By dogcatcher on February 25th, 2012
  Letters, Emails and Comments from Friends and Foes We are excited to report that we have received many hits to our website. In the first 10 days of January alone, we have received over 27,000 hits. Obviously, our website’s disclosure of the Ephraimite agenda has exposed a need by the faithful to learn more about the Ephraimites, their cult and our faith. We have selected a sampling of correspondence to our Editors and our website. You, our readers, have made some insightful observations and suggestions. We have tried to shield the identity of the authors, while giving you some information about their background. In some cases we have very little idea of the nature or identity of the author. While in other cases, we are very familiar with them. Our goal is not to “out” any of them. Our only goal is to give our readers insight into the various perspectives that exist among the faithful. Our introductions and comments are bolded and italicized. Sadly, some emails by certain members of the Ephraimite Cult are so disturbing, that we can not publish them. We have also taken the liberty of redacting certain sections that would certainly expose their identity. We have bracketed [and added eclipses…..] to those missing areas of submitted text. We have not corrected spelling errors, nor have we edited grammatical or other obvious errors of any nature. We welcome dialogue on the important issues facing the future of the Greek Orthodox faith. We hope this article does not discourage future correspondence from either our Friends or Foes. Correspondence from our Foes This was an email we received early on. It is sent to us from a young woman who lives in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago. She has a relative who is a monk in one of Elder Ephraim’s monasteries. We believe that this email speaks for itself. It is very typical of many of the hateful emails we have received. Are you so scared of the Efraimites that you have (spies) at all churches??? HA HA HA HA!!!! Now you scare US… And how about the the tax-exempt organization, why do you have that??? you don’t pay taxes?? why? what do you offer??. Let me tell you something!! as an Efraimite (and proud one) you guys don’t scare me or anybody else. We are not hiding, you are… We have nothing to hide. You can go everywere and do whatever pleases you and still you can’t do nothing about it. It’s that simple!!! So stop hiding like the rats in the dirt and show your face or maybe you are so ashamed!!!! Father Efraim did not ask you or anybody else to go to him… i am so amazed of your stupidity like you investigate a high crime scene!!! and who are you anyway, and who is going to report to you??? Like you said, nobody is paying attention to you, not enen the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America sooooo stop being let’s say stupid and get a life… ok??? This was an interesting email showing a failure of leadership and information to provide guidance to the laity. Greetings to WHO??? Just writing to find out who you/your members are. I’ve read your site material and would like to connect with laity,priests who are sure of the problems concerning elder ephraim and the direction of our Greek Orthodox Faith. Here is an interesting email that gives an interesting Ephraimite perspective. This individual thinks that the “theology” promulgated by the Ephraimites is “true” Orthodoxy and that those of us who see this as heresy should leave and form our own Church. Ask yourselves, who is teaching them this? Dear Editor, I just came across a release notice of your website. After reading about your launch, I was wondering, what your credentials are, who you are representing and where you are getting your so-called research? First of all, you do not get to speak for Orthodox Christians, Your ideas are not in the service of the church and your information is poorly researched and dangerous! I tell you this for the betterment of your soul and out of the love of our Lord. You speak of prominent members of the Diocese of Chicago who are in support of you, but surely, as an Orthodox Christian, you know that there is no such thing as prominence in our faith or in the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ? In your research you MUST have also learned that the monastic community has been the backbone of the Orthodox faith since its beginnings and that the majority of our Church’s’ Saints have come forth from their ranks? Elder Ephraim has a solid background in the monastic community of Mount Athos and is revered as a spiritual father for hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians, bishops, priests, nuns and monks the world over. Hardly a cultist! The monasteries that he has built in the United States have been a gift of our Lord to our country and a great blessing! They help us fortify our faith and understand the ways the Saints, such as St. Anthony the Great, have practiced and maintained it over the years. Our church leaders have drawn strength and renewel from these spiritual refuges for centuries and will continue to do so for centuries to come. The power of the entire world could NEVER stand against it. You will not be able to contend with the will of our Lord and damage His monasteries. Your ideas and attacks will only serve to damage your soul and confuse the souls of many others that are being brought to our faith through struggle and love. Heavy becomes the soul of those who, through sin and ignorance, pull astray those that seek the Lord. Please be very careful with whom you choose to condemn and perhaps ask yourself where the hate and anger comes from that you use as a weapon against your own faith? Do not allow corruption, politics, arrogance or hatred to dictate your actions. These actions will only serve to shame you in your day of judgment. If you are displeased with your faith, then, as you stated, you and your prominent followers are in full right to begin your own Progressive Reform Greek Church. But know this, Orthodox, it is not nor ever will be! I shall pray for you and for those that have been victimized by the corruption that has consumed you. This email comes to us from a former engineer that resided on the east coast. This man sold his home and moved near an Ephraimite Monastery. He is now associated with one of the many entities that have been formed by the Ephraimites to conduct various activities. We will disclose information revealed by our investigation about these entities in future articles, stay tuned. came across your website recently, and was wondering when you will be more specific on your concerns expressed there. For example, what theological concerns do you have in mind when you say “…allowing a cancerous cult to permeate the theology of our Church”. Also, what is “Ephraimite activity”? This email comes to us from a former Evangelical Protestant who has converted to Orthodoxy. He is well know for his anti-Catholic and anti-ecumenical writings. Notice his interesting theories and assumptions concerning the Greeks, their assimilation and faith. He has now set his sights on us. Dear Sir or Madam, It is unfortunate that you have formed the organization “GoTruthReform”. Being a parishoner at a Greek Orthodox Church in […………………], I had heard only rumors, positive or negative, regarding Elder Ephraim’s actions in establishing Athonite monasteries here in the United States. After some investigation, it appears to me he is simply expanding traditional Orthodox monasticism in this country. It’s a shame you oppose this effort. I suspect that I know the source of your opposition, however. Many Greeks I have come into contact with have largely abandoned the particulars, especially the discipline, inherent in Orthodoxy. Some call this the “Byzantine-rite Protestant” phenomenon. Many Greeks came to this country during the twentieth century, were embarrased at their differences from other American Christians, but deeply proud of their Greekness. Their Orthodoxy? Well, they were willing to compromise that. Some considerable percentage became allied with the Democratic Party here since it was perceived as the party favoring the interests of immigrants. As time went by, the culture degenerated and so did the morality and standard practices of these Greeks. The Democratic Party, to which many felt a loyalty, became increasingly insistent on policies that are immoral from an Orthodox perspective. Many Greeks went right along with them. It is in this context that I have to look at your revulsion of Father Ephraim’s efforts. You would be equally revolted at Russian or Serbian monasticism. You really should not take the perspective of the modern Western world as normative. If you would read what the Church Fathers and earlier generations of monastics believed and practiced, you would not be concerned with the activities of Father Ephraim. You would be concerned with the state of your own soul. Correspondence from our Friends The following is very typical of the type of email that we receive on a regular basis. To whom this may concern, I am a greek orthodox christian and very concerned about this cult that has spread to all of north america, and more concerned that they are trying to destroy our church and beleifs. I am also very disturbed with what i have heard about allowing this cult and their “priests” into our churches in chicago. I hope this is just words and untrue, that they have entered St. Johns in des plaines and St. George in chicago. This must be stopped!!! Our church and faith is what makes a person live! Our faith is most valuable and it is our duty as beleiving orthodox christians to come together and put a halt on this cult!!! Please inform me This comes to us from a former parishioner in the Metropolis of Chicago. As a child growing up under Father Bill at Holy Apostles I am grateful. This article below delves into the complicated issues of sin with a great simplicity. Perhaps you might find it a useful reference / application as you undress the Ephraimites. And publicly show that the “Emperor has no Clothes”. !! http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j17/dionysios.asp?page=2 Your site is a long time coming. I applaud your courage. I just hope that some of the “sweetness” in the many hearts of those that have “drunk the EE ‘Kool-Aid” Is still there under the layers of shame based pharasitic legalism that has overwhelmed them. Good Luck. This email comes from a very thoughtful and obviously devout Orthodox Christian. To whom it may concern, As a survivor of [………………..] Skete I wish to tell you that I am greatly supportive of what you are doing. Ephraim, and other “monastics” are propagting various heresies and are dividing the Church and I am pleased to see that people are waking up to this fact. I write as someone who is not only a survivor of a bad elder but also as someone who is in the Metropolis of[………..]. I know that there are at least 2 of Ephraim’s monasteries in our metropolis, including the “fount” of them […………]. I would like you to know that I upon my return from [………………] I met with the Chancellor of the Metropolis who had himself just returned from [….An Ephraimite Monastery …..]. He was sent to look into them at the behest of Met. […………]. I was told that he informed them they could continue to operate but Ephraim’s activity there was to be extremely limited. I’m sure His Eminance could be doing more but I would like you to know that he is aware of the allegations. This is an up hill battle we are all facing here as Epraim sort of creeped in to this country like a [……..word redacted to describe him…. ] and got so popular so fast no one seemed to be aware of him till it was almost too late. I am hoping that Met. […….] will become more active about Ephraim but from my experience at […………] Skete I am afraid that in the long run there will be little His Eminence (or any other Hierarch) can do other than defrock clergy members and even then I would expect that Ephraim and his followers would claim it was all a demonic plot against them and then they would go independent making it yet more difficult to deal with them. People like [………………..] or Elder Ephraim have little if any regard for Episcopal oversight thus making them difficult to deal with as they [“………..”] the books and put a nice veneer on the face of their monasteries. That said it doesn’t excuse the hierarchy for doing nothing which sadly seems to be the case in Chicago. We aren’t experiencing division like that in […………] but I firmly believe that all it will take is a change in leadership either at the parish or clergy levels. For what ever reason the abbot at [……….] was fearful of Met. […………] and I suspect the same may be said for Ephraim because if there are any priests that share his (Ephraim’s) views they haven’t been shared with us from the pulpit and I suspect that is due to Met. [………..]’s influence( and I worry what might happen if he were to leave the Metropolis). I will admit that they could be coming from the pulpit and that I am not aware of it. None the less I am committed to keeping His Eminence aware of all allegations that arise regarding Ephraim and his nest of vipers. I don’t do this out of spite but rather out of concern for what they are doing to the Church (not to mention their own salvation) particularly the Met. Of Chicago as I firmly believe that if the Ephraimites can do what they do there it can happen here as well. I […. …………………….] and would also ask that you, if possible, could keep me abreast of any happenings there as what affects you in Chicago in all truth affects the Church as a whole for we are in truth one body, a fact the Ephraimites seem to conveniently over look. In Christ, Correspondence from our Greek Orthodox Clergymen This first email came to us from a Priest assigned to the Metropolis of Chicago. This Priest is young and considered by many an “Ephraimite”. His email to this site leaves little doubt as to his “theological” leanings. It has been reported to us that this priest and a few other priests clandestinely promote the Ephraimite’s perversion of our Orthodox Faith to our youth at Camp Fanari in the Metropolis of Chicago. Dear Author, Christ is in our midst. Just so you know I refuse to read unsigned documents. So I am deleting this email without reading it. If you’d like to resend it to me with your name at the bottom, then I’ll be happy to read it. As a side note, I think its very cowardly (and un-Christian – see Matt. 18:15-17 (I don’t think St. Matthew had anonymous accusations in mind)) of you to do all that you’re doing without signing anything. God bless. In Christ, We believe that this next email speaks for itself: Dear Editor, Blessings for the great Feast of Theophany! Thank you for forwarding the article about fundamentalism within Orthodoxy. Sadly, I have found what is written to be true in my own experience. However, perhaps we also need to look at the situation with balance. There are many Orthodox Christians who are highly secularized, so that they really are not in touch with the spiritual heritage of the Church. Of course, this heritage should not be mistaken for outward signs (like longer beards and so on). As a convert-priest I saw this problem first, since the things I was thirsting for seem to be ignored by so many of our parishioners. (Even this morning, only two people came to the services for Theophany which are required by our Metropolitan.) And I was painfully aware of how some priests had, apparently in the ’50’s and ’60’s, tried hard to look and act like Episcopal and Lutheran pastors. As a former […………….] priest, I was trying very hard to leave that world behind, so it grieved me to see our Orthodox priests copying them. On the other hand, I saw first-hand the abuses which can come from the monastics–not always necessarily their fault. I remember a woman who came to me in great distress to say, “I can’t have sex with my husband for five years, and I cannot come to communion!” I asked her why. She had gone to a monk for confession and, just as you report, his advice was badly misleading and unhelpful to the poor woman. I was sad, but at that large church the proistamenos told her that it was her fault for going to a monk for confession! But I have gotten to know some of the monks (at least two near us are my former college students) and have for the most part found them to be spiritual people, not so shallow as the ones the article describes. I have of course also seen the opposite; I remember some women trying to eat the dirt from the ground where the geronta had walked, and to drink the remains of his glass of water so that they would receive healing. It was cultic behavior, not Orthodox. In my own parishes, I have found many people in desperate need of divine love and forgiveness–for example, for abortion and other sins. It is the love which heals not harsh fundamentalism.[……………………………………section of email deleted as it could identify the author…………………]. But in our own city there is a priest at another parish who is just as you describe. He projects that his pony-tail makes him a true priest, and he wears his cassock to the grocery store, and people think (here in the [………….]) that he is a Muslim. I always sense from him that I am an inferior priest, though I am [………….] years his senior. I hope that your work will help to correct these errors or at least to make people more aware of them. Please pray for me, the sinner This comes to us from a highly respected clergyman in California. Glory to Jesus Christ! I rarely make time to respond to these type of emails, but before this goes any further, might we all please be honest with ourselves. First, I am not certain how I would rate on your conservative-progressive scale. […….. section removed to shield authors identity………..]. Now for my response. What opened the door for the neo-conservative movement? There are no doubt many answers to this question, but chief among them is the tragic reality that many of our parishes never transitioned from being ethnic enclaves (a necessity in the first half of the 20th Century) to becoming mission outposts (churches dedicated to living out Matthew 25 and the Great Commission). As the cliche goes: “Nature abhors a vacuum.” The spiritual emptiness of communities that had become highly secularized had to be filled by something. Before neo-conservatism came along, that void was being filled by a crypto-protestant mentality among many Orthodox. Too many “Las Vegas Nights,” young adult night club outings, and New Year’s Eve eat-and-drink-athons were bound to have consequences. I resolve to preach and practice the Good News of Jesus Christ and to proclaim the reality of the life-saving ministry of the Church as widely as possible to as many persons as possible before I leave this life. I invite others to join me in this commitment. Faithfully, This email comes to us from a senior Priest with decades of service in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. This Clergyman is recognized nationally for his honest and integrity. We need more action and reaction to the current trend that seeks to monasticize the Orthodox Church. The “super-duper” reactionaries and allegedly “pure” Orthodox belongs in another world, another age. Our people need the simple truths, love and care and not conservative distortions. Clergy who need to wear robes out on the streets to parade their priesthood and beards down to their navels, and hats and pony tales are anachronisms in America. They are the Greek Mullahs! They use their robes and distinctive dress to attract attention to their priesthood. Their priesthood to a great degree appears to be external dress and often times lacks internal spiritual reality. They are most often not vessels of the Spirit of Christ who is humble and didn’t seek attention by his attire. Correspondence from an Orthodox Hierarch This interesting email was sent to one of our editors from an Orthodox Hierarch. It was sent in response to an inquiry about the Ephraimites. The fundamentalism alone is enough to drive some young people away from the Church, away from Christ. I recall that, after the tragedy at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, one Greek woman told me, “We had forgotten about Christ. Fr Panteleimon had become God for us.” And yet, Fr Panteleimon never condemned marriage and normal marital relations, never claimed to be clairvoyant and never cultivated the idea that he was a wonderworker. Nor did he ever suggest that his followers should defend him no matter what he did. And indeed, few did defend him when he was found in a “great sin.” Despite the cultism that grew up around him, he was never so controlling and manipulative as Fr. Ephraim, never tried to rule through deep structural fear, and condemned the Toll House myth. Yet if some people could become so inculcated with him as to say, “We forgot about Christ. Fr Panteleimon had become God for us,” how much more insidious and dangerous is the Ephraimite cult. And how many will be ultimately knocked of the path of salvation by his teachings? We hope this sampling of correspondence has given you some insight into the issue of the Ephraimite movement.. We look forward to hearing from all of you.