"I entered one of Fr. Ephraim's monasteries, with the firm intention of staying to become a monastic. But I was shocked by some of what was being taught there, it just felt wrong. It seemed exactly like a cult! And once you're in with Ephraim's disciples, they may make it quite difficult for you to ever leave them. Thank you for bringing this more out into the open on your website. I think that the 'Christ' of the Epraimites is quite different from the loving Jesus Christ we know from our Orthodox parishes."
"I only wish to express to you my concern that you have lumped Orthodox monasteries in with all manner of cults. Fr. Ephraim's monasteries are entirely consistent with additional Orthodox monasticism. The fathers teach that one should die to the world and flee to the desert if one is called to the monastic life. One should be as a corpse in the hands of one's spiritual father. If one's parents oppose one's entry into the monastic life, one should reject their pleas as demonic. Regardless of one's acceptance of these views, they are traditional monasticism, and certainly not cult like."
"I recently visited Holy Archangels Greek Orthodox Monastery in Texas, one of elder Ephraim's very contoversial monasteries. Having completed about 60 hours of undergrad sociology, I have studied cults. I am also very well read on Orthodox monasticism, and I left because this place met more critera of a cult than of a monastery."
"There is a ultra-Orthodox Ukraninan group in West Palm Beach Florida that in our opinion is a very dangerous cult group. They are connected with the Greek Orthodox Church. We have seen first-hand what they are doing it is totally non-Orthodox. This group gives Orthodox a bad name. Continue the great work that do, it is most needed."
--A concerned Orthodox priest.
"Elder Ephraim's monasteries' are flush with cash and property, but when I was there a small group of teenagers, many of whom didn't seem to have a well-defined intention of becoming monks, were doing the bulk of the hard manual labor (although the actual monks did contribute somewhat). The big thing that really made me nervous was that every single question I had was met by the same reply: "You'll have to ask Geronda." Geronda is a Greek term for abbot. Even very simple, non-esoteric questions such as "how often are you allowed to bath" were met with that same response. I'm nervous about the whole thing also because the monk running it refers to himself as the bishop of the monastery, which means he answers only to one man, who is almost never there, and who in turn answers to no one.
"A lot of the stuff they said down there was new to old monk-priests I talked to in my parish. If you understand that in Orthodoxy, nothing is new, this is frightening. The property is off in the middle of nowhere, and if something went wrong, it could go very wrong. It was a strange form of residence (over 3 months) free labor, and the talk was of Elder Ephraim rather than Jesus or "normal" Orthodox Christian topics."
"I don't think what Ephraim has are monasteries, but rather 13 small cults. This guy was [demoted (others say he 'willingly stepped down')] on Mount Athos and made to leave, but now is 'marketed' as a guru from the mountain. The abbot that I talked to didn't seem to have much interest in the Philokalia (the monk's handbook for hundreds of years) or any literature, but that relating to Ephraim."
"Let me congratulate you--your site regarding Fr. Ephraim is terrific! And most unfortunately--very timely and necessary, I fear."
Copyright © Rick Ross
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