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Geronta Ephraim of Mt. Athos jailed


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#1 Alice

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:16 PM

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In this beautiful season of the Nativity of our Lord (for those of us on the new calendar), the evil one has reared his ugly head to scandalize and to upset the faithful by attacking a holy man through the weakness of those who do not love the Church as we do. Despite all the 'rationalizations' of this unjust and outrageous act by many who do not remember the life of our Lord and the many saints, I personally think that this calumny is nothing more than evil. This is especially offensive when we know that the monasteries help people in need and have set up charitable havens for them. This is especially offensive when (even Germany is aghast) we know as a fact that many politicians in Greece have robbed the Greek people and have evaded taxes, yet not one has gone to jail.

On Christmas day, the beautiful piece on Mt. Athos on the popular American news show '60 Minutes' aired again; the original having been aired on Pascha. Geronta Ephraim finally gave his blessing for it, after many years, and I know that many, many persons, young and old who would never otherwise known of the beauty of Orthodoxy and monasticism were introduced to it through this show...

Perhaps this is why the evil one wanted to destroy his reputation? Also, Geronta brought the belt of Panaghia out of the monastery (for the first time) and to Russia to help the faithful who needed her blessing for childbirth in that country. Perhaps this is also why the evil one wants to destory? The beautiful cooperation and love of two Orthodox traditions came together through Panaghia recently and that was divine-- yet the haters of the Church, those who are secular, and the 'conspiracy mongers' make up ugliness about it.

Please keep Geronta in your prayers to our blessed Theotokos, our Panaghia, daily...Mt. Athos is her holy garden and Geronta and Vatopedi are the caretakers of one of the most precious relics of Christendom, her holy belt. I know that she is very upset about this and that she will hear our prayers for Geronta and for the reputation of her own garden!! May our Lord put an end to this travesty!!

Kyrie Eleison!


http://www.bbc.co.uk...europe-16344621




http://www.bbc.co.uk...europe-16344621

#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 06:53 PM

http://www.sedmitza....ws/2692645.html


Greek police postpone arrest of Archimandrite Ephrem, superior of Vatopedi

12.16.1011
Source: Sedmitsa.Ru [Translation of 1st paragraph]

ATHENS. Greek police postponed the arrest of Archimandrite Ephrem[also
spelled Ephraim],superior of the Vatopedi monastery, because of his poor health,
reports the online
edition of the Greek "Romfea."

#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 07:43 PM

There is some speculation in the media here in Russia (where I am for now) as to how much Archimandrite Ephraim was paid by the Russians to bring the belt of the Theotokos to Russia. The Greek newspaper 'Kathimerini' seems to have reported objectively on this matter, and prima facie there is a case to answer. It is best to not to have an opinion until the facts have been established in a court of law.

Edited by Andreas Moran, 29 December 2011 - 07:58 PM.


#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 08:57 PM

http://www.interfax-...ct=dujour&id=14



2011-11-28 00:00:00

Archimandrite Yefrem's arrest is attack on Athos monks, Orthodox faith - Russian
Orthodox Church


Moscow, December 28, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate has spoken in defense of
Archimandrite Yefrem, superior of the Vatopedi Monastery in Athos.

"It is perfectly obvious that the arrest of a person such as Archimandrite
Yefrem, who does not pose any danger, without considering the case on its merits
and before a court ruling is an emergency, which surprises us deeply," head of
the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of
Volokolamsk said in an interview with Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.

At the end of last week, Archimandrite Yefrem was arrested in connection with a
large-scale investigation into real estate deals between the Vatopedi Monastery
and the Greek state initiated in 2008. Over the past weekend, police officers
came to the Vatopedi Monastery to arrest Father Yefrem. However, a decision was
made to keep the priest in the monastery for health reasons after he was
examined by doctors. In the meantime, it was reported on Tuesday that Father
Yefrem was arrested and taken from Athos.

"This decision seriously concerns Russian Orthodox Christians and its hierarchs
and makes one think about its true reasons," Metropolitan Hilarion said.

He also said Father Yefrem became especially dear to many Russian Orthodox
Christians after he accompanied Our Lady's Belt on its visit to Russia. Russian
Orthodox Christians are surprised that this arrest "has occurred in Greece,
which is an Orthodox country, during the celebrations of Christmas."

"Their surprise is understandable, as are the feelings of many Greek bishops,
clergymen, and laymen, who believe that the decision on Archimandrite Yefrem is
a hostile attack Athos monks and the Orthodox Church in general," he said.

Earlier, the Foundation of St.Andrew the First-Called first time ever delivered
the Belt of the Mother of God from the Vatopedi Monastery. After visiting St.
Petersburg the shrine was taken to other Russian cities. The last point was
Moscow. The belt returned to Athos on November 28.

3 mln of people venerated the Belt of the Holy Virgin when the shrine stayed in
Russia.

#5 Ben Johnson

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:44 AM

Just an opinion from ekathimerini: http://www.ekathimer.../12/2011_420317

#6 Alice

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:18 PM

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[TD="class: eelantext"]Russian Church head writes to president over Ephraim

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Posted Image Posted Image A small group of protesters gathered outside the Greek Embassy in Moscow on Thursday demanding Ephraim's release. Posted Image [/TD]
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Ignoring a request by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Russia to refrain from interfering in a Greek judicial matter, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church wrote to Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday vehemently protesting the arrest earlier this week of Ephraim, the head monk of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos who is at the center of a controversial land-swap deal.
“It is my duty to convey our common concern to the chief of the Greek state and to request the release from custody of Archimandrite Ephraim,” Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Cyril said in his letter.
The cleric also suggested that he was prepared to rally public support for Ephraim, saying “in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and other countries... millions of believers are alarmed by [the detention of Ephraim].”
Meanwhile, rallies have been organized Friday and Saturday to protest Ephraim’s arrest in front of the Greek Embassy in Moscow.
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[TD="class: eelantext2"]ekathimerini.com , Thursday December 29, 2011 (21:32) [/TD]
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#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 08:08 PM

Has there been any explanation from anywhere (apart from the Greek ministry of justice, of course) as to why the authorities in Greece, an Orthodox state, would take this action, knowing, as they must have done, what the reaction, not least from Russia, would be?

#8 Kosta

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 02:58 AM

I cant even find what specific crime he is charged with. The government swapped some land for a lake. The monastery then sold the land to a Cypriot company. Then some people found out the land was more valuable than the lake, so the politicians involved didnt run for re-election??? giving themselves immunity for making a stupid business descision (some wierd statute of limitation law the politics passed for themselves). Of course stupid business decisions is politics as usual for Greece. So they arrested the abbot for what seems to me, because he outsmarted them, and is simply alot smarter with finances.

#9 Paul Cowan

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 02:33 PM

And what is the response from His Emminence Bartholomew? WHy is an "outside" patriarch taking up the banner?

#10 Alice

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 04:33 PM

Dear Andreas,

Unfortunately, Greece is no longer an Orthodox state. Socialism has set the state against the Church.

In my experience, I can honestly say that I have come to the conclusion that, unlike in the U.S., there are few 'lukewarm' Christians (those who may not be seriously Orthodox in practice, but who believe in Christ as Son of God, believe in the Resurrection and life after death, etc., and who respect and honour the Church as an institution)...There are either very devout believers there or those who don't believe at all...

Most Greek born and raised men of influence, power, success, leadership who are Greek born are generally atheist, agnostic, or blatantly anti-Church. They cannot see, understand or even perceive of holiness as it is practiced by monastics. They only think in terms of worldly values: conspiracies, power, wealth, women, etc. They see others through their clouded lenses. I find that Greece is in a very sorry state, as this move is not against Elder Ephraim per se, but against what he stands for.

As for Paul's question about the Ecumenical Patriarch, I will try to think positively and think that because of his precarious position in Turkey, he does not want to get involved in what is fast becoming an international scandal.

http://www.ekathimer.../12/2011_420406

#11 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 04:52 PM

The Union of Orthodox Citizens (SPG) spoke in support of Archimandrite Ephrem, the abbot of Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos. An official statement passed to Interfax on Thursday stated, “The SPG is concerned about the condition of Igumen Ephrem, a contemporary confessor of Orthodoxy, the abbot of Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, as he’s persecuted by the Greek authorities”. The SPG went on to say that Fr Ephrem brought the Belt of the Most Holy Mother of God, one of the greatest Orthodox relics, to Russia, where more than three million people venerated it in about a month’s time. They stated, “Igumen Ephrem has repeatedly said that the Russian people now returning to the Church are the future of world Orthodoxy. It seems like the words and mission of Fr Ephrem in Russia were the true reason for his persecution, all the other absurd charges, such as the land deal between the monastery and the Greek government, are only an excuse”. The SPG regards the case against Fr Ephrem as a response of “anti-Russian and anti-Orthodox forces who challenge the unprecedented and essential turning of our society and our state to their spiritual roots”.


This is from a Russian news site; it suggests that some Russians think it's all part of an EU/western [they missed out 'masonic'] plot agianst Orthodoxy. Who knows - there may be something in it.

#12 Alice

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:35 PM

I am sick about this...it reminds me of what St. Nektarios went through. We all read the book and say how terrible the things he went through were, but we are reliving the same thing now in another saint!

This was nothing more than a demonic move motivated by jealousy. The interrogator (30 hours) said to the Elder 'you were in Russia and met with Putin and Medvedev, but what can they do for you now?'

As Archbishop Laimassol Athanasios said, this will help make this holy man into a saint.

Please, please keep praying for Elder Ephraim. He is a very sick man and almost died during his trip to Georgia and Russia. When one who is so holy is persecuted within the Body of Christ, we all suffer...When someone who represents monasticism is persecuted, we cannot sit idly by!

My mind cannot wrap itself around the fact that an *Elder*, a man considered very holy, of *Mt. Athos* has been jailed, as if he were a criminal who will run away and kill people !!!

I can't believe that in Greece's present state with many people suffering, a time when it needs the prayers of the Holy Mountain more than ever, that they could do this and assault those who pray for them!

May God forgive those who did this to him! Kyrie Eleison!

#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:16 PM

The interrogator (30 hours) said to the Elder 'you were in Russia and met with Putin and Medvedev, but what can they do for you now?'


Perhaps not wise to tweak the nose of the Russian bear.

#14 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:30 AM

Dear Alice,

In this beautiful season of the Nativity of our Lord I have heard that Elder Ephraim has heard many confessions from the prisoners and guards coming to his cell. A good friend of mine laughed much as he told me that Elder Ephraim seems to be turning the jail into something of a monastery.

Perhaps Panaghia is not so upset after all is said and done.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

#15 Ilaria

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:20 PM

Dear Matthew,
thank you so much for your post! this is really astonishing - it is an example of how the evil is turned into God's work - Glory to God

#16 Alice

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:38 PM

Dear Matthew,

I thank you too! This has made me feel much better but the evil and gross injustice of those who did this to him still astounds me. I am glad to see that in two weeks time, the petition and website to help him has 80,000 signatures. (Posted elsewhere on this forum)

I have both major Greek television channels on cable, and they have gone completely silent on this matter. That is very troubling.

Many times, my priest says to the congregation, 'how do you know if you would not have been one that would have cried "crucify Him"'. There are so many opportunities for us to explore that question in our everyday lives. I saw intelligent men and women go along with their neighbors and friends for no reason against an Archbishop some years ago, and we see people going along with this move against a saintly man..

Thanks again for the uplifting news,
and Glory to God for all things,
Alice

#17 Kusanagi

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:12 PM

The Ecumenical Patriarch made this post today:

The Press Release is as follows:

Gathered today, 10 January 2012, under the presidency of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Holy and Sacred Synod at this tactical conference, among other things, discussed the emerged issue of the imprisonment of the Abbot of the Monastery of Vatopaidi Ephraim.

Regarding this matter we communicate the following:

1. The Ecumenical Throne and Its Holy and Sacred Synod express their sorrow for this shapening of the situation in relation to the decision of this matter.

2. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, according to its tactical consistency, respects the independence of the Justice system, always avoiding every interference in pending court cases, since, after all, they are ignorant of the contents of the case files.

3. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, in connection with statements expressed by sister Orthodox Churches in connection with this issue, recalls that the Holy Mountain, its canonical territory, is constituted of Orthodox monks from various nationalities, but this adds nothing to its Pan-Orthodox character by allowing any kind of interference within it by any Autocephalous Church.

At the Patriarchate, 10 January 2012

By the Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod

#18 Kosta

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 07:33 AM

So would this statement lend credance to the Kathemerini editorial? This statement by the Phanar doesnt say much, what does, 'for this shapening of the situation in relation to the decision of this matter???'
If the Phanar replaces the abbot in the coming months with the excuse that his ongoing legal troubles makes it impossible to fulfill his spiritual duties, then i would have to agree that his coziness with the Russian church is the real reason for his jailing. A new abbot would be loyal to the EP and the greek state only, atleast the elder will be released soobn after on lack of evidence.

#19 Alice

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 04:39 PM

I don't think that Elder Ephraim was going to do anything of the sort in the way of 'betrayal'. I say this respectfully but sadly, this is not the first time that the Ecumenical Patriarch has shown paranoia towards clergy in his realm in the past decade and half, taking positions that have greatly saddened the faithful, and I actually suspected that may have been the case again here. I also suspect a bit of jealousy.

However, this should not shock or scandalize any of us who know the life of St. Nektarios of Aegina. He was a victim of jealousies from hierarchs, and it took 100 years for a formal apology on behalf of the Patriarchate of Alexandria for what was done to him..paranoias and jealousies.

History repeats itself....over and over again. I know that the holy Elder would never have done anything to betray the EP...men of such holiness are saints, but others of more worldly hearts cannot understand that.

Lord have mercy on us all! My heart is very heavy writing this.

In Christ,
Alice

#20 Marianthy

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 03:13 AM

Matthew,

Just goes to show you that God indeed does work in mysterious ways. While I can understand and completely agree with Alice, it makes me wonder what great works the Elder is working in prison. For all we know he is making saints out of the sinners as we speak.

GTGFE!




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