order in which one enters the refectory, and in their exclusive use of Greek in the liturgy (at least one of the hieromonks is a convert priest who learned enough Greek to serve the liturgy), I saw nothing but love there. The grounds were beautiful.
Were they aware of your ecclesiological affiliation?

Well this was in my time when for reasons of access I affiliated with an EO parish (seriously, if an OO church is out of range I will join a Chalcedonian one, since my view is that we are of one faith, I am going to put my money where my mouth is).  However there were some Australians present at the time, an Orthodox and his Catholic travelling companion, and the RC guy reported never having had a problem with the monks; they apparently had visited every summer.  Non Orthodox have to watch the liturgy from the Narthex and enter the refectory together with anyone who missed the initial lunch or dinner bell (or I suppose anyone who does not want to go through the formalities of dining together with the monks, liatening to the Greek reading, and the hymns and so on), so its not ideal I suppose for non Orthodox in that sense, but there is no hostility.  There were in fact enjoyable theologocal discussions with the Catholic gentleman in the living room of the gentlemens quarters, and one rather refined Orthodox father who was there with his family expressed to me privately his bewilderment that the RC guy didnt just become Orthodox.  But there wasnt a drop of hate there.

The monastery gardens by the way appear themselves to be the recipient of divine influence.  I can confidently say they are more imprssive than those at Disneyland, which is for anyone who has visited that atoried park particularly impressive considering the location of the monastery in Florence, a town of hellish dry heat whose main industry is prisons.  But the gardens and orchards of the monastery produce a microclimate so that the monastery grounds seem noticeably cooler than the rest of the valley, and are quite humid.  The Coptic St. Anthonys uses a lake to accomplish a similiar cooling effect, but I think the large scale of the Greek St. Anthonys causes this effect to be more pronounced despite not having an open body of water to provide cooling (which by the way is a de rigeur approach in the Barstow area; most of the rances around the Coptic monastery also have a lake or a pond for cooling, but I think the microclimate approach that the Arizona monastery uses is somewhat more dramatic).

My impression of the monastery was that Elder Ephraim was trying to recreate the Athonite experience as much as possible within the strictures of the revised Julian calendar and the Greek parish typikon.  So alas I never heard my beloved Prime, Terce or Sext.  However the Ninth Hour in the Catholicon followed by Vespers was splendid, and Small Compline was especially haunting.  I am considering going back there this summer after the dormition fast concludes.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline hecma925

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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #50 on: July 31, 2015, 12:55:20 AM »

The monastery gardens by the way appear themselves to be the recipient of divine influence.  I can confidently say they are more imprssive than those at Disneyland, which is for anyone who has visited that atoried park particularly impressive considering the location of the monastery in Florence, a town of hellish dry heat whose main industry is prisons.  But the gardens and orchards of the monastery produce a microclimate so that the monastery grounds seem noticeably cooler than the rest of the valley, and are quite humid.  The Coptic St. Anthonys uses a lake to accomplish a similiar cooling effect, but I think the large scale of the Greek St. Anthonys causes this effect to be more pronounced despite not having an open body of water to provide cooling (which by the way is a de rigeur approach in the Barstow area; most of the rances around the Coptic monastery also have a lake or a pond for cooling, but I think the microclimate approach that the Arizona monastery uses is somewhat more dramatic).

There's an underground spring.
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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #51 on: July 31, 2015, 03:49:05 AM »

The monastery gardens by the way appear themselves to be the recipient of divine influence.  I can confidently say they are more imprssive than those at Disneyland, which is for anyone who has visited that atoried park particularly impressive considering the location of the monastery in Florence, a town of hellish dry heat whose main industry is prisons.  But the gardens and orchards of the monastery produce a microclimate so that the monastery grounds seem noticeably cooler than the rest of the valley, and are quite humid.  The Coptic St. Anthonys uses a lake to accomplish a similiar cooling effect, but I think the large scale of the Greek St. Anthonys causes this effect to be more pronounced despite not having an open body of water to provide cooling (which by the way is a de rigeur approach in the Barstow area; most of the rances around the Coptic monastery also have a lake or a pond for cooling, but I think the microclimate approach that the Arizona monastery uses is somewhat more dramatic).

There's an underground spring.

At the Coptic or Greek monastery?  Im guessing the Greek one as I saw no evidence of that at the Coptic, except perhaps at their separate guest house, which has its own beautiful gardens which receive much more water than those at the Greek monastery perhaps due to a prevalence of lawns.  One thing I did notice about the Greek monastery which I think was part of the trick to how they had engineered their most exquisite landscaping, were relatively few lawns, but lots of pine trees, palm trees and flowering plants, which can potentially use only a minimal amount of water.  I should also mention the numerous fountains, crosses, gazebos and the open air chapel at the Florence monastery are exquisite, although in the morning if memory serves one must be cautious as in the hours before lunch the large local wasp population waters itself in the fountains before proceeding to pollination.  I was not stung; however having been stung at the age of 13 made me cross myself a bit and invoke divine protection; wasp stings are quite horrible, unlike bee stings whoch are a bearable nuissance.  However at night after one is awakened for the midnight office, matins and the liturgy, one has about 45 minutes to peruse the gardens, which are rather spectacularly lit.

Of the different monasteries Ive visited, I think only the Episcopal monastery in Santa Barbara, which is basically an Anglican themed hotel, in that there are too few brethren for other obediences besides hospitality, is more comfortable in terms of temporal considerations than the Florence monastery.
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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #52 on: July 31, 2015, 04:14:45 AM »

The monastery gardens by the way appear themselves to be the recipient of divine influence.  I can confidently say they are more imprssive than those at Disneyland, which is for anyone who has visited that atoried park particularly impressive considering the location of the monastery in Florence, a town of hellish dry heat whose main industry is prisons.  But the gardens and orchards of the monastery produce a microclimate so that the monastery grounds seem noticeably cooler than the rest of the valley, and are quite humid.  The Coptic St. Anthonys uses a lake to accomplish a similiar cooling effect, but I think the large scale of the Greek St. Anthonys causes this effect to be more pronounced despite not having an open body of water to provide cooling (which by the way is a de rigeur approach in the Barstow area; most of the rances around the Coptic monastery also have a lake or a pond for cooling, but I think the microclimate approach that the Arizona monastery uses is somewhat more dramatic).

There's an underground spring.

Im guessing the Greek one

You would be right, since you brought it up.
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Re: Elder Ephraim of Arizona
« Reply #53 on: July 31, 2015, 04:33:15 AM »

The monastery gardens by the way appear themselves to be the recipient of divine influence.  I can confidently say they are more imprssive than those at Disneyland, which is for anyone who has visited that atoried park particularly impressive considering the location of the monastery in Florence, a town of hellish dry heat whose main industry is prisons.  But the gardens and orchards of the monastery produce a microclimate so that the monastery grounds seem noticeably cooler than the rest of the valley, and are quite humid.  The Coptic St. Anthonys uses a lake to accomplish a similiar cooling effect, but I think the large scale of the Greek St. Anthonys causes this effect to be more pronounced despite not having an open body of water to provide cooling (which by the way is a de rigeur approach in the Barstow area; most of the rances around the Coptic monastery also have a lake or a pond for cooling, but I think the microclimate approach that the Arizona monastery uses is somewhat more dramatic).

There's an underground spring.

Im guessing the Greek one

You would be right, since you brought it up.

So that makes a lot of sense then.


My guess is the underground spring drives their irrigation works which in turn enable the gardens and create the microclimate and high humidity on the monastery grounds.

If you go into Florence or Coolidge, those towns are fiery furnaces, and they might well have apeings of their own or at least groundwater access.

I remeber in my eearly childhood Tucson was far more comfortable than it is today. and the most striking change seems to be how there are many fewer shadyntrees in the city now versus then.

The trick to fighting back the desert is to use water intelligently to create oases and vegetation which can in turn create stable microclimates.

However I do believe the pure splendor of the gardens at the two monasteries naked for St. Anthony in the US, and also from the photos Ive seen, at the Egyptian original (which also features an underground spring), should be regarded as a divine blessing in and of itself.

It also makes for a nice refutation of the Bahai faith; if you know of any Orthodox tempted to join that pernicious cult on account of the gardens which surround their "Houses of Worship", one might simply show them photographs of Elder Ephrems monastery, or better yet, take them there.  St. Anthonys is a very traditional monastery operating according to an Athonite sensibility which is probably quite a bit more conservative than the Orthodoxy of people like H.E. Kallistos Ware or Fr. John Behr of SVS, but which is nonetheless full of love.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!