Voices from Russia

Monday, 18 June 2012

18 June 2012. Another Sane Voice Weighs In on the Ephraimites

Elder Ephraim of Philotheou (1927- ) with followers


A long-standing friend weighed in with this intel:

I know Fr Ephraim and I believe him to be an excellent man. However, as so often happens, I also believe that many of the “Ephraimites” are rather nasty. In other words, the poor man’s a prisoner of these nutjobs. We must distinguish between Fr Ephraim and his self-appointed followers.

Firstly, this sounds like a great deal of good sense. Fr Ephraim’s in his eighties, which means that he’s not as robust as he once was. Other sources tell me that he’s sharp as a tack mentally, but frail physically. You see, one of the reasons that I post as I do is to provoke responses from my “cabinet”. This is NOT a solitary enterprise, for if it were, it’d be doomed to failure. To return to the point, it’s very true that hieromonks from Ephraimite monasteries have caused great upset amongst believers. However… I’ve received just as many communications stating firmly that Fr Ephraim isn’t involved personally. This is much like what happened in the years just prior to Vladyki Laurus‘ death at Jordanville. There were parties there that used Vladyki’s physical frailty as a “cover” for their own ambitions and power games. Here’s the sad part… a good elder or hierarch CAN be dragged under by the actions of crook subordinates. I hope that the GOAA investigation uncovers the truth and cuts out the cancer. The future of Elder Ephraim’s name depends on it.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Monday 18 June 2012

Albany NY


Sunday, 17 June 2012

17 June 2012. A Cautionary Word About Elder Ephraim… The Jury’s Still Out, Kids

Schema-Archimandrite Zosima Sokur (1944-2002), a REAL elder… and he WASN’T noted for goofy “obediences” or overly-strict penances. He said, “Mysticism is harmful to the soul. Our main miracles are the liturgy, repentance, and prayer. … Avoid extremes… extremes aren’t from God. Take the middle path. Don’t despair… there’s no sin that can’t be healed by repentance. God is merciful. … Be in a hurry to do good deeds, life is so short. May your guardian angel watch over you”.


If you really want to get Orthodox folks riled up, start a discussion about Elder Ephraim and his monasteries. The situation around this monastic is confused, to say the least. Not only are emotions very high, there’s more than two sides to this debate, and I’ve been unable to make much sense of it, admittedly. In fact, to speak bluntly, it’s a gigantic shit sandwich, best avoided by most of us. However, I do know from multiple sources that Ephramite priests are overly zealous and strict in confession. One priest told me, “They’ll tell people to stay away from communion for years because of this or that minor infraction”. Another source told me that Ephramite priests told a woman who had an abortion that she couldn’t take communion for three years.

I’m told that there’s an investigation in the GOAA on at present concerning this guy. Click here for an outside report on Ephraim. Until this investigation is over, I’d advise you to keep your money in your wallet. My good-sense observation is that eighteen monasteries took a fair chunk of cash to build, and “money doesn’t grow on trees”. Right now, we don’t know if Ephraim is a Zosima Sokur or Ioann Krestiankin, or if he’s a Sam Greene or Gleb Podmoshensky (the latter was the guru to Paffhausen and Eliel… they were his willing running dogs (JP even went to Russia under his auspices)). Until we do, discount all partisan praise of him.

I’d say be careful… this particular field has more than its share of large juicy cow pats just waiting for the unwary. Until there’s been an official account from the GOAA on this guy, be cautious and don’t part with your cash… that’s the most that I’m going to say now. God willing, the report will be out in the autumn… things like that NEVER come out in the summer, y’ know. Things are never boring in Orthodoxy in America…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 17 June 2012

Albany NY

Friday, 20 January 2012

More Than 100,000 People Signed Online Petition Demanding the Release of Archimandrite Ephrem

THIS is why Abba Ephrem’s in prison… he brought the Belt of the Most Holy Mother of God to Russia, and millions of believers bowed before it, including leaders of the state… and the American special services wanted to punish him for that. You have a choice… you can support the godliness embodied in Holy Rus, or, you can support the demonic Evangelicalism (a religious apologia for the radical rightwing) regnant in the USA, which is Satan’s simulacrum of Christianity. Reflect on this… Paffhausen’s chosen the latter, not the former, course… interesting, no?


According to a website favourable to the release of Igumen Ephrem, the Abbot of Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for his release from custody in a Greek prison for dangerous criminals. The website “Free Elder Ephraim” has a petition that you can sign to appeal to the President and Prime Minister of Greece, as well as the Supreme Court (Areopagus) for the release of Igumen Ephrem. A portion of the protest posted on the site reads, “We’re convinced that the decision to remand a respected spiritual elder to preliminary custody is a political provocation, with the aim of undermining the authority of Holy Mount Athos and the Church in general”. A counter of signatures on the site shows that the number overtopped 100,000 on Thursday, reaching 103,155 on Thursday evening. This document is available in Russian, Greek, Serbian, Georgian, Bulgarian, English, Romanian, French, and German.

19 January 2012



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