The above warning was given to me when I first met Orthodoxy in 1986. Today [2009] it is even more perilous, even more difficult to find the Royal Path. For one thing there is a far greater abundance of misinformation. And many materials are missing, and other materials are being rapidly rewritten. For another thing there are fewer than ever guides remaining on the Royal Path, especially who speak English. Hopefully this website will be a place where Newcomers to the Faith can keep at least one foot on solid ground, while they are "exploring."

blog owner: Joanna Higginbotham


jurisdiction: ROCA under Vladyka Agafangel

who did not submit to the RocorMP union in 2007


16 March 2013

Considering the "Elder" Ephraim

from Joanna's notepad
March 16, 2013
This is an excerpt from my letter to a friend who is planning again to go to the Ephraimite monastery of St. Anthony's in Arizona for Lent:

... Consider this:  It might have been St. John who suggested that maybe ["suggested", because we don't know, it has not been revealed to us] that taking the mark of the beast on the hand or on the forehead MIGHT represent this:

– taking the mark on the forehead means you believe Antichrist is God and worship him.
– taking the mark on the hand means you do not believe Antichrist is God, but you admit his power – that he has rule over your earthly life.  

  The mark on the forehead is a willing submission to Antichrist, and the mark on the hand is an unwilling submission to Antichrist.  Both are submissions to Antichrist.  St. Anthony's is an example of taking the mark on the hand.  First, they submit to commemorating the EP, and, second, they accept the use of the new calendar [whether they actually use it themselves or not].

  The EP is a mason and an ecumenist – not a true Christian, but a puppet of Antichrist.  The holy canons provide for Churches that refuse to take the mark of the beast on their hand.  World orthodoxy has then, partly to justify themselves, said of those Churches that they are "unofficial" and "outside the Church" – that even if the EP is corrupt, his office must be honored.  Or they hide behind the old "We are working from within" which is against the Saint's teaching:  "Don't give a drowning man your hand, instead hand him a stick."

And I repeat that the fact that the American Greeks don't understand monasticism and so unfairly criticize St. Anthony's for valid monastic practices, is not cause to "side" with the monastery.  We are not choosing the side of American Greeks or the side of the Monastery.  We are on the side of truth.  The American Greeks are wrong about the toll houses, monastic obedience, etc. but the monastery is wrong in their unorthodox teachings, and wrong in abusing obedience with their monks and by extending "obedience" to laity.  "Two wrongs don't make a right."  [That's not a quote from a saint, it is a proverb my father repeated.]  And while the ancient monastic practices are the ideal, in today's evil climate they are not to be applied with any vigor or surely they will be abused.  
And consider this:

   1. It's likely that the American Greek critics, by virtue of being of the world and worldly in their perceptions, are more able to recognize a cult than is somebody who is ensnared in one.  

   2. It's probable that the critics SENSE something is wrong, but can't put their finger on it, so they lash out at anything that, out of context, is shocking.  If they were comfortable with the monastery in general, they would come to accept and maybe even understand these things, in time, as they grow to trust the monastery.  But instead of growing in trust, they grow in distrust. 

   3.  Monasteries are supposed serve the world.  First with prayers, and, maybe, for those that receive pilgrims, secondly by offering spiritual nourishment.   The nourishment should be directly from the holy fathers, or at least consistent with the holy fathers, and should always help strengthen the pilgrim to function in the world to which he must return after his pilgrimage – not to put further burdens on him.  Celibacy and marriage mixed together is a nightmare and totally unorthodox.  The whole reason monks live in monasteries is to avoid temptation.  That is why Mt. Athos does not even permit women to visit.  If a husband and wife both desire celibate lives, then, traditionally they each go to a separate monastery and convent.  

  Married people have different obligations.  They abstain during fasts and one day before receiving communion.  That's enough, what the Church prescribes.  That's a chaste marriage.  Who is this elder Ephraim who dares to know better than the Church?  St. Paul says the marriage bed is honorable, and that married persons abstain "for a time" [during fasts] by mutual consent.  There have been very few genuine God-pleasing God-approved celibate marriages.  St. John Kronstadt was one, both he and his wife were virgins – and we all know that it is far easier to maintain virginity than to try to be celibate AFTER losing virginity.  Note first that this was THEIR idea and just between them and God [no "spiritual father" involved in the decision].  Plus, they did not live in that tempting situation for long.

Something else is on my mind.  I don't like the way the monastery seems to create a "dependency" in the laity on the monastery.  [I've observed this not just in you, but in another friend, too, who no longer lives in Oregon who used to make frequent pilgrimages to Goldendale – trips she could not afford.]  It is as if the monastery has become the only place where you can keep up with Antichrist's progress toward the NWO and world orthodox apostasy, and somehow this information is necessary for salvation?  No, instead it creates fear.  Knowing that the Sandy Hook incident was staged has no bearing on salvation, in fact such knowledge is probably more distracting than anything beneficial.  What is the shock?  We already know from our Church prophets that all the world governments must be corrupt before Antichrist can appear on the world stage.  Where is the monastery getting it's information anyway:  Alex Jones?  Infowars?  Wherever, it is not accurate, anyway.  For example, with the Sandy Hook hoax there is as yet zero evidence to support the claim that either father of Lanza or Holmes were going to testify to anyone about anything.  So from where is St. Anthony's getting their information?  From the "clairvoyant elder"?  I don't think so.  Instead of instilling fear and dependency, the monastery should be strengthening visitors to go back to the world in peace, with greater love for God, deeper trust in Him, increased boldness in prayer, deeper awareness of God's presence.

Something else I want you to see.  A video of "elder" Ephraim:
  What is all the fidgeting about?

The video is 1½ hours, but just watch the first 4 minutes.
  Notice minute 3:37.  Even after taking the microphone in his left hand, the pseudo-elder fidgets with a speck of dust with his right hand before he begins to speak.
  What does this mean?  Is this the demeanor of a hesychast?  Is this fidgeting, maybe,  because, "ye must become as little children" so he is acting like a fidgety child?  Maybe, we're supposed to think he is a "holy fool"? ...

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