THE EPHRAIMITE MOVEMENT

By dogcatcher on February 25th, 2012

 

 

The Ephraimite Movement has come to Foreclose on your Parish Home: Why has the Ephraimite Movement been so successful in influencing the Laity of our Metropolises?

The answer to this question is complicated because it is multi-faceted containing religious, philosophical, psychological and even sociological aspects. It is important to understand what is really happening in our Greek Orthodox faith. We are in the middle of an apparent schism where the faith is being divided into two camps. As Greeks, we cannot believe this is happening to our Church. The Ephraimite movement uses a fanatic interpretation of our faith to divide our ethnic group. We will try to explain how the Ephraimites operate in order to help you identify what is occurring at your church. Unfortunately, the Ephraimites have focused an increasing amount of energy on the children and youth of our church. Thus, it is up to you to read and think about this article and to take a stand.

The Ephraimites operate sanctuaries in disguise at their monasteries offering comfort and support to people who are lost, suffering or seeking answers. The Ephraimites portray and create monasteries as a sanctuary where you experience good feelings, a sense of belonging and inner peace. They have created spiritual centers so that Greek Orthodox Christians now have a new spiritual home at the monastery and not their local church and a new spiritual father who no longer is their parish priest.

People feel good at the monasteries because they are offered comfort at times of need when dealing with issues like death, marital disputes, drugs, etc. Unfortunately, the nuns and monks have not been properly trained to offer proper psychological advice and counseling regarding these issues.

One primary mission for the monks and nuns is to make themselves available to people. They are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On the other hand, our local priests live in the secular world, most with families, and cannot be as available. Remember that these monks and nuns have voluntarily left their families, parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews. Once the faithful visit these monasteries, the monks and nuns, along with the priests who support them, are successful garnering loyalty because they proficiently use “love bombs” which is a mind control tactic used by cults whereby they engulf their visitors and supporters with love and attention making them feel like they finally fit into a group. They help them find a place in life by telling them they belong with them.

People are now encouraged to have their memorials, baptisms and even their funerals at the monasteries. You are asking why is this wrong? Traditionally, monasteries have always been a part of Greek life. Most of us have had pleasant experiences visiting monasteries in Greece. However, they have never been a part of parish life. Ask yourselves how the monasteries in North America are different than the monasteries in Greece. People wrongfully assume that the Monasteries here are like the ones in Greece. What they do not know is that the Monasteries under Elder Ephraim have opened for different, perhaps ungodly reasons. They operate as a business and have their own agenda. You must ask yourself, how are the monasteries campaigning for my visit?

The Ephraimite monks and nuns wrongly identify themselves as a conduit into heavenly salvation. The Ephraimites have promoted the doctrine of aerial tollhouses which basically states that only by giving confession to a monk or nun will you reach salvation. This belief called “Aerial Toll Houses” is considered at best “Theologoumenon” or as Former Dean of The Holy Cross Seminary Rev. Dr. Stylianos Harakas states:

“….that is, an optional theological opinion, but for the vast majority of Orthodox teachers of the faith…, such views are either unknown (not mentioned), acknowledged as having some minor elements of tradition supporting them, but not official doctrine, or, finally, simply erroneous misinterpretations to be condemned.”
http://www.new-ostrog.org/tollhouseletter.html.
There have also been reports of young people leaving their families and entering the monasteries. Some parents have encouraged their children to enter monasteries at young ages. These parents believe that salvation shall come to them and their families. Many people in the Metropolis of Chicago are being interred in the Monastery in Wisconsin because they are incorrectly told that their souls will go to a higher place in heaven since the nuns at the Monastery will light the grave candles and pray for them daily. How else are the Monasteries campaigning for your visit?

Ephraimites have been trained to use mind control tactics to gain and maintain power and control over their followers. They have cultivated their movement by preying on people’s fears and insecurities and absolving them from personal responsibility for unfortunate events in their lives, and then by promising salvation. Every Orthodox Christian worries about how they fit into society. They worry about their life, problems and finding solutions or answers to their problems. The Ephraimites offer all too ready solutions to people’s problems. They profess to have answers to problems by identifying them as “works of the devil”. The Ephraimites will often use phrases such as “the works of the evil one” or “influenced by the evil one”. They train followers to stay with them by telling them you belong with us because we can protect you from the evil one. They convince their followers that the Greek Orthodox Churches have failed their parishioners and that only they practice the true faith. Their way of operating is to train their followers to withdraw from reality based testing and to forgo personal responsibility for unfortunate events in their lives. They have also used reference to “the evil one” as a tool to instill fear into Orthodox Christians and then they offer them escape from evils in society if they support the movement. Why is this wrong?

As parishioners and members of the faith, we live in a secular world. We do not live at a monastery. In order to live and operate in a secular world, we must face and not avoid our problems. The Ephraimites devalue the importance of discussion and dissent. The laity is given a false sense of security because they are convinced that their problems will disappear if they support the movement. They are trained to keep their heads in the sand.

We all agree it is easier for people to avoid their problems rather than deal or confront them. The Ephraimite laity is taught to think only good thoughts so that they shut down their reality testing. The result is that they do feel better because they are no longer engaging their life in the greater society. It is like television: the monasteries offer an escape from reality. It’s a falsely peaceful life because people are no longer using basic psychological and societal tools to live. The monasteries absolve their followers from having personal responsibility for their undesirable problems. The followers are no longer searching for the truth. Instead, they are searching for anything that confirms their belief system.

What you must remember is that there is a fine line between oppression and freedom. By mandating dress codes of long skirts and covered heads in churches, the Ephraimites are contributing to the laity’s sense of alienation from society while at the same time increasing their sense of belonging at the Monasteries or at monastery related functions. How have the Ephraimites converted their monasteries into parishes?

The average Orthodox Christian practices orthodoxy as they know it. Most of us have learned about out religion by attending church. However, most of us have not studied our religion. We overwhelmingly rely on our clergy to educate us about our faith. It is our custom and practice to accept the words and teachings of our priests without question. However, Ephraimite supporters have been distorting the teachings of our faith and even rewriting the history of our faith. The soldiers of Ephraim have accused the Archdiocese and regular parish churches of practicing water-downed theology. The Ephraimite fanatic teachings are self-serving and reflect outdated attitudes and beliefs. They adopt outdated and no longer practiced beliefs for their own selfish ends. They teach their followers how to avoid information that is likely to increase their understanding and to ignore anything that may lead to dissonance with their own belief system. They even persuade their followers to break off long term friendships with non-supporters referring to them as “not our own kind”. They encourage their followers to dismiss anyone who disagrees. They also portray their heretical teachings and outdated beliefs as conventional wisdom. The Ephraimite teachings are not generally accepted beliefs but instead are fringe ideas which have become purposefully mainstreamed in the subculture created by the Ephraimite movement. Again, those who question or disagree are referred to as the Greek Orthodox who “Protestantized” our religion or who practice water-downed theology. Why is this dangerous?

The Ephraimite movement has created a schism in our faith. They have divided the Greeks into two different camps. We are no longer united. Now when our children meet a Greek person at school, camp or college, they no longer feel an instant connection. Now they have to determine whether they are Ephraimites and dismiss the Ephraimite children as “weird”. Likewise, Ephraimite children consider others as “evil” and not of the “true” faith and they keep their distance.

The Ephraimites are professing to represent the true religion. This sounds like they are on the road to becoming the pure race. Anything that divides an ethnic group including separating friends, families and people from the same part of Greece is destructive and evil. This division did not occur until the Ephraimites began their sect some 20 years ago. The next question to ask yourself is how have they managed to build this movement over the last 20 years?

Unfortunately for us Greek Orthodox Christians of America, a perfect storm of factors have appeared facilitating the growth and influence of the Ephraimite movement. The factors in this perfect storm include but are not limited to first and foremost, the unilateral change to the Charter of our Church by the Patriarch and the vacuum of leadership, accountability and transparency that have resulted on the Metropolis, Archdiocesan and Ecumenical level. The vacuum of leadership exists for many reasons. First, there is a lack of accountability and the lack of an appeal process. The Metropolitans have the only and final ruling on all matters in their jurisdiction. Since the Archbishop has little control over the Metropolitans, the laity and Parish priests have no recourse when their local Metropolitans cannot or will not step in to solve problems which are now rampantly occurring on the parish level. The only one who can exercise any power or control over our Metropolitans is the Patriarch who has isolated himself in Istanbul and does not make himself available to anyone. As a result, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is unable to protect itself from ineffective leadership and the institutional devices of ineffective power, greed and corruption.

The second factor in this perfect storm is that the Ephraimite movement is well funded. No one has been able to determine where the large masses of money accumulated to build 18 monasteries under the guidance of Ephraim came from. It has been reported that some monasteries cost in excess of 15 million dollars to build. We all have raised funds for our churches. How has Ephraim managed to build over 18 monasteries throughout North America and the United States? Where did he get all this money?

Finally, this movement is well organized. They have been successful in indoctrinating followers including Archdiocesan Priests. They have organized followers who attend liturgy at different churches trying to convince people to change their beliefs and accept an Ephraimite as a spiritual father or to have sacraments performed at the monastery. Did you know that Ephraimite priests, who are parish priests throughout our Archdiocese, go to St. Anthony’s monastery during lent for retreats? They do not publish this fact to many. Ask yourself how many times in recent years have your parish priests left for a few days during lent to visit their spiritual fathers or to attend a retreat. Ask your parish council presidents. If they answer that their parish priests have not left, then they are not part of this movement. Ask yourself how many of your friends or acquaintances have suggested that you hold baptisms, funerals or even memorials at the monastery instead of the local parish?

The Ephraimites also hide behind a veil of legitimacy and credibility behind the Patriarch. The Ephraimite followers have repeatedly stated that the Patriarch has no control over them. They don’t even like the Patriarch. This presents a quandary because your Metropolitan is supposed to be enforcing the guidelines over the Monasteries. The average Greek Orthodox Christian here falsely assumes that the Monasteries in the United States are operated under the guidance of the Archdiocese and local Metropolises. Despite extensive research, we have been unable to verify any audit of the financial books by the Metropolises. It has been reported to us that when the Archdiocese has attempted to conduct such audits, certain Metropolitans have intervened and stopped the audits. Ask your local Metropolitan when did they last audit the monasteries. Since the Archbishop has little control, he cannot hold accountable an individual priest, Metropolis or Metropolitan. Only the Patriarch can do that. What has the Patriarch said about these monasteries or about this movement? What is the Patriarch’s position on Elder Ephraim? Has his office audited the Metropolises to see if they are executing their duties and responsibilities over these monasteries? Do these monasteries pay fair share assessments like our local parishes do? There has been a vacuum of leadership in many Metropolises for too long. Access their websites. When is the last time anyone has written a letter to educate the laity about Ephraimite teachings of apostolic succession or aerial tollhouses.

The Ephraimites have been successful indoctrinating their supporters because they are hiding behind “Hellenism” identifying themselves as true Greeks and claiming preservation of “Greek” in Greek Orthodox. In fact, they are taking Hellenism and marginalizing it. According to our Hellenic culture, traditions and philosophers, Hellenism promotes becoming a productive and participating member of society and understands the forces of good and evil. Hellenism encourages us to live with open eyes and not to obey one authority. The Ephraimites are not practicing “Hellenists”. Instead, they practice ethno-centric discrimination. These priests will not acknowledge visiting priests from other faiths nor will they reach out to their non-orthodox and non-Christian neighbors.

But the question remains how the Ephraimite movement has been able to garner so much support among the laity and many of our priests of our church. More importantly, how are they instilling control over the children and the youth of our church? Is this group a destructive cult? Do they use mind control tactics which operate within a mind control system? Do they have properties of potentially destructive and dangerous cults? By looking at cults and how they operate, you can clearly see that some of the same cult techniques have been used by the Ephraimite movement. They understand human behavior and use different tactics to maintain power and control. Someone among them is training these Ephraimite soldiers about the human psyche. Finally, the unwillingness of the laity, priests and more importantly the Hierarchs to take personal responsibility for the institution’s problems and corruption by either opening their mouths, making some or any difficult decisions or taking a stand has facilitated the success of the movement.

We must look at mind control tactics and the defining common elements of a destructive group or cult. At this time, we choose not to participate in the ongoing dialogue between academicians on whether the term “cult” should be used. This article is written to advise the member of the Greek Orthodox Church of America that a dangerous group, sect, or cult is operating among it.

The organization factnet.org does an excellent job identifying the common elements which exist in the cults. This list is taken directly from their website:

1. The group has a leader who is regarded as the supreme authority;

2. The cult’s leaders tend to be charismatic, determined, and
domineering. They persuade followers to drop their families, jobs, careers, and friends to follow them. They (not the individual) then take over control of their followers’ possessions, money, lives;

3. The cult’s leaders are self-appointed, messianic persons who claim to have a special mission in life;

4. The cult’s leaders center the veneration of members upon themselves;

5. The cult tends to be totalitarian in its control of the behavior of its members. Cults are likely to dictate in great detail what members wear, eat, when and where they work, sleep, and bathe-as well as what to believe, think, and say;

6. The cult tends to have a double set of ethics. Members are urged to be open and honest within the group, and confess all to the leaders. On the other hand, they are encouraged to deceive and manipulate outsiders or nonmembers. Established religions teach members to be honest and truthful to all, and to abide by one set of ethics;

7. The cult has basically only two purposes, recruiting new members and fund-raising;

8. The cult appears to be innovative and exclusive. The leader claims to be breaking with tradition, offering something novel, and instituting the only viable system for change that will solve life’s problems or the world’s ills. While claiming this, the cult then surreptitiously uses systems of psychological coercion on its members to inhibit their ability to examine the actual validity of the claims of the leader and the cult;

http://factnet.org/rancho5.htm.

The same website identifies mind control tactics which are used in a mind control system. These groups, sects or cults:
1. Increase suggestibility and “soften up” the individual through specific hypnotic or other suggestibility-increasing techniques such as: Extended audio (chanting) visual, verbal, or tactile fixation drills, Excessive exact repetition of routine activities, Sleep restriction and/or Nutritional restriction.
2. Establish control over the person’s social environment, time and sources of social support by a system of often-excessive rewards and punishments. Social isolation is promoted. Contact with family and friends are abridged, as is contact with persons who do not share group-approved attitudes. Economic and other dependence on the group is fostered.
3. Prohibit disconfirming information and non supporting opinions in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An “in-group” language is usually constructed.
4. Make the person re-evaluate the most central aspects of his or her experience of self and prior conduct in negative ways. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine the subject’s basic consciousness, reality awareness, world view, emotional control and defense mechanisms. The subject is guided to reinterpret his or her life’s history and adopt a new version of causality.
5. Create a sense of powerlessness by subjecting the person to intense and frequent actions and situations which undermine the person’s confidence in himself and his judgment.
6. Create strong aversive emotional arousals in the subject by use of nonphysical punishments such as intense humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, social status changes, intense guilt, anxiety, manipulation and other techniques.
7. Intimidate the person with the force of group-sanctioned secular psychological threats. For example, it may be suggested or implied that failure to adopt the approved attitude, belief or consequent behavior will lead to severe punishment or dire consequences such as physical or mental illness, the reappearance of a prior physical illness, drug dependence, economic collapse, social failure, divorce, disintegration, failure to find a mate, etc.
http://factnet.org/rancho5.htm.
The cult site also identifies Robert Jay Lifton’s eight point model of thought reform and if most of the items in this list is being used in a cultic organization, it is most likely a dangerous and destructive cult.
Robert Jay Lifton’s Eight Point Model of Thought Reform
1. ENVIRONMENT CONTROL. Limitation of many/all forms of communication with those outside the group. Books, magazines, letters and visits with friends and family are taboo. “Come out and be separate!”

2. MYSTICAL MANIPULATION. The potential convert to the group becomes convinced of the higher purpose and special calling of the
group through a profound encounter / experience, for example, through an alleged miracle or prophetic word of those in the group.

3. DEMAND FOR PURITY. An explicit goal of the group is to bring about some kind of change, whether it be on a global, social, or personal level. “Perfection is possible if one stays with the group and is committed.”

4. CULT OF CONFESSION. The unhealthy practice of self disclosure to members in the group. Often in the context of a public gathering in the group, admitting past sins and imperfections, even doubts about the group and critical thoughts about the integrity of the leaders.

5. SACRED SCIENCE. The group’s perspective is absolutely true and completely adequate to explain EVERYTHING. The doctrine is not subject to amendments or question. ABSOLUTE conformity to the doctrine is required.

6. LOADED LANGUAGE. A new vocabulary emerges within the context of the group. Group members “think” within the very abstract and narrow parameters of the group’s doctrine. The terminology sufficiently stops members from thinking critically by reinforcing a “black and white” mentality. Loaded terms and clichés prejudice thinking.

7. DOCTRINE OVER PERSON. Pre-group experience and group experience are narrowly and decisively interpreted through the absolute doctrine, even when experience contradicts the doctrine.

8. DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE. Salvation is possible only in the group. Those who leave the group are doomed.
http://fact net.org/rancho5.htm.
How are these tactics being used against our children? It has been reported to GOTR that schools are using chanting and incense to lull students into a sort of hypnotic trance before talking to them about religion. At that time they discuss the fear of God.
Another anecdotal story was relayed to us by a Greek School teacher who was teaching at a preschool sponsored by an Ephraimite parish. The young students were told they must count their prayers on their prayer ropes everyday or else their fathers will not go to heaven. The teacher was horrified to have witnessed this imposed belief.

Children are taught that they are sinners. There are families who visit the monasteries for vacation. One family visited for spring break. A preschool child returned with a prayer tile and showed the same to her Sunday School teacher the next week at church. The prayer tile asked Jesus to watch over her because she is a sinner. The teacher asked her student who is a sinner and from where did she learn this. The five year old girl responded she is a sinner and that she learned this at the monastery.

Intense humiliation, guilt and loss of privilege are being used against our teens that visit the Monastery and offer confession. We have received several reports of confessions by teens that were asked questions about sex and their relationships and then punished by being prohibited from receiving communion for lengthy periods of time. Why is this occurring? First, cross-examination techniques are not to be used by the confessor during confession. Second, many parishioners reported being asked the same questions about sex during their confessions. Irreparable harm has been caused to teens who have suffered humiliation as a result of their experience at the monastery.

Young adults have also reported that their lives are controlled by the monasteries. Another episode happened in Greece wherein four young Greek Orthodox Christians in their early 20’s were vacationing and called a mutual friend to join them. This friend said he had to ask permission from his mom which was denied. When pressed for a reason, the friend responded that his mother called the Gerontissa in Wisconsin to ask for permission which was denied.

Finally, we have received reports of engaged couples or newly married couples having terminated their relationships after one party visited a monastery.

We have relayed several anecdotal reports in order to identify the problem so you can recognize what is happening. The Ephraimite movement is using false theology and heretical teachings in order to gain power and control. What are they after? We know they are after your support and your dollars. But beyond that, what is their ultimate goal. Does it have anything to do with the Patriarch?

It is generally understood that religion and tradition are sensitive areas to challenge. It is our duty to have the courage to challenge views that are promulgated for their own selfish ends. We must remember that in the United States of America, we live in a pluralistic society and we have the freedom to exercise our religion. Enlightened thoughts encourage the power of ideas over dogma and cult thinking. However, we also have a duty to denounce those sects who arrogantly maintain that they have “the exclusive truth”. God has not commissioned Elder Ephraim to change the Greek Orthodox religion as it has been practiced in this great country of ours for many decades. We believe the peace of the Church has been irreparably damaged and will never fully recover. We hope this article has helped open your eyes to the potential threat posed by the Ephraimites to the way of life in which we were brought up and encourages you to open your mouths about the problems in our Church.