Comments on MYSTAGOGY: Troubled Monk Apparently Commits Suicide in Arizona

Geronda Ephraim Filotheitis, founder and spiritual director of 18 Greek Orthodox monasteries in North America.
Geronda Ephraim Filotheitis, founder and spiritual director of 18 Greek Orthodox monasteries in North America.

Comments from an Orthodox BlogSpot:

he was most definitely not tonsured. he went to st…

‎Sunday, ‎July ‎01, ‎2012, ‏‎4:41:10 PM | noreply@blogger.com (anonymous)

he was most definitely not tonsured. he went to st anthonys as a lay person after being baptized on mt athos and lived there for six years as a novice without being tonsured. i knew him well and am sure about this.

I have been informed that he was a Riasaphor Monk,…

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎26, ‎2012, ‏‎7:39:58 AM | noreply@blogger.com (J.Sanidopoulos)

I have been informed that he was a Riasaphor Monk, which means he was tonsured, but still was considered a Novice as Riasaphor Monk’s usually are. This occurred soon after he was baptized on Mount Athos.

He was a former novice monk. That should have been…

‎Monday, ‎June ‎25, ‎2012, ‏‎1:45:45 PM | noreply@blogger.com (mammas1221)

He was a former novice monk. That should have been stated clearly – put any other way is just a feeble attempt to slander Saint Anthonys. Poor boy sounds like he had serious mental problems. So sorry for him and his family. Thank God he didn’t hurt any of the Fathers or pilgrims at Saint Anthonys.

Thanks (I won't repeat your name)! I agree the…

‎Sunday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2012, ‏‎12:09:48 PM | noreply@blogger.com (J.Sanidopoulos)

Thanks (I won’t repeat your name)! I agree the title could be better (not my title, by the way), but never judge a book by its cover (which usually includes a title). The contents reveal the details. Plus, the word “novice” demands context, because it is a multifaceted word in English (in Greek too), that applies to many things besides monasticism (it means “one who is being tested”. Journalism requires short titles though to draw people in to read the article.

I think the main point is the he had LEFT the mona…

‎Sunday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2012, ‏‎11:16:23 AM | noreply@blogger.com (7420ce82-be0f-11e1-9c9a-000f20980440)

I think the main point is the he had LEFT the monastery. If he was still living inside the monastery when he had committed suicide, then I could see how they would call him a “novice monk”, or even just a “monk”, as John is saying. But wouldn’t the title have been much more accurate, and less misleading, if they had called him a “former novice”, instead of just a “monk”? Let’s say a young man wants to “try out” a monastery, and he gets a blessing from the abbot to live there for a while. Then let’s say that after a few months, the young man decides that monasticism isn’t for him, so he leaves the monastery. Do we still continue calling him a “monk” for the rest of his life? (BTW, John, I love your blog! Thank you and God bless you).

In Greek a novice is called a monk, or a dokimos m…

‎Sunday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2012, ‏‎4:11:08 AM | noreply@blogger.com (J.Sanidopoulos)

In Greek a novice is called a monk, or a dokimos monahos. It’s a common name for a novice. The word “monk” describes the lifestyle, the word novice describes the “title”. To be a novice, by definition, means to “be under obedience”. There is no formal ceremony, but it does require a blessing from a spiritual father or mother. In fact, sometimes novices remain so their entire life, and sometimes ascetics who have never even lived in a monastery are called monks, which simply describes their lifestyle of “being alone”. You can read more here about the degrees of Orthodox monasticism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degrees_of_Eastern_Orthodox_monasticism

And also, "monk" is a title in the Ortho…

‎Sunday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2012, ‏‎1:27:55 AM | noreply@blogger.com (Anonymous)

And also, “monk” is a title in the Orthodox Church. I.e, the former Bishop Artmey in Serbia, now a schismatic and defrocked, is simply called “Monk Artemy” in all official correspondance from the Holy Synod. In addition, Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos almost always signed his letters “Monk Paisios.” Forgive me

I don't think that is quite right….novices a…

‎Sunday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2012, ‏‎1:24:57 AM | noreply@blogger.com (Anonymous)

I don’t think that is quite right….novices are not monks, as they have not been tonsured as the schema monks and great schema monks have been. Thus they are still often called only by their simple Christian name or “brother” so and so….in addition they are free to leave as novices and marry, etc…with no canonical problems. This is not the case for a professed or tonsured monk or nun. Thus I agree that the title is very misleading….many folks can try being novices, but being tonsured a “monk” is much greater step and a binding commitment. Forgive me.

For at least the past year, Scott had been soundin…

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎23, ‎2012, ‏‎8:48:31 PM | noreply@blogger.com (Anonymous)

For at least the past year, Scott had been sounding more and more insane. Here’s but one of his several crazy posts from youtube: “Yes, Elder Ephraim is an evil man. He buries his monks alive. They’re not dead when they’re buried, so they’re bodies sag at burial. I’m not still a novice, but I was for about six years. Elder Ephraim isn’t holy, he’s demonized, and a liar. I, on the other hand, am of a sound mind.” There are many other such comments if you google, including insults to the Orthodox Church as well as Christ himself. Very sad indeed. Also it is sad that the enemies of the monasteries are using this tragic incident in an attempt to further their cause.

To be clear, he was indeed a novice monk. A monk i…

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎23, ‎2012, ‏‎5:29:47 PM | noreply@blogger.com (J.Sanidopoulos)

To be clear, he was indeed a novice monk. A monk is not a title in Orthodoxy. Titles go before it, such as “Novice”, “Schema”, “Great Schema”, etc.

Amin to both comments.

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎23, ‎2012, ‏‎4:54:54 PM | noreply@blogger.com (Anonymous)

Amin to both comments.

I think the title is incorrect, since he is not, a…

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎23, ‎2012, ‏‎3:43:29 PM | noreply@blogger.com (Anonymous)

I think the title is incorrect, since he is not, and never was, a monk. Either way, may God rest his soul.

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