And you can always tell who they [the apostates-W.G.] are by their refusal to venerate the saints. Just as they despised St Seraphim of Sarov, ‘a dirty peasant’, and persecuted and exiled St Nectarios of Egina (so loved by St John of Shanghai), who should have been Patriarch of Alexandria but consorted with Non-Greek ‘blacks’ whom he wanted to bring to Christ, so in the old Soviet Union they refused to canonise the New Martyrs and Confessors. And so it is today. The compromised hate the saints because the saints are not of this world – whereas they are of this world. The world hates the spiritual. Our Lord told the disciples this: as it hated Him, so it would hate them too. Our attitude to the saints is the touchstone of whether we belong to the Church or not.--Fr Andrew Phillips, http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/questions-and-answers-from-correspondence-december-2019-february-2020/
Since its colonization by Europe, North America has been a land that has mainly exported darkness to the rest of the world: king-hating revolutions, the destruction of tradition and hierarchy, immoral entertainment, false Christian sects, and so on. Roman Catholics and Protestants make some fussy noises now and then about ‘restoring traditions’, ‘revivals’, or things of that sort, but this amounts to ‘the blind leading the blind’: Since they have only pieces of the True Christian Tradition, they will find themselves lying in a ditch eventually.
Thus, it falls to the relatively small Orthodox Church in North America to leaven the lump of this continent, to illumine her with the True Light of the Gospel. There have been some wonderful saints who have shone here: from St Herman of Alaska to Saint John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco to St Jose of Jordanville, the Chosen One of the Mother of God (https://eadiocese.org/josemuozcortes).
But now we dwell on a new light of the Orthodox Church in North America, Elder Ephraim of Arizona, who reposed in the Lord on 7 Dec. 2019, for as others have seen, he is an Apostle of these latter times to the peoples here:
Bishop Athanasios of Lemesou, before his most recent trip to America, had a dream. He saw Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona passing away and going towards Paradise, and being crowned with three crowns: one of Martyrdom, one of Righteousness, and one of an Apostle. When he awoke, he called an Athonite Father to tell him of this, and he told him that he had seen the exact same dream.
Who was Elder Ephraim? A short account of his life is as follows:
Elder Ephraim was born Ioannis Moraitis in Volos, Greece on June 24, 1927. He is known throughout the world and widely considered to have been a bearer and transmitter of the Patristic-hesychastic Tradition of the Orthodox faith, though the strict Athonite flavor of his monasteries has also proven controversial in America.
Elder Ephraim traveled to the Holy Mountain on September 26, 1947, at the age of 20, where he was met by Geronda Arsenios who announced that “The Honorable Forerunner appeared to Elder Joseph last night and said to him, ‘I am bringing you a little lamb. Put it in your sheepfold.’”
He remained under the obedience of Elder Joseph the Hesychast from that day until the elder’s repose in 1959, from whom he learned the art of salvation. Elder Ephraim then became the head of a group of 8 monks, which grew to 40 in less than a decade. In 1973, the Holy Community of Mt. Athos petitioned him to move his brotherhood to Philotheou Monastery to repopulate the struggling habitation. He later also repopulated the Xeropotamou, Konstamonitou, and Karakallou monasteries. He was also asked to repopulate the Great Lavra, though he declined. He remains the spiritual father of these four Athonite monasteries.
He stepped down as abbot of Philotheou in 1990 and moved to America, where he quickly founded an entire network of monasteries by the request of the faithful and invitation of the local hierarchs.
As Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos says, Elder Ephraim “received fire, and ... has imparted this fire ... to the Church in America that has great need of it.”
A longer life is here:
Through his mighty Apostolic labors and his holy life while yet in the flesh, and now through his prayers for North America before the throne of God, St Ephraim is guiding this continent into the haven of the Orthodox Church, warming her with the Fire of the Holy Ghost, filling her with the Light of the Logos, rescuing her from the snares of the devil:
A peaceful, spiritual conqueror of America, and even a Christ-bearer, a new Christopher* Columbus, Elder Ephraim of Arizona. Thus he began the "annexation" of America to Orthodoxy. And yes, once again the Hellenism of the mighty Romiosine will once again conquer its conquerors! At a time when American civilization has conquered the world. Even our land [Greece]. But this vacuousness does not give rest, does not console, does not embrace...
It covers the inner emptiness of men by placing garbage below the rug, if not showing trying to show the garbage as treasure!
How beautiful is the video that I had seen before, which showed Elder Ephraim loading food to hasten to feed the poor, homeless and drenched people, to offer to them from the overflowing of his heart.
And behold, once again, the unity of Hesychasm with action. Our Elders and Hesychasts have a burning heart for all of creation, and thus find the way to benefit and multiply for their fellow men even material gifts, not just those spiritual!
And the little Johnny from Volos, the Athonite Elder, Hieromonk Father Ephraim of Arizona and all America, and the former Abbot of the Monastery of Philotheou, he appears to spread out and unfolded Orthodox spirituality in the epicenter of the modern world in the USA. And thus, the Athonite huts have "conquered" the world, offering indelibly the Light of Christ, Who shines upon all!
May we have his blessing!
--Stelios Koukos, https://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2019/12/a-reflection-of-joy-making-sorrow-at.html
Today, in the non-Orthodox congregations of North America, many evils are pouring in:
But for those with humility, for those who are willing to repent and return to Christ’s One True Body, the Orthodox Church, there are extraordinary friends, beacons of Light – yes, actual holy saints like St Ephraim of Arizona, who will embrace us with the full Love of God and lift us out of the mire and darkness into which much of North America has sunk. That is the only way she will know true life; any other alternative (socialism, nationalism, States’ Rights, libertarianism, Gaia worship, technophilia, etc.) is deceptive and leads only to death.
Wherefore, let us not be like the apostates, but instead cry with all our heart:
‘Holy Father Ephraim, pray for us sinners at the South and for all of North America!’
For those who want to draw closer to the Saint, here a few links that may help:
Some his teachings and a bit more history about him are here:
This short video describes how Elder Ephraim was miraculously led to establish the monastery of St Anthony the Great in the middle of the Arizona desert in 1995, where he spent much of his later years:
--Picture of St Ephraim from https://orthodoxwiki.org/Ephraim_(Moraitis)_of_Philotheou
Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!
Anathema to the Union!