Our church is dying, our leaders are silent or being silenced

By dogcatcher on March 28th, 2016

There’s an elephant in the room, and as is often the case, no one is talking about it. Well, actually, it isn’t an elephant. It is more of a monster that lurks in the shadows preying (and, in this case, praying) on those who are unsuspecting, not educated in their faith, weak, compromised or vulnerable in one way or another. Those who see the monster for what it is have called it a cult, a cancer and a distortion of Orthodox beliefs. Those who have succumbed to it perceive themselves as guardians of the true faith and better Orthodox Christians than anyone not loyal to it. Often it is dismissed as a group of followers in the desert called “Ephraimites”. A more accurate name might be Ephraim worshipers. It is most definitely not something happening only in the desert. It can be found in any part of the world where there are Orthodox Christians and certainly not limited to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) where it has had explosive growth. This has been perpetrated primarily under the nose of the hierarchs in the GOA and other jurisdictions, our so-called leaders, whose unwillingness to address this cancer that is eviscerating our parishes and the GOA and elsewhere is only feeding the monster.

The perpetrators of these heresies claim that they are protecting the Faith because the Greek Orthodox Church of America has lost its way. Their aim is to take the Church back centuries to a time when there were none of the realities of the world today. Days when:

1. Husbands had complete control and dominion over their wives;
2. Females were subservient and could only find happiness in service to their spouse;
3. Church services lasted for 4-5 hours;
4. Women covered their head and covered from wrist to ankles and men sat on separate sides of the aisle;
5. People thought the earth was flat and that the sun orbited the earth;
6. Science and medicine as we know it today did not exist;
7. Suicide victims were buried with a stake through the heart so they would not become vampires; and
8. A woman could not write to other lay Christians without her husband’s consent. A woman could not receive letters of friendship addressed to her only and not to her husband as well. (Canon 81, Council of Elvira, ca. 306 A.D.

Today’s version of this “pure faith” aims for many of the old realities as well as some new ones:

1. The priest or elder (“Spiritual Father”) requires you to give them the power over all of your discretionary decisions, such as who to marry, who should baptize your children, or even with whom to associate so that they can protect you through their own God-given powers and guide you through their mythical aerial tollhouses;

2. The expectation that you will spend your life in a childlike state, always seeking the approval and adoration of your “Spiritual Father”.

3. Married couples should live as brother and sister unless their aim is to procreate.

4. The Orthodox Church in America has lost its way. Holiness can only be found in the Monasteries because the monastics are now the protectors of the faith.

In the year 2016, this ‘elephant’ in the room is seeking to not only reestablish century old rules and beliefs. It has become clear that their central aim is to have complete control over every single aspect of their follower’s lives.

Who are these people? To the best of our knowledge, it all stems from the 12 spiritual children of Joseph the Hesychast. [for an interesting assessment of Elder Joseph we suggest you link to the following article:
https://scottnevinssuicide.wordpress.com/category/st-joseph-the-hesychast/].
Elder Joseph is so crucial to the Ephraimite movement that it is alleged that the relic of the Elder’s head is kept in St. Anthony’s monastery, in Arizona (USA), while the rest or his relics are kept in the Vatopedi monastery. [see: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Joseph_the_Hesychast] Amongst the spiritual children and grandchildren of Joseph include Ephraim of Vatopedi, Ephraim of St. Anthony’s in AZ, and some of the gerondes and gerontisses of the monasteries (regardless of their personal sketchy backgrounds). There are their lieutenants – seconds in command at some of the monasteries – Elder Paisios in St. Anthony’s, Vrioni in WI, et al. Then there are the loyal clergy members of local parishes who recruit for the monasteries – both in taking children from their families and homes to serve the monasteries (especially those with skills that can make icons, robes for clergy, are good bakers and anything that can be sold under the table, tax-free), in fund raising, in creating programs to make the monastery function as a parish for the “true Orthodox” faithful – the now de-frocked George Passias, Fr. John Rallis, and many others to lesser degrees throughout the country and undoubtedly overseas.

Why is there no discussion of this in every parish that hasn’t fallen victim to the cult? It is known that the Ephraimites conduct exhaustive research and keep meticulous files on priest’s human failings (material for blackmail perhaps?). Why aren’t the hierarchs confronting and addressing these matters? Why is there no column in The Orthodox Observer monthly that addresses:

– whether or not Aerial tollhouses exist (where Satan gets first pick over the souls of the departed)
– whether the faithful who have not been fully submerged at baptism are blind in heaven and –
– whether a second baptism is correct (to reverse the possible curse of blindness) – specifically whether one baptism for the remission of sins is merely a suggestion) despite the Nicene Creed (I believe in one baptism for the remission of sins) and the canons of the various ecumenical councils-
– the list of these heresies goes on and on.

Our Laity deserves better than this. Generations came to a new land with very little money, education and language skills. They sacrificed to help build churches that eventually formed an Archdiocese with over 500 Parishes, a seminary and an entire infrastructure. Now we see a weak and disinterested Hierarchy lose control over what was built by poor immigrants to religious fanatics practicing their own Ephraim-centered faith (not our Christ-centered faith). The Laity is no longer inspired by their religious leaders. The weak and emotionally vulnerable seek solace in the arms of Ephraimites who have honed their cult-like recruiting skills to a previously unthinkable level of success. Ephraimites refer to non-Ephraimite faithful as “Nominal Christians”. We watch the dismantling of all that we know to be good in favor of this Orthodox cult. Where are our leaders, all the way up through the Patriarch, while our parishes are emptying? Will someone finally speak up?

EDITOR’S NOTES:

Also a key advocate, and one who helped lay the foundation of the North American Ephraimite movement is Elder Joseph the Vatopedian. One of Elder Joseph the Hesychast’s disciples. It is Joseph the Hesychast who is perceived by historians as the “Architect of the Ephraimite Movement” please examine our Article: “PANDORA’S BOX VATOPEDI IN NUMBERS PART ONE” here is the link: http://gotruthreform.org/pandoras-box-vatopedi-in-numbers-part-one

Why is it important to examine the “Spiritual Children and Grandchildren” of Elder Joseph the Hesychast? On the issue of True and False Prophets one should follow Matthew 7:15-20 for guidance: “15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Here is a sample of what you will find about Elder Joseph the Vatopedian:

“WHO IS EPHRAIM”?

Ephraim, one of the Monks involved in the Vatopedi scandal, was born in Cyprus and his secular name was Vasilios Koutsou. There he worked as a theologian during the 1970’s. In 1979, he met the Monk Joseph (Joseph the Vatopedian) who went to Cyprus from Mount Athos. He became Ephraim’s spiritual father and the two of them together with the then Monk and presently Metropolitan of Lemesos Athanassios lived in the Mithis Monastery in Cyprus.

At some point Joseph had to leave Cyprus secretly after his name was involved in rumors of sexual misconduct. Ephraim and Athanassios followed him. Metropolitan Chrysostomos (now Archbishop of Cyprus) conducted a four-month secret investigation into the allegations and then asked Joseph to leave Cyprus. It was rumored that a priest was chasing Joseph to kill him with a knife after he learned of the sexual improprieties. This priest heard about these unspeakable sexual acts at the Monastery he visited to confess nuns and where his daughter lived. The accusations reached the Patriarchate but it decided to close the case.

In 1989 Bartholomew, who is now Patriarch of Constantinople, went to Vatopedi to attend the ceremony that presented the Monastery of Vatopedi to the group from Cyprus.

Later in 1998 a crisis in the Cypriot church and the conflict among the Hierarchs rekindled the issue and during the Holy Synod the letter of a 29-year-old teacher was read where she described her sexual abuse in the hands of the Monk Joseph when she was 10 years old in third grade.

It reads partly as follows:

“I met Joseph, and I am sorry I do not call him Father, when I was in third grade. At first he approached me through confession. He simply asked if there is a fellow student that I like. Without me suspecting anything funny about it he would say to me that it is natural for women to feel sexual pleasure (ηδονή). When you get onto your bicycle and you feel pleasure that is not a sin nor is masturbating. He would place me on his knees and put his hand and touch my private parts.”

Chrysostomos, now Archbishop of Cyprus, in his interview with the producers of Pandora’s Box said the following: “…30 years have passed. It is a sad page. I do not wish to get into the subject. I left it to God. I hope all of us will see better days. Mistakes are made. No one is perfect. But at least we should always take care not to provoke our flock. I do not agree with them and I asked them to leave away from me. The presiding authority should always be strict. I was happy because the Ecumenical Patriarchate handled the whole case with wisdom. And it should be strict because the provocation was grave. The brothers embarrassed us, the Cypriot Church, the Cypriote people, Mount Athos and themselves. I hope that from now on they will be careful to avoid any new provocations.’”

As you can see from the above history, the Orthodox have followed the mistakes made by the Catholics, in which priests suspected of child abuse were simply transferred from one jurisdiction to another. In the statement of Chrysostomos, significantly, it is an imperative that care be taken “not to provoke the flock.” The Ecumenical Patriarchate “handled the case with wisdom” by papering over the “provocation” without making public any of the accusations or the reasons for the transfers. Instead, frocked miscreants were given a safe haven at Vatopedi, to plot and set up a long range plan to infect their sick theology within the GOA using money illegally obtained through what has now been identified as the Vatopedi Scandal, which itself helped bring down a government in Greece.