The Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, also known as Elder Ephraim the Arizonite, wrote a small book that was published in 1991 by the New Sarov Press (Blanco, Texas 78606, ISBN 1-880364-05-0). It was printed with the blessings of His Grace Bishop Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (as mentioned in the book). The book is titled “A Call From The Holy Mountain” with a subtitle of “The Sacred Monastery of Philotheou”. At the outset it should be understood and known that Elder Ephraim has no known formal theological instruction or training. He was at one time the Abbot of the Monastery of Philotheou on Mount Athos.
It is alleged by his legion of followers that he chose to leave that monastery and the Holy Mountain, because of his alleged self-professed vision of the Virgin Mary telling him “to go to America and make it return to pure Orthodoxy”. Remarkably, this conveniently corroborates the alleged teachings of his spiritual father, Joseph the Hesychast. It was Joseph the Hesychast who is reported to have also taught his followers to go into the world and make it return to pure “Athonite” Orthodoxy. Thus begins the travail of Elder Ephraim which hashed such an effect on Orthodox Christians in North America.
After living temporarily in both Canada and Russia, Elder Ephraim came to the United States and founded St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, Arizona, among many others. Elder Ephraim now has over 20 monasteries in North America, as well as others abroad. He is acknowledged as the “Spiritual Father” of these monasteries by the monks and those residing there. Elder Ephraim has become a lightning rod of controversy. His teachings and his movement have been characterized by Orthodox scholars as zealous and fundamentalist.
The National Herald recently published that, “There is a huge difference, though, between healthy monasticism and the cultish mentality that the Ephraimite monasticism promotes.” (Theodore Kalmoukos, The National Herald, December 13th 2012). In order to promulgate his version of Orthodox Theology and worship, his followers have educated themselves on his various books and audio tapes. His first book, A Call From The Holy Mountain, has the distinction of being removed from print, and is very difficult to find anywhere. With diligent searching we’ve obtained a copy. In this book, the readers will clearly see the mindset of Elder Ephraim directly from his quotes and accurate paraphrases. At the end of this article there will be an appendix provided with the exact language directly from this book so our readers can verify the accuracy of our commentary.
This is a unique opportunity to see and learn Elder Ephraim’s perspective on various issues. While there are many parts of this 50 page booklet that are edifying and inspiring, there are also powerfully disturbing comments and teachings still being taught today – as attested to by many former Monastics from his Monasteries.
At the end, Geronda Ephraim talks about the Antichrist, Ecumenism, Zionism and the Protocols.