Author Topic: Monastery vs. church??  (Read 25056 times)

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Offline Timos

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Monastery vs. church??
« on: October 13, 2005, 02:26:54 PM »
Hi, I recently visited Boston MA, and I was talking to some friends about how I'd love to visit the local monasteries. Wel it turns out that many priests whom I've talked to are very anti-monastery and are very hostile to the very idea of monasticism, espexially those of Elder Ephraim in Arizona. Which also begs the question why is he so contraversial? All my friends who have visited him separatyely came back telling me the same thing, that he was a kind, sweet man who had the ability to look into your soul and offer you guidance.

Whats so wrong about that? I really don't see where people get off on saying that because his spiritual children follow him, he is suddenly a cult leader. A cult leader brainwashes people. I don't think Elder Ephraim does that. As spiritual children, they are supposed to listen to their spiritual father or else that is not true obdience.

As I'm a Canadian, it makes situations even more sticky. Elder Ehpraim established 2 female monasteries and 1 male monastery up here. The two convents are still open, but the male monastery was moved down to Michigan (Agias Triados) which sparked bitter clashes between our archbishop and Elder Ephraim. I know the Archbishop personally so its sometimes uneasy telling him I visit the monasteries under Elder Ephaim.

Then again the thing I don't understand is that people who are Elder Ephraim's spiritual children will call him "The elder" as if there aren't any other elders around whereas there are Elder Joseph in michigan and people will inisist on only going to "his" monasteries rather than any monastery under the GOCA or even just canonical Orthodox monasteries.

Offline Elisha

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2005, 03:12:56 PM »
My thoughts on the subject(s) you've brought up:

1) General Anti-Monasticism

Is your bishop(s) Antiochian?ÂÂ  That would help explain a lot.ÂÂ  If so, that is rather sad.

2) Elder Ephraim/Guru Cult Leader

Disclaimer:ÂÂ  I have never visited his nor any other of his monasteries.

I was reading a long diatribe recently on the Indiana List that talked about this.ÂÂ  From what I gather, I think Elder Ephraim is indeed a sweet old man (as you've said others say) and that he does have these great abilities.ÂÂ  On the other hand, he has some idiosyncrasies probably due to his cultural background that are inconsequential or could be looked at as just plain nonesense/silly (e.g. Protocols of the Elders of Zion).ÂÂ  Furthermore, some of the advice given on occasion was probably misappropriate for the given person's situation, misunderstood by said person or just out of context for their situation.ÂÂ  Remember, the Elders/priests there are fallable humans as well.ÂÂ  Just because they are called an "Elder" doesn't mean they can't give wrong advice.ÂÂ  If you have confessed to multiple priests before or even just one for that matter, has the advice ALWAYS been good or effective?ÂÂ  Maybe the priest is just a bad fit for you?ÂÂ  Remember also that the priest/Elder is used to advising and running a MONASTIC household where the monks have vowed obedience to an Elder/Spiritual Father, so that is usually their frame of reference.ÂÂ  We have Free Will for a reason and sometimes need to exercise it.ÂÂ  I'm not saying to be a "Cafeteria Christian", but we do have Free Will for a reason.

I would like to visit St. Anthony's one day, but we all are challenged to keep on the narrow path, which means a balanced perspective.  Worry about yourself and your own passions, not the Elder - he has to worry about himself as well.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2005, 03:15:05 PM by Elisha »

Offline iustinos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2005, 03:34:20 PM »
I agree that a lot of it is general anti-monasticism, which is prevalent among many Orthodox in the U.S. 

I think there is also a lot of "telephone gossip".  One woman I know confesses to Elder Ephraim relatively frequently.  She has the bad habit of telling people the advice he gives her.  Her advice is very different from the advice he generally gives people, due to her particular circumstances.  People take things she says out of that context, exaggerate or misinterpret it, and then spread it around.  Some then get the idea that he tells people pretty wacky thing routinely.  I think this accounts for many of the problems we see.  It's a good reminder that what we hear in confession is for us, and us only, unless otherwise stated, and we should keep it that way.

I think that there is a lot of cultural issues there.  Elder Ephraim is from Mt. Athos, grew up in Greece.  There is a particular cultural context surrounding that that most Americans, including second or third generation Orthodox (Greeks, Arabs, Russians, etc.) are not necessarily familiar with.  It leads to misunderstandings, excesses, etc.  Even in Greece most today have become little different than other Europeans (i.e. secular) and so it can't be assumed that recent Greek immigrants are fully comfortable with this culture that would have been presumed a couple generations ago.

For my part, I have experience with the Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring (one of "his" monasteries) as the abbess is my wife's godmother and another nun there is my daughter's godmother.  We have also visited St. Anthony's and my spiritual father's spiritual father is Elder Paisios, St. Anthony's abbot.  We are also acquainted with quite a number of people who are Elder Ephraim's spiritual children.  I also have a good friend who was a novice at St. Anthony's for two years.  In my experience, I have never seen or heard the various zany things that are attributed to Elder Ephraim in fact often quite the opposite.  I have seen, however, a situation that resembled Fr. Theologos' much discussed situation, where a mother went ballistic when her 29-year-old daughter attempted to enter a monastery, to the point where various people were looking to restraining orders and police protection.  This poor woman is left waiting to enter the monastery until her parents will consent or at least leave her alone.

As for referring to Elder Ephraim as "the Elder", I think this is common.  In listening to tapes from Constantine Zalalas, it seems like this is frequently used regarding an elder one is close to in pious Greek circles.  Even those who refer to Elder Ephraim as "the Elder" still refer to Elders Paisios or Joseph, for example, as elders.

Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2005, 03:53:57 PM »
No, I am not Antiochian. I am Greek Orthodox. Also, I am not worried *about* the elder, I was worried whether the stuff being said had any validity. Iustinos, last year I went to the St. Nicholas Ranch in August and I met up with Ierontissa Markella. She really is sweet. She was born not too far away from where my parents were born too.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2005, 04:05:35 PM »
Hi, I recently visited Boston MA, and I was talking to some friends about how I'd love to visit the local monasteries. Wel it turns out that many priests whom I've talked to are very anti-monastery and are very hostile to the very idea of monasticism, espexially those of Elder Ephraim in Arizona. Which also begs the question why is he so contraversial? All my friends who have visited him separatyely came back telling me the same thing, that he was a kind, sweet man who had the ability to look into your soul and offer you guidance. 

I can partially explain some of the anti-monasticism in the Northeast, especially in the GOA, by bringing up Holy Transfiguration.  The relationship between that monastery and this Metropolis (then Diocese) was bad enough at the end that it convinced the Metropolitan (and Archbishop Iakovos) that monasticism isn't ready for America and vice-versa.

As far as the controversy with Fr. Ephraim, it is partially with him (from the perspective of people) and partially with the circumstances in which he came to America (from the perspective of the other clergy).  I don't think he left Mt. Athos under the best of circumstances (please, someone, correct me if I'm wrong) - but then again not everyone on the Holy Mountain is Holy, so it is possible it was unwarranted.  When he came to this country, the chancellor for Archbishop SPYRIDON made an arrangement that basically the monasteries would be under Fr. Ephraim's control, not the local bishops' (which is completely uncannonical).  So there was a lot of tension between Fr. Ephraim and the hierarchy/clergy there too.  And the fact that he wants "his" monasteries to do only Greek alienates some of the non-Greek members of the GOA.


Whats so wrong about that? I really don't see where people get off on saying that because his spiritual children follow him, he is suddenly a cult leader. A cult leader brainwashes people. I don't think Elder Ephraim does that. As spiritual children, they are supposed to listen to their spiritual father or else that is not true obdience. 

There are people who claim this to be true - that he brainwashes people.  Then again, I've met spiritual children of his who are perfectly normal people and don't exhibit this supposed brainwashing.  I think in general there are plenty of people who do follow the elders (not just Ephraim) as if they were cult leaders.  And there are some elders that tell their spiritual children to live the same lifestyle that the monks live in the monastery.  So I can understand where the perception comes from.

As I'm a Canadian, it makes situations even more sticky. Elder Ehpraim established 2 female monasteries and 1 male monastery up here. The two convents are still open, but the male monastery was moved down to Michigan (Agias Triados) which sparked bitter clashes between our archbishop and Elder Ephraim. I know the Archbishop personally so its sometimes uneasy telling him I visit the monasteries under Elder Ephaim. 

If the monastery moved without the permission of the Archbishop, then the move was completely out of line and uncannonical; and while I know the canons have their leeway, with monks and the monastic tradition the necessity of obedience means that the canons are treated with akrivia when applying to monks.

Then again the thing I don't understand is that people who are Elder Ephraim's spiritual children will call him "The elder" as if there aren't any other elders around whereas there are Elder Joseph in michigan and people will inisist on only going to "his" monasteries rather than any monastery under the GOCA or even just canonical Orthodox monasteries. 

I don't know why one would avoid the other monasteries... but just that statement does sound cult-ish.  (I'm NOT saying Fr. Ephraim has a cult).  But it is common just to refer to one's "favorite" elder just as "the Elder," especially if the context allows for it, or if the saying is widely known to be attributable to one particular elder.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2005, 04:06:38 PM »
No, I am not Antiochian. I am Greek Orthodox. Also, I am not worried *about* the elder, I was worried whether the stuff being said had any validity. 

Some of it does, and some of it comes from people who either have an anti-Ephramite or anti-Monastic agenda.
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Offline iustinos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2005, 04:26:01 PM »
"and people will inisist on only going to "his" monasteries rather than any monastery under the GOCA or even just canonical Orthodox monasteries.  "

I doubt that this comes from Elder Ephraim.  I know the Gerontissa Markella has a great deal of respect for Fr. Jonah and his brotherhood in Point Reyes Station (OCA) and for Mother Barbara (Kazan Skete in Santa Rosa--OCA).  I've been encouraged to confess to Fr. Jonah at times.  You can see pictures of Abbot Gerasim and Fr. Damascene from Platina visiting Elders Ephraim and Paisios on-line.  There are pictures of Gerontissa Markella and one or two of her nuns at the ROCOR monastery on Vashon Island at the Monastery of the Savior website.  I know that Gerontissa Markella and some of her nuns have visited other canonical monasteries elsewhere.  Again, maybe this was advice specifically for them, but I doubt that it's coming from the monastics themselves.

Offline monkvasyl

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2005, 04:36:40 PM »
To put it simply the whole discussion on the Indiana List, about Father Ephraim and monasticism in general has got me sick to my stomach.  Also, to see Father Ephraim and his brotherhood listed on the Prokrov list is also painful. 
The unworthy hierodeacon, Vasyl

Offline icxn

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2005, 04:52:24 PM »
Eh... don't worry about it. God allows these things so that His servants are perfected in every virtue. If there wasn't anybody to accuse them then they would lose the blessing...

"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Mt. 5:11-12)

icxn

Offline Elisha

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2005, 05:02:10 PM »
To put it simply the whole discussion on the Indiana List, about Father Ephraim and monasticism in general has got me sick to my stomach.ÂÂ  Also, to see Father Ephraim and his brotherhood listed on the Prokrov list is also painful.ÂÂ  

monkvasyl,
Re: Pokrov - I think everyone is in agreeance here.  They really have taken a noble idea and gone overboard.

Indiana List - why so distraught?  As icxn just said, why not look at it as a blessing to perfect oneselves?  Yes, there is a lot of hubub regarding that discussion, but I think there are a lot of things that can be learned from all of the discussion regarding normative practice, context of situations and just that fact that we are all (including Elder Ephraim) still fallable humans.

Offline orth_christian2000

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2005, 05:45:48 PM »
Timos,

Being Greek Orthodox, and being in Toronto, where I believe you are too, I think that this is a real serious issue.  Just the other month I had messaged Fr. Drossos from the Archdiocese's website and I asked, "why is there not a men's monastery under the Archdiocese"?  I got this run-around answer, that left me with a really awkward feeling. 

A cousin of mine went to Hegumen Joseph at Holy Trinity Monastery in Michigan for certain counsel, and he was a bit irritated by what he heard.  He went for a second opinion to a local Greek Orthodox Church in Toronto, and the priest scoffed him and told him "only the very bad go to monasteries".  I just couldn't believe it. 

What fosters this anti-monasticism?  I mean, in the Orthodox Voice, there was even an article months back saying that many were making the Geronda out to be some sort of idol.  Absolutely ridiculous, and it grieved me to see it in an Orthodox newsletter.  We're talking about a man who toiled to bring this jewel of Orthodoxy, monasticism, to North America, as did many brother Orthodo of different denominations.  Because it is a foreign sentiment to say "flee the world and the worldly", people see him as a cult leader? 

Timos, I don't know Archbishop Sotirios personally, but I must say there are a few things about His grace that scandalize me, and many.  The fact that the monastery was in Ontario, and now is not, is a great one.  Another, is that there hasn't been an attempt to offer a monastery.  I can't help but think that there was a power struggle here, and that the Archbishop felt threatened by monks who are far more traditional.  For instance, very few of our priests here in Toronto would tell you that it's not right to marry someone who is not Orthodox, like they would not hesitate to say in the monastery.  There is an undermining of the bishop's words, which are, let's face it, contrary to the Canons of the Church.  I'm certainly not judging, but I hope and pray that he will see this and change his ways. 

I would like to talk to you more about this some time if you choose.  You can message me personally.

In Christ, the least,
Theodore(Ted)
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner

Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2005, 06:16:21 PM »
Timos,

Being Greek Orthodox, and being in Toronto, where I believe you are too, I think that this is a real serious issue.ÂÂ  Just the other month I had messaged Fr. Drossos from the Archdiocese's website and I asked, "why is there not a men's monastery under the Archdiocese"?ÂÂ  I got this run-around answer, that left me with a really awkward feeling.ÂÂ  

A cousin of mine went to Hegumen Joseph at Holy Trinity Monastery in Michigan for certain counsel, and he was a bit irritated by what he heard.ÂÂ  He went for a second opinion to a local Greek Orthodox Church in Toronto, and the priest scoffed him and told him "only the very bad go to monasteries".ÂÂ  I just couldn't believe it.ÂÂ  

What fosters this anti-monasticism?ÂÂ  I mean, in the Orthodox Voice, there was even an article months back saying that many were making the Geronda out to be some sort of idol.ÂÂ  Absolutely ridiculous, and it grieved me to see it in an Orthodox newsletter.ÂÂ  We're talking about a man who toiled to bring this jewel of Orthodoxy, monasticism, to North America, as did many brother Orthodo of different denominations.ÂÂ  Because it is a foreign sentiment to say "flee the world and the worldly", people see him as a cult leader?ÂÂ  

Timos, I don't know Archbishop Sotirios personally, but I must say there are a few things about His grace that scandalize me, and many.ÂÂ  The fact that the monastery was in Ontario, and now is not, is a great one.ÂÂ  Another, is that there hasn't been an attempt to offer a monastery.ÂÂ  I can't help but think that there was a power struggle here, and that the Archbishop felt threatened by monks who are far more traditional.ÂÂ  For instance, very few of our priests here in Toronto would tell you that it's not right to marry someone who is not Orthodox, like they would not hesitate to say in the monastery.ÂÂ  There is an undermining of the bishop's words, which are, let's face it, contrary to the Canons of the Church.ÂÂ  I'm certainly not judging, but I hope and pray that he will see this and change his ways.ÂÂ  

I would like to talk to you more about this some time if you choose.ÂÂ  You can message me personally.

In Christ, the least,
Theodore(Ted)

Ted, I'm surprised your cousin got this response @ a local Toronto Greek Orthodox church. So far, I've only experienced this in the States.

Orthodox Voice? Isn't that a Greek-American Orthodox paper? I believe here we have "Orthodoxi Poreia" or Orthodox Way. We have some pretty rediculous stuff in there too like when some rich greek guy donates a million bucks, the archbishop makes sure the patron's name is written down. It literally says "3 pious christians have donated money to our holy metropolis..." The whole power thing is more of a control in Canada as its a lot smaller. In our church, the ppl with their names engraved on gold plated tags (so and so donated 15,000 dollars) have the most respect and conrol. What happened to "don't let your right hand know about what your left hand is doing?"

When I heard that the monastery moved down south I was quite saddened as it was minutes from my house. Now, it's three hours acorss the border!

Also the archbishop is rubbing off our priests. 5 years ago, all our churches were traditional. Now, increasingly our churches are getting choirs and organs and doing the same thing that American Greek churches have been doing for decades. The monasteries have the duty of keeping the parishes in line and the priests just don't like it.

Ted, I might actually know you. I'll message you.

Offline orth_christian2000

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2005, 07:23:18 PM »
Timos,

Amen!!!! These are exactly my qualms about the situation with the Archdiocese in Canada! You hit the nail on the head.  I think we may be quite a lot alike.  And yes, you're right, it is Orthodoxh Poreia, Orthodox Way...I got the names mixed up.  I got your message, and I appreciate it.  Look forward to talking with you.

In Christ,
Theodore (Ted)
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Offline Silouan

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2005, 07:34:43 PM »
I live in Arizona and have been going to St. Anthony's fairly frequently (usually once or twice a month - on weekdays, I rarely go there on Sundays) for a little over three years now.  I've also spend two months living on the Holy Mountain.  So I do have some first hand experience here.

Elder Sophrony said that you can't simply take a thriving monastery from Greece or Russia and drop it in the West and expect it to thrive.  I think the growing pains and transitions with that is at the root of many of the problems associated with Elder Ephraim.  I'll lay aside political correctness and simply be blunt - these are my obersvations...  Eastern Europeans and in particular Greeks tend to be anti-semetic, racist and xenophobic.  Greeks think they are by far a supiour race of humans than the rest of us, and simply cannot understand why they aren't the world superpower (maybe they should first try to make toilets than can flush toilet paper, but that is another issue).  Hence the ONLY LOGICAL explanation is that Israel and America are working to suppress Greece.  Thus any conspiracy theory (no matter how outlandish) that involves America or Israel is swallowed hook, line and sinker by Greeks.  So when you bring over monks from Greece (who are a product of that culture and worldview) there will be a cultural clash between Americans, Canadians, Australians etc.  But monks are supposed to experts on the spiritual life, not geopolitcs - so this can be easy to look past.  Also part of that is the Hellenocentric worldview (think GreekisChristian without the fake idol worship of the EP). ÂÂ

As to the other problems at the American monasteries.  I would wager to say about 90% of the blame lies on certain lay persons associated with the monastery.  They are psychologically unbalenced people simply looking for a guru somewhere and happen to stumble upon the monastery.  Most simply have no parish since "all parishes are too worldly, only the monastery is pure" etc. and simply are not well adjusted to life.  All of my friends involved with the monasteries and myself are very involved in our own parishes and lead normal lives - we are the majority.  The problem though is this sizable minority doesn't have the gift of silence - they love to be "preaching" what they assume are the "commands of the Elder" (but often when forced will admit Geronda never quite actually said that) to the heathens in parishes.  Eventually these people get burnt out and move on to find their next guru elsewhere. ÂÂ

As for the other 10% - I think the monasteries do sometimes have a hard time relating to those directly outside of their circle.  I.e giving someone a trillion prostrations, an eight hour a day prayer rule etc. might be good for a monk, but not the average lay person.  Also the attitude that it is OK to be blatantly disobediant to bishops (as long as you have Geronda's blessing) is very troubling to me.  Also the instance that EVERYTHING must be in Greek gets old - but that is unsustainable in America, especially as more and more newer novices come not knowing a word of Greek. ÂÂ

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2005, 09:06:48 PM »
Well, and I think it is worth mentioning what a geronda told a friend of mine: for every holy monk in the monastery, the devil has sent 10 bad monks to try to distract and destroy them.  This might be an over-exaggeration of the ratio, but its worth remembering.
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2005, 09:45:13 PM »
As for the other 10% - I think the monasteries do sometimes have a hard time relating to those directly outside of their circle.  I.e giving someone a trillion prostrations, an eight hour a day prayer rule etc. might be good for a monk, but not the average lay person.  Also the attitude that it is OK to be blatantly disobediant to bishops (as long as you have Geronda's blessing) is very troubling to me.  Also the instance that EVERYTHING must be in Greek gets old - but that is unsustainable in America, especially as more and more newer novices come not knowing a word of Greek. 

I think you might be pretty much just echoing what I said...confirming that my guessing is not far off.  Anyway, cute story from our choir director:  She spent a month or so in Greece a while back, with a several day stay at a women's monastery.  A nun there (maybe even the Abbess or a Gerontissa - don't remember) told her that it was imperative that she learn to speak Greek - because that's all they speak in heaven!  :D

Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2005, 10:24:42 PM »
In our Canadian parishes, we have a senstivie unbalanced "balance" between Greek and English. The litanies and everything else the priest says is rotated betwen greek and english. The chanting is all greek except for a lord have mercy and a to you o lord here and there in broken english. Once ppl start asking for more english or more greek (which really escpaes my mind as like 60% of it is already in greek), chaos erupts in our churches. So most youth either don't come or they come and have no clue whats going on. Great.

Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2005, 10:25:34 PM »
Oh yeah, unless of course if a parish has an english chanter, then the liturgy is half greek half english

Offline emmanuelmelo

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2005, 07:31:43 PM »
I believe that I have a very good knowledge of St. Anthony's monastery here in the US.  I have also personally confessed to Elder Ephraim.  I will be attending Medical School next year, thus I believe I have a unique persepective on the monastery:

1.)  The monastics, at least the ones I spoke to, seemed to be in very good mental health. 

2.)  Although the facilities are beautiful, the ascetic effort is tremendous.  I volunteered to clean up tables and found that some monks only ate a few olives for dinner.

3.)  The laity I think are really the ones to blame.  Example- "I want to buy a house close to a monastery and a Greek Orthodox Church."  Elder Ephraim would say,"God bless you, go ahead."  The person would tell everyone else that Geronda "Told him to buy the property so he bought it." HELLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOO.  Any priest would tell you to buy property next to a Church.  Are you kidding?!??!!??!  You don't need a blessing for everything

4.)  I think Elder Ephraim is probably one of the most patient people i know.  He listens to old ladies COMPLAIN for 3 hours a day.  If I were him, I would go completely crazy.  But he does it, and for that he should be commended.

So some people certainly have issues with authority.  Also, monasteries tend to attract alot of wackos.  Some people who go there are just not mentally competent. 

Anyway, that was my 2 cents.
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Offline alexp4uni

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2005, 08:14:19 PM »
...
1.) The monastics, at least the ones I spoke to, seemed to be in very good mental health.
...
4.) I think Elder Ephraim is probably one of the most patient people i know. He listens to old ladies COMPLAIN for 3 hours a day. If I were him, I would go completely crazy. But he does it, and for that he should be commended.

So some people certainly have issues with authority. Also, monasteries tend to attract alot of wackos. Some people who go there are just not mentally competent.

Anyway, that was my 2 cents.

Can anyone defend Elder Ephraim when one of his monastics writes about his experience with him especially the Elders writings are bit benign. I am only relying on one source from Not Athos in America: http://gerondaephraim.tripod.com/

Quote
I was taught to believe in conspiracy theories (some of which were that man never landed on the moon, that America is made up of a shadow government that is run by Masons and Jews) and that the Protocols of Zion are an authentic document rather than racist fiction.

Quote
I was taught to flagellate myself with electrical cord when I had sinful thoughts and that this was normal behavior that Saints indulged in.

Quote
There was talk of “spies” sent to the monastery from the Archdiocese to keep an eye on things and report to Bishop Anthony. If you were suspected then usually a lay pilgrim who was loyal to the monastery would talk to you in the men’s guesthouse or whenever there was an opportunity to see what your purpose was there. This would happen usually without express orders from anyone at the monastery, but they would find out later that it had been done. We were all told, of course, to deny that the monastery re-baptized people to anyone who inquired until they were found to be trustworthy by Geronda Paisios or “Elder” Ephraim. It was very important to them to keep this a secret. I was told to take it with me to my grave.

Offline Landon77

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2005, 08:49:45 PM »
I think this is best left not spoken about on a public forum.  The only thing that can be accomplished is the spreading of gossip!
« Last Edit: October 15, 2005, 08:50:28 PM by Landon77 »
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Offline Mat. Elizabeth

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2005, 10:08:52 PM »
The Monastic tradition has been part of the Orthodox Church since quite early on. It is rich and sustaining. And, here in America, rather new. For our family, the tradition of being able to visit monasteries has touched us deeply. When we wlived in Georgia, we loved to visit the Sts. Mary and Martha Monastery in Wagener, SC (they have a website with many lovely photographs).  When we lived in New Mexico, the St. Michael's Skete in Cañones was of great comfort and a spirtual enrichment.  Here in South Texas, the Holy Archangels Monastery in Kendalia, although father away, is a lovely and deeply moving place of pilgrimage.  My husband just visited the monastery of St. John of Shanghai near SF, Calif. and it was a lovely retreat for him. For all laity who can, making period visits to monasteries is food for the soul - way better than any chicken soup!  Just my 2 cents worth...

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2005, 10:17:57 PM »
I second Landon's post.

Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2005, 10:23:26 PM »
Can anyone defend Elder Ephraim when one of his monastics writes about his experience with him especially the Elders writings are bit benign. I am only relying on one source from Not Athos in America: http://gerondaephraim.tripod.com/


No offense Alex, but this stuff seems like a load of BS. Seriously. Tons of my friends are those who either confess @ or go to St. anthony's and other monasteries a lot and I knwo for a fact that they are not hallucinating ideas or mentally unstable. They've told me that the monastery can seem a little harsh or even extreme, but hey it's a monastery, what do you expect? Thats the whole point.

Oh yeah, and I wasn't trying to attack you just now. Just give a different perspective on the issue.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2005, 10:30:59 PM »
Hello Landon and Asteriktos, the intention of my post wasn't to spread or start rumours. It was to anaylze and find out what is true versus what is not. such as is it true that if you confess to the Elder or to other priests @ the monasteries, that you have to tell them exactly what you do in your personal life such as how getting a blessing to *consumate* (or make the marriage a reality by doing that which can ultimately bear fruit, hint hint:) is that true? If that is true, why would people follow something rediculous like that?

Also, whats up with separating Elder Ehpraims monasteries from other Greek Orthodox Archdiocese monasteries? OK, maybe they dont use english and are more 'traditional' but they shouldnt be seen as better. a monastery is a monastery is a monastery. For example on the St. Anthony's website it says on top of a map of all the monasteries "Our Affiliated Monasteries" ignoring all the other Greek Orthodox monasteris under the GOAA. If these monasteries are under the archdiocese, they should include the other monasteries which were not necessarily founded by the Elder. And I say this with all due respect to Elder Ephraim and to the GOAA. It just makes it seem as if they are their own "exclusive club" on the side of the GOAA.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2005, 10:38:37 PM »
I think one of the issues encountered here is the culture clash that is inherent when the monastic life intersects with the secular life;  for some people, the spiritual counsels of a monk are good, in that they lead a life that closely mirrors it; but for most, the spiritual counsels of a monk may not be the best thing, especially if they are geared towards the monastic life.  While we are called to be "not of the world," we must exist in the world and learn how to operate within it in such a way as to reflect Christ's life.  But when we seek spiritual guidance from monastics, often times they will give us advice that takes us away from a place where we can work in the world; its not a bad thing, but not intended for the great majority of us... my two drachmas (which aren't even worth ONE cent, let alone two).

{edit} I fixed a spelling mistake, knowing fully well that there are probably ten that I've still missed. {/edit}
« Last Edit: October 15, 2005, 10:39:18 PM by cleveland »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2005, 11:38:59 PM »
Hello Landon and Asteriktos, the intention of my post wasn't to spread or start rumours. It was to anaylze and find out what is true versus what is not.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 . a monastery is a monastery is a monastery.

   I'm not upset with you, but if you want truth, most of what I see on this thread is the spreading of gossip.

   Every monastery is different, like every person is different.  As a side note, the monks of St. Benedict tried to kill him with poisoned wine, but when St. Benedict blessed his wine the cup broke.  They were trying to kill him because they thought he was too strict.
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2005, 01:15:14 AM »
"Our Affiliated Monasteries"

I'm pretty sure that I've seen this language before on the English websites of some monasteries in Greece, where they were referring to monasteries under the same elder.  I think this may be another example of our understanding of fractured American Orthodoxy clouds our vision of what's normal.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2005, 02:21:22 AM »
Quote
was taught to believe in conspiracy theories (some of which were that man never landed on the moon, that America is made up of a shadow government that is run by Masons and Jews) and that the Protocols of Zion are an authentic document rather than racist fiction.

As I mentioned that is simply a cultural thing.ÂÂ  Eastern Europeans are generally more into conspiracies and anti-semitism.ÂÂ  Within a generation or two thos cultural elements will be almost completely washed away.ÂÂ  Until then it is something most of us (i.e spiritual Children of Greek monastics) look past.ÂÂ  

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I was taught to flagellate myself with electrical cord when I had sinful thoughts and that this was normal behavior that Saints indulged in.
ÂÂ  

This is the ascetical teaching of the Church.  That bodily mortification does help the spiritual life in general (hence the strict fasting rules of Orthodox Church).  Many saints secretly wore chains and such.  A little sell inflicted paint that is not dangerous nor leaves any wound that last more than a few minutes is all that is being advocated in the writtings of Elder Joseph.  And Elder Joseph wrote that letter to a monk - and it would be helpful to read the entire letter to put some context to it.  For some people under the right guidance, such a practice could be beneficial - but it is surely not a core practice of St. Anthony's nor said that everyone must practice it.  An analogy of what Elder Joseph was teaching would be to go splash cold water on your face if you are sluggish in prayer to wake yourself up.  Also consider that Elder Joseph fought with real demons, the level of battle he was at is no where close to the average person's battle (monk or layman).  ÃƒÆ’‚Â

Quote
here was talk of “spies” sent to the monastery from the Archdiocese to keep an eye on things and report to Bishop Anthony. If you were suspected then usually a lay pilgrim who was loyal to the monastery would talk to you in the men’s guesthouse or whenever there was an opportunity to see what your purpose was there. This would happen usually without express orders from anyone at the monastery, but they would find out later that it had been done. We were all told, of course, to deny that the monastery re-baptized people to anyone who inquired until they were found to be trustworthy by Geronda Paisios or “Elder” Ephraim. It was very important to them to keep this a secret. I was told to take it with me to my grave.

Again this something that LAY people around the monastery dwell upon.ÂÂ  Never have I heard either Elder there say anything of spies.ÂÂ  Nor have any monks here or on Athos mentioned it to me.ÂÂ  Such paranoia and hysteria are lay people with not enough to do in their lives - not the monasteries.ÂÂ  When I confronted a lay person that hangs around there ALL THE TIME about this sort of issue and how *just maybe* if none of the monks ever said anything about it it was either not true or not important.ÂÂ  And the response?ÂÂ  "Oh well maybe Geronda just doesn't want them to know that."ÂÂ  

I rest my case - it is the secularism of the general GOA vs. the austerity of the Athonite tradition, plus a few convert whackos that are the problems, not monasticism nor the elders.ÂÂ  
« Last Edit: October 16, 2005, 02:21:54 AM by Silouan »

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2006, 09:15:12 PM »
I really don't know - or perhaps I don't want to suppose - who spreads the false rumor that Elder Ephraim was expelled from Mt Athos or that he was forced to leave it. Just the contrary! I am an Orthodox Christian from Greece. Please permit me to expose the facts:
Fr Ephraim was being asked during many years from some spiritual children of him, in America and Canada, to create a monastery there. He hesitated. However, he prayed during 10 years to God to reveal him His will. Fr Ephraim went to America out of obedience, not motivated by ambition or pride. I do know that the monks in his monastery in Mt Athos, Philotheou, didn't want him to leave, there were strong reactions. He was the spiritual father of other 3 monasteries in Mt Athos and of several women's monasteries in Greece. My wife has known him, he is a man of God and the monasteries he has founded are a true blessing for the Orthodoxy in America.
However, it is clear that they are a few anti-monastic priests and bishops, especially in the GOA, among them Metropolitan Methodios of Boston (a clone of the late archbishop Iakovos Koukouzis), who has publicly called Fr Ephraim (without having the courage to mention his name) "a cult leader". It is really a shame! Once I had met in Greece a retired Greek American bishop (now he is dead, may God reposes his soul) who talked about Fr Ephraim with hatred. The problem is not the monasticism, which is a blessed institution of the Church. Believe me, in Greece there is no pseudo-dilemma of the kind "Monastery vs. church". If such a dilemma exists in the USA, it has been artificially created by some secularized laymen and clergymen who insist on ignoring the Orthodox theology and tradition. Permit me to say, it's just ridiculous that Metropilitan Methodios, who is making very anti-monastic statements, officiated last year in St Irene Chrysovalantou church in Astoria, during its feasday: St Irene was an abbess in a monastery in Constantinople and, as it is said in her Live, numerous people used to visit her for spiritual counsel! Someone should remind the good bishop how many holy monks and nuns are in the calendar of the Church in which he is a shepherd, by divine dispensation...He should also know that St Anthimos the Wonder-worker of Chios (+1960), canonized by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, not only was a monk, but he also founded a women's monastery in the island of Chios and that he had been slandered and persecuted for this by some secularized "Orthodox" laymen, who considered monasticism as a useless and obsolete institution.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 09:24:59 PM by Yiannis »
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2006, 09:25:45 PM »
Just so you know, there are many here in the Boston area who are itching for a monastery to be built; and many others who have heard slanderous rumors and such, who want no part in it.  I love having monasteries close to me, but then again we do have 6 monastic communities in the Pittsburgh Metropolis, 2 founded by Elder Ephraim.  88% of the parishes have a community within a 3 hour drive, so we're lucky.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 09:26:09 PM by cleveland »
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2006, 09:37:17 PM »
If some laymen or clergymen don't like monasteries in Boston, they have the choice not to visit them. However, they don't have the right to prohibit the foundation of a monastery (there is only the schismatic Holy Transfiguration monastery, but I could hardly recommend to anyone to visit it). I insist on calling things by their name: it's Metropolitan Methodios - who boasts in the official website of "his" diocese about his philanthropy   :o- who doesn't want any monastery there. The problem is not monasticism, the problem is the un-Orthodox attitude of a few secularized clergymen towards monasticism...
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2006, 09:47:12 PM »
It's the metropolitan, it's some of the laity, and it's the continued presence of HTM that does it.  HTM isn't too bad, if you're just going to buy icons, but I don't like the fact that they've anathematized us, yet we still go support them in their multiple-schism existence.
As for him being a mini-IAKOVOS, I agree to a point; his temperment is similar and whatnot.  But IAKOVOS only objected to monasteries because of what happened with HTM; he was open to the idea in the beginning.  And while I didn't like how he handled many things, he was ready to push for jurisdictional unity in this country - a dream of many here (and he was the only one influential enough to pull it off... the death of Patriarch DEMETRIOS II killed the chances).
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2006, 10:19:22 PM »
Orthodox unity is necessary in the USA, it is evident and it is a must. It is a question of principle. However, I don't think that Iakovos Koukouzis was the suitable person to realize this. Personally, I'm glad that he didn't became the head of an autocephalous Church or, even worse, a Patriarch and I think that he was being motivated rather by ambition than by love for Orthodoxy. I know clergymen - not related to Fr Ephraim, I have to precise it - who had known Iakovos and told me unequivocally either that he did a harm to Orthodoxy or that he was a kind of an Eastern-Rite protestant. I have heard a very long interview of him in a Greek radio station (Skairadio), published later in a book under the title "Ego o Iakovos, Me, Iakovos" ::). I was impressed by the fact that he talked with much pride (at least this was my feeling), in an extremely secularized manner and that he never mentioned the name of Christ (a friend of mine, a French-Italian, convert to Orthodoxy, says "Christ bothers!" :D). I left with the impression that Iakovos was more a humanist than an Orthodox bishop.
I would like to see one day a unified Orthodox Church in the States with her first hierarch a man loving Christ and the Orthodox tradition and living the Orthodox faith, like f.ex. bishop Basil of Wichita (Antiochian) or Tychon of San Francisco (OCA) or the newly elected Tychon of E. Pennsylvania (again OCA). If you ask me why these men and not one of the actual bishops of the GOA, well.... :-X
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 10:21:50 PM by Yiannis »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2006, 10:25:37 PM »
I think you're a bit misguided to question the suitability of all the bishops of the GOA, but then again, that will be a point where we agree to disagree, because I've discovered that on fora like this one won't be convinced to change their minds about hierarchs...

Whether or not IAKOVOS would have been a suitable starting bishop for a unified Autocephalous church isn't the question - he was the only one who could have done it, and now that the effort was squashed, there has been much splintering done in the aftermath.  Even if you don't think he was "godly" enough to be the 1st, all that would matter at that point was that it happened- the door would be open for a godly man to be elected the next Archbishop of All America after he died/retired.  (And he had 0 chance of becoming a Patriarch: he was publically anti-Turkish Gov't, so they had him blacklisted from being an EP candidate; and if an autocephalous church was started here, he wouldn't have proclaimed himself Patriarch, he would have just kept the title Archbishop).
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2006, 10:37:02 PM »
Perhaps it was providential that Iakovos didn't become the first Archbishop of an autocephalous American Orthodox Church. The unity will come, sooner or later. It is probable that the OCA unites with the Antiochians sooner or later. Then the position of the GOA will be quite difficult. The EP has to understand that the Orthodox in the USA have the right to have their own autocephalous Church, especially now when there are more and more converts (a good number of priests, bishops, monks and nuns among them).
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 11:06:46 PM by Yiannis »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2006, 10:41:23 PM »
Perhaps it was providential that Iakovos didn't become the first Archbishop of an autocephalous American Orthodox Church. The unity will come, soon or later. It is probable that the OCA unites with the Antiochians sooner or later. Then the position of the GOA will be quite difficult. The EP has to understand that the Orthodox in the USA have the right to have their own autocephalous Church, especially now when there are more and more converts (a good number of priests, bishops, monks and nuns among them).

I dont believe his all-holiness would abandon us and subject us to such humiliation. Even if the antiochans and metropolia were to unite (and they wont because the metropolia is too financially unstable), so what? They would still be smaller than the Greeks. There will be no autocephaly in the Americas and I am quite happy for that fact, for I do not know that I would be willing to participate in an autocephalous American church.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2006, 10:47:09 PM »
Well, let's be careful with the language; while I am a big proponent of a unified jurisdiction, no one has the "right" to an autocephalous church.  That's a protestant idea - the "right" to self-govern is really a "priviledge" in Orthodoxy - the autocephaly of any church can be revoked by a Universal Synod.  But this is off-topic.

As far as the OCA and the Antiochians uniting, I don't see it in the near future; the Antiochians are Autonomous, but would need the stamp of Damascus to do such a move, and I don't think Damascus sees either group as being ready for unity.  I think the OCA should change the "ethnic diocese" system that they have first, before anyone tries to unity with them (or vice-versa).  How can we expect to clear a situation full of overlapping diocese if the group that we're looking to (the OCA) has them too!
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2006, 10:51:42 PM »
Well, let's be careful with the language;

Rest assured, I was most careful with the language I used, I actually went back through and changed some of the words and nuances a couple times. ;)

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2006, 10:59:01 PM »
Sorry, Cleveland, you are right, my expression was too much strong. I should have written "The United States could - or should - be given the privilege to have an autocephalous Orthodox Church". However, we have to recognize that the current situation, with a city having more than one bishops, is absolutely against the canons and the spirit of the Orthodox Church. In the Church language this is called "ethnophyletism" and is considered to be a heresy (Great Council of Constantinople, 1870).
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 11:17:10 PM by Yiannis »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2006, 11:37:24 PM »
I dont believe his all-holiness would abandon us and subject us to such humiliation. Even if the antiochans and metropolia were to unite (and they wont because the metropolia is too financially unstable), so what? They would still be smaller than the Greeks. There will be no autocephaly in the Americas and I am quite happy for that fact, for I do not know that I would be willing to participate in an autocephalous American church.

Maybe this "humilation" would be what's best for the GOA (or maybe just you).

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2006, 11:50:25 PM »
Maybe this "humilation" would be what's best for the GOA (or maybe just you).

Unlikely, it would kill the Church in this country; and potentially even allow the radical americans converts sects to gain a foothold. We must maintain our ties to the old world at all costs.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2006, 11:55:15 PM »
Oh, I am well aware of the problem with ethnophyletism; the situation in this country is that way and more; we have overlapping jurisdictions representing different autocephalous churches (OCA, AOA, GOA, et al), we have overlapping jurisdictions within the same autocephalous church (OCA's ethnic diocese), and we have the schismatic churches just like the other orthodox countries.

It will take more than a simple agreement to bring jurisdictional unity to this country; as I have advocated on this site in the past, first the various ministries must be united, then a comprehensive plan for how to re-district diocese and reassign bishops must be made, and then there must be some sort of implementation.
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2006, 11:56:54 PM »
I'm still going to maintain that jurisdictional unity is more important than autocephaly, and that if we don't have the first one firmly cemented for years before the second is implemented, all is doomed to either failure or a long period of upheaval.
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Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #44 on: February 15, 2006, 12:38:02 AM »
Whats really sad is that the 3 nearest Orthodox churches to my house are all considered "schismatic" in some sense. One is a schismatic Greek parish which's priest had an argument  with our archbishop, the enxt closest one by about 100 meters is a Macedonian church, and the next one is a huge coptic church. There are like 20 other Orthodox parishes in my city, but yet they are all not united. Rarely, have I heard or seen of concelebration and when it is done, every parish has to out-do the other parishes, either for the sake of the Theotokos, Prophet, Elias, St. Savvas, St. Andrew, or for the Sake of Greece, Romania, Lebanon, or Serbia.

Concelebration is the most important thing for us if anyone is gonna talk about unity. The last time I saw unity between orthodox was when our dance group went and danced at the Serbian community's pavillion and they came to ours and in both instances, both groups did the "extended 3 fingered sign of the cross" in honour of our Orthodoxy. But no liturgy in sight. Sure, once in a while a serbian or ukrainian priest will come into our altar and chant a litany at which our whole parish is buzzing with fervour..."eww we got a xeno priest today."

What I'd really like is once or twice a year, all the youth of the surrounding orthodox churches of the city get together, and celebrate a liturgy in all languages including english, then have discussion panels and ask father sessions- and THEN we might have a chance of both unity AND ecclesiastically-educated  pan Orthodox youth to bring about the future unity.

Instead of only knowing Dimitrio, Ares, Iorgos, Eleni, and, Stavroula, I'd also know Miroslav, Elena,  Amir, and Maryam who are also Orthodox youth in my area...

Concelebration and celebration.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #45 on: February 15, 2006, 12:55:18 AM »
You definitely hit a big one on the head: we tried to do a single celebration for Orthodoxy Sunday a number of years back in Cleveland; theoretically, we should have had over a thousand people, but we didn't even get the normal combined number for the churches of the area, let alone an especially big crowd (which is what I was hoping for).  The people on the ground need to be used to doing things together; once upon a time there was more sense of this (joint processions for Holy Friday, rotating weekday liturgies, etc.).
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Offline Starlight

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2006, 01:16:35 AM »
Cleveland and Timos,
Thank you for so well-prepared messages. I consider that just a little bit more time needed for people to get more used to concelebration. It becomes less and less unusual.
Cleveland, this is great how you described everything step by step. It should be the only way to go.
In terms of autocephaly, I guess, it would not mean breaking ties with the old world. However, this actions should be done as carefully as possible. If it will mean more time in order to achieve - let it be. In any case, in just cannot be done without the blessing of the EP and other old world Local Churches. This is the most important criterion.

Offline Elisha

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2006, 02:48:36 AM »
Unlikely, it would kill the Church in this country; and potentially even allow the radical americans converts sects to gain a foothold. We must maintain our ties to the old world at all costs.

Spoken truly like someone with blinders on. :( ::)

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #48 on: February 15, 2006, 04:05:29 AM »
I am a "cradle" Orthodox Christian from Greece. However, I think that some Greek Americans should be more polite towards our brothers who discover Orthodoxy and try to live a life in Christ in the Orthodox Church. The "cradle" Orthodox and the converts really need each other. Personally, I have been deeply touched by the personality of the blessed Fr Seraphim Rose or by the work that is done, with the Grace of God, by Fr Stephen Powley (GOA) in a high security prison in Colorado or by the missionary efforts of many other priests who are converts. The parish churches must not be ethnic clubs, even if they have a certain national character reflected in the main language used during worship.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2006, 04:53:24 AM by Yiannis »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #49 on: February 15, 2006, 07:15:55 AM »
An indirect reply to all the rumors spread by some anti-monastic "Orthodox" circles:
how Elder Ephraim decided to go to America. An interview given to the Cyprus TV by Fr Ephraim the younger, Abbot of St Andrew Skete, Mt Athos.
(unfortunately only in Greek, but if someone Greek-speaking is interested in, he can translate the text)

http://clubs.pathfinder.gr/Sei_Rai/361362

Απόσπασμα από την συνέντευξη του Γέροντος Εφραίμ του Δικαίου της Σκήτης Αγίου Ανδρέου, που έδωσε στην εκπομπή:<<Ορθοδοξία και Ορθοπραξία>> της Κυπριακής Τηλεόρασης, όταν ήταν ακόμα Ηγούμενος της Ιεράς Μονής Φιλοθέου Αγίου Όρους.

Νίκος Νικολα'ί'δης:Ως φοιτητής Γέροντα είχα την ευλογία να γνωρίσω τον γέροντα σας το πατέρα Εφραίμ. Αν μπορούσατε λίγα λόγια να μας λέγατε για τον γέροντα Εφραίμ.................του οποίου είστε και διάδοχος...

Γ.Εφραίμ:Ανάξιος!!!!Ανάξιος διάδοχος,μόνο κατ'όνομα μιμητής του. Ο πνευματικός μου πατέρας και γέροντας μου,Φnbsp;ατήρ Εφραίμ ο πρώτος,ο οποίος έκανε το μοναστήρι(του Φιλοθέου)σε κοινόβιο στις 1 Οκτωβρίου συγκεκριμένα του 1973 και ενθρονίστηκε πρώτος ηγούμενος της μονής ταύτης,μετά από πολλούς αιώνες ιδιορρύθμου βίου,έχει ένα ιδιαίτερο χάρισμα από το Άγιο ÃŽ ÃƒÆ’ŽÂ½ÃŽÂµÃÂÃŽÂ¼ÃŽÂ±....να προσελκύει ψυχές,ο θεός οδηγεί τις ψυχές στον Γέροντα,οι οποίες ψυχές επιθυμούν να ζήσουν μονότοπα,δηλαδή μοναχικά......... και αγόρια και κορίτσια,και μικρής ηλικίας και μεγάλης ηλικίας ,να τα διδάξει το Χριστό, να οργώσει στις ψυχές, να τις αναγεννήσει τις ψυχές και αν είναι θέλημα Θεού με κοινή συνεργασία, να οδηγηθούν, να ζήσουν και να βιώσουν τον μοναχισμό. Αλλά και να γίνουν μοναστήρια. Αυτό το ιδιαίτερο χάρισμα είναι ένα από τα σπάνια ,στην εποχή μας, του Αγίου ÃŽ ÃƒÆ’ŽÂ½ÃŽÂµÃÂÃŽÂ¼ÃŽÂ±Ãâ€žÃŽÂ¿Ãâ€š, το οποίο αν ο θεός το ευδοκήσει και τελεσφορήσει μέχρι το τέλος, ανήκει στην κατηγορία των ισαποστόλων. Είναι υψηλός ο λόγος και τολμηρός, αλλά αυτή είναι η αλήθεια.

Νίκος Νικολα'ί'δης:Από ότι λέγαμε προηγουμένως γέροντα τώρα είναι στην Αμερική και έχει ιδρύσει εκεί 10 μοναστήρια.

Γ.Εφραίμ:10 κοινόβια,7 γυναικεία και 3 ανδρικά...

Νίκος Νικολα'ί'δης:Και αποτελούνται γέροντα από μοναχούς...κατ'εξοχήν Έλληνες

Γ.Εφραίμ:Βεβαίως....είναι Έλληνες μοναχοί και μοναχές, αλλά υπάρχουν και ψυχές που γεννήθηκαν εκεί πέρα, πρώτης γενεάς δευτέρας τρίτης γενεάς και παιδιά τα οποία ήταν ετερόδοξα, βαπτίστηκαν στην συνέχεια και μετά εντάχθηκαν στον μοναχισμό.

Νίκος Νικολα'ί'δης:Τώρα η ÃŽÅ“Ã
« Last Edit: February 15, 2006, 07:21:41 AM by Yiannis »
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Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #50 on: February 15, 2006, 12:04:37 PM »
i am not trying to gossip, I just wanna know the truth: I was told that the reason Elder Ephraim does not visit the monasteries under his care in Canada (PatroKosma in Ontario, and another one in Quebec) was because the Archbishop ordered him never to return to Canada. He was up here a few years back and had a male monastery here. Then, for some reason, he took the monastery down to Michigan where it now is (Αγιος Τριαδος-Holy Trinity). Is any of this true?

In Canada, we are "itching" for a Greek male monastery (or even any Orthodox male monastery). I'm sure it would help the guys get more into Orthodoxy and stuff. Plus, its sometimes hard to have a conversation with nuns. I love them but you never know when you can talk to them, if you can talk to them, maybe they don't want you to talk to them...The nearest male monastery is an OCA one about 9 hours away. I'm quite disappointed that this scuffle had to happen, and now we don't this monastery anymore. I believe it used to be called "St. John the Theologian".

Offline jlerms

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #51 on: February 15, 2006, 12:12:23 PM »
Brother Yiannis,  
Just a side note here since you mentioned the missionary work of Father Stephen Powley.  We had a spiritual retreat 2 weeks ago in which he came and talked about his life as a chaplain in the biggest maximum security prison in the United States.  He also gave his "life story" and how he found Orthodoxy. I was very impressed with his genuine humility and love for humanity.  Most amazing was the amount of inmates who found Christ and became Orthodox...even 5 men were tonsured as monks in that prison(and one is on his way).  One of the monk inmates through the years has studied iconography and has written several icons which Fr. Powley made availlable at our church. Another of the monks was given a blessing to learn how to make prayer ropes which were given out at the retreat with the request from Monk David to pray for his soul.  He like most of the others spend the rest of their life and die in that prison.  God bless Father Powley for all his ministry in that prison!
Juliana

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #52 on: February 15, 2006, 04:28:39 PM »
I first visited Panagia Vlahernon (one of Elder Ephraims' monasteries) outside of Ocala, Florida about 4 years ago. It was a life changing experience, and has put me on "the path" ever since. I was so overcome by the love I felt, it is like actual Christainity, not this watered down Protestantized Church/Politics game.

I asked a question about a particular service, which in our regular Parishes has a set price, for members and non-members. When I asked him how much it costed he turned so red in the face and looked so stunned. He almost seemed to be embarssed! He said something to the effect that a price cannot be placed on the services of the Church. That made an impression on me. I costs a $1,000 to be married in my local parish now! All this garbage is determined by the "Church Board". It reminds me of the money changers.

My advice to all is don't read any of the slanderous lies on the net against "the Monasteries". Go visit one for yourself and thank the Lord that some real beacon of Christianity still exists, and even in our own backyard.

Glory to God for all things.

Господи помилуј.

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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #53 on: February 15, 2006, 04:41:36 PM »
SrbMama:
1) be careful of the dreaded "double-post" - I deleted the second one, so don't be alarmed.

2) you - and the monk - were right to be scandalized and angered.  It is against the canons of the Church to charge for a sacrament to be performed.  The church boards, to get around this, normally state that they're charging for other things - candles, the cantor, heat, electricity.  But when it boils down to it, if a priest has no canonical objections or pastoral objections to someone having a sacrament performed, then he must do so free of charge.  Without this the Church would indeed be run by the money-changers.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #54 on: February 15, 2006, 04:47:30 PM »
;)Oops, sorry about the double post...I'm new :-[

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Tessa
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2006, 04:54:12 PM »
;)Oops, sorry about the double post...I'm new :-[

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Tessa

No, it's alright - it happens to everyone at one point or another.  I just left the note so you wouldn't be alarmed by the deletion.
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #56 on: February 16, 2006, 02:51:31 AM »
Why there is no male monastery in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Canada? If you think a bit, you' ll find the reason. It sticks out a mile! The right answer is a word with 8 letters, the first letter is S. ;D
Why there is no monastery in Boston? The right answer is a word with 9 letters, the first letter is M. ;D
The late Fr John Romanides used to call the secularized non-married priests ("archimandrites") "false monks". Some of them become bishops. Most of them have become archmandrites just because they wanted to become bishops. It's a sad truth. It's evident why they don't like monasticism in general.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2006, 03:23:59 AM by Yiannis »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #57 on: February 16, 2006, 03:00:52 AM »
Thanks a lot SrbMama Tessa for your witness. I think it's Metropolitan Amfilochii of Montenegro who had said that the blossom of monasticism reflects the health of a local church. The Serbians don't forget that their first archbishop, St Sava, was an athonite monk. Being a prince, St Sava left secretly his home in order to go to Mt Athos. Later his father, the king Stefan Milutin, abdicated from the throne to become also a monk in Mt Athos. He is St Symeon the Myrobletes.
Metropolitan Amfiochii has visited St Anthony's, AZ. It is evident that he doesn't consider Fr Ephraim to be a "cult leader", as does Methodios of Boston. By the way, Metropolitan Amfilochii is a spiritual son of the blessed Elder and Confessor Justin Popovich, who is going to be canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church. Elder Justin Popovich was a great, deep theologian and a lover of monasticism. I mention this to show that a clergyman or a layman with a true Orthodox mind just cannot be against monasticism (and declare almost directly his opposition to monasticism in the very Sunday of Orthodoxy!!!). In such a case, he places himself above the Orthodox Catholic Church and something is wrong with him, with the faith he professes, not with the Church.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2006, 04:47:13 AM by Yiannis »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #58 on: February 16, 2006, 05:47:51 AM »
The best one can do at this point is pray that the minds of those set against monasticism in toto are changed in order to allow it to flourish.  As I said, I am fortunate to come from a diocese that has 6 monastic communities, and it is a wonderful benefit to the people to have them.  If the thief on the Cross can change his direction, so can anyone else, bishop or lay, monk or not.
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #59 on: February 16, 2006, 04:05:54 PM »
Very well said cleveland. The prayer, the humble prayer, is the greatest power in the world. I'm also glad that many young people in the States support the monasteries, even if they are going to follow a family life, like me.
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #60 on: February 17, 2006, 04:04:54 AM »
By the way, once we talk about monasticism and Elders, there is a wise Elder in Pennsylvania, in the Monastery of Elwood, it's Fr Roman Braga from Romania.
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #61 on: February 17, 2006, 09:26:11 AM »
By the way, once we talk about monasticism and Elders, there is a wise Elder in Pennsylvania, in the Monastery of Elwood, it's Fr Roman Braga from Romania.   

I've heard of Fr. Braga, but have not had the chance yet to meet him.  You say he is in Ellwood City?
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Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #62 on: February 17, 2006, 10:35:39 AM »
Yiannis, I'm reluctant to admit that it is the same person we are taking about "S..." because as much as I like his zeal for the church, too many people I know well, priests, lay people, monastics have said about this person that he is too much of a control-freak and a mini "pope". I definitely agree. Once he tried to force me by any means to come to the seminary for studies. He even announced it in front of the entire parish without my prior knowledge or 'consent'. I doubt that Fr. Ephraim will ever come back here and make us another male monastery like he did before as the metropolitan S. is a lot younger than the Geronta.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #63 on: February 17, 2006, 10:38:59 AM »
Yiannis, I'm reluctant to admit that it is the same person we are taking about "S..." because as much as I like his zeal for the church, too many people I know well, priests, lay people, monastics have said about this person that he is too much of a control-freak and a mini "pope". I definitely agree. Once he tried to force me by any means to come to the seminary for studies. He even announced it in front of the entire parish without my prior knowledge or 'consent'. I doubt that Fr. Ephraim will ever come back here and make us another male monastery like he did before as the metropolitan S. is a lot younger than the Geronta.   

Wow, I can't believe he would do that to you!

It is one of the downsides right now that, because some of the vehement opposition to monasteries are quite young, their opposition will continue strong even after the Fr. Ephraim has passed on from this life....
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Offline Starlight

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #64 on: February 17, 2006, 12:30:36 PM »
Dear Yannis,
I have an honor to know Metropolitan Methodios. His is a great hierarch, an excellent leader, a very nice person and an effective administrator. In fact, all hierarchs of GOA deserved the highest opinion about them. Archbishop Iakovos Koukouzas did not make any harm to Orthodoxy. This is an absurd. He was a real Saint of our days. One day he will be canonized. During his funeral at HCHC, some holy myrrh appeared on the relics of Saints inside the chapel. Yes, Orthodoxy of America saw many Saints and dedicated servants. But with all the admiration of others and their achievements, in my opinion his have done more then others.
In general, focus on monasticism is not the most applicable option for North America. Orthodoxy here developed as more parish-oriented for a couple of centuries now. And developed successfully, let us admit. Why do we need to change? Do you realize how difficult it is to be a real monk? But I would like to emphasize that I know monks and nuns, whom I deeply and sincerely respect. Including, but of course, not limited to hierarchy. Furthermore, I have visited such monasteries as St. Irene Chrysovalantou, St. Tikhon and Holy Trinity. I enjoyed visiting these holy places.
No contradictions could be found in actions of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios in visiting and celebrating at St. Irene Chrysovalantou, because he is opposed to totalitarian interpretation of monasticism.
The truth about “Fr.” Ephraim’s monasteries may be found here:
http://www.concernedpoem.com/
And here:
http://www.pokrov.org/controversial/ephraim.html


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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #65 on: February 17, 2006, 01:25:53 PM »
During his funeral at HCHC, some holy myrrh appeared on the relics of Saints inside the chapel. 

Not exactly true; myhrr was found on the relics (Of Sts. Nicholas, Raphael, and Irene) before the body arrived, while the Church was being cleaned for the internment.  His funeral was in New York City at Holy Trinity Cathedral. But it was amazing that the myhrr appeared while the chapel was being cleaned for his arrival.  It wasn't there the day before.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2006, 01:26:13 PM by cleveland »
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Offline Starlight

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #66 on: February 17, 2006, 01:52:18 PM »
Cleveland, thank you for clarification and details.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #67 on: February 17, 2006, 02:07:24 PM »
In general, focus on monasticism is not the most applicable option for North America. Orthodoxy here developed as more parish-oriented for a couple of centuries now. And developed successfully, let us admit. Why do we need to change? Do you realize how difficult it is to be a real monk?

Maybe I'm missing something, but where are you going to get bishops without monks? And not that you can't have a saint who is neither persecuted nor monastic, but it seems like most of them are at least one or the other. Since there's not much serious persecution in America, where are you going to get saints without monks and nuns? And if America can't produce its own bishops or saints, what chance is there that it will ever become a truly self-sustaining Church?

Trevor
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #68 on: February 17, 2006, 03:25:48 PM »
Quote from: spedrson
Maybe I'm missing something, but where are you going to get bishops without monks? And not that you can't have a saint who is neither persecuted nor monastic, but it seems like most of them are at least one or the other. Since there's not much serious persecution in America, where are you going to get saints without monks and nuns? And if America can't produce its own bishops or saints, what chance is there that it will ever become a truly self-sustaining Church?

Okay, you're hyperbolizing to try and make a point, but try not to stray too far here... 1. You don't have to be either a monk or a martyr to become a saint (lowercase s - citizen of heaven), but many of the Saints (capital S - those who been recognized by the Church) who have been recognized have been.  BUt the Church also points out that we have recognized as Saints only like 1% of those who are in heaven, so don't think that the group of Saints represents 100% of the population of heaven.  2. The Church in America can produce candidates for the episcopacy without monasteries; it is more difficult, and I think more problematic to do so, but if the Church were forced to they would.  But, BTW, it's not like Fr. Ephraim is the only one who can found monasteries; we do have 4 communities in my diocese not founded by him.  His monasteries are great, and the others are also great.
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Offline Fr. David

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #69 on: February 17, 2006, 04:28:59 PM »
In general, focus on monasticism is not the most applicable option for North America. Orthodoxy here developed as more parish-oriented for a couple of centuries now. And developed successfully, let us admit. Why do we need to change?

Because a body can't live without its heart.  Christ is the head; the monastics are the heart.

Quote
The truth about “Fr.” Ephraim’s monasteries may be found here:
http://www.concernedpoem.com/
And here:
http://www.pokrov.org/controversial/ephraim.html

ISTM that the cheif recipient of pokrov's wrath is St. Anthony's in AZ.  I've been to Holy Archangels' in Kendalia TX a couple of times and I have loved it and thank God for it.
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #70 on: February 17, 2006, 04:34:55 PM »
Trevor is absolutely right. I really don't see where there is the problem if, apart from the parishes, exist also a few monasteries, like in Greece, in Romania, in Russia, even in France (yes, there are several Orthodox monasteries in France!). I am really astonished that a person belonging to the Orthodox Church, like Starlight, thinks that monasticism is maybe good for a country but not for another country. Does this un-orthodox attitude represent the American Orthodoxy? Of course not. For exemple, it happens that bishops Tychon of San Francisco and Basil of Wichita hold just the opposite view (not to talk about numerous pro-monastic priests and laymen). What's the problem with the athonite tradition represented by the monasteries of Fr Eprhaim? Is the athonite tradition totalitarian? May I suppose that Metropolitan Methodios knows the monastic life from his own experience, even better than the disciples of athonite Elders, and so he can judge which tradition is "totalitarian" and which is not?
Although the athonite monasticism is something new in the USA, it has already been starting to take roots there (see for exemple the Byzantine music project with English texts, in http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/). I have talked with many laymen, even converts, who have visited St Anthony's or other monasteries and have loved them. I have visited the two women's monasteries in Canada and I saw two very nice, kind, absolutely normal monastic communities. There are quite a few converts among the monks and the nuns. There are many serious accounts of miracles happened in the monasteries of America, just like in Mt Athos. Many American converts visit Orthodox monasteries, either in America or in Mt Athos, or even in Romania and Russia and they are spiritually nourished.
If someone like Starlight doesn't like the monasteries of Fr Ephraim or any other monastery, he is not obliged to visit them. Anyway, it is evident that the argument "yes, we want a monastery, but not a monastery like those of Fr Ephraim" is just a pretext for an anti-monastic attitude. In his sermon, Metropolitan Methodios speaks indirectly against monasticism in general, it's clear (judge by yourselves: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles2/MethodiosOrthodoxy.shtml). It just happens that before the arrival of Fr Ephraim there was almost no monastery in the GOA (apart from the small fraternity of St Gregory Palamas, PA). In fact, the attitude of some people is: "I don't like monasteries, so I would like that the foundation of monasteries in my diocese is forbiden". No free choice, isn't it? I am not a prophet, but I foresee that after a few years or decades, there will be an Orthodox monastery even in Boston.
I'll speak directly: when I saw that Starlight urges us to find out the truth about Fr Ephraim in sites like Pokrov and the "concernedpoem"¦nbsp; :D(which is of a very law level, with a lot of garbage), I understood very well his spirit. Apparently Starlight is for a nominal, secularized "Orthodoxy" or for an Eastern-rite Protestantism. Sorry Starlight, but I would like to propose to you to read carefully St Silouan the Athonite, an excellent book written by the blessed Elder Sophrony.
Just a few words about the person of Fr Ephraim: he doesn't need any support, so even my postings here may be superfluous. Fr Ephraim is being slandered because of righteous's sake, so he doesn't need my human support. All this garbage and all these lies against him, these are his cross and his crown. He is a very humble man, he prays constantly, he celebrates the liturgy every day, he prays even for people who slander him. He represents the fine athonite monastic tradition, the heritage of the great Elder Joseph the Hesychast. The preface of his book "Counsels from Mt Athos" has been written by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Naupaktos, a renowned theologian, who speaks very fervently about the Elder; this shows that the teaching of Fr Ephraim is not something besides or above the teaching of the Church, but it is absolutely in the Orthodox spirit. I don't think that bishops who boast in the web about their good deeds or fill the websites of their dioceses with slideshows with their own pretentious photos (guess which GO diocese, anyway not that of Boston!) may help spiritually the thirsty people of God. I am absolutely convinced that much of the reaction against Fr Ephraim is the result of envy on behalf of a few secularized clergymen (there are many exemples in Church history). May God help them change their mind.
Please, find below a letter written by parents of monastics who are happy with what their children are, just to demonstraste that the parents of the site "concernedpoem" (nice name ::)) don't represent the ensemble(see my next posting).
Two words about the late archbishop Iakovos and my previous criticism. If archbishop Iakovos has been granted repentance and a Christian death is one thing (each of us, first me, is being called by God to repent), his attitude towards Orthodoxy, more humanistic than really patristic, is another thing. I don't have anything personal against him, God forbid! May God repose his soul. He judges, not me. I will be judged for my own sins, not for the sins of this or that bishop. However, permit me to say that I don't think the late archbishop could be considered to be a saint, unless God show some signs, like in the cases of St Nektarios or St John Maximovich. A man whose soul has been saved is not necessarily a saint. The fact that Starlight speaks even about canonization indicates that some Orthodox people have a very secularized idea about what sanctity means. It reminds me of the Roman Catholics who have alredy asked for a canonization of John Paul II, under the influence of the media.
A last word for Starlight: Yes, Orthodoxy exists in America for 2 centuries, true, Who were the first missionaries? Monks from Valaam monastery, in Russia, like St Herman of Alaska.
Pedro, I don't think that Pokrov is specifically against St Anthony's, it's against all the monasteries of Fr Ephraim in general. These people who run the site I think they are too much proud of themselves...
« Last Edit: February 17, 2006, 05:51:08 PM by Yiannis »
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #71 on: February 17, 2006, 04:38:11 PM »
Copied from the forum:
http://www.orthodoxforum.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=220

Madame:

My wife and I can not recall if you are one of the persons we met during our
short visit to your TV station, before the "Monastery Mystery" report aired.
I believe that we had a short meeting with you and Mr. Brad Stone. We
introduced ourselves as the happy parents of a very happy monastic. We
explained to you that we live in Arizona and we were shocked that a story
about or from monastic parents would be aired. Knowing some info about the
interviewees, we volunteered to be interviewed as well. We also informed
you that your story represents only the negative side which also happens to
be the absolute MINORITY! We also informed you that there are many other
parents, just like us, that can be here in a moment's notice, and would
gladly provide you with all kinds of un-prepared, un-practiced feedback.
You, of course, refused our offer and instead urged us to view your
so-called fair and unbiased report.

We did view it, but fair and unbiased it was not. We can emphatically and
categorically state that the story was greatly biased and extremely unfair.
First and foremost, the simple response which you received BEFORE it aired
should have caused you to raise your antennas. You did not stop to think
and then repeated your error on two different nights. I am certain that the
overwhelming response in support of the monasteries must have certainly
caused you some concern; if it did not, then I kindly suggest that you are
foregoing your fiduciary responsibility as journalists and reporters.

We, the happy parents of Greek Orthodox monastics, do not have a coalition
group, yet. However we are parents and we are human, just like you; thus,
when somebody attacks the very institution that our child is part of and
presents misinformation and slander of the type that you anxiously accepted
as de facto from David Smith, it causes great concern to say the least. It
is for this reason that we are writing to you to inform you of your report's
deleterious impact upon us, our children, and our fellow Orthodox
Christians. After all, when you attacked monasticism, you also attacked our
2000-year old religion in a manner that is unacceptable, prejudicial and
highly unethical.

You see, Ms. Choal,, you and your peers have no right to make my wife cry
with lies and innuendos; you have no right to accept the word of a character
like Smith and disregard the truth which the monastics presented to you,
along with Fr. Anthony. You did a masterful job of picking the worst
possible few seconds of Fr. Anthony's 2-1/2 hour interview so that you can
introduce your pre-determined agenda. You thus also condemned a retired
priest who dedicated his entire life to God. But then, you were worried
about ratings. oh those ratings, how quickly they make you all compromise
your integrity!

You also took the word of a troubled woman like Ms. Alec, whose own husband
did not participate in this fiasco report. Additionally, you accepted input
from a peculiar individual like Ashley Nivens who has made himself a prophet
and declares false truths to anybody who will give him a small amount of
time. As far as the Pantanizopoulos family, when you mentioned that their
child was back home, you did it briefly and never questioned how in the
world he "escaped" from this God-awful monastery prison, and why did he
leave with the help of the monastics who supposedly guarded him and
brainwashed for the last 9+ years. You did not even bring up that several
other monks and nuns have left the monasteries upon their expression of such
wish, even though you knew it and you knew it very well.

I can not help but ask: Do you consider yourselves ethical journalists (or
even just journalists) with such type of reports? Do you have any concept
how many parents shed tears because of your story? Do you know how many
Jewish-heritage monks (yes, there are several monastics of Jewish descent)
were not only perplexed but astonished and upset with your anti-Semitism
garbage? Yes, I call it YOUR garbage and not Smith's - anybody spending any
amount of time with him should be able to surmise that this is an extremely
unstable young man - and you knew MUCH more about him, yet you went with
this garbage! Do you also know how many siblings or nephews or other
relatives got confused because the place they go (i.e., St. Anthony's) is
NOT the place you described?

I will try in parent-talk to explain to you a couple of things about this
monastic "call" that you obviously neither understand nor took the time to
understand. I have three sons who, since their early youth, have been going
in and out of this or that monastery, off and on, for several years (and
much longer than Smith). Somehow, though, their brains were not washed away
by the monks and they selected to remain in the world and pursue a family
life. Their sister, on the other hand, who spent much less time than them
talking with or being around the monastics, decided to become a nun. And
even then, she was a novice for over five years! YES! Five years! Think
about that! Why would a brainwashing institution need five years to do
their KVOA-hypothesized brainwashing job? Could it be that KVOA has been
misled by those who are known polemics to the monasteries into a false
story?

You need to think about my words, you need to realize that all these people
that contacted you, they truly love the monastery for what it is, a unique
spiritual oasis that heals the soul and provides comfort and support to all
faithful Orthodox Christians; and I ask that you also take the time to
picture my wife crying, you need to consider that there were many tears shed
by many monastic mothers and many Orthodox faithful over the falsehoods of
your story, and when you get this picture clear in your mind, think for a
second that this could be YOUR mother. or YOUR wife. or YOUR sister.

How does it feel?

GC
Queen Creek, Arizona
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Offline Fr. David

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #72 on: February 17, 2006, 04:47:22 PM »
Nice posts, Yiannis.

Thought I'd mention this...pokrov states as one of its accusations that parents are horrified that "their children--some as young as 18!" (emph. mine) are "seduced" by the monks to get tonsured and do so without the parents' consent.

In the US of A, an 18-year old--not to mention someone older than that--is free to join whatever group he or she darn well pleases, and the wishes of the parents have no bearing (at least legally; there may, of course, be issues within that particular family, but that, I'm guessing, is not the point of the article).

I'd also like to invite all still reading this thread to revisit this post from Silouan/Nektarios, who lives close to and frequently visits St. Anthony's, the monastery specifically in question.  Puts a lot into perspective and, while it doesn't excuse the behavior, shows that it's more the lingering effects of culture rather than deliberate deception...
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #73 on: February 17, 2006, 05:19:50 PM »
I am afraid, Silouan is more or less right. Perhaps his criticism against the Greeks is too much strong (f.ex. I am a Greek too, but I don't have the ideas exposed in his posting), but he is not too much wrong. He is also right about some people presenting themselves as "spritual childs" of the Geronta and spreading false "spiritual counsels" (which were never given by him!!!). The same thing used to happen with the blessed Elders Paissios and Porphyrios in Greece, but nobody labeled them as "cult leaders". For everyone who has the slightest idea about Orthodox monasticism, this is a well-known fact. The monasteries, thanks God, are open to all kind of people, they are not clubs or sects. If someone reads a little the ancient and the byzantine ascetic literature, he will understand. It has been always like that.
About the Holy Transfiguration monastery in Elwood city:
http://www.oca.org/DIRlisting.asp?SID=9&KEY=OCA-RO-ELCHXC
If you have an occasion to visit it and meet Fr Roman Braga, do it! He is one of the last contemporary confessors.
Another great confessor of our days, Elder Ioann Krestiankin, of the Pskov monastery, in Russia, passed away some days ago. He was 95. A holy and clairvoyant Elder, Fr Ioann helped innummerable people and received thousands of letters from all over Russia and abroad. May his memory be eternal and may he prays for us!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2006, 06:15:42 PM by Yiannis »
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Offline Fr. David

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #74 on: February 17, 2006, 06:15:39 PM »
The accusations brought against Fr. Ephrem--specifically, that he's cult-like, that he seduces youngsters into monasticism against parental wishes, and that he "commands" people to do unstable things (when they really just WANTED to do themselves and took his mere lack of a prohibition as sign of a blessing)--remind me of the ones brought against Fr. Maximos in Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality by Kyriacos C. Markides.
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #75 on: February 17, 2006, 06:25:22 PM »
Pedro, as I live in a traditional Orthodox country, I can assure you that most of parents don't like the idea that their sons or daughters become monastics. Some of them react very strongly, it's a common phaenomenon. Greek parents are hyper-protective, sometimes in a stupid manner. I assure you however that most of times, when parents see that their child is happy in the monastery, don't object any more to this idea, they even become good friends with the monastic community (I know several exemples). The parents of Fr Theologos Pantanizopoulos have gone too far, their son must be at least 25 now! I have followed the whole story and their attitude became finally ridiculous. Furthermore, I read in that letter I posted that he is now with his parents (apparently still being a monk). If it is so, why they still keep on slandering the monasteries? Anyway, I wouldn't like at all to have such parents >:( And may God enlighten me not to become such a tyrant for my kids.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2006, 06:26:51 PM by Yiannis »
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Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #76 on: February 18, 2006, 01:41:49 AM »
I absolutely love the monasteries. The only thing I'd rather see is for some english being used in the services. Sure, using ancient greek is keeping the tradition, but at the same time, praying some litanies, the gospel, our father would be helpful, especially to the younger generations who are not necessarily as inclined to the church as the older ones are. For example, when we have an english liturgy, my 10 year old sister is more attentive and I believe benefits than when the service is all in greek. Sometimes, she wants to go to the local Catholic or Coptic parish because they have all english liturgies/masses...

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #77 on: February 18, 2006, 08:59:12 AM »
Thank you, Yiannis, for your thoughtful reply. Sometimes I get frustrated because Greeks down in here in Florida sometimes don't know anything about Serbians and our close ties with you Greeks. I was in the Church Bookstore in Tarpon Springs, ("Epiphany City") and talking to my kids in Serbian. The old Yia-yia working said, "oh what language is that?" I said, "we're Serbian, yes we're Orthodox too, just our Christmas is in January". And she looked all puzzled and goes,"hmmm I wonder if it's the same thing".  I justed crossed myself and hope she got the point. It makes me sad that we were Baptized by the Greek Holy Brothers, SS. Cyril and Methodious, and so many Greeks don't even realize we exsit. From Greek-born Greeks though I never have much of a problem.

Anyway. Your post about Sts. Sava and Simeon was edifying. I viewed the photos from Vladika Amfilohije's trip to St. Anthony's on www.orthodoxinfo.com, under the webmaster's photos from his pilgrimage there. He (Vladika) is truly a great Christian and spiritual son of St. Justin Popovic (a monastic), who was in turn a spiritual son of St. Nikolaj Velimirovic (a monastic), who used to stay at my Granfather's (who was a married priest) house. They were close friends-I feel so blessed.

When Vladika Amfilohije was here last March for the Consecration of a Serbian Church, I was fortunate enough to attend. My kids were there, and my then two and a half year old son asked me, "mama, who is that Saint with the long beard?" I pointed to every icon and he finally pointed to Vladika Amfilohije and said, "no that one." His face truly seemed to be radiant in real life, and I feel blessed we were able to be in his presence.

Just thought I would share my appreciation for your thoughtful post and add these few anecdotes about the people you've mentioned-one of whom is a supporter of Athonite Monastacism in America.

Glory be to god for all things!

In Christ,
Tessa
...for the Venerable Cross and Golden Freedom...

Offline Starlight

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #78 on: February 18, 2006, 12:01:18 PM »
Trevor and Pedro,
I believe that our disagreement caused primarily by misunderstanding. First and foremost, I would like to emphasize as strong as I only can that I am totally opposite of being any kind of a hater of monks. For instance, some of my favorite Saints are monks. As I mentioned in my previous post, I enjoyed visiting a number of monasteries, etc. I am not proposing to close all monasteries, to discriminate monks and nuns, etc. In fact, the idea of my posting was against extreme on both sides. If it was not clear enough from my part, and therefore caused a wrong impression, I sincerely apologize. I strongly believe that a strong Orthodox family as “a small church’ and a strong spiritual parish also should be important goals of Orthodox life.
Cleveland expressed pretty much my position on the issue regarding Trevor’s question. I appreciate this. I just would like to add that that if a bishop comes from a monastery, it would be better to identify suitable candidates already inside a monastery and to provide some sort of training.
My major concerns are:
1.   Decision about monastic tonsuring of those people, who did not realize the complexity of such a decision.
2.   Sufferings of the family, where someone make a decision, described in #1. I have witnessed something. God forbid!
Regarding to this I should say that in Ukraine and especially in Russia there were some cases of tonsuring of teenagers or forced tonsuring. In Romania there were at least a couple of pre-mature decisions. I am against brain-washing of any kind. Jesus gave us a free will. When He was in this world, he was convincing people, not brain-washing.
Let me just illustrate this with a couple of examples. Late Bishop Mitrophan Znosko of blessed memory, who was a widowed priest himself, but a long-time expert on monasticism always was asking the candidate for monasticism about her or his age. He aspired to avoid any pre-mature decisions.

Bishop Job Smakouz, current administrator of MP parishes in Canada. Before he had served as a ruling hierarch of various dioceses in Ukraine. A couple of my friends serve as priests in his former diocese. Formally not being a monk prior to his ordination, he resided in one of the leading monasteries in Kiev (Kiev-Pecherska Lavra) and taught at the seminary. He persuaded several seminarians to become married priests instead of monks after explaining all blessings of the family life.
One more point. The potential of nuns is not fully realized in Orthodox Church. More of them can be promoted to run Archdiocese / Diocese offices, teach at seminaries, etc. This area needs development.
Last, but not least. I hope that I could clarify some points, and therefore, our positions became closer. Very best wishes.


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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #79 on: February 18, 2006, 12:03:10 PM »
Yiannis,
I read your postings. Everyone can have different opinion, but we have to respect each other. You cannot put labels as “nominal Orthodoxy”, etc. Why instead of discussing ideas, you are attacking personalities? I am willing to continue a discussion only in a Christian and professional manner.
Some clarification has been provided (I hope) in my reply to (2) gentlemen, who also commented in the thread. Those concerns apply worldwide, not limiting to USA.
I respect Bishop Tikhon and Bishop Basil. There are both great Hierarchs. But Metropolitan Methodios, as a monk has more own experience then you and I together. Regarding pre-text of general anti-monasticism in my postings, it is absent. You are addressing a wrong guy.
There is nothing wrong in slideshows on the web sites of Dioceses.
Regarding His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. Normally, prior to canonization of any Saint in the Orthodox Church there were some people, who spoke in favor of such a canonization. One of my favorite Saints, Saint Job of Pochaiv (another variant of spelling — Pochaev), yes, a monk, has been canonized (7) years after his death. In terms of the speed of flow of information then in XVI century and now in XXI century, that period of time would be equal to 1-2 years now. You are referring to Fr. Ivan Krestiankin with “may he pray for us”. You contradict yourself, Yiannis. I am not even praying to Archbishop Iakovos Koukouzis. Instead, I am praying for the repose of soul of this Champion of Orthodoxy.
You are not using the terms humanistic correctly. There is no contradictory between patristic and humanistic. Jesus Christ gave His life for us, humans. Many Church writers of the past, obviously including monks, addressed contemporary issues. As Saint Paul said, different people have different talents.
Regarding your last word to me. By now it is obvious that you completely misunderstood me on that particular aspect. As a matter of fact, St. Herman of Alaska is another of my most favorite Saints.

Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #80 on: February 18, 2006, 12:14:28 PM »
Starlight,

Dont hold your breath about Iakovos being canonized. He was essentially removed from his see for conspiring to schism against the Great Church of Christ. By the grace of God this diabolical plan was uncovered before it could be effected. Fortunately, under the Leadership of Archbishop Spyridon a new charter was instituted that has greatly diminished the authority of the Archbishop, essentially restricting his real authority to the Archdiocese of New York, and in doing so protecting us from future personalities that may desire to Schism against the Oecumenical Throne.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #81 on: February 18, 2006, 05:31:36 PM »
Um, "essentially removed?"  He retired out of obedience to the Patriarchate - a move he did not have to do.  No bishop can be forced to retire, and since formal charges of inciting schism were not coming forth, there was not going to be any deposition, either.  So out of obedience to the Patriarch he retired.
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Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #82 on: February 18, 2006, 06:07:02 PM »
Um, "essentially removed?"¦nbsp; He retired out of obedience to the Patriarchate - a move he did not have to do.¦nbsp; No bishop can be forced to retire,

Right...so both Iakovos and Spyridon wanted to leave their Sees? Heck, the former never even made a formal statement of accepting the transfer, His Eminence was simply moved, against his express wishes...from what I can see the same happened with Iakovos' 'retirement' though he was a bit more cooperative.

Quote
and since formal charges of inciting schism were not coming forth, there was not going to be any deposition, either. So out of obedience to the Patriarch he retired.

And had he refused and continued his previous course of actions, what do you think would have happened? Do you really thing that His All-Holiness would allow him to tear the Church apart? Getting the approval of the patriarchal synod would have been a trivial techniality.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2006, 06:08:36 PM by greekischristian »

Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #83 on: February 18, 2006, 06:07:37 PM »
Dont mind this post, it is just a shameless attempt to pad my statistics  ;D  ;D  ;D

Actually it was just a double post that was removed.   :D
« Last Edit: February 18, 2006, 06:09:46 PM by greekischristian »

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #84 on: February 18, 2006, 07:12:06 PM »
Good sir, I belive you meant to say "the latter" instead of "the former."

And as for "tearing the CHurch apart" - whether that was going to happen or not, they needed a formal reason to remove him, and there wasn't one - so there would be no canonical grounds for removal.
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Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #85 on: February 18, 2006, 07:21:14 PM »
Good sir, I belive you meant to say "the latter" instead of "the former."

Yes, I did, thank you.

Quote
And as for "tearing the CHurch apart" - whether that was going to happen or not, they needed a formal reason to remove him, and there wasn't one - so there would be no canonical grounds for removal.

A formal reason to remove someone isn't hard to come up with, the former Patriarch Irenaios of Jerusalem was deposed for 'poor performance,' so that one could be used. Other Ideas are that he was not meeting the pastoral needs of the faithful, or perhaps he was not being obedient to the patriarchal synod, he condoned and engaged in meetings that were deemed subversive by Constantinople, he ordained person X to the priesthood who ended up being a bad priest and hence failed in his episcopal duty. I could come up with a thousand more and I'm sure the patriarchal synod could have come up with 10,000 more if need be, as I said before the support and vote of the synod would have been trivial, something that could be taken care of between lunch and tea.

Also, what was the formal canonical reason for which Archbishop Spyridon was removed? As I said before, there doesn't have to be a real reason, it just has to be in the synod's best interest.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2006, 07:23:44 PM by greekischristian »

Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #86 on: February 18, 2006, 07:22:19 PM »
I thank a lot Tessa for her kind words and her most useful information. Of course, in Greece we do know that the Serbians are Orthodox Christians. I thank also Starlight for his rermarks and I would like to assure him that I respect him. I didn't have the intention to insult anyone and I didn't put labels. I just described what I noticed while I was reading his previous post and his last posts just confirmed my opinion. Consequently, I would like to stress that between me and Starligth there is no problem of misunderstanding: there is just a difference in views. I think we have quite different criteria about what Orthodox Christianity means.
1. Of course there is a clear difference between the humanistic and the patristic attitude towards human person and human life. The great theologian Fr Justin Popovich has developped this difference in an extraordinary way in more than one passage. I think every Orthodox Christian should read his writings about this subject. Just a few poor words on behalf of a non-theologian like me: a humanist is interested in the good of the humanity only in the present life and for the sake of some ideals. He may help the poor and the sick people but not in the name of Christ and not in the perspective of the eternal salvation. That's why he may at the same time feel hatred for another man, without necessarily trying to harm him. The modern European civilization, especially since Renaissance, has been based on humanism. The humanism cannot offer a perspective beyond death. The Orthodox Christian-patristic attitude is completely different: a Christian has to sacrify himself in the name of Christ, he has to sacrify himself for the sake of his brother in the name of Christ, he has to struggle permanently against his passions in the name of Christ, aiming at his similitude with Christ (theosis). Humanism is anthropocentric, the Orthodox patristic theology and the Orthodox life in Christ is theanthropocentric, that means Christocentric. The aim of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit (St Seraphim of Sarov). I wrote in one previous post that during a very long interview of the late archbishop Iakovos few years ago, I remarked that he didn't mention even once the name of Christ. The whole interview was full of "ego" and it finally was published under the title "me, Iakovos". If I am unjust towards the late Archbishop, may God forgive me. I was left with the impression that his thinking was more humanistic than patristic, and I still believe this.
2. As far as canonizations are concerned, when I wrote that we have to wait until God shows some signs, I didn't precise any exact period of time. Many saints were honored just after their death, because there were visible signs of the Grace of God. For exemple, the Life of St Luke of Steirion (7th February) was written just after his death (953): his sister is mentioned in the text as still living. The official canonization, which was established only in the late Byzantine period, normally sanctions the popular veneration of a holy person. St Nektarios and St Savas of Calymnos had been venerated as saints many years before their official canonization. Many Greek holy Elders of the 20th c. like Joseph the Hesychast, Paissios, Porphyrios, Philotheos, Amphilochios, Damaskenos, Timotheos, Eumenios and Iakovos, or holy women like Tarso the fool-in-Christ and Sophia, are being actually venerated in Greece, even in an unofficial manner, because not only they were considered to be holy persons during their earthly life, but also there have been clear manifestations of the Grace of God after their departure. Last year I heard the abbot of the athonite monastery of Vatopedi asserting that Elder Joseph the Hesychast appeared to a protestant worker in the monastery of the Archangels in Kendalia - one of the "totalitarian" monasteries of the "cult leader" Fr Ephraim, according to Starlight - and after this appearence that man became a catechoumen to Orthodoxy. Pedro who lives in Texas could probably verify this. The blessed Elder Ioann Krestiankin was a confessor of the faith, a clairvoyant and wonder-working man. Why shouldn't someone pray to such a holy person, even just a few days after his death? May we compare the case of Fr Ioann Krestiankin or the cases of holy bishops like St Nektarios and St John Maximovich - all of them were being considered to be saints even during their lifetime - with that of the late Archbishop Iakovos? I leave the answer to your discretion.
3. It is evident that Starlight doesn't know the rules of the monasteries of the athonite or of any other tradition. He could at least have read the letter of the parents of a monastic I posted. I will precise however that no monastic in the monasteries of Mt Athos or in those founded by Fr Ephraim is tonsured before at least 3 years after his admission by the monastery as a novice (the parents of that monastic say that she was novice for 5 years). All the persons who enter the monasteries are at least 18 years old. Why shouldn't they have the right to do so? Many parents think about their - adult - kids in a very selfish way. I explained the attitude of a few families in a previous post, I don't want to repeat the same things. It happens to know many cases of people who used to confess to Fr Ephraim or to his spiritual children before their marriage, they got married and contintued to confess to them. Nobody asked them to become monastics. Many married priests confess to monastics (including Fr Ephraim and Fr Paissios of Arizona) and I know cases of women's monasteries having a married priest as a spiritual father. If we don't know the basic rules of the monastic life, why should we insist on diffusing stories about teens becoming monks etc., since it doesn't concern the Orthodox monasticism in America? Are there any such cases in the monasteries of Fr Ephraim? If not, why should Starlight mix up different things and different situations?
4. "Brain-washing" in the monasteries? This is much more difficult for a novice to get brainwashed when he has to struggle every moment with thoughts, passions, temptations, problems with his everyday association with other monastics, than for a young Greek seminarian, who is being persuaded by a bishop or an archimandrite to become an un-married priest in order to become later a bishop! It do happens, we have to be frank. The Greek Orthodox Church is full of archimandrites who were ordained while they were in their early or mid-twenties and they chose the celibacy just because they were lured by the shine of the mitre! Some of them managed to become bishops, many of them discovered that celibacy was too much heavy for them, so they started a double life...
5. Starlight writes that "the potential of nuns is not fully realized in the Orthodox Church". Then he proposes a female monasticism based on the social activism, that means a R/Catholic style monasticism. Will I be wrong if I say that I feel that his creteria are alien to the Orthodox Tradition? Of course, there are some exceptions, like the monastery of Sts Martha and Mary in Moscow founded by St Elisabeth the Great Duchess and Martyr or the monastery of Theometor in Athens which runs a school. Some nuns from Greek monasteries have helped our missionaries in Africa and India. However, these cases are not the rule. The rule is that the Orthodox monasticism is above all hesychastic. The fervent prayer done for the whole world from a suffering heart in a monastic cell doesn't count at all? I would dare to say that the foundation of so many monasteries in America is an act of mission, since so many people have discovered or re-discovered Holy Orthodoxy through them.
6. I really don't know if the term "totalitarian monasticism" belongs to Starlight or to the secularized clergymen that have apparently influenced him. I would be curious to learn what this term exactly means and if Starlight thinks that there is - or there must be - also a "liberal" or "democratic" monasticism, opposed to the "totalitarian" one. I have however to precise that any explanation without reference to the ascetic literature of the early centuries (f.ex. the works of St Dorotheus of Gaza or the ascetic texts of St Basil the Great) or, at least, that of the Byzantine period, cannot be really serious. As far as Metropolitan Methodios is concerned (I promise you not to mention again his name, I don't have anything personal against him), I would like to remark that his above-mentioned sermon (see the link in my previous posting) doesn't indicate that he loves monasticism. Is it my fault if he left me with this impression? The non-married clergymen are not always the best friends of monasticism, it is a well-known fact, at least in the Greek Church. There is nominal Orthodoxy (yes, there is!) and there are also nominal monks...
The secularized clergymen don't like the monasteries, not because they have been founded by Fr Ephraim of by Fr X, they don't like them for what they are: an obstacle to the secularism, even a weak one. For exemple, a few clergymen and laymen in America and Canada think it is normal if Sunday School is being held during the liturgy (so neither the Catechist nor the children can participate to the service, they just go to receive Communion). This bad practice is a rule in quite a few parishes of the GOA, isn'it? (please, correct me if I do a mistake) But it doesn't seem to be much concern about this. On the contrary, there is more much - hypocritical - concern about the "desperate parents" of adult "Ephraim monastics"! Do you truly believe that these anti-monastic people are really so compassionate? I wonder if they are too much selectively "compassionate".
Just a last, bitter remark: I have the impression that some people in the GOA would be extremely happy if they could make the monasteries disappear completely from the face of earth (at least in America). Once they cannot do this, they content themselves with diffusing every kind of garbage against the monastics. The web is a very good mean for such a campaign. Perhaps they feel a false, devilish joy in doing so... I feel sorry about them...
Sorry for my very long post.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2006, 08:08:06 PM by Yiannis »
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Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #87 on: February 18, 2006, 09:28:54 PM »
Yiannis, yes it is true that amt my parish (and many others), the sunday school is held from the time right after the gospel, all the way until communion, so the kids only see the epistle, the gospel being proclaimed, and then come back an hour later for communion time and then go back again to sunday school class. It seems that most priests trained @ Holy Cross (this is just an observance and I mean no disrespect to HC HC) have this as the norm for their parishes. When I asked the priest if we could switch sunday school to right after communion time until the end of liturgy (including the announcements, mnimosino, etc) he looked at me like I was crazy. After all liturgy is only for people 45 and older.

Offline troy

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #88 on: February 18, 2006, 10:34:31 PM »
Our Greek Orthodox parish in NC changed to the latter formula, Sunday school from communion to end of liturgy, this fall.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #89 on: February 18, 2006, 11:09:11 PM »
The three GOA parishes that I'm familar with use the formula of the kids leaving after communion.  But I'm in Phoenix - apparently things are a littler different out west. 

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #90 on: February 19, 2006, 12:18:52 AM »
Quote
Yiannis, yes it is true that amt my parish (and many others), the sunday school is held from the time right after the gospel, all the way until communion, so the kids only see the epistle, the gospel being proclaimed, and then come back an hour later for communion time and then go back again to sunday school class.

There are parishes that do this, but there has been a significant movement in the past 10 years to change this.  This was all influenced by pseudo-protestant models of how to run a parish that the parishes saw and tried to model 30+ years ago.

Quote
  It seems that most priests trained @ Holy Cross (this is just an observance and I mean no disrespect to HC HC) have this as the norm for their parishes. When I asked the priest if we could switch sunday school to right after communion time until the end of liturgy (including the announcements, mnimosino, etc) he looked at me like I was crazy. After all liturgy is only for people 45 and older.

Most priests trained at Holy Cross think this is a terrible parish model; but they also know from experience that if they try to change it overnight, the parishes will kick them out before they have a chance to do any good.  Trust me, most of the guys who come out of here think that it is best for the children to get exposure to the services from a young age, so they learn 1) how to sit still and pay attention during the service, something that is actually hindered by having them in play rooms and sunday school during church; 2) the hymns of the church, since long-term exposure is the easiest way to do that (I am living proof of this); 3) that the service itself - the gathering of people - is important.

Unfortunately, 1) change can happen slowly in some places, as a change in heart is required first; 2) some of the priests are intimidated by their parishes/parish councils, and thus don't act; 3) some priests could care less; 4) Other.
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #91 on: February 19, 2006, 05:43:55 AM »
I would like to precise that in the last paragraph of my previous post I was not alluding to our brother Starlight. I think he has rather been misinformed by some circles inside the GOA who deliberately ignore the Orthodox tradition. The strong expression I used on purpose concerned these very circles.
I am glad that the unorthodox practice of having a Sunday school during the Liturgy is being abandoned, little by little. Unfortunately, with practises like this quite a few parishes of the GOA have become notorious for being a kind of "Eastern Rite Protestants". I have been told even about a religious protestant hymn that a Greek American priest - retired now - had introduced in his parish church during the Communion! There was also the sad case of the pseudo-charismatic Greek Orthodox archimandrite Eusebios Stephanou, who attempted to transplant pentecostalism in the Orthodox Church. I wonder why such a "Champion of Orthodoxy", as Starlight called archbishop Iakovos, tolerated all these unorthodox practises and phaenomena, while he could not tolerate an Orthodox monastery... Perhaps because some secularized Orthodox think that "too much Protestant" is much better than "too much Orthodox". :D
Once Nektarios is from Phoenix, AZ, I would like to ask him if he thinks that St Anthony's monastery has indirectly influenced positively (or negatively) the parish life in his town. I would be glad if he wanted to share his opinion with us.
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #92 on: February 19, 2006, 08:36:57 AM »
secularized Orthodox
Would you please define this term?
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #93 on: February 19, 2006, 01:52:24 PM »
I think that in my posts it becomes clear what I mean by the term "secularized Orthodox". In fact, secularism can have many facets. Secularism in Church means a Church compromised more or less with the spirit with this World, a Church which hesitates to tell the truth, not out of discernement but out of fear of this World, out of fear of the opinion of the majority of the people and of the media. A secularized Church confuses deliberately oeconomia and theological liberalism and relativism, she refuses her theurapeutic role and mission and she is content with her action as a mere philanthropic institution. A secularized Church tends to become a humanistic institution instead of being a theanthropocentric organism. Some strong protestant or even R/Catholic influences which are remarked in the life of some local Churches, especially (though not exclusively) in the West, are indeed a form of secularism. Contempt of the living tradition of the Church - included the monasticism and the liturgical tradition - is very common in circles of secularized clergymen and laymen.
Sorry brothers for my mistakes in English, I am not a native speaker. :-[
« Last Edit: February 19, 2006, 07:57:46 PM by Yiannis »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #94 on: February 19, 2006, 04:32:59 PM »
I think that in my posts it becomes clear what I mean by the term "secularized Orthodox". In fact, secularism can have many facets. Secularism in Church means a Church compromised more or less with the spirit with this World, a Church which hesitates to tell the truth, not out of discernement but out of fear of this World, out of fear of the opinion of the majority of the people and of the media. A secularized Church confuses deliberately oeconomia and theological liberalism and relativism, she refuses her theurapeutic role and mission and she is content with her action as a mere philanthropic institution. A secularized Church tends to become a humanistic institution instead of being a theanthropocentric organism. Some strong protestant or even R/Catholic influences which are remarked in the life of some local Churches, especially (though not exclusively) in the West, are indeed a form of secularism. Contempt of the living tradition of the Church - included monasticism and the liturgical tradition - is very common in circles of cecularized clergymen and laymen.
And do you think any local Orthodox Church in the world today fits this criteria? If so, which ones? Because I can't see any.
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church?? - Secularism and hyper-corectness
« Reply #95 on: February 19, 2006, 07:51:54 PM »
In all the local Orthodox Churches you can find clergymen, monastics and laymen who don't accept secularism and at the same time you can find secularized clergymen and laymen. This is also true for all the Orthodox jurisdictions in the USA (I would like to precise that by the term "Orthodox Churches", I mean the Eastern Orthodox Churches, not the anti-Chalcedonians). The Orhtodox Church is holy, because She is the Body of Christ. As Orthodox Christians, we are sinners but we are called to become saints. Such a spiritual struggle is possible in every local Orthodox Church, in every parish, since the Grace of God in its fullness does exist in every local Orthodox Church. It is true, however, that in some parishes, where a secularized spirit prevails, it becomes difficult or even impossible to live the Orthodox liturgical life in its fullness, that's why the monasteries become more and more popular among the non-monastics. However, sanctity can be achieved even in a secularized parish, with the Grace of God. On the other hand, searching for a "pure" Orthodox church leads to deception. Such is the case of a few zealotic Orthodox Christians belonging to some uncanonical groups (I don't mean the ROCOR, which I respect very much, I mean the numerous branches of the Greek Old Calendarists). The search for hyper-corectness is in fact a sign of pride. There is a very good chapter about this in the biography of blessed Fr Seraphim Rose written by Fr Damascene Christensen (St Herman Press).
I am sure that, as I see in Greece, the monasteries are able to influence positively the parish life, not only as far as the liturgical life is concerned (f.ex. there are now quite a few all-night vigils in parish churches in Greece), but also they can lead the laymen to a more intense spiritual life. Now there are many Orthodox Christians in Greece who practise the Jesus Prayer using a prayer rope. This would be incredible a few decades ago; it became possible mainly thanks to the influence of the athonite monasticism. The athonite tradition has also influenced positively, both liturgically and spiritually, almost all the monastic communities of Greece and even many communities outside my country. The very existence of Mt Athos, with its long spiritual tradition, is a silent protest against secularism and liberalism in Church.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2006, 07:54:29 PM by Yiannis »
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #96 on: February 19, 2006, 11:42:40 PM »
Thank you, all for comments.

Cleveland,
Thank you very much for your help again. Your posts always show what a great person you are.

Greekischristian,
If Archbishop Iakovos were to start a schism, he would have done so, especially after his retirement. Instead, his goal was a canonical autocephaly of the Church in USA. This is totally opposite.

Yiannis,
Thank you for adjusting your tone, showing your respect and calling me a brother. This is really appreciated. Our Christian Orthodox faith, which unites us is much greater then anything which can attempt to divide us. If we are applying different criteria for exploring certain aspects of our faith, it is OK. Saint Paul encourages Christians to have different opinions in his Epistles.
With all the respect, the impression about myself as a general anti-monasticist was just wrong.
Real humanistic attitude does not necessarily against patristic. But when some teachings, whose authors claim them to be “humanistic”, attempt to position people against God, or above God, of course in such cases I agree with you, the contradiction is precisely clear. Well, in actions of those people, I see a parallel how Communists tried to apply physics in 1920’s in order to create impression that God does not exist.
Different examples were used just in order to illustrate that I am not applying different standards to different Orthodox Churches.

Yiannis brought up an aspect regarding Fr. Ivan Krestiankin. Apparently, I am less familiar with him then Yiannis. Nevertheless, I can see his canonization happening as well in the future. Being not an expert on Fr. Archimandrite Ivan, nevertheless I can say that seems as he deserved it. But I consider that until an official canonization we should pray about repose of the soul of this person, even if we have no doubts. That what I had done in cases of St. Xenia, St. Archbishop Luke Voyno-Yasenetsky, St. Metropolitan Petro (Peter) Mohyla and St. Maria Skobtsova. I recall that the service of canonization of St. Archbishop Luke started with the last memorial service for him. In fact, I am praying about several more people, about whom I have such thoughts to different extent.

Regarding nuns. I am sure that Yiannis is aware about Archimandrites and Hieromonks in charge of various offices of the Diocese, etc. Why a nun cannot do so? I don’t see reasons. While hesychastic variant is awesome, the variant of social activism can be applied as well. In fact, they can be applied together. St. Elisabeth Romanov as Yiannis mentioned, as well as St. Maria Skobtsova helped thousands and thousands of people. There is St. Herman of Alaska Monastery (UOC) in Cleveland, which provides an extraordinary help to homeless people.

Regarding the overlapping of a Liturgy and a Sunday school. This problem exists in various jurisdictions. Cleveland is correct. There is some improvement. Another good sign — I heard about cases, when a Sunday school was established or re-established when it did not exist. The reason of the previous situation was primarily (or exclusively) elderly parishioners.

Timos,
Hopefully this tendency of a school time adjustment will come to Canada soon. This is great that you brought it up in your parish. And I am shocked what S. has done to you. I understood who S. is.

Well, sorry for a long post...

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #97 on: February 20, 2006, 01:55:17 AM »
Quote
Once Nektarios is from Phoenix, AZ, I would like to ask him if he thinks that St Anthony's monastery has indirectly influenced positively (or negatively) the parish life in his town. I would be glad if he wanted to share his opinion with us.

It is hard to give a fair response since the monastery has always been here since I became Orthodox (3+ years ago now).  But I would say that there has been some definite positive, if sutble, impacts the monastery has had.  There have also been some very negative issues to come from there as well.  I'll just leave it at that... there have been what I think to be positive changes in Phoenix parishes because of the monastery, but a few negative ones as well. 

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #98 on: February 20, 2006, 05:43:08 AM »
[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=7363.msg108168#msg108168 date=1140414917]
It is hard to give a fair response since the monastery has always been here since I became Orthodox (3+ years ago now).¦nbsp; But I would say that there has been some definite positive, if sutble, impacts the monastery has had.¦nbsp; There have also been some very negative issues to come from there as well.¦nbsp; I'll just leave it at that... there have been what I think to be positive changes in Phoenix parishes because of the monastery, but a few negative ones as well.¦nbsp;
[/quote]
You know, Nektarios, as I wrote in a previous post, the monasteries, thanks God, are open to all kind of peoples and offer hospitality to everyone. This is a basic rule of the Orthodox monasticism. Among them there may be also some people without discernement, even wanting to appear hyper-correct (a sign of pride), although this is not the spirit of the Fathers of St Anthony's. I have been told by very serious people that when Fr Eprhaim was receiving confessions in N America and some people were starting to accuse the bishop during confession, he used to interrupt them quite abruptly, alhtough he is very even-tempered and patient. Fr Ephraim above all teaches humility, I have read several texts of him, I have heard few homilies, I have known serious people who have confessed to him or have talked with him (including my wife). He is a humble man of God who prays constantly and fervently for all people and encourages the others to do so. Of course, we shouldn't expect from him to be able to control some overzealous simple-minded women or men who have the wrong impression that they are his mouthpieces or even God's mouthpieces (the same thing happens with renowned Elders in Greece too). These people harm the monasteries and the monastics by their lack of discernement. There is probably also a particular mentality in the Greek American community and this may play a certain role. Anyway, I suppose it's these persons and not St Anthony's monastery itself that may create some problems to the parish. I suppose however the spiritual benefit for the parish on behalf of the monastery is by far greater than the problems caused by some indiscrete laymen.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 10:25:21 AM by Yiannis »
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #99 on: February 20, 2006, 06:37:55 AM »
Regarding nuns. I am sure that Yiannis is aware about Archimandrites and Hieromonks in charge of various offices of the Diocese, etc. Why a nun cannot do so? I don’t see reasons. While hesychastic variant is awesome, the variant of social activism can be applied as well. In fact, they can be applied together. St. Elisabeth Romanov as Yiannis mentioned, as well as St. Maria Skobtsova helped thousands and thousands of people. There is St. Herman of Alaska Monastery (UOC) in Cleveland, which provides an extraordinary help to homeless people.
Starlight, I assure you that I address you as towards a brother in Christ, you can be sure about this. Nevertheless, permit me to express some remarks or objections concerning your previous post. Well, most of the archimandrites and hieromonks serving in charge of various offices of the Dioceses, either in America or in Greece, have never lived in any monastery under obedience. They were tonsured monks in a parish church (if they were ever tonsured) and next day they were ordained deacons. Sometimes they were even too immature to opt for celibacy, as I explained in a previous post, and this is extremely bad for themselves and for the Church.
The problem is not a monastery which is in charge of an old-people's house or an orphanage or even helps homeless or drug-addicted people; this is very good if it is combined with the hesycastic spiritual life, so that there is a clear difference from the R/Catholic style social activism. There are quite a few monasteries in Greece and in Russia which combine hesychasm and that kind of social work and they are awesome. The problem is when an Orthodox person thinks that all the monasteries should be like that and without such a "social work", the monastery is not really "useful" to the society. Then, we depart from the spirit of the Fathers: St Basil the Great, who was at the same time a hesychast, an excellent theologian and a man of social action (of course, in the name of Christ, not as a humanist), he promoted hesychastic monasticism, focused on prayer. If you want to take an idea, you can read the life of St Macrina, who was his elder sister. The life was written by their younger brother, St Gregory of Nyssa. It is an excellent text: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/macrina.html
However, even a contemplative/hesychastic monastery helps the poor and the distressed people, not only spiritually but also materially. I do know that the monks of St Anthony's, AZ (yes, that stronghold of "totalitarian monasticism" :D) help discretely several people in the region, I mean people who don't have any relation with Orthodoxy.
However, if a bishop wants to oblige nuns or monks from a monastery to serve in various sectors of the diocese, although they haven't chosen such a life, then there is a problem. Unfortunately, there are a few bishops (who are monks only in name) who think like this. Such an attitude shows a contempt for the Orhodox tradition, it is evident.
I would like also to remind that St Maria Skobtsova was canonized for her death as a martyr, nor for her views concerning monasticism, which are quite controversial (but we have to take into account the time she lived, her background and the particular circumstances). The theological system of her spiritual father, Fr Sergej Bulgakov, has been repeatedly condemned by the Moscow Patriarchate and by prominent theologians such as Fr George Florovsky, or holy men, such as St John Maximovich. The case of St Elisabeth, whom I greatly venerate, is completely different: she didn't express herself against the hesychastic tradition, on the contrary, she was even related with great Russian Elders (Starets). St Elisabeth just wanted to combine the cenobitic hesychastic tradition with the social work, and she arrived to do it. It was her vocation, she was really gifted by God. She never told however that her monastery - which has been recently revived, thanks God! - consituted the rule of the Orthodox monasticism or that it intended to replace an "obsolete" model of monasticism.
Dear Starlight, if you want really to see what the spirit of the Orthodox monasticism is, I would propose you again to read "St Silouan" by Elder Sophrony or the Sayings of the Desert Fathers or the Life of St Anthony, written by St Athanasius the Great. All of them are available in online bookstores, even in amazon.com. Without tracing back to the sources, we will never acquire an Orthodox mind.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #100 on: February 20, 2006, 08:09:58 AM »
I've been following this discussion with great interest. Just one point I'd like to raise:

Yiannis, I agree with much of what you say, however, I have to wonder whether the Church in the Western Diaspora is ready for the current Athonite model of monasticism. And let's not forget, that this current Athonite model is quite recent, and a result of the times. All the monasteries of Athos have been idiorythmic at some stage due to different times. During the war of independence, women (yes, women!) and children were given refuge in monasteries of the the Holy Mountain.
I think it is a great mistake to pit monasteries vs. church. Monasteries are not "an alternative" to the Church. Nor are monasteries "refuges" from a  "secularized Church" or from a Church which is "falling away from Tradition". My own experiences of hegumens, Elders and monks in monasteries on the Holy Mountain, Meteora, throughout Greece, and here in Australia has always been that the Monasteries exist because of the Church, not despite the Church. When a monastery starts thinking that it is a bastion against the "corruption" in the Church, we end up with an Esphigmenou- a ridiculous situation which is "monastery vs, Church" in extremis.
A monastery exists because of the Church, a monastery makes no sense without the local Church. No Church, no monastery. A monastery evolves from within the local Church. It is not planted in a particular vinyard from the outside.
I think it's different in the local Church here in Australia. Before we had any monasteries of our own, I believe we have had much more exposure to the Holy Mountain. We had no Spiritual Fathers to hear confession in Australia for over a century, so every year, a group of different Athonite Fathers would come to hear our confessions during Lent. With more exposure to Athonite monasttics over time, the laity of the Church realised that a monastery was needed here in Australia. The laity donated the land and raised the funds to build the first monastery here in Australia- and they actually started building it before there were even any monastics! And now monasteries have sprung up in similar ways throughout the country. But this, I think, is as it should be- the monastery coming from within the local Church. No matter how excellent a monastery is, if the local Church views it as having been brought in from outside itself, it will always be viewed as something "other" than Church, which it is not (or at least shouldn't be).
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #101 on: February 20, 2006, 10:01:34 AM »
Actually Yiannis, you assumed a little too much.  Most of the real whacky people never attend a parish, so their impact is minimal.  More along the lines of what George said - my biggest complaint is that there tends to be a sort of "us vs. them" mentality among philomonastic lay people and other laypeople. 

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Re: Monastery vs. church?? NO: MONASTERY AND CHURCH
« Reply #102 on: February 20, 2006, 10:15:13 AM »
Dear ozgeorge,
I agree completely with your post. The monasteries were established by Fr Ephraim in America not by his own will, in an arbirtrary manner, but after many and constant demands of Orthodox laymen from the USA and Canada. Fr Ephraim was being asked since the late '70's to go to America for confessions but he was waiting because he wasn't sure if it would be according to God's will. He started to visit Canada and the States about 10 years later and even then he went only for confessions. At the same time a growing number of laymen was asking him to establish a monastery. The buildings of the monasteries were financed by people there, members of the GOA (that's why some clergymen of the GOA weren't at all happy). Almost all the monks and the nuns are born in America and they were previously members mainly of Greek Orthodox parishes, but quite a few are converts. The abbots of St Anthony's and of Holy Trinity, IL, are Greek Canadians. The abbots or abbesses of the next generation will be for sure American or Canadian-born. The monks and nuns who are born in Greece are very few in comparison with the total number of monks and nuns: f.ex. in St John the Baptist, Washington, where there are about 16 nuns, there are 2 nuns from Greece and the rest of the members community are born in the States. I am sure that services in English will be introduced sooner or later, it's a necessity. Anyway, it would have been impossible for Fr Ephraim to establish so many monasteries, with growing monastic communities, without the support of the local people. I have followed the story quite well because my wife is Greek Canadian.
The fact that the monasteries of Fr Ephraim follow the athonite typicon in services, cell prayer and common life, is not bad, I think just the contrary. They cultivate especially the Jesus prayer, which is wonderful and absolutely according to the Orthodox christocentric tradition. St John Maximovich' monastery in California (OCA), a very good monastery too, follows more or less the typicon of Valaam monastery, since its abbot has lived there for a few years. In fact, Valaam monastery has been one of the monasteries following the hesychastic tradition, influenced, like Optina, by Mt Athos through the disciples of St Paissius Velitskofsky. So, the typicon of Valaam has many similarities with that of Mt Athos as far as the monastic life is concerned.
It is not true that all athonite monasteries were idiorrythmitic. In fact, Dionysiou, Hagiou Pavlou and Esphigmenou, f.ex., had never been idiorrythmitic. The athonite cenobitic tradition had been also preserved in monasteries in Greece established during the 18th c. by the Fathers "Kollyvades" of Mt Athos, like Nephon, Hierotheos, etc. (Longovarda in Paros, Evangelistria in Skiathos, the monasteries of Hydra, etc.). Several women's monasteries in Greece have been influenced by the athonite tradition.
I do know that there are now some monasteries in Australia (I have close relatives in Sydney and I have visited once your beautiful country, although I haven't gone to any monastery). It is marvellous that a pious Greek hieromonk, Fr Stephanos, greatly respected by the Greek Australians, established 2 monasteries there. Unfortunately, there was no such a case in the GOA, apart from the small monastic community of St Gregory Palamas, PA. I strongly believe that archbishop Stylianos is not at all anti-monastic, while the same cannot be said about the late archbishop Iakovos.
I didn't at all intend to say that a monastery must be a bastion of traditionalism or that that the monastery is above the local church, not at all. No true abbot or monk with discernement is supposed to think in such a way about his monastery: the monastery is a place of repentance (metanoia) and ascetic struggle, not a place from where the monks will be present themselves as the champions of Orthodoxy (the sad case of Esphigmenou you mention is just such a case, a case of spiritual deception in the search for hyper-correctness). It happens however that the monastic services, partially because of the setting and partially because of the fact that they are held in a more traditional way than in most parishes, attract quite a few people. It happens in Greece too, but nobody is being bothered. It is considered to be evident and normal. In such a way, the monastic spirit can influence positively the liturgical and spiritual life in a parish.
It happens also that many people who are not very satisfied with the priest of their parish confess to a monastic priest. Personally, my spiritual father is a married priest, whose spiritual father is a monastic priest. I have also confessed once to a monastic priest, in Mt Athos. It's a matter of free choice. The important for a spiritual father is the discernement.
The title of the topic "Monastery vs Parish" wasn't chosen by me and I disagree completely with such a juxtaposition. As I told in previous posts, it's a false dilemma. Everyone has his own role in Church life but at the same time there are not water-tight compartments.
I am interested in learning more about the monasteries in Australia. In fact, the blessed Fr Paissios of Mt Athos had predicted that there would be monasteries in Australia too. When he visited Australia he told that the people were pious, of good will, but there was something missing, a monastery.
I must have been boring with my long posts. Well, I don't think I have something more to say, I think even that I have talked too much. :-[
In Christ,
Yiannis
« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 10:16:30 AM by Yiannis »
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Offline Yiannis

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Re: Monastery vs. church?? NO: MONASTERY AND CHURCH
« Reply #103 on: February 20, 2006, 10:23:48 AM »
Nektarios, I agree with you. Thinking that "we" are better and more pious than "them", is a sin. But this attitude must be proper to a Greek American parish, probably because monasticism is still something new there. Such an attitude is rare in Greece, if it ever exists.
I didn't referred only to wacky people, I referred to some simple-minded women you can find in every parish.
The pride is a very treacherous temptation...
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #104 on: February 20, 2006, 03:32:08 PM »
Quote
Permit me to say, it's just ridiculous that Metropilitan Methodios, who is making very anti-monastic statements, officiated last year in St Irene Chrysovalantou church in Astoria, during its feasday: St Irene was an abbess in a monastery in Constantinople and, as it is said in her Live, numerous people used to visit her for spiritual counsel!

Of course, that place is a monastery in name only, which may have been the appeal of the Metropolitan going there.  Each year, Metropolitan Paisios (or from the GOC perspective, ex-Metropolitan Pasios, having been deposed by the GOC Synod in 1995 for misconduct and then being "reordained" by the EP in 1998) invites various GOA hierarchs to serve his monastery's feast day. Then follow the absurd speeches (see their periodical The Voice of Orthodoxy which is full of sycophantic and sugar-coated niceities) and ostentatious displays.  But there are two nuns there and two monks, the monks being the two bishops! That is the extent of their enterprise, which seems to me to be more of a corporation than a Church.  I wonder if he doesn't just pay the various Metropolitans to come to his Church for these celebrations.

I will admit that when I first visited there I was impressed at the feast day celebrations, but further retrospection has changed my view considerably.

Anastasios
« Last Edit: February 20, 2006, 03:32:53 PM by Anastasios »
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Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #105 on: February 20, 2006, 03:36:17 PM »
I understand that His Excellency Metropolitan Paisios currently is quite close with His All-Holiness, perhaps visiting the monastery is simply something that it is prudent for ambitious hierarchs.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #106 on: February 20, 2006, 03:44:11 PM »
I understand that His Excellency Metropolitan Paisios currently is quite close with His All-Holiness, perhaps visiting the monastery is simply something that it is prudent for ambitious hierarchs.

That could certainly be true.  I probably should have toned down what I wrote above, but I feel that that institution brings down the character of Orthodoxy by virtue of some of the things I wrote about and more, and I actually feel bad that your church ended up with him.  When he was with us, he had limited impact. Now that he's "official", he has a much wider audience.  Of course, you might think that what he does is good and that since he's friends with the EP he's as good as gold ;)  But the vagaries transpiring at that place just make me so sad (and I am referring solely to those incidents which are fully documented and public knowledge).

A.
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Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #107 on: February 20, 2006, 04:32:12 PM »
Now that he's "official", he has a much wider audience.  Of course, you might think that what he does is good

Well, the fact that I support the posistions he takes on Hellenism, the Greek Language, and in response to the old-calendarist movement shouldn't come as too big of a surprise to you...I do believe we might have had one or two small disagreements in the past on these subjects ;)

Quote
and that since he's friends with the EP he's as good as gold ;)

That's all I need to know to be certain he's a good man  ;D

Quote
But the vagaries transpiring at that place just make me so sad (and I am referring solely to those incidents which are fully documented and public knowledge).

I fear I am not fully aware of all the controversy and scandals surrounding him...I believe there was a financial scandal I heard about in a parish in Chicago that was attached to his monastery, and have heard a few other rumors, but nothing too bad.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #108 on: February 20, 2006, 05:09:16 PM »
GisC,

I don't want to be guilty of scandal mongering, so I will leave it at that.  I certainly think the financial scandal was indeed bad, but if you don't think it's not "too bad" I can't say much more :)  Suffice it to say, there are other things but I probably have already said too much about scandals.

As far as his theology, ecclesiology, and opinions on us, I think they are quite funny actually for the following reason: he talks about how the Old Calendarists have pious origins but are mired in division and contentiousness.  Well, excuse me, but he was quite possibly the #1 reason we had scandal and contention from 1979-1995, and after he left us, we entered an unprecedented era of peace! So I take his comments with a grain of salt ;)

He may be content to say now that he was a rassophoremenos laikos, but apparently he was quite shocked the night before his reception when he was informed he would be chrismated and reordained. I find it amazing that up until the weekend before he was chrismated and reordained, he was serving at St Irene's as a bishop.  They were accepted in Nov 1997 and received in May 1998. So for several months, a "rassaphoremenos laikos" was serving hierarchicals...very strange indeed; unless, of course, he was told by the Patriarch that he was accepted in his orders and then later, after it was too late to go back, told he was going to be reordained.

Anastasios
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Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #109 on: February 20, 2006, 05:12:20 PM »
He may be content to say now that he was a rassophoremenos laikos, but apparently he was quite shocked the night before his reception when he was informed he would be chrismated and reordained. I find it amazing that up until the weekend before he was chrismated and reordained, he was serving at St Irene's as a bishop.  They were accepted in Nov 1997 and received in May 1998. So for several months, a "rassaphoremenos laikos" was serving hierarchicals...very strange indeed; unless, of course, he was told by the Patriarch that he was accepted in his orders and then later, after it was too late to go back, told he was going to be reordained.

Hmmm, possibly...that would be a move so steeped in Byzantine intrigue and politics as to be truly worthy of the Patriarch of the City of Constantinople. ;)

Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #110 on: February 20, 2006, 05:16:35 PM »
I don't want to be guilty of scandal mongering, so I will leave it at that.  I certainly think the financial scandal was indeed bad, but if you don't think it's not "too bad" I can't say much more :)  Suffice it to say, there are other things but I probably have already said too much about scandals.

I'm not saying that the financial scandal was not bad, from what I understand it was quite difficult on the parish, rather that, from what I heard and understood, that the Metropolitan's involvement in it wasn't that bad.

Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #111 on: February 20, 2006, 09:54:48 PM »
I don't understand something. Why do GOA parishes during the liturgy pray for "archbishop Maximos" or whatever other archbishop. Why don't they all pray for Archbishop Dimitrios?? I thought he was the archbishop unless there are more than one archbishop...

Offline Thomas

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #112 on: February 20, 2006, 11:17:43 PM »
IN prayers,the parish prays for their archbishop  or bishop not the president of the synod---the president of the synod is prayed for by the bishops of the synod and the president of the synod and bishops pray for the patriarch.

Thomas
« Last Edit: June 10, 2008, 04:01:05 PM by Thomas »
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #113 on: February 20, 2006, 11:32:24 PM »
I don't understand something. Why do GOA parishes during the liturgy pray for "archbishop Maximos" or whatever other archbishop. Why don't they all pray for Archbishop Dimitrios?? I thought he was the archbishop unless there are more than one archbishop...

Archbishop Demetrios' diocese is New York, so properly speaking he is the Archbishop of New York.  Metropolitan Maximos is the bishop of the Pittsburgh Metropolis, and since a Metropolitan is an arch-Bishop, he is commemorated as such within his diocese.  The rest of my answer is a big ditto to what Thomas wrote in the last post...
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Offline Timos

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #114 on: February 20, 2006, 11:45:09 PM »
O ok thnx because once I heard Fr. Chris Metropoulos (awesome priest) praying for a different bishop than A. Dimitrios and last time I checked, Fr. Chris was canonical GOA priest lol but now I get it.

Offline GiC

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #115 on: February 20, 2006, 11:46:58 PM »
IN prayers,the parish prays for their archbishop  or bishop not the president of the synod---the president of the synod is prayed for by the bishops of the synod and the president of the sysnod and bishops pray for the patriarch.

Which is why the Metropolitans commemorate the Oecumenical Patriarch, because the Synod of Constantinople is their actual synod, not the one that is in America.

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #116 on: February 20, 2006, 11:47:47 PM »
Don't worry about it... the strange titles and the way that the reorganization of the GOA happened has confused many, so it seems like a strange situation to observers.
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Offline antiderivative

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #117 on: June 10, 2008, 01:32:27 AM »
Fr. Ephraim has been accused of being a cult leader mainly because of some monk's angry parents, and much of the story was invented by the monk's parents. Here's an interview with the actual monk:
http://www.athosinamerica.org/
« Last Edit: June 10, 2008, 11:18:21 AM by antiderivative »
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #118 on: June 10, 2008, 01:49:35 AM »
^^In addition, Kyriacos Markides' latest book, Gifts of the Desert, talks extensively about Fr. Ephraim and St. Anthony's monastery.  Interestingly enough, Dr. Markides previous book, Mountain of Silence has a chapter that has a dialogue with an Athonite monk and a father of friend who's daughter decides to join a monastery.  It's quite enlightening on several levels.  First, it deals with monastism in general then goes on to explain what it is and isn't.  Really interesting is the the conversation that takes place between the monk (Fr. Maximos) and the family friend (Thomas) about the importance of monastism.  Thomas is, at first, very much against monastism.  But with gentle explanations from Fr. Maximos (a friend of St. Anthony's Fr. Ephraim), Thomas begins to see that guru-ism has nothing to do with real monastism. 
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Re: Monastery vs. church??
« Reply #119 on: June 10, 2008, 03:21:04 PM »
Thomas is, at first, very much against monastism.  But with gentle explanations from Fr. Maximos (a friend of St. Anthony's Fr. Ephraim), Thomas begins to see that guru-ism has nothing to do with real monastism. 

Definition of guru as one who dispels darkness.  Wikipedia Source


The syllable gu means shadows
The syllable ru, he who disperses them,
Because of the power to disperse darkness
the guru is thus named.

– Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5


Based on the above definition, Christ would be considered a guru and all of Christian mankind has been duped into being Hindu for all these years; Hence, there's no such thing as any Orthodox Church (or Catholicism, Protestantism, etc.) because we are all Hindus underneath the appearance of Orthodox Christianity.   :D  Lisa Simpson would be so proud of us.   ;)