Archive for the ‘Contemporary Monasteries’ Category

(Source) A saint has reposed! Elder Ephraim, the former Abbott of Philotheou Monastery and founder of St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona (as well as numerous other monasteries), fell asleep in the Lord. The Greek news site linked above states he fell asleep last night, December 7, 2019, at 10pm (the feast of St. Ambrose of Milan).

Εκοιμήθη ο Γέροντας Εφραίμ στην Αριζόνα – Τετάρτη 11 Δεκεμβρίου η Εξόδιος Ακολουθία με πλήθος κόσμου από Ελλάδα και Η.Π.Α.

From the photos it appears he is currently resting in the chapel of St. Panteleimon which is located in the house where he lived at the monastery. His funeral, it states, is set to take place Wednesday, December 11.

If you click here, at the bottom of the article there is a short video of what appears to be one of the fathers reading the Psalter over Elder Ephraim.

To think how many members of his spiritual family in Christ are waiting for him: his spiritual father St. Joseph, his “big brother” St. Ephraim of Katounakia, Elder Arsenios, Gerontissa Makrina, his mother Gerontissa Theophano, his spiritual son Fr. Ephraim from Xerapotamou (who was killed in a car accident)… the list goes on. What a spiritual banquet they will have together!

Pray for him, brothers and sisters, until the Church begins to publicly pray to him. He was a pillar of Orthodoxy, a Shepherd of the last times, an Apostle to an age of apostasy!

May we have his blessing!

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From the geographic desert to the spiritual desert, from a land springing forth spiritual water to a land surrounded by physical water, from a foretaste of Paradise to the Town of Paradise… We have returned to the island of Newfoundland from our pilgrimage to the St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona.

The loving hospitality of the fathers, the peaceful services and the warm sun all helped Fr. John and me recharge our batteries. Walking the grounds, praying in the various chapels and overhearing the whispered words of the Jesus Prayer were welcomed comforts. After so many years in Newfoundland the feeling of being immersed in Orthodoxy has started to wane. It’s not easy to keep one’s whole focus on Christ and it’s made less easy when there are few Orthodox Christians to encourage one another.

20191113_093452We thank God for our little chapel here in a townhouse, for the beautiful Newfoundland scenery, and most especially for the serious Orthodox Christians who make up our small but faithful congregation. However, it’s so important for us to take the time and make the effort to visit monasteries and remember what it is like to be a part of something bigger: bigger than a small flock, bigger than a make-shift chapel, bigger than just you in your own isolated icon corner. Visiting monasteries, seeing the dedicated monastics, meeting new and old friends who live the faith is so necessary to our spiritual well-being, especially when we are otherwise so secluded.

20191114_093202It helps me put things into proper perspective, to realign my priorities, and recall what it was like to live in Greece, in a holy land. Pilgrimages to monasteries helps me to remember that “it’s not the place that sanctifies the person but the person who sanctifies the place”. Which means, it’s my responsibility to live a Christ-centered life whether in the Byzantine city of Thessaloniki or in the rather austere setting of non-Orthodox Newfoundland. Christ is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8); I have access to Him regardless of where I live so long as I don’t make excuses for myself, I don’t allow myself to be swept away by worldly cares. Visiting St. Anthony’s gives me the courage to pick myself back up and start again, to “seek first the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33) – a goal I too easily lose sight of.

Through the prayers of the holy fathers may we be made worthy to struggle for Christ no matter where we live, who our neighbours are or how isolated we may feel!


May our Christ, Who is the true Light, enlighten and guide the steps of each person who wants to approach Him

–St. Joseph the Hesychast  

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