In the late hours of Saturday, December 7, 2019, Elder Ephraim of Philotheou peacefully fell asleep in the Lord at Saint Anthony Monastery in Florence, Arizona at the age of 92. As the founder of 17 monastic communities in the United States, Elder Ephraim was responsible for the growth of Orthodox monasticism in this country.
Elder Ephraim was prolific in his teachings and writings, including several commentaries on his personal experiences and knowledge gained from his time as a disciple of Saint Joseph the Hesychast. His experiences as the abbot of Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos, as well as being a hieromonk for 71 years and an elder for 50 years, made Elder Ephraim a significant spiritual guide for thousands of people throughout the world.
“To earn one’s crown of righteousness and the gift of eternal life is truly a blessing, and it was something that Elder Ephraim strived for throughout his time on this earth,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “Every moment of every day was spent in prayer, fasting and worship, and I know that God to whom he prayed so fervently has welcomed Elder Ephraim into paradise.”
The Funeral Service for Elder Ephraim will be prayed on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery, 4784 N. Saint Joseph’s Way, Florence, AZ 85232. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America will preside at the funeral service. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco will also serve at the funeral, along with other hierarchs of the Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Members of the monastic communities, clergy and faithful from throughout the Archdiocese and abroad will also journey to Saint Anthony Monastery to pay their respects to Elder Ephraim.
St. Paisios on Praying at Home
Silence greatly helps in spiritual life. It is good for one to practice silence for about an hour a day: to test himself, to acknowledge his passions and to fight in order to cut them off and purify his heart. It is very good if there is a quiet room in the house which gives him the feeling of a monastic cell. There, “in secret,” he is able to do his spiritual maintenance, to study, and to pray. A little spiritual study done before prayer helps greatly. The soul warms up and the mind is transported to the spiritual realm. That’s why, when a person has many distractions during the day, he should rejoice if he has ten minutes for prayer, or even two minutes to read something, so as to drive away distractions.
—St. Paisios the Athonite (1924-1994), from Family Life