Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona
April 4, 1990
Philotheou Monastery, Mount Athos
Here in Greece, and even more so abroad, there are people living far away from God, either with heresies, or with satanism, or narcotics, or crime, and what else is there that does not exist abroad. All these people are God’s creatures. All these people are God’s children. All these people need prayer, need help to be enlightened, to return to God. You see lost beings on the road, you feel sorry for them and think: Where is this man going, what is he doing, where is he dwelling, what does he believe, how does he understand life? He is like an animal that does not know what to rejoice at. Every man is called to live the eternal life with Christ, and yet he finds himself in this great – let us say – abandonment, he is in the midst of this desperation, inside his lost self. And indeed he needs prayer. From whom? Who will make this powerful prayer for these men to be enlightened? It is for this that all the people who are confessing have enormous devoutness for monasticism. They revere monks very much, and they greatly desire the establishment of monasteries. They love the Holy Fathers so much, and they know that the patristic teachings substantially give new birth. Certainly, the patristic teaching is the interpretation of the Gospel in detail, the evangelic truth inside the practical application of the life of the Fathers. These people there want also to live this life. And if it is in our Christ’s plan, what He wants will happen, because I believe that the antichrist will come and set foot first and foremost on that great Babylon which is called New York. However, he will come to find the strongest front: he will find Christians full of life and faith confronting him.
It is for this reason that monasticism must stand again on its bastion, on this great strength that it contains in itself. We proclaimed this throughout North America, and said to them that perhaps they and their children and those children yet to be born, must be initiated in the Faith, in the Orthodox Faith, in the patristic teachings, in order to become strong Christians, to become confessors and martyrs who will give the testimony of Christ during those years of the antichrist. They will be immeasurably greater Saints of the great Saints and martyrs of the Church, because then, in the first years of Christianity and of the Orthodox Faith, the grace was there by the bushel, as we say. There was holiness everywhere, and the Holy Spirit was very apparent. They were praying, and the Holy Spirit was descending on the Apostles, and they were speaking other tongues—Oh, the grandeur of God! And the martyrs, with the martyrdoms, with the miracles, with the signs they were giving, were bringing the people to the Faith abundantly.
But now in the latest years, in these last years we see that the world is full of the worshipers of Satan and heretics and apostates from God. Therefore those who will give the testimony of our Christ will become awesome martyrs, awesome Saints in the other world. Today we see souls being saved, and we feel that these simple saved people are very great, and have much glory in Heaven near God.
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