Beware World Orthodox Elders Who Reject Old Calendarists

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Re: Beware World Orthodox "Elders"

Postby Barbara » Thu 27 July 2017 4:36 am

Meanwhile, I wanted to bring up this thread as a cross reference to one about the newly groomed World Orthodox "eldress", R-nun Vassa Larin.


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Re: Beware World Orthodox "Elders"

Postby Barbara » Tue 8 August 2017 2:52 am

Here, correct me if I am out of line in my analysis, Fr Irineos, or any other knowledgeable member.
I was rereading the interview with a Russian hierodeacon at St Anthony's in Arizona. This Fr Seraphim [Molibog] recounts the following to the journalist, Olga Rozhneva.

Fr Seraphim : I can tell a few more stories about the providence of God.

Olga R. —Please do.

Hierodeacon Seraphim : —The first is about Schemanun Evpraxia. Our elder, Fr. Ephraim, has tonsured about fifteen people into the schema just before death. Most of them were in the final stages of [ a particularly difficult but common illness today ]. Mother Evpraxia joined a Greek monastery when she was eighteen. She took the monastic tonsure. The elder summoned her to America and placed her as the abbess of the Monastery of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos in Florida. Then he moved her to another monastery, in Canada.

She was diagnosed with [ a bad sickness ]. The elder told her: “Come here. You will die in our monastery.” She arrived a few days before death. The elder tonsured her into the schema with the same name. Two days later she departed to the Lord.

The deceased was brought into the church. We took a picture for remembering. The Psalter was read over her body, according to tradition. When they took more pictures after forty minutes, they were amazed. A smile had appeared on her lips. The elder said: “She had great love for people, and a serious illness. She is very high in Paradise.”

Now is this coincidence that the interview appeared last August 12 ? I believe that was fr Seraphim [Rose]'s birthday. This Platina hieromonk was widely promoted as having evinced a peaceful, radiant look after his repose. Some have questioned whether that facial expression was natural -- or whether it was contrived by interested parties. That is, those who for many reasons including the self-interest of their Northern California monastery, wish to see fr Seraphim [Rose] glorified. Perhaps he should be included as a false elder, though many, many readers would be furious to hear such a sentiment. At least, let's say that Fr Seraphim [Rose] has been retooled into a prominent World Orthodox spokesperson by subsequent Platina administrations. He didn't start out that way, but that is how this hieromonk has been recast in the St Herman Brotherhood's later writings.

Here we have another Fr Seraphim, this time a Russian, marveling at the smile which appeared posthumously on the face of Mother Evpraxia. [ Can we call her "Soeur Sourire" ? Just joking - see viewtopic.php?f=12&t=12153 for the reference if interested ] My point is about pseudo-Elder Ephraim's pronouncement. To me [ please do tell me, Father Irineos, if I am wrong ] that seems rash. How would he know where the soul of Mother Evpraxia went after her repose ? Does a serious illness, as pseudo-elder implies, guarantee " a very high place in Paradise " ? Isn't that God's Judgment rather than the earthly spiritual father's assessment of where her soul was sent ? It seems ill-considered to make such a forceful statement. Especially with no tangible evidence. Miracles did not shower down, such occurred [ before and ] after the repose of St John Maximovitch. Only a smile appeared. Surely the reader rejoices that the suffering nun was now at peace after enduring pain and trials. But does this station her soul in the high levels of Heaven ? That seems over-confident of the pseudo - elder to state with such certainty.

On the good side, such a comment could give encouragement to other people who are ill and suffering. But there is no guarantee for anybody regardless of what illness or other circumstance they endured during their earthly life that they will be found worthy of Heaven at all -- let alone 'a high level' of the celestial domain.

Let's compare the careless statement of pseudo-elder Ephraim with TRUE ELDER Ambrose of Optina. When asked about a nun's mother's fate after repose, the Elder prayed for awhile. He spoke briefly, "Your mother found mercy with God."

The humble True Elder did not take it upon himself to say "Her soul is saved". Note the vast difference. Even more notably, St Amvrosy did NOT try to assert that the mother's soul had been taken to a high place in Paradise !

In other examples of such questions, which were commonly asked, the Optina Elders gave similar replies to Elder Amvrosy's. At no time [ that I recall seeing ] did an Optina Elder DARE to make such a crystal-ball pronouncement, though they were all marvelously clairvoyant --- unlike pseudo-elder Ephraim !

As a side note, once a supplicant was told by Elder Amvrosy, I think it was, that she needed to sell the family property and give the money to the poor IN ORDER to elevate her husband's soul to a better place. He had been a dissolute person but since the wife was inconsolable over his loss, the husband was allowed to come to her and say that if she wanted to help improve the state of his soul, this was how. The Elder backed this up, adding a few instructions, which the wife obeyed. Finally she got a repeat visit which made her feel confident that her husband's soul was in a better place.

Never is it explained EXACTLY WHERE the souls were ! It seems presumptuous for any human to make such a pronouncement, as only God can make this decision. Apparently even the foremost Orthodox clairvoyants of the mid to late 19th century were not shown the specifics of which soul went where. If they were, the Elders were forbidden to speak about it, even to console family members. They wisely limited themselves to saying that the departed soul had been granted mercy.

Therefore, how can a questionable elder --- one who has loudly condemned the Old Calendar --- claim with such confidence that his own disciple was rewarded with a high ranking in the Heavenly Kingdom ?

PS Perhaps one of the Russian synods should contact this Hierodeacon Seraphim [Molibog] to see if he might consider joining a Russian TOC ? Fr Seraphim, born in Russia, can't be THAT comfortable in the Greek world, and his elder is quite aged [ 94 ? ]. He is no longer functioning as an elder, I have read. What will happen after elder Ephraim reposes ?

While still a layman and discerning which monastery to enter, Fr Seraphim related to Olga R :

"I asked her: “Mother Fevronia, it seems to me you want to say something to me…” and she responded that she had prayed for me all night. She told me: “God’s will for you is to go to Fr. Ephraim and be a monk in his monastery.” I was amazed. Then she advised me to go to San Francisco to the “Joy of All Who Sorrow” cathedral, to St. John of Shanghai. His relics are in a wooden shrine under glass, and underneath there’s an opening where anyone who wants to can drop a note to the saint.

I went to San Francisco and wrote a letter to St. John of Shanghai, requesting that he pray for me. Then I went to St. Anthony’s and immediately felt sure that it was “my” monastery. That’s how I wound up here."

But would St John Maximovitch have sent the future Fr Seraphim [Molibog] into the spiritual care of a pseudo-elder ? St John would have seemingly pointed this young Russian seeker to Jordanville in pre-union days. Today we don't have any way to know which men's monastery the great clairvoyant Saint would suggest. However, it seems that the future hierodeacon gave short shrift to any potential guidance from St John. He trusted Mother Fevronia's dictate that he go to elder Ephraim, and subsequently relied on his impulsive feeling to settle on St Anthony's in Arizona.

Could this have been a case of mistaken discernment ?? There is still time for him to correct his mistake.

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Re: Beware World Orthodox "Elders"

Postby Barbara » Wed 9 August 2017 5:03 am

Having written the above section, I opened up Elder Macarius of Optina to a particular page and line. I read a few lines which seemed to speak about what should have been done instead by Fr Seraphim [Molibog].

First, though, a short introduction :

Leo Alexandrovich Kavelin was from an elite family who owned an estate near Optina. After a distinguished military career, he began looking into monasticism. Elder Macarius gave him the assignment to check various monasteries and report back about the ascetics there. This task allowed Leo Alexandrovich to see for himself some of the major monasteries such as the St Alexander Nevsky Lavra to help him decide which to enter.

Elder Macarius wrote to Leo regarding the monastic life : "One cannot hide anywhere from temptations except in the depths of humility." The book continues "Reaching this understanding in his heart, Kavelin decided to follow this advice both in choosing a monastery and discerning the will of God."

At the famous St Alexander Nevsky Lavra, therefore, Kavelin made his decision. He opted for Optina. Note how much careful, conscientious guidance he received from Elder Macarius, who wrote a number of letters to him, helping him at this pivotal juncture.

Whereas, the future Fr Seraphim [Molibog] trusted a Schemanun, Fevronia, who may well be sincere and experienced. But she gave the young Russian the wrong advice -- based on her personal loyalty to pseudo-elder Ephraim, we surmise.

Contrast that with Elder Macarius who said nothing to his disciple Leo about which monastery to enter. Only he gave Leo this tip about humility being the key to overcoming all the trials to which someone bent on monasticism or already in monasticism is faced.

When the future Fr Seraphim merely wrote a letter asking St John Maximovitch to pray for him [ assumedly in his choice of monastery ], it seems not very humble that Fr Seraphim did not wait around for an answer from the great miracle-worker of the 20th century ! Instead, he blindly followed Mother Febronia's direction, making a beeline for Arizona. Who is more spiritually advanced, St John, a proven Saint, or a venerable schemanun who is still alive and thus subject to distortions of perception ? To her credit, it was she who pushed the young seeker to visit the shrine of St John. But he seemed not to be impressed by St John, rushing through his account without mention of how he felt at the Saint's relics. More to the point, the future Fr Seraphim seems to have dashed off a pro forma letter, rather than specifically asking the Wonderworker's assistance in choosing the right monastery to join.

Perhaps this is the type of disciple who is pulled into pseudo-elder's orbit. Not too deep spiritually, nor experienced enough to have patience to wait for a true Saint like St John Maximovitch to direct him. St Anthony's Monastery might attract people who live more in the human realm of doing what seems right according to logic : "the grounds are gorgeous, the tile roofed buildings colorful, the elder looks the part...", we can almost hear a person like Hierodeacon Seraphim musing.

Whereas St John had klobouk and hair askew, walked in worn sandals, had no glamorous surroundings, busily visited the forgotten and neglected members of his flock in hospitals, their homes, or wherever they might have been suffering. He would appear even without their notifying him of their distress : a true clairvoyant.

In decided contrast, Fr Ephraim of Arizona seems well suited to play the role of elder in a film about eldership. He may appear the way one expects a sage old elder to look; however, evidence for Fr Ephraim's abilities as a real life elder is slender. His clairvoyance is - at best - uncertain. Diplomatically stated, there is no comparison between St John Maximovitch and Fr Ephraim. Thus it seems odd to an observer that the help of the former was brushed over in the stampede for St Anthony's Monastery in Arizona.

Let's return to the disciple of Elder Macarius, Leo Alexandrovich Kavelin. His tonsure at Optina was the happiest day of his life, because he knew he was doing the will of God [ not merely pronouncing the words, nor twisting it into something else as I see that the Life-Giving Spring Convent Mother did, though probably very well-intentioned ]. Fr Leo went on to write the very biography of Elder Macarius which I picked up to find that insight about temptations will be everywhere ; one can only conquer them by humility.

Archimandrite Leo [ Kavelin ] chose the right spiritual path from the outset. As a result, God blessed his ecclesiastical career which was nothing short of brilliant. He was appointed head of the Russian Mission in Jerusalem, then to New Jerusalem [ ! ], the spectacular and imaginative Monastery build by Patriarch Nikon near modern Istra, as Abbot. From here, Archimandrite Leo was made Abbot of Russia's top Lavra, St Sergius - Holy Trinity.

All this time, Archimandrite Leo did assiduous research in Russian archeology and Church History, producing a major tome called "Holy Russia". This encyclopedia listed every Russian Saint, their dates, where their relics rested, and even who had composed the service to each. Additionally, Archimandrite Leo wrote 270 titles, including the famous Trinity Leaflets, which were read and valued throughout the entire country.

From all these and many other remarkable accomplishments compressed into a mere 69 years, we see the visible fruit of a true, great elder teaching a great disciple the right spiritual path from the very start.

Whereas, a false elder will never demonstrate or teach authentic humility but instead lead them down the garden path. Example : Fr Ephraim's irresponsibly exalting his disciple Mother Evpraxia as having reached the high echelons of the Heavenly world.

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Re: Beware World Orthodox "Elders"

Postby Barbara » Sun 24 September 2017 3:02 am

Recent Icon of Elder MACARIUS to illustrate the post above :


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Re: Beware World Orthodox "Elders"

Postby Barbara » Sun 24 September 2017 3:06 am

Here is an article by a Catholic publication about how the Russian youth are drawn to Optina for spiritual guidance from elders and spiritual fathers there.
This raises many questions, since Optina, despite its venerable tradition, is a World Orthodox monastery under the jurisdiction of the MP.
What level of guidance is being dispensed to the pilgrims and youth, we can only speculate. Certainly, as the 29 year old woman interviewed says, it is better quality direction than from the usual parish priests.

It's just worth considering how well the current crop of clergy there is able to perceive truth about each supplicant. While no one expects contemporary priestmonks to be clairvoyant elders like the famous Elders of the past, do they only dispense fairly stereotypical advice ?

"[Anya] Bulochnikova, the young woman, said she comes to the monastery to get the spiritual advice she needs to live her life well.

“I try to confess here regularly,” she said. “A confession here is not the same as anywhere else; priests here are stricter, and you feel that it is a real spiritual work.”

As a result, she said, “the joy you feel here after confession is also so bright that you can’t compare it to anything else." ... onasticism

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Re: Beware World Orthodox "Elders"

Postby Justice » Thu 12 October 2017 11:47 pm

The World Orthodox "elder" Epiphaneos Theodoropoulos has supposedly had a "revelation" proving that the Traditional Orthodox Church is wrong. If you want to read about his "revelation" I'll give the link: ... c-old.html

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Re: Beware World Orthodox "Elders"

Postby Maria » Fri 13 October 2017 1:16 am

Justice wrote:The World Orthodox "elder" Epiphaneos Theodoropoulos has supposedly had a "revelation" proving that the Traditional Orthodox Church is wrong. If you want to read about his "revelation" I'll give the link: ... c-old.html

Do not trust John Sanidopoulos.

He is hard line World Orthodox.

And do not trust private revelations as they can be of the devil.
Even signs and wonders can be from the devil. One must learn to discern.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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