The Advantages of Insulating Concrete Forms [ICF’s] (Fr. Epifanios Kapritsas, NY)

NOTE: Fr. Epifanios, a dentist by trade, is originally from Toronto. He became a novice in 1996 at St. John the Theologian Monastery in Picton, Canada. He immigrated to the United States in the spring of 1997 and settled at the Arizona monastery where he was tonsured a rassaphore. In 1999, he relocated to Roscoe, NY where he helped found and establish the St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery, Inc. Fr. Epifanios also owns the Archangel Michael Christianorthodox Cemetery Ltd in Roscoe, New York (NY)

p-koulouris_painting_father-epifanios_18x24

St. Nektarios Monastery and ICF’s

If you travel northeast across the Pennsylvania state line you’ll come to the town of Roscoe, New York. Tucked in the hills of Roscoe is the St. Nektarios Monastery. Founded in 1998 by Archimandrite Ephrem of Philotheou Monastery, St. Nektarios is home to 19 residents. In addition to those that live there full time, St. Nektarios also houses groups coming to the monastery for retreats. Attendance for those those retreats can range from 20-50 people.

The fathers' quarters was originally advertised as a project to build a new, larger womens' quarters. After the project began, the Abbot changed his mind and decided the project would be for a new fathers' quarters.
The fathers’ quarters was originally advertised as a project to build a new, larger womens’ quarters.

As the monastery continues to grow it has seen the need to add housing to the campus. There are currently two dormitory facilities under construction, both of which are taking advantage of the benefits offered through the use of Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF’s).
A recent visit to the monastery provided us with an opportunity to speak with Father Epifanios Kapritsas. Father Epifanios gave us a tour of the grounds and discussed the decision to use ICF’s. “It is a superior building method. Concrete buildings have been done in Europe for centuries, and they are still standing to this day. ICF construction in combination with concrete is a clean, permanent way to construct a building that will be here for 100+ years” he stated.

ICF 2“There are numerous advantages to building with ICF’s; the walls can be left exposed (without a roof on) during the winter with no damage to the structure during the construction phase. This would not be possible with wood construction. The insulation factor is excellent. Concrete walls have high thermal mass: the building tends to be cooler inside in the summer months, and retains heat better in the winter months so energy bills are lower.”

ICF 3“There are numerous advantages to building with ICF’s; the walls can be left exposed (without a roof on) during the winter with no damage to the structure during the construction phase. This would not be possible with wood construction. The insulation factor is excellent. Concrete walls have high thermal mass: the building tends to be cooler inside in the summer months, and retains heat better in the winter months so energy bills are lower.”

ICF 4He further stated that, “ICF construction simplifies the steps of the construction: no need to plywood, tyvek, or insulate the walls. The interior of ICF walls are ready to accept drywall. The exterior of the building is ready to accept stucco, or stone. You can visualize the external appearance of a structure (window & door openings) as you erect ICF’s prior to pouring. There is a sound insulation factor that makes the inside of the building very quiet to outside noise. Walls are not affected by moisture and humidity as wood is; hence, no mold, rotting, warpage or odor occurs, as associated with wood. Installation is easier than steel erection. No crane, or welding required. The foam blocks are lightweight and easy to cut. The overall cost is less than a steel framed structure.”

Fr. Epifanios Kapritsas, NY.
Fr. Epifanios Kapritsas, NY.

Father Epifanios also noted the fire safe construction appeal of using ICF’s and concrete; “In case of a fire, the framework of the structure will be left intact.”

The monks' quarters view  from the garden.
The monks’ quarters view from the garden.

http://mastersconcrete.com/index.php/site/news/icf_project_offers_advantages_for_monastery/

http://www.specifyconcrete.org/project-profiles/view/st-nektarios-monastery/

6

Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos’ (MA) Relationship with Elder Joseph the Hesychast and his Disciples:

NOTE: Although Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos is not a part of Geronda Ephraim’s family, there are many overlaps between the two lineages, not to mention Fr. Panteleimon claims to have been a disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast.

Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos.
Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos.

Brief chronology of Fr. Panteleimon’s relationship with Elder Joseph the Hesychast and his disciples

• 1956: When Fr. Panteleimon was 21-years-old, he met Elder Joseph in 1956 and the newly tonsured rassaphore monk stayed with the Elder for 2 weeks at New Skete. From that point on, Fr. Panteleimon started calling himself a disciple of Elder Joseph (before visiting the Elder, he was a disciple of the abbot of St. Panteleimon’s Monastery, Mt Athos, where he was tonsured). It is uncertain if the fathers at New Skete knew that Fr. Panteleimon was under the authority of the abbot of St. Panteleimon’s Monastery and thus technically stealing a monk. The fathers say that Elder Joseph encouraged Fr. Panteleimon to leave the Holy Mountain.

Fr. Panteleimon visited him for about two weeks in 1956.
Fr. Panteleimon visited him for about two weeks in 1956.

• 1958: Fr. Panteleimon returned to the USA, a 22-year-old self-made “elder,” a new “disciple” of the Elder Joseph, and with the title of a monk and a new name “Fr. Panteleimon.” It is also believed Bishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis, dean of Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, MA, ordained him to the diaconate.

Bishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis is believed to have ordained Fr. Panteleimon a deacon.
Bishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis is believed to have ordained Fr. Panteleimon a deacon.

• 1958: During this period Fr. Panteleimon received a letter from the Elder Joseph. The Elder Joseph exhorted him in this letter to pursue the virtue of purity. He talks about purity more than once and tries also to encourage the young man to love God first in his life. Only 3 of Elder Joseph’s monks started monasteries (Frs. Haralambos, Ephraim, and Joseph the Younger); these three monks lived with Elder Joseph for many years and were under blind obedience to him. What makes Fr. Panteleimon somewhat unique is the fact that he started a monastery, but was only a disciple of Fr. Joseph via having visited for two weeks, not as the others who lived with him for many years. Fr. Panteleimon states that Elder Joseph gave him a blessing to start a monastery.

Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos called himself an elder in his early 20's.
Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos called himself an elder in his early 20’s.

• 1959: Fr. Panteleimon wrote a letter to Elder Joseph informing him on his intention to return. Elder Joseph replied in April and told him not to come to Mount Athos. The Elder Joseph reposed on the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary on August 28/15, 1959.

 The millionaire Pateras family from Athens was a benefactor to the fathers of New Skete.
The millionaire Pateras family from Athens was a benefactor to the fathers of New Skete.

• 1961: Fr. Panteleimon visits the Holy Mountain, and since the Pateras family from Athens was a benefactor to the fathers of New Skete, Fr. Panteleimon was directed by those fathers to extend their gratefulness to this family, and thus he became associated with them. (Note this is the same family that would later be involved in the Christine H. Coryell scandal: https://scottnevinssuicide.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/mother-evgeniki-myrtidiotissa-christine-h-coryell-newspaper-articles-from-1968/ .)

Holy Transfiguration Monastery/Brookline
Holy Transfiguration Monastery/Brookline

• 1962: Richard Stockton of Harvard University and former professor of Holy Cross Seminary was convinced by Panteleimon to purchase a house in Jamaica Plain, MA. The house became Holy Transfiguration Monastery. The young monk, Panteleimon, in his 20s, calling himself an Elder, found that people had difficulties being obedient to him who had never spent even one year under obedience himself.

In 1963, Fr. Panteleimon was tonsured a great-schema monk at New Skete by Elder Arsenios, the co-struggler of Elder Joseph the Hesychast.
In 1963, Fr. Panteleimon was tonsured a great-schema monk at New Skete by Elder Arsenios, the co-struggler of Elder Joseph the Hesychast.

• 1963: During a visit to the Holy Mountain, Fr. Panteleimon was tonsured a great-schema monk at New Skete by Elder Arsenios, the co-struggler of the Elder Joseph. The Church however, ordains that a man should remain a novice for three years of testing before he is tonsured into the Great Schema. The Fathers on the Holy Mountain made use of economia in this case since they tonsured someone they really did not know, except for the fact that he was a disciple of the Elder Joseph by correspondence.

Elder Arsenios and the Fathers of New Skete. John Adondakis (Fr. Isaac of Brookline, MA) is on bottom right.
Elder Arsenios and the Fathers of New Skete. John Adondakis (Fr. Isaac of Brookline, MA) is on bottom right.

• 1964: Around this time, the young 29-year-old monk was ordained a priest. It is said that the millionaire abbess, Mother Maria Pateras, paid Metropolitan Vasilios of the Jerusalem Patriarchate—one one of the many bishops of the Jerusalem Patriarchate who lived with a concubine—to ordain Fr. Panteleimon a priest.

Mother Maria Pateras paid Metropolitan Vasilios of the Jerusalem Patriarchate to ordain Deacon Panteleimon a priest.
Mother Maria Pateras paid Metropolitan Vasilios of the Jerusalem Patriarchate to ordain Deacon Panteleimon a priest.

• 1965: Up until 1965, Holy Transfiguration Monastery was under the Greek Archdiocese. It would most likely have stayed that way for years to come had not the fathers of the Holy Mountain strongly recommended that the monastery be taken to the Russian Church Abroad, under the confessing bishops of that Church. The young “elder” did not have the spiritual discernment to make this move on his own. It was only when they, the monks of New Skete and St. Paul’s Monastery told him that if he did not leave the Greek Archdiocese, they would sever whatever connection they had with him.

• 1967: Fr. Panteleimon was caught and arrested for smuggling while attempting to return from a visit to Greece. He was incarcerated and the abbess, Maria Pateras, used her influence to have him transferred to her home under house arrest. Shortly afterwards, he obtained his passport and Abbess Maria immediately bought him a ticket for the next plane to Boston.

The Russian Convent in Lesna, France, where Father Panteliemon was caught attempting to steal a portion of their relics.
The Russian Convent in Lesna, France, where Father Panteliemon was caught attempting to steal a portion of their relics.

• It should be noted that almost all the relics that are at Holy Transfiguration Monastery have been smuggled out of Greece. These relics and reliquaries came from the Holy Mountain and more specifically from the monastery of St. Panteleimon. The Russian monks there at that time, when they understood that Fr. Panteleimon was in the Russian Church Abroad, gave him many relics to smuggle from the Holy Mountain and smuggle out of Greece to America.

Geronda Ephraim calls Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos a spiritual brother in a homily.
Geronda Ephraim calls Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos a spiritual brother in a homily.

Geronda Ephraim mentions in a cassette homily On the Old and New Calendar that he had visited Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos in Boston and talked with him:

“…And I, with Fr. Panteleimon, who is in Boston, America. Namely, Fr. Aresenios, the little old man that we have today, as you know, is the next after Elder Joseph, he took as a great schema, and I read as the chaplain in the skete where we were. Fr. Panteleimon removes the ordination of deacon by Athengoras of Thyatira. You know, the one who left history as a non-Orthodox in London—he was the first bishop in Boston and afterwards became bishop of Thyatira, England. Then, Fr. Panteleimon came as a deacon and we co-liturgized below. In the meantime, Fr. Panteleimon was with the New Calendarist Thyatira when he was in Boston, with the church of Iakovos. Then he became a priest in Jerusalem, by the Jerusalem Church, which is perfectly understood to be with the entire Church and is not with the Old Calendarists. He received the ordination from there, too right from both sides. But now he believes that there is no salvation nor…well, to us it is clear I believe it.

When I asked him then, “Father, are you with the Old Calendarists?”

He told me, “No. I’m neither with the Old Calendarists or the New Calendarists.”

Anyway, he has his own firm line and he says that there is no salvation except on his onw side, and he doesn’t commune or confess to people of the New Calendar. Of course, this happened in front of me and no one can tell me that I am wrong. When I went to Boston and went to his monastery, these things happened in front of me and I know them. Certainly, we are spiritual brothers and we have love, etc., but we utterly disagree in these respects. My own geronda told him, amongst other things, that, just as you believe him to be a saint and you have his holy relics and you do miracles with the relic of Geronda, so our Geronda died in the Church, we are ordained by the Bishop, who was in the Church and even then when we were ordained, we commemorated the Ecumenical Patriarch—who was Athengoras then—and Geronda was sanctified in the Church. Now how can we say that this Church, which sanctified Geronda, is heretical? It is terrible! …Better with the error of the calendar in the Church than to become a super-Orthodox and be found outside of the Church by dogmatizing that the mysteries are invalid and men are not saved…”

Geronda Ephraim calls Fr. Panteleimon  Metropoulos  a spiritual brother in a homily.
Geronda Ephraim calls Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos a spiritual brother in a homily.

• It should also be noted that there are some interesting similarities in the founding of Greek monasteries in America. Almost 3 years after Fr. Panteleimon started a monastery in Massachusetts (1962), he left the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and joined ROCOR (1965). Almost 3 years after Geronda Ephraim started a monastery in Pennsylvania (1989), he left the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese [and Ecumenical Patriarchate] and joined ROCOR (1991); though he returned to the EP/GOA less than a year later. Almost 20 years after joining ROCOR, Fr. Panteleimon broke communion with all churches and started his own exclusive church. Almost 25 years after leaving ROCOR, there is serious talk among Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries of breaking communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the GOA. Fr. Panteleimon was caught stealing relics from a monastery in Europe that he would have brought back to display in his own monastery. Geronda Ephraim was not caught stealing relics from a monastery in Europe (i.e. Elder Joseph’s skull from Filotheou Monastery, etc.) to bring back for display at his own monastery.

The monks of Mount Athos have recently released a 130 page document concerning Ecumenism:

https://lessonsfromamonastery.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/athonite-fathers-release-important-and-timely-70-page-document/

https://lessonsfromamonastery.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/cf80ceb5cf81ceb9cebfceb4ceb9cebacf8c-ceb1ceb3ceafcebfcf85-cf8ccf81cebfcf85cf82-pdf.pdf

SOURCES:

A Brief Biography of Fr. Panteleiomon Metropoluos: http://www.hocna.info/FrPanteliemonBiography-Part1.shtml

• Geronda Ephraim of Arizona, Concerning the Old and New Calendar:

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHgtM4KizXM

Text: http://www.impantokratoros.gr/7DAC5285.el.aspx

Elder Joseph encouraged Fr. Panteleimon to go to America, Elder Arsenios gave him the great schema...
Elder Joseph encouraged Fr. Panteleimon to go to America, Elder Arsenios gave him the great schema…

Arsenios Death to the world

Mother Evgeniki Myrtidiotissa [Christine H. Coryell] (Newspaper articles from 1968)

NOTE: Though this story has nothing to do with Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries, it does involve a monk who was a “disciple” of Elder Joseph the Hesychast and who Geronda Ephraim has described in the past as a “spiritual brother”: Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos. As well, one will notice a similarity in patterns of manipulation and brainwashing with some of the ex-monastic stories from Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries: In 1968, a year after an emotional breakdown, an emotionally unstable 23-year-old female convert goes to a convent in Greece for a “spiritual retreat” and she never leaves. A couple months later her father goes to Greece, visits the convent, sees his daughter in “dire mental condition, who refuses to leave out of fear of losing her soul.” Despite the cooperation of the Greek government, Greek Orthodox Church officials and the U.S. Embassy in Athens, the father was unable to get his daughter released from the Convent. The daughter is moved around to undisclosed locations, etc. Not much is heard of afterwards, but according to her father’s obituary in 2010, she was still alive and still a nun with the name Mother Evgeniki Myrtidiotissa. The following are some newspaper articles from 1968 about the incident:

Christine Coryell in Greek Convent

Coach Claims Niece held Against Will (Eugene Register-Guard – Jan 13, 1968)

WASHINGTON (UPI)—The despairing efforts of a Seattle family to free their daughter from a convent on a remote Greek island were described Friday by Don Coryell, the girl’s uncle and head football coach at San Diego State College.
Coryell charged the girl, Christine H. Coryell, 23, had been “brainwashed” and coerced into staying in the I.M. Evangelismos Convent on the island of Oinoussas, Khios, Greece.
The California coach said his brother, George C. Coryell, was still in Greece trying to get his daughter released from the convent which she entered last August for a 10 to 15 day “spiritual retreat.”
Coryell said the girl needed medical treatment because of a history of emotional instability but her father had been unable to get her released despite the cooperation of the Greek government, Greek Orthodox church officials and the U.S. Embassy in Athens.
Coryell broke down and had trouble speaking at times as he described conditions reported at the convent during a news conference held in the office of Sen. Thomas H. Kuchel, R-Calif.
Coryell said the abbess was a Mrs. Patera, who was wealthy and apparently had great influence on the remote island a few miles from the coast of Turkey.
“You can’t have the girl,” Coryell quoted her as telling his brother. “The police are mine and the judges are my friends.”

“You can’t have the girl. The police are mine and the judges are my friends.” - Mother Maria Pateras
“You can’t have the girl. The police are mine and the judges are my friends.” – Mother Maria Pateras

Both Kuchel and Sen. Warren G. Magnoson, D-Wash., have taken an interest in the case, and Kuchel has asked Greek Orthodox Church officials in this country to look into the matter.
Miss Coryell termed the account given in Washington by her uncle Friday as “nonsense.”
Contacted from Athens by telephone, she said her uncle’s story was “completely inaccurate.”
“It has been entirely my own decision and I have made it without any coercion. It has been a free decision and I have no intention of changing it,” she said.

Eugene Register-Guard – Jan 13, 1968.
Eugene Register-Guard – Jan 13, 1968.

‘SPELL’ CHARGED: Seattleite Said Convent Captive
The Spokesman-Review – Jan 13, 1968

WASHINGTON (AP)—A 23-year-old Seattle woman has been held since August in a convent on a Greek island despite the efforts of her family to free her, her uncle reported Friday.
Don Coryell, football coach at San Diego State College, said Christine H. Coryell apparently has been brainwashed and is under the hypnotic spell of the convent abbess, a Mrs. Patera, identified as a member of a wealthy Greek shipping family.
Coryell said authorities of the Greek Orthodox Church, both in the United States and in Greece, have tried to help but claim to have no jurisdiction over the non-affiliated convent.
He said the women’s father, George C. Coryell, Seattle, has been in Greece nearly two months seeking Christine’s release. He said the father visited the convent and found his daughter in dire mental condition, afraid to leave the convent for fear of the loss of her soul.
The uncle related the story at a news conference in the office of Sen. Thomas H. Kuchel, R-Calif., after an appeal to Greek Orthodox Church authorities in New York.

Retreat Planned

Christine, he said, became converted to the Greek Orthodox faith while studying Russian as a language major at the University of Washington, where her mother is a counselor.
Through a Greek Orthodox priest in Seattle, he said, Christine became acquainted with a Boston monk, Father Panteleimon, and worked for him as a secretary for two months last spring at the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston.
As a result of correspondence with Father Panteleimon during a trip through Europe last summer, Coryell said Christine decided to make a 10-to-15-day spiritual retreat at the convent in Oinoussa,, Chios, in August.
Coryell said her visit to the convent was prolonged to await a visit to the convent by the Boston monk.

Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos called himself an elder in his early 20's.
Fr. Panteleimon Metropoulos called himself an elder in his early 20’s.

The family became alarmed, Coryell said, by letters from acquaintances of Christine and reports from a girl who had been in the convent about the conditions there.
Coryell said the abbess had already once defied a court order obtained by his brother for Christine’s release, and had implied influence over local police.
Coryell said he had discussed the case with the State Department, which he said had offered suggestions but disclaimed power to exert pressure.

Pacific Stars and Stripes January 15, 1968.
Pacific Stars and Stripes January 15, 1968.

Battle Brewing
Reading Eagle – Jan 15, 1968, p. 2

The wealthy abbess of a Greek island convent accused of holding a 23-year-old Seattle girl prisoner has vowed never to let her return to the secular life. “I have in my hand a diamond of great value. In order for anyone to get that diamond, they have to cut off my arm,” she was quoted as saying. The abbess’ words were repeated by the Rev. Neketas S. Palassis, the Greek Orthodox priest who converted young Christine Coryell to the faith three years ago. He said he believed she had voluntarily become a nun in the convent at Oinoussa on the tiny island of Chios. Mrs. George Coryell, the girl’s mother, charged that Christine was being held “virtual prisoner” in the convent. She believed her daughter was “brainwashed and intimidated” with threats of Damnation.

“I have in my hand a diamond of great value. In order for anyone to get that diamond, they have to cut off my arm,” Mother Maria about Christine.
“I have in my hand a diamond of great value. In order for anyone to get that diamond, they have to cut off my arm,” Mother Maria about Christine.

Meeting Arranged
Reading Eagle – Jan 28, 1968, p. 17

The widowed founder of a Greek island convent says her 23-year-old American convert, Christine Coryell, has retired to “an unknown place to meditate” but will meet with her father in Athens next Wednesday. Miss Coryell’s father George, of Seattle, Wash., said Thursday he had filed suit against Mrs. Katingo Pateras, the wealthy widow, complaining she unduly influenced Christine to enter the convent. The Seattle girl joined Mrs. Pateras’ “Evangelismos” convent last August during a visit to Greece. Her father has been in Athens since November trying to persuade his daughter to return home. Miss Coryell said earlier this month she had made her own decision of her own free will and would remain in the convent on the isle of Oinoussai “for the rest of my life.”

Christine’s mother, charged that she was being held “virtual prisoner” in the convent. She believed her daughter was “brainwashed and intimidated” with threats of Damnation.
Christine’s mother, charged that she was being held “virtual prisoner” in the convent. She believed her daughter was “brainwashed and intimidated” with threats of Damnation.
Daily Aster, Tuesday, January 30, 1968, p. 1.
Daily Aster, Tuesday, January 30, 1968, p. 1.

Coryell’s Niece Leaves Greek Convent
Daily Aster, Tuesday, January 30, 1968, pp. 1 & 2

Christine Coryell, 23-year-old niece of SDS football coach Don Coryell, has left the island convent where she has allegedly been held captive since last August.
Her father, George Coryell of Seattle, Wash., thinks she is still a captive, however.
He told Associated Press in Athens that his daughter left the “evangelismos” convent on Friday afternoon (Jan. 19) and left the island the next day.
Coryell, who has been on the island of Oinoussas, Chios Greece, for two months trying to get his daughter released, said it he saw Christine “fleetingly from a distance as she was boarding a ship in Chios under furtive circumstances in company of Mrs. Pateras and others of the convent.”

Mrs. Pateras is the 56 year-old heiress of a Greek shipping fortune (estimated at $220 million) who founded the convent.

Coryell said it was impossible to follow his daughter.

Miss Coryell, who converted to the Greek Orthodox Church three years ago, went to the convent for a short retreat after the death of a close friend from Cyprus.

Religious Scandal

Her father has been unable to obtain her release through the Greek Orthodox Church because it doesn’t recognize the convent.

Msgr. Chrysostomos, the metropolitan of Chios, told reporters in Athens that the convent is a “religious scandal.”

Msgr. Chrysostomos, the metropolitan of Chios, told reporters in Athens that the convent is a “religious scandal.”
Msgr. Chrysostomos, the metropolitan of Chios, told reporters in Athens that the convent is a “religious scandal.”

The State Department has also been unable to act because Miss Coryell had said she was staying at the convent of her own free will. The civil officials in Greece also couldn’t get Miss Coryell released for the same reason.

Coryell has filed a complaint against Mrs. Pateras with the district attorney of Chios Island charging that Mrs. Pateras “influenced Miss Coryell to remain in the convent.”

He said she was ordered to appear before the magistrate in Chios.

Court Rule on Girl

Coach Coryell said here that the magistrate ruled that Miss Coryell was being held “under the influence and control of Mrs. Pateras.”

He also said that the Greek government ordered his niece deported when her visa expired last Tuesday.

One Greek girl, Folo Bakatselou, 18, escaped after a four-month stay at the convent by stealing the keys.

Miss Bakatselou described how the mail addressed to the members of the convent was censored and of seeing the abbess tearing up Miss Coryell’s mail.

Drugs

“We had to take two types of pills or medicine every day. When we asked the abbess what they were she laughed at us and gave no answer. Christine told me many times she wanted to leave but they talked and talked to her and broke her will and kept changing her mind,” said Miss Bakatselou.

She also said the girls had to kiss the mummified hand of Mrs. Pateras’ daughter, whose partially decomposed body was kept in a glass coffin.

The girls had to kiss the mummified hand of Mrs. Pateras’ daughter, whose partially decomposed body was kept in a glass coffin.
The girls had to kiss the mummified hand of Mrs. Pateras’ daughter, whose partially decomposed body was kept in a glass coffin.

Miss Coryell was apparently persuaded to visit the convent by two women she met in Boston through a Father Panteleimon, elder of the 10-man Holy Transfiguration Monastery there. Father Panteleimon recently called charges that Miss Coryell was being held against her will “preposterous” and asserted he never knew her or corresponded with her.

Mental Condition

Miss Coryell’s doctor said her release was absolutely imperative because she had an emotional breakdown a year ago and could be easily influenced by mental “suggestion” and her “mental process subjected to control by other persons.”

UPI recently reported that Miss Coryell had said in a telephone interview that she was not being held against her will. Christine’s mother, commenting on the interview, said she wasn’t sure UPI had actually talked to Christine and that if they had Christine wasn’t really speaking her true feelings.

Chicago Tribune January 13, 1968 (p. 1)
Chicago Tribune January 13, 1968 (p. 1)
"Greek Abbess is Accused of Brainwashing" Chicago Tribune, January 13, 1968
“Greek Abbess is Accused of Brainwashing” Chicago Tribune, January 13, 1968

Mysterious Nun Faces Charges
Ellensburg Daily Record – May 14, 1968, p. 3

ATHENS (AP)—A young novitiate nun from America whose family claims she was held captive in a Greek island convent was reported today to be staying somewhere in Athens in the care of the convent’s abbess.
Her lawyer denied reports that the girl, Christine Coryell, 23, of Seattle, was under arrest.
She faces charges of insulting authority. Her trial, which was due to start Monday before a military tribunal, has been postponed because of a court ruling that she had not been summoned in time.
No new trial date has been fixed, her lawyer said.
The charges were filed after two gendarmes went to the monastery and told her she would have to leave Greece because her residence permit had expired last February. The police claimed Miss Coryell allegedly insulted them.
If convicted, she could get up to three years in prison.
Miss Coryell was one of 10 nuns in the convent of the Annunciation on the tiny islet of Oinoussai, off the Turkish coast.
Her family claimed she was being held in the convent against her will and under the influence of abbess, Mrs. Pateras, a 56-year-old member of a well known shipping family, founded the convent after her only daughter died.

Mother Maria Pateras and her daughter, Irene.
Mother Maria Pateras and her daughter, Irene.
"She's Captive in a Convent" Chicago Tribune, January 14, 1968.
“She’s Captive in a Convent” Chicago Tribune, January 14, 1968.

Inauguration of New Cheesemaking Facilities for Le Troupeau Bénit (Quebec Monastery)

NOTE: The 22+ sisters who live at Saint Monastere Vierge Marie La Consolatrice (Panagia Parigoritissa) run a cheese factory called “Le Troupeau Bénit (the blessed flock), referring to their sheep and goats. Since 2001, they have been selling and producing cheeses that has become known province-wide. Every week, they use 1,500 liters of certified category A milk from their flock to make their cheeses. They make the Athonite, a mild Dutch cheese with a nut-like flavor; the Graviera, which has a sweet and fruity taste; Greek feta, a soft traditional cheese; a Havarti-type cheese called Le Bon Berger, mild and tangy; and a goat cheese called “Les Petites Soeurs,” one of the healthiest cheeses on the market. All are made fresh and are preserved with rape seed oil.

Le Troupeau Bénit 4

r-fromage-chevres001

BROWNSBURG-CHATHAM, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – Nov. 1, 2014) – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Le Troupeau Bénit 2

Quebec nuns selling their food wares at an open market.
Quebec nuns selling their food wares at an open market (2008).

The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, announces that the Monastery of the Virgin Mary the Consolatory’s cheese factory, Le Troupeau Bénit, received government support through the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto to increase its productivity.

Le Troupeau Bénit 12

This assistance was awarded in the form of a $246,752 repayable financial contribution under CED’s Quebec Economic Development Program. (http://www.dec-ced.gc.ca/eng/disclosure/grant-contribution-awards/detail.html?p_ide_infrm_apprb=9948)

Le Troupeau Bénit 3

Quick facts

  • The investment enabled the monastery to complete the relocation of its cheese factory and acquire equipment for the manufacture of new products.
  • The work involved, among other things, installing exterior siding and carrying out various interior and exterior fittings to the new building.
  • As well as raising the enterprise’s manufacturing capacity and sales, this project is expected to result in the creation of three full-time and two seasonal jobs from outside the monastery.

Le Troupeau Bénit 9

Quote

“Our government sees it as essential to support growing enterprises like Le Troupeau Bénit, whose project is going to lead to the creation of new jobs in the Laurentides region.”

Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Le Troupeau Bénit 6

Related link

Monastery of the Virgin Mary the Consolatory Website:

http://www.monasterevmc.org/

Le Troupeau Bénit 5

Le Troupeau Bénit 8

The sisters’ picturesque, white-painted monastery is nestled in a forest in Brownsburg-Chatham, north of Lachute. They make their Troupeau Bénit (which means “blessed flock”) butter and cheeses from the milk of a flock of 150 goats and sheep they sold to the neighbour last year. The sheep’s-milk butter is ivory white; the goat’s-milk version whiter still.

“We eat it on bread with honey or jam,” says Sister Makrina. “It is too delicious even to cook with.” She says there are a number of reasons their butter is so delicious. Sometimes, it’s because the animals have just given birth, so their milk is especially rich. Partly, it’s the wild grasses on which the animals graze and the care with which the sisters churn the butter.

“Everything here is done by hand. We add goat’s milk sour cream and then beat it by hand on ice until it clots, then we drain the water and hand-press it to dry,” Sister Makrina explained.

“But the main reason it’s so good is that we pray over everything we do in the monastery. God is always present here. He blesses our work.”  (http://www.canada.com/cityguides/montreal/story.html?id=c96758be-6234-461c-9e8d-91441b989a3e)

Le Troupeau Bénit (Canadian Government stats on 7 types of Monastery Cheese) http://cheese-fromage.agr.gc.ca/cr-rf_fra.cfm?companylist=1905&menupos=1.1
Quebec’s Artisan Cheese Guild represents 21 cheese dairies in Quebec (including the Monastery).
Quebec’s Artisan Cheese Guild represents 21 cheese dairies in Quebec (including the Monastery).

Geronda Joseph Mammis, Abbot of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Monastery, Inc., Michigan

Geronda Joseph Mammis was born George Mammis on August 19, 1972 in Montreal, Canada by parents (Alexandros and Vera) who had emigrated from Greece. He received his general education in Montreal and is fluent in three languages: Greek, French and English. After graduating from high school, he went on to receive his degree in Athletic Therapy from Concordia University which included a two year internship in clinical work. His daily life as a student included politics, athletics, and involvement as an active member of the Greek Orthodox Community in Montreal.

FL Geronda Joseph holding communion cup
Geronda Joseph holding communion cup

Geronda Ephraim has a very strong and loyal following in Montreal. Years ago, Bishop Sotirios decided not to give Geronda Ehraim permission to come to Canada. The Montreal Greek community were so scandalized that they started to make threatening phone calls to Bishop Sotirios warning him what would happen the next time he came to Montreal. They even threatened to burn down his Metropolis. Eventually, Bishop Sotirios lifted the ban and Geronda Ephraim came to Canada, confessed his spiritual children, and the sins of uttering death threats were absolved.

Holy Trinity Monastery Feast Day procession of monks and nuns.
Holy Trinity Monastery Feast Day procession of monks and nuns.

He then entered the monastic life in 1995. He started out as a sub-novice at St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Monastery in Picton, Ontario under Geronda Joseph Voutsas (This monastery shut down in the spring of 1997. The brotherhood re-established itself as the St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery in Roscoe, NY during January 1999). After a couple of weeks at St. John the Theologian Monastery, Geronda Ephraim had sub-novice George sent down to the monastery of St. Anthony in Florence, AZ.

Chapel at Holy Trinity Monastery, MI.
Chapel at Holy Trinity Monastery, MI.

In November of 1996, George was tonsured a monk and given the name Joseph. In Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries, the monks and nuns named Joseph or Josephia usually have St. Joseph the Betrothed as their patron saint. However, as a sort of double speak code, these monks and nuns are also named in honor of Elder Joseph the Hesychast. Also, the monks and nuns named Joseph or Ephraim are usually considered to be exceptional in Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries as he doesn’t give out those names lightly.

Chapel at Holy Trinity Monastery, MI.
Chapel at Holy Trinity Monastery, MI.

On January 16, 1997, Fr. Joseph was ordained to the diaconate by the late Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco. During this time period, Geronda Ephraim lived in the building known as the Gerontikon. At that time, both Deacons Joseph and Ephraim (Andrei Poonan) also lived in the Gerontikon and served as Geronda Ephraim’s cell attendants.

Chapel at Holy Trinity Monastery, MI. Icon of St. John Maximovitch, Bishop of Shanghai and San Francisco.
Chapel at Holy Trinity Monastery, MI. Icon of St. John Maximovitch, Bishop of Shanghai and San Francisco.

Then, in August of 1998, Fr. Joseph was asked to help establish the monastery of Holy Trinity in Smiths Creek. MI. Geronda Ephraim sent him up with two cousins from Toronto, Frs. Gabriel and Michael. Not long after, Fr. Joseph sent Fr. Gabriel back to the Arizona monastery due to various issues (This Fr. Gabriel was later ordained to the priesthood in Arizona). Fr. Raphael (son of the priest for Holy Protection Monastery, Fr. Mark Andrews) was then sent to Holy Trinity Monastery as a replacement. Not long after, due to numerous problems and disobediences, Fr. Raphael was sent to St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe.

MI Geronda Joseph and Geronda Modestos
Geronda Joseph and Geronda Modestos

Deacon Joseph was ordained to the priesthood at the Holy Monastery of the Archangels in Kendalia, TX on November 4 1998, by then Archbishop of America Spyridon, and was appointed Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Smiths Creek, MI. He has since served as abbot and spiritual father of the community, which now includes a brotherhood of nine, the majority being immigrants from Canada. Holy Trinity Monastery Monk and Baby Deer 1 Geronda Joseph (Mammis) sometimes tells pilgrims an interesting story relating to his blind obedience to Geronda Ephraim while he was a monk in Arizona. One day, while he was cooking a big pot of food, Geronda Ephraim came into the kitchen. He went over to the pot, took the spoon, and tasted what Fr. Joseph was making. He then immediately spit it out into Fr. Joseph’s face and started insulting him and the food. These are some of the tests Geronda Ephraim does to test the loyalty of his disciples, but also to give them an opportunity to gain crowns and grace.

Holy Trinity Monastery, 125 Sturdevant Road Smith Creek, MI 48061. Tel: (810) 367-8134
Holy Trinity Monastery, 125 Sturdevant Road
Smith Creek, MI 48061. Tel: (810) 367-8134

http://detroit.goarch.org/about-us/clergy/fr.-joseph-mammis

Geronda Joseph performing the Artoklasia service at Panagia Parigoritissa Monastery in Quebec with Bishop Sotirios watching over.
Geronda Joseph performing the Artoklasia service at Panagia Parigoritissa Monastery in Quebec with Bishop Sotirios watching over.

Conspiracy of Silence?

newmartyrephraim

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Geronda Ephraim Koutsibou’s repose. Before the advent of the Internet, there was literally no information in existence about this hieromonk other than a few articles in Greek periodicals (which were limited prints), a few blurbs on some of Geronda Ephraim Filotheitis homilies to his monks, a few recorded chants and homilies. The late Geronda Epraim also wrote a book on noetic prayer which has been out of print for years. The majority of information that exists in circulation is oral tradition and hearsay. The majority of information about his death comes from two sources: the eyewitness accounts/newspaper articles of the time (which are non-existent now) and the driver of the vehicle, Ioannis Voutsas (now Geronda Joseph, Abbot of the St. Nekatrios Greek Orthodox Monastery in Roscoe, NY).
Now with the advent of the Internet, the few things of the Geronda Ephraim have been…

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The Story of a Bell (Dr. Petro S. Maropis, Governor District III)

This article is taken from Krētē: Monthly Publication of the Pancretan Association of America, November 1994, p. 35:

PA - The Story of A Bell 1

Shortly after the turn of the century, Cretan immigrants to the United States began to settle in Western Pennsylvania: Ambridge, Aliquippa, Burgettestown, Canonsburgh, Clairton, Francis Mine, Langleloth, Slovan, Pittsburgh—the big city—and its suburbs and many other. There they found work in local coal mines and steel mills. The entrepreneurs soon followed: bakers, restaurant owners, cobblers, tailors and more. They raised their families, built churches, and organized social clubs in an effort to preserve the customs and traditions of their homeland, Crete. Today, many of their offspring—sons, daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—still make their homes in Western Pennsylvania and many of them are now members of Arkadi-Maleme, the combined Men’s and Women’s Chapter of the Pancretan Association of America.
Recently, Arkadi-Maleme members were made aware of the tremendous pride exhibited by those first Cretans to arrive in this area. In a letter dated September 30, 1993 and addressed to the Cretan Society of Pittsburgh, PA, E.P. Christulides writes:
“A few months ago I was told by both Bishop Maximos and the Abbess of the Greek Orthodox Convent of Saxonburg (Pennsylvania) that the Parish council of the Holy Trinity Church at Ambridge, PA, decided to make a gift of one of the two bells they had removed from the old church when they sold it and then built a new one…I was asked if I could make arrangements to transport the bell.”

Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh.
Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh.

“I visited Ambridge twice before I made any transfer arrangements. But from the very first time I uncovered the bell, which was stored in a garage warehouse, I could not help seeing right in the front of the bell this inscription in big Greek letters:
Thoria Kriton 1920…
“I made the arrangements and had the bell transported…It is a big bell and it has a very harmonious tone…It weighs around 1500 pounds…

Gerontissa Taxiarchia, former Abbess of the Saxonburg Monastey, reposed in 1994.
Gerontissa Taxiarchia, former Abbess of the Saxonburg Monastey, reposed in 1994.

“I believe with all my heart that you, the children and grandchildren of those Cretans who donated the bell in 1920…would like to get involved…The bell sits on an old deteriorated and broken base and it is dangerous to use…The bell may be damaged if the supports give way…
“I urge you to take this project seriously and build something which will remind your children and grandchildren of their parents, grandparents and their glorious roots…”
At a subsequent general meeting of Arkadi-Maleme, Mr. Christulides’ letter was read and the members agreed to fund the construction of a bell support or “cambanario.”

Nicholas and Christos Semanderes
Nicholas and Christos Semanderes

Above is a recent photograph of the bell atop the newly-constructed “cambanario.” The two young “palikaria” in the photo are Nicholas and Christos Semanderes, sons of Stavros and Eleni Semanderes. Stavro is the past-Treasurer and current Chairman of Task Force 2000 of the Pancretan Association of America. The “cambanario” was a personal donation of Mr. Semanderes.
The officers and members of Arkadi-Maleme wish to acknowledge and thank Stavro for his generosity.
People of all nationalities, races and creeds are invited to visit the Monastery at Saxonburg, PA, to view the bell, a proud memorial to those Cretans who left their homes in Crete to make their livelihoods in a foreign land, and who made tremendous contributions to the country in which they chose to make their new homes—and in which we, their sons, daughters and grandchildren now live. May their souls rest in eternal peace.
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015079672146;view=1up;seq=67

Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery, Saxonburg, PA. (The bell is on the right)
Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery, Saxonburg, PA. (The bell is on the right)