The life of pious Ephrem Philotheos

Pious Ephrem was born in 1927 in Volos, Greece, receiving at his baptism the name of John. He lived in poverty helping his father in his carpentry but also trying to follow the example of humble life of his mother who later became a nun under the name of Teophana. From 14 years old he wished to become a monk but he didn`t receive the blessing of his confessor, father Ephrem from Volos, disciple of pious Joseph the Hesychast.

Immediately after he finished his work his mother took him with her and they went to the church to attend the holy services and to father Ephrem for confession. He spoke to them about the instability of life, about the love of God, about confession, the Jesus prayer, about tears, about elder Joseph and the Holy Mountain.

In the autumn of 1947 at 19 years old, young John received the blessing of his confessor to go to the Holy Mountain to become a monk.

Arriving in Athos he became a disciple of pious Joseph the Hesychast who gave him the monachal tonsure in 1948 giving him the name of Ephrem. Later he was ordained deacon and then priest. The life in the community of pious Joseph  was one of tough struggle and pious Ephrem made great progress in the spiritual life under the guidance of his holy father.

After the repose of pious Joseph in 1959, father Ephrem continued to live a life of great ascetical struggle at Nea Skiti until 1973 when he was called as abbot of the Holy Monastery of Philoteou.

There in a short time he succeed to renew the spiritual life of the monastery. Due to his reputation the community of the monastery grew quickly.

The Synaxis of the Holy Mountain asked father Ephrem to involve in renewing the spiritual life of the many monasteries from the Holy Mountain where the number of monks decreased vertiginously, namely  of Xiropotamu, Konstamonitou and Karakallou. Beside these monasteries from the Holy Mountain there were other monasteries from Greece who were under the spiritual guidance of  pious Ephrem, from them reminding the Monastery of John the Forerunner from Serres, the Monastery of the Holy Mother of God the Guide from Portaria (volos) and that one of Saint Archangel Michael – official metochion from Thassos of the Holy Monastery Philoteou

Archimandrite Ephrem the Philotheos was known as an authentic Athonite starets, having thousands of spiritual sons all over the world: monks, clerics and laymen. He is considered the first one who founded a monastery with the Athonite typikon in America. Beginning with 2005 elder Ephrem moved to the United States of America where he founded seventeen monasteries (of nuns and monks) all under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Archiepiscopate from America and Canada. He lived the last part of his life at the Holy Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great from Arizona.

Pious Ephrem reposed on December the 8th at 7 in the morning Romanian time (repsectively at 10 pm the local hour from Arizona) at the age of 92.


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