Origins of Foot Washing & Foot Kissing (Cameron Kippen)

 

NOTE: This article is taken from the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine (CFPM). The author is a Podologist and Shoe Historian from Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia. 

http://www.podiatryinfocanada.ca/public/origins-of-foot-washing-and-foot-kissing

Research into the religious significance of the washing and kissing of bare feet was inspired by the recent “foot worship” scandal of George Passias who “washed” and kissed Ethel Bouzalas’ feet with his own mouth. The former priest was defrocked last year for his sexcapades which came to light in video format.

What may surprise you dear reader is Christians protected their feet by the patronage of the holy.

Byzantine mosaic of washing the disciples' feet, at the Monreale Cathedral, Italy
Byzantine mosaic of washing the disciples’ feet, at the Monreale Cathedral, Italy

Two Saints championed the legs and feet, St Peter (The Apostle). The Feast of Peter and Paul is June 29th; and Servatus (Servaas, Servatius or Servais), his Memorial Day is 13 may. Servatus is frequently depicted as a bishop with three wooden shoes.

In Biblical times shoes were made from animal skins, and these were difficult to clean. This may explain why shoes in the Old Testament, an agricultural society came to represent all that was unclean. The emblems of filth were left outside homes and considered quite unsuitable for holy places. Feet encased in footwear required to be purified and this responsibility usually fell to the lowest house servant. Foot bathing signified the status of an honored guest and put them at ease and comfort. It also kept the floors, clean. Foot washing was viewed as an honor or service and became a common Jewish custom at formal banquets and took place either on arrival or before the feast.

Foot washing, when undertaken by anyone other than the lowest servant in the household, took on significant symbolic importance. Most authorities recognize this humble action as deliberate act of humility, a mark of respect or deliberate self-humiliation. Ceremonial feet washing often involved marking the toe with blood or oil to symbolize either consecration or the cleansing of the entire person. This type of ritual was considered important before entering God’s house. Bathing feet in oil was also taken as a prospect of wealth. When Mary Magdalene washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair, she also anointed them with expensive ointment. For this token of devotion, Christ forgave her sins then proceeded to remind his host that he had not been extended the same courtesy as would be appropriate to a welcome guest. Jesus then subverted the symbolism by washing the feet of his disciple’s feet at the Last Supper. Despite protestation he reminded his devotees the significance of foot washing, which is celebrated to this day. ‘I have done this to give you an example of something that you should do.’ Christ’s action demonstrated that service rather than status represented greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven. This action prepared his disciples (and their converts) to walk in the path of righteousness. Christians adopted the Hebrew foot washing ceremony and in some religious faiths this is still considered as one of the three ordinances (sacrament) i.e. baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and foot washing.

An Emperor Kissing the Pope's Feet, Illustration from 'Acts and Monuments' (John Foxe)

Foot washing acts as a renewal of baptism and commitment to living God’s way of life. Foot washing is still practised in one form or other throughout the world on the Thursday before Good Friday. Popes, religious leaders, and monarchs have all honoured the commitment to faith and humanity. In the UK the ceremony was often accompanied with the distribution of alms in the form of food and drink, clothes and money. Until 1689, in the reign of William & Mary, the monarchs personally washed the feet of the selected poor. Foot cleaning was replaced by specially minted coins, called Monday Money. To this day the custom is still celebrated on the day before Good Friday, when Her majesty the Queen distributes specially minted money to the poor. A man and woman are chosen to represent each year of the monarch’s life and given the special coins in a church. The specially minted coinage is worth much more than its face value.

Pope Francis Kissing the foot of a Muslim boy
Pope Francis Kissing the foot of a Muslim boy

Proskunew describes a Persian custom, which involved kneeling and putting the face to the ground. This sometimes involved kissing the ground. Taken as the act of submission, respect, gratitude, supplication, neediness, and humility. This was used on all sorts of occasions. Thought to have originated as a non-verbal greeting where men of equal rank would kiss each other on the lips. An inferior kissed his superior on the cheeks, and where one was much less noble rank than the other, he fell to the ground in homage. Considered to have become ritualized at the oriental courts, depending on rank, visitors would prostrate themselves, kneel in front of, bow for, or blow a kiss to the king. There may have been practical reasons for blowing a kiss as halitosis was thought to be common. Magicians would use the same technique in order to prevent contamination of the sacred fire. Alexander the Great (327) spread his empire to incorporate others and naturally took Iranians to serve at his court. To win his or her respect and support he had to act like a Persian king, and ordered everybody to behave according to the oriental court ritual. The court custom, caused consternation amongst the Greeks as prostration, bowing or kneeling, to anyone other than the Gods was unacceptable. Despite violent opposition it is not clear whether Alexander the Great’s attempt at cultural infliction, succeeded.

However, proskynesis was commonly practiced at the courts of his successors and remnants remain today occidentals, still bow for kings and queens. By the time of the Old Testament the custom had passed in judicial behavior and when an accused was brought before the judge, he lay prostate. If found guilty, the judge would place his foot on their neck. If innocent the judge would stoop over and lift their face with his hand. Lifting the face was a Hebrew concept, which equaled a declaration of innocence in a judicial, proceeding. When Muslims bow towards Mecca this is another reference to proskynesis and by contrast the posture of early Christian worship. was standing.

Saint Francis, complete with his own stigmata, fondles and kisses the bleeding wounds of Jesus
St. Francis, complete with his own stigmata, fondles and kisses the bleeding wounds of Jesus

According to Brasch (1989), kissing the feet was a gesture of homage and deference, far removed from its erotic roots. Millions of pilgrims with loving pressure have worn down the feet of the statue of Saint Paul in Rome with their lips. At the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire it was the custom for the faithful to kiss the right hand of the Papal Father. In the eighth century, a rather passionate woman took liberties and according to legend, the Pope cut off his hand in disgust. The custom of kissing the Pope’s right foot was adapted as more appropriate. Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) had kings and churchmen kiss his feet. Today the act of homage involves kissing the Pontiff’s right shoe. Lips are aimed at the cross-depicted on the shoe. This is either taken as a tribute to his authority or the simulation of servitude.

POST SCRIPT

FOOT WASHING CEREMONY IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH

The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches practice the ritual of the Washing of Feet on Holy and Great Thursday (Maundy Thursday) according to their ancient rites. The service may be performed either by a bishop, washing the feet of twelve priests; or by an Hegumen (Abbot) washing the feet of twelve members of the brotherhood of his monastery. The ceremony takes place at the end of the Divine Liturgy.

After Holy Communion, and before the dismissal, the brethren all go in procession to the place where the Washing of Feet is to take place (it may be in the center of the nave, in the narthex, or a location outside). After a psalm and some troparia (hymns) an ektenia (litany) is recited, and the bishop or abbot reads a prayer. Then the deacon reads the account in the Gospel of John, while the clergy perform the roles of Christ and his apostles as each action is chanted by the deacon. The deacon stops when the dialogue between Jesus and Peter begins. The senior-ranking clergyman among those whose feet are being washed speaks the words of Peter, and the bishop or abbot speaks the words of Jesus. Then the bishop or abbot himself concludes the reading of the Gospel, after which he says another prayer and sprinkles all of those present with the water that was used for the foot washing. The procession then returns to the church and the final dismissal is given as normal.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos washes the foot of a priest during a ceremony in Jerusalem's Old City
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Metropolitan Theophilos washes the foot of a priest.

GENDERED AND SEXY FEET IN THE SCRIPTURES

In the scriptures scholars accept feet were used as metaphors for the genitalia. Keen to downplay emphasis on the generative process which was more pagan, the ancient Hebrews took the foot and made it a gender icon.
‘And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in. I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.’ (Gen 19:2)
In Isaiah (7:20) reference was made to the hair of the feet. Most authorities interpret this passage to mean pubic hair. By sexualizing the feet, there was need to cover them from uninvited gaze. In the vision of the Lord’s glory, Isaiah described the six wings of the seraphims.
‘and with twain he covered his feet.’ (Isaiah 6:2)
Centuries later, Christian art avoided showing feet of the Devine with only the more risque artists risking ex communication, by tempting viewers to glimpses of uncovered feet. Angels were painted with large wings, which covered their feet, hence, a representation of modesty. The term shoe, which had its derivation in Old English (Anglo Saxon), describes a cover but not as protection, instead it meant to partially conceal, in an alluring manner. In Biblical times feet were not sexually attractive but could become so, when embellished with sandals. The penis metaphor is most obvious in the Book of Ruth.
‘And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down ; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.’ (Ruth 3:4)

http://biblefeet.blogspot.com/2009/03/gendered-feet-and-sexy-feet.html

Another sex tapes involves Ethel Bouzalas rubbing her feet on Father George Passias’s face.
Ethel Bouzalas rubbing her feet on Fr. George Passias’s face.

THE MEANING OF FEET IN THE SCRIPTURES

Pilgrims carrying the good news of God’s Salvation had beautiful feet:

‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publish salvation; that saith unto Zion, The God reigneth!’ Is 52:7

‘Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings that publisheth peace!’ Nahum 1:15
By the New Testament those spreading the Gospels wore sandals.

‘And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;’ Ephesians 6:15

The ancient custom of falling voluntary at another’s feet was taken as a mark of reverence.
‘And I fell at his feet’ 1 Sam 25: 24

‘And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet..’ Esher 8:3.
Many who met Jesus were described to fall to their feet.
‘And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet.’ Mk 5:22

‘And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.’ Rev 1:17

Taking hold of the feet of another was considered an act of prayer.

‘And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet’ 2 Kings 4:27

‘And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.’ Mt 28:9
The action of touching a heel had profound meaning.
‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head , and thou shalt bruise his heel.’ Genesis 4:15
Jacob meant ‘one who grabs the heel’ or ‘heel god’ in Hebrew.

‘He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:’ Hosea 12:3

‘And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel: and his name was called Jacob’ Gen 25:26
Images of heels were linked to potential disaster and the vulnerability of humanity.

‘The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him.’ Job 18:9

By the time of the New Testament, sitting at someone’s feet was considered an act of submission and tachability.
‘They went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus,’ Luke 8:35

‘And she had as sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his word.’ Luke 10: 39

Spreading the Word of God across the known world would entail travelling. There is direct reference to Jesus Christ in the New Testament saying to his disciples to wear sandals whilst spreading the gospel. Later in the scriptures he is attributed to a statement not to be overburdened with footwear. Most scholars accept the latter to mean to travel light. By implication however as shoes and sandals were the preferred costume of the privileged then perhaps the Disciples were being directed to become more accepted by the higher social strata yet by the same token, not to appear too well attired to offend the poor. If sandals were to play an important role in the beginnings of Christianity then sandal makers and in particular sandal repairers would have a contributory role. Many affluent converts were disinherited from their family’s wealth yet compelled to spread the WORD, they needed an income for support themself. Many became sandal makers who worked by night whilst doing God’s work during day.

http://biblefeet.blogspot.com/2009/03/and-did-those-feetthe-meaning-of-feet.html

Sinful woman washes christ's feet
Sinful woman washes Christ’s feet

 

 

 

‘Cake porn’ priest defrocked amid kinky affair (Chris Perez, 2015)

NOTE: The following article is taken from the New York Post, November 30, 2015:

The kinky Washington Heights priest who was caught on video engaging in a “cake-crushing’’ fetish with a married church- school administrator has been defrocked, The Post has learned.

The Rev. George Passias, 67, was relieved of his priestly duties after a unanimous vote on Nov. 28 by the Greek Orthodox Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate during its monthly meeting in Istanbul, church officials said. He had been suspended from St. Spyridon Church in September.

In addition, the entire executive board of St. Spyridon was ordered to step down Friday following the fallout over Passias’ pastry love affair with his goddaughter, Ethel Bouzalas, 45, who was principal of the St. Spyridon Parochial School.

Bishop Andonios Paropoulos, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox church in the United States, said the board was asked to step down “not because of any indication of any unethical or illegal actions on their part, but rather as part of an effort to appoint a new board, which will bring healing and reconciliation to a fragmented community, and to restore confidence in the leadership of the parish.”

In September, The Post revealed that Passias and Bouzalas had been engaging in sex acts that involved her seductively sitting on a piece of banana bread — a fetish called “cake crush” or “cake sitting.”

 

Cake Crush (Fr. George Passias)

Bouzalas is now five months’ pregnant — and she claims the horny holy man is the father, according to The National Herald, a Greek-American daily.

Bouzalas has alleged that Passias urged her to get an abortion, despite that being against the teachings of the Greek Orthodox church.

The priest has denied that claim.

Steve Papadatos, the parish council’s ousted president, told The Post on Sunday that he was taken aback by the timing of the decision to dismantle the church’s executive board, but he said he understood and respected the move.

“Honestly, I hope I’d have a little bit more time, but I’m not completely shocked,” Papadatos explained.

“If they felt it was right thing for the church, I stand by that.

“Did I want to be removed? No, but I understand the situation, and I understand the predicament they were in.”

Additional reporting by Melissa Klein

http://nypost.com/2015/11/30/cake-porn-priest-defrocked-amid-kinky-affair/

Proper Attire Highlighted
The monastery dress code isn’t just about “modesty.”

Foot Worship (Fr. George)

 

Contemplations for Pious Christians Concerning the Fr. George Passias Scandal

Fr. George, a married priest, was given permission by the Church to have marital relations with his wife, Mary. The ecclesiastical canons are clear about forbidding marital relations on fast days, the night before partaking of Holy Communion, and during menstruation cycles. Some priests also undergo a cleansing fast before performing certain functions; such as exorcisms, or when they are focused on praying for specific people, or for specific things.   It stands to reason that they’d be abstinent for more significant periods of time then a lay person would.  The limitations imposed on married couples allows less than 150 days a year in which they’re “allowed” to have approved sexual relations with their spouse. Ecclesiastic canons only permit married couples to have penile/vaginal relations, with the heavy promise of communion loss for the forbidden acts of oral, anal, or digital stimulation.

Fr. George Passias: (l) as Greek Orthodox priest, (r) as foot fetishist, worshiping Ethel Bouzalas feet.
Fr. George Passias:
(l) as Greek Orthodox priest,
(r) as foot fetishist, worshiping Ethel’s feet.

As a disciple of Geronda Ephraim, Fr. George would’ve been instructed to stop having marital relations with his Presvytera when they decided to not have any more children; i.e. sexual relations are only for procreation not for pleasure. Thus, Fr. George would have been directed by Geronda Ephraim to stop having any marital relations with his Presvytera when they made the decision to have no more children.  After their fourth child, Geronda Ephraim would have enjoined Fr. George and Presvytera Mary to remain chaste to each other.
If they were true believers who followed orders without question, Fr. George and Presvytera Mary would have lived an abstemious life from as early as the late 80’s.

Fr. George Passias & Family (late 90’s): (l-r) Eleni Passias, Fr. George Passias, (former) Archbishop Spyridon, Presvytera Mary, Peter Passias, Katherine Passias, and Costa Passias)
Fr. George Passias & Family (late 90’s): (l-r) Eleni Passias, Fr. George Passias, (former) Archbishop Spyridon, Presvytera Mary, Peter Passias, Katherine Passias, and Costa Passias)

Over the years, Fr. George became well known within the Greek Orthodox community (especially among Geronda Ephraim’s disciples) for being an especially pious, spiritually minded, humble priest with a traditional nature.  He was spoken of with reverence, about his sanctity, and his holiness.

Was that all just a facade?  Was there substance to his piety, or was it all just a carefully constructed persona?

The devotees of Geronda Ephraim were indoctrinated with the piety and spirituality of Fr George, which brings into question whether people actually believed in the man, or because they had imposed upon them an ideal that Geronda Ephraim carefully constructed through his counsel?

In May, 1997, Fr George was appointed Chancellor of the GOA, and during this time, he and Presvtera would have been “living as brother and sister.” It seems ironic, considering the content of the video proofs that have recently come to light, that it was Fr. George that pushed for the writing of the Orthodox Church’s new, stricter policies on sexual misconduct, when he was on staff at the Archdiocese).
http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/documents/misconduct_policy

Left: Screenshots from the 'Cake Porn' video Right: Fr. George and his spiritual daughter, Ethel Bouzalas.
Left: Screenshots from the ‘Cake Porn’ video
Right: Fr. George and his spiritual daughter, Ethel Bouzalas.

This is by no means an uncommon human characteristic (particularly in religious figures/leaders), as those who speak out vehemently against homosexuality, often hide the fact that they themselves are homosexual from the world, those who condemn those who indulge in sexual perversion, to be closeted perverts themselves.

As Elder Ephraim says, “Where virtue is much spoke of, it is usually absent. “

Living a celibate life in the world, whilst hearing confessions about other people’s desires, carnal sins, and the kinks and fetishes they indulged in, must have fanned the flames of his own passions. Only Fr. George knows how his perversions progressed to the point that he felt he had to act on them, and while many theories could be put forth, only he knows how he set himself upon that path. The Science Behind Your Sex Fetish – Shape Magazine
Both pilgrims and monastics are taught in Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries that the relationship between a spiritual Father and his spiritual Child is a deep, meaningful bond, both stronger and more important than the parent/child bond that exists in biological families.

Because Father George baptized Ethel, and took on this divine responsibility, the depravity of his acts should be viewed as the corrupt acts that they are. In essence, the sexual relationship that they shared together is the spiritual equivalent of a parent having incestuous relations with their child.

To read about the Orthodox Church’s teaching about spiritual fathers, as well as on the inappropriate types of relationships/marriages it prohibits, see:

http://oodegr.co/english/psyxotherap/Spiritual_Paternity.htm

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/03/prohibited-marriages-in-orthodox-church.html

Geronda Ephraim Moraitis is the founder and spiritual leader of 19 monasteries under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He also directs a bunch of monasteries in Greece.
Geronda Ephraim Moraitis is the founder and spiritual leader of 19 monasteries under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. He also directs a bunch of monasteries in Greece.

Did Fr. Ephraim know about the inappropriate relationship taking place with his Spiritual Child?

Possibly.
The affair itself has been ongoing for at least 2 years, and there are a couple of likely scenarios.

a) Fr. George may have been making sincere and honest confessions to his spiritual father, Geronda Ephraim, revealing in depth the ongoing adultery, fornication, and sexual deviancy he was indulging in.

b) Fr. George hasn’t had a clean and honest confession since the affair started, and has been hiding both his thoughts and deeds from Geronda Ephraim.

If Fr. George was sincere in his confessions, how was it possible that Geronda Ephraim allowed him to continue as a priest, since the Canons strictly forbid a priest behaving in this way?

A bit of divergence is necessary to give some background.

To protect his name, and his monasteries from possible scandal and public humiliation, Geronda Ephraim “overrides” the Canons when it suits his purpose. The devotion to Geronda Ephraim overshadows the Canons and God’s Commandments, and allows his disciples to readily accept the contradictory holy missives that he shares with them. How could one question a holy vision received during prayer?

Geronda Ephraim’s disciples believe that there is no sin in blind obedience, other then disobeying a command-even if it breaks the Canons, they fervently believe that they will not be judged or punished for doing blind obedience.

Monks and nuns from the various monasteries under Geronda Ephraim during St. Anthony Monastery’s Feast Day (ca. 2006)
Monks and nuns from the various monasteries under Geronda Ephraim during St. Anthony Monastery’s Feast Day (ca. 2006)

To further  his missionary work, Geronda Ephraim has broken the Canons before, and in turn, the abbots and abbesses of his monasteries also follow his idiorrhythmic example.

Fr. Eustathios Kontoravdis
Fr. Eustathios Kontoravdis

In 1989, Rev. Fr. Eustathios Kontoravdis (d. 2009) was the driver in a car crash that killed his wife, Presvytera Kyriaki. After this tragic event, Geronda Ephraim told him that according to the Canons, he should no longer serve as a priest.

In 1984, Ioannis Voutsas (now Geronda Joseph, abbot of St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY) was the driver in a car crash that killed Geronda Ephraim Koutsibo, then Abbot of Xeropotamou Monastery. Despite this seemingly canonical impediment to the priesthood, Geronda Ephraim had Ioannis Voutsas ordained to the priesthood at Philotheou Monastery, Mt. Athos.

Geronda Ephraim Koutsibo, first monk of Geronda Ephraim and the first spiritual father of Geronda Joseph Voutsas.

Geronda Ephraim gave Geronda Joseph an obedience to tell people he doesn’t remember much from the accident thus enabling him to avoid conversing about it. Though Geronda Joseph is reluctant to talk about the details of this accident, over the years he has given information to various spiritual children. These details, combined with the information shared by Metropolitan Athansios of Lemesou (his best friend since his days at the University of Thessalonica) can be found here:

https://newmartyrephraim.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/conspiracy-of-silence/   

In the past, when things have occurred in Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries which canonically requires a bishop to be informed or to absolve, Geronda Ephraim has given his own penances and “absolved” it through his koboschoini.

If Fr. George Passias did not have clean confession with Geronda Ephraim, then many more questions need to be raised.

Fr. George has been a spiritual child of Geronda Ephraim for over 30 years, and they were quite close.

“I know when you’re lying,” is a common phrase of Gerondas/Gerondissas towards their disciples. “A parent doesn’t know when their own child is lying to them?”

So, as a spiritual Father, did Geronda Ephraim know Fr. George was lying to him and hiding thoughts?

In the monasteries, the monastics are taught that Geronda Ephraim is a “knower of hearts;” he knows everything about a person from just one glance, he knows what is hidden in people’s hearts, and he can see the demons and passions that dominate an individual. In some cases, especially with carnal sins, it is said he can smell the stench of sin emitting from the individual. It is also said that when he does koboschoini for his spiritual children, he can see them, what they’re doing, feeling, thinking, etc. Geronda Ephraim’s monastics teach these things to the pilgrims who visit their monasteries.

St. Anthony's Monastery Feast Day (early - mid-2000s)

In cases where Geronda Ephraim is surprised by events he did not foresee—i.e. monastics returning to the world unannounced, serious sins and betrayals by his monastics or long-time spiritual children, etc.—people sometimes ask, “If Geronda Ephraim is such a big prophet, how did he not know this would happen?” His disciples will quickly justify Geronda Ephraim’s ignorance with examples from the Gerontikon explaining that God does not always reveal things to His saints.

If Fr. George had been hiding his sins in confession, while the affair has been ongoing for 2+ years, that would mean every time Geronda Ephraim prayed for Fr. George (either koboschoini or proskomide), or whenever the Elder saw or spoke to Fr. George outside the exomologetarion, he must not have received any information from God about the state of Fr. George’s soul.

Alternatively, if Geronda Ephraim did receive information, he ignored the ecclesiastical canons and, in essence, blessed Fr. George to continue serving as a priest, to the detriment of both their souls.

Pilgrims are told by Geronda Ephraim’s disciples that, “Geronda Ephraim knows, however, he can’t force people to make clean confessions.” Of course, this contradicts all the stories of Geronda Ephraim revealing peoples’ hidden sins to them during confession.
There is also the possibility that Geronda Ephraim has known about Fr. George’s sexual misconduct for the last few years and has been giving him obediences to stop serving as a priest and was ignored.

We will never know, as the mystery of confession is confidential. Geronda Ephraim does share the confessions of individuals with the abbot or abbess of the monastery that these individuals visit, especially if there are serious things that the heads need to know.
In the Orthodox Church, clergymen have stricter judgments and restrictions than lay people. More is expected of them due to the grace of ordination, and when they fall, the punishments tend to be stricter than those of laypeople. Carnal sins usually lead to defrocking.

Cake Crushing

In one scene, Fr. George, wearing just a white t shirt, watches Ethel plant her thong-clad bottom on a piece of banana bread wrapped in cellophane, and then crush it with her stilettos. In the Orthodox  teachings about spiritual warfare, Fr. George watching Ethel in this act would be considered sinful as he consented in his heart.

Fr. George watches Ethel crush cake at a NJ motel.
Fr. George watches Ethel crush cake at a NJ motel.

Foot Worship

In another video clip, Ethel rubs her feet on the priest’s face as they lie under a mirrored ceiling, as she records his ecstasy at the encounter. Ethel then smothers the cake with her feet and bottom. In the kink community, there is a direct relationship between people who have foot fetishes, and those who have Pygophillia-(buttocks fetish)-it’s a safe assumption that Fr. George probably also indulged in face-sitting.

Foot smothering and ass worship are often linked, as these forms of humiliation and degradation have a lot in common, both with the physical attributes of the senses (smell, taste, touch, sight) and the psychological predispositions that drive people to these fetishes.

There’s a reason that the monasteries have male and female pilgrims wear socks and cover their feet: foot fetishes and the accompanying lust warfare that can be caused by looking at feet. Pilgrims to Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries have been told in confession that though foot fetishes and foot worship are not technically carnal sins that receive penances, they are dirty passions that should be avoided because they can open the door to even filthier passions which do carry heavy penances. Seeing that indulging in foot fetishism is pointless sexual gratification, it’s forbidden: http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/visitorguide.php

The monastery dress code isn't just about
The monastery dress code isn’t just about “modesty.”

Buttock worship and face-sitting would be one of those dirtier passions which, depending on the acts involved, carry penances from 2-10 years of no Holy Communion.

Cunnilingus

In another tape, Fr. George performs oral sex on Ethel while she is still clad in sheer pantyhose.

In the Orthodox Church, all forms of oral sex—fellatio, cunnilingus, and analingus—are forbidden and punished with penances starting at 2 years of no Holy Communion.

Here is a basic list of how carnal sins are punished by the Father Confessors in obedience to Geronda Ephraim:

  • Masturbation/Hand Jobs: 40 days no Communion, 50+ extra prostrations daily.
  • Vaginal Intercourse Outside of Marriage: 1 year no Communion, 50+ extra prostrations daily.
  • Oral Sex:2 years no Communion, 50+ extra prostrations daily.
  • Anal Sex: 5-10 years no Communion, 50+ extra prostrations daily.

NOTE: The above list contains the basic penances for lay people. Monastic penances for similar sins can vary (either being less out of economia, or more because of their rank and stature). Also, this list is for heterosexual sins. These sins committed in same-sex relationships receive harsher and severe penances. For a more in depth look at ecclesiastical canons and carnal sins see:

https://frsergei.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/there-is-no-sex-in-the-church/

Fr. George is now 67. The evidence reveals that he has committed adultery, spiritual incest, fornication, and possibly sodomitic sins. These “multitudinous sins and shortcomings” combined with the heavy sin of continuing to serve as a priest and perform the Liturgy, will rack up a very large penance for him. Undoubtedly, Geronda Ephraim has banned him from Communion until his deathbed.

Greek Orthodox priest’s weird sex fetishes caught on video (Isabel Vincent, 2015)

The NY Post
The NY Post”s front page referring to a kinky sex tape Fr. George & Ethel made.

NOTE: This article is taken from the Australian newspaper, The Courier Mail, October 4, 2015. 

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has suspended Fr. George Passias after an extra-marital affair came to light with a woman from his parish. That affair, which has allegedly been going on for years, resulted in the pregnancy of the woman.

holy-mon-st_spyrdn8a

It should be noted that Fr. George Passias is a long-time spiritual child of Geronda Ephraim of Arizona. When he was Chancellor of the Archdiocese (during Archbishop Spyridon’s reign), he helped Geronda Ephraim get blessings to build 8 new monasteries. He provided the monasteries with inside information on the bishops, priests, etc. who were opposed to the monasteries, the things they said about the monasteries, as well as confidential information from the Archdiocese. He was once nicknamed “Geronda’s eyes and ears inside the Archdiocese.”

In 1997, he aided Geronda Joseph Voutsas and his brotherhood so they could leave Canada undetected by Metropolitan Sotirios and reside at St. Anthony’s Monastery until they bought new property in the States.

Now, the article:

Unorthodox relationship: Fr. George Passias & Ethel Bouzalas.
Unorthodox relationship: Fr. George Passias & Ethel Bouzalas.

A HIGH-RANKING Greek Orthodox priest starred in kinky sex tapes with his much-younger parish-school principal and was forced to resign after the affair — which he’d denied for years — was confirmed by church elders.

Father George Passias, the married 67-year-old pastor of St. Spyridon Church in Manhattan, even impregnated his married lover, 45-year-old Ethel Bouzalas, according to sources.

Passias was once the chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, in charge of all of the religion’s US priests, reports the New York Post.

An adherent to a fundamentalist faction of Greek Orthodoxy led by a controversial cleric in Arizona, he took the helm of St. Spyridon nine years ago — and immediately ordered female worshippers to cover their heads during confession.

But there was no such nod to modesty in their shocking sex videos. In one scene, the bearded cleric, wearing only a white T-shirt, watches his long-haired brunette lover plant her G-string clad bottom on a piece of banana bread wrapped in cling wrap.

Mrs Bouzalas, wearing stiletto heels, oddly wiggles on the loaf until it is flattened — a fetish known as “cake crush” or “cake sitting”.

Fr. George Passias watches as Ethel Bouzalas crushes cake as part of a fetish act.
Fr. George Passias watches as Ethel Bouzalas crushes cake as part of a fetish act.

In another video clip, the pretty Peruvian rubs her feet on the priest’s face as they lie under a mirrored ceiling and she records his ecstasy at the encounter. In another tape, the priest performs oral sex on his lover while she is still clad in sheer pantyhose.

The videos and photos of the pair were provided anonymously to The Post last week with a letter saying they were downloaded off a computer in Passias’s church office. The sender wrote that a private investigator had been hired to tail the couple to their rendezvous in motels in New Jersey and upstate New York.

The scandal blew up in early September when Tom Bouzalas, Ethel Bouzalas’s husband, emailed Bishop Andonios Paropoulos, the chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States, and disclosed the affair, the bishop told The Post.

The bishop said that both Fr Passias and Ethel Bouzalas then came to see him and that Fr Passias was suspended on September 16 “as per the sexual-misconduct policy of the archdiocese”.

Bishop Andonios said he had not seen the sex tapes but “learned of their existence during our meetings with both parties”.

 Another sex tape involves Ethel Bouzalas rubbing her feet on Father George Passias’s face.
Another sex tape involves Ethel Bouzalas rubbing her feet on Father George Passias’s face.

After a weeks-long absence from the pulpit, Fr Passias told his St. Spyridon flock in an email last week that he was leaving for “personal and health reasons”, and confessed to “multitudinous sins and shortcomings”.

“I will now fade out of this world for a considerable time according to God’s will,” he wrote. “He has chosen for me … that I should retire and follow the way of silence, prayer, fasting, and ­utter devotion to our Lord.

“Please do not ask where I am going and where I will be. Then it would not be possible for me to fulfil what is my lot.”

He asked his parishioners to pray for him and his wife. He has four grown children. Mrs Bouzalas has three kids.

 ‘She’s a goddaughter to me’

In 2013, The Post broke the story about the unorthodox relationship between Fr Passias and Mrs Bouzalas and alleged fiscal wrongdoing at the church, which has nearly 200 families and was established in 1931 when the neighbourhood was a Greek stronghold.

When Fr Passias took the helm of the Wadsworth Avenue church in 2006, Mrs Bouzalas came with him as his assistant. He called her his “spiritual goddaughter,” and they arrived and left together every day. A church handyman said he once saw her sitting on the priest’s lap.

Mrs Bouzalas told parishioners that she converted to the Greek Orthodox faith and that Fr Passias baptised her while she wore a bikini. The conversion apparently came before she was to marry her husband, a follower of the faith.

Greek Orthodoxy has 24 million followers worldwide. The seat of the Christian church is in Istanbul, Turkey, presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Priests can only be men but are allowed to marry.

With his flowing black robes and oversized cross around his neck, Fr Passias cut an imposing and authoritative figure. Mrs Bouzalas, meanwhile, favoured short skirts and high heels.

Mrs Bouzalas, who had no education credentials, was soon promoted to be the volunteer principal of the St. Spyridon Parochial School, which serves kindergarten to eighth grade and has a taxpayer-funded pre-kindergarten program. She also became church treasurer and a signatory on bank accounts.

In addition to imposing the conservative rules, Fr Passias ruffled longtime congregants who said he removed controls over church spending and questioned why money was being poured into repairs at the school.

Misconduct ... Fr. George Passias, who has now retired, is pictured here giving a sermon.
Misconduct … Fr. George Passias, who has now retired, is pictured here giving a sermon.

Management of four church-owned apartment buildings was given over to a company tied to Alma Bank, which also provided cash and mortgage refinancing. Renovations of the buildings was then done by two firms tied to principals at Alma Bank.

In 2013, Fr Passias told The Post the allegations were cooked up by a group of “evil-minded people” — parishioners who wanted him gone.

They have been saying I’m having a private affair with her,” he said. “She is a goddaughter to me. That’s it.”

Steve Papadatos, the Parish Council president, at the time called the allegations against Fr Passias “lies”, then blasted The Post for publishing a story that he said was “replete with slander” and innuendo. He called the church “eternally grateful” to the priest and Bouzalas, according to The National Herald, a newspaper that covers the Greek community.

Mr Papadatos last week said that he wouldn’t comment on the scandal, but that he stood by Fr Passias and Mrs Bouzalas and wanted people to pray for them.

The bishop said that the misconduct was brought before a “Spiritual Court of the First Degree” last week and that a council of church leaders — including the head of Greek Orthodoxy in the United States — will review the findings. Any punishment, including possible defrocking, will be decided in Istanbul.

St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, New York
St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, New York

Church to investigate

Asked why the church had ignored the longtime allegations of the affair, the bishop said, “Lacking any concrete evidence of an affair, there was no responsible way the church could take any further action.”

He said an audit a few years ago found no misuse of funds, but another investigation would take place “to assure that ­between that time and now, nothing has changed”.

Mrs Bouzalas packed up her school office last week. A moving van carted off a desk, filing cabinet, table and shopping bags with her belongings. A new principal has been assigned to the school.

Her husband refused to comment on the affair or the pregnancy but said the couple was still together. He confirmed he knew of the sex tapes.

Fr Passias, in his farewell note to parishioners, said he was following the direction of “my spiritual father Geronda Ephraim”. Ephraim presides over St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox monastery in Florence, Ariz. The family of a young man who lived there and committed suicide in 2012 contends the death was the result of “six years of physical and psychological abuse” at the monastery.

Fr. George Passias & E. Bouzalas leaving St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, NY.
Fr. George Passias & E. Bouzalas leaving St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, NY.

END NOTE:

When close spiritual children of Geronda Ephraim fall into scandal, especially if they hold any rank or prestige in the community, the monasteries usually give an Ephraim-centric explanation and justification. The Ephraim-centric explanation is always, “The devil is trying to hurt Geronda Ephraim through his spiritual children” (usually via betrayal, scandal, etc.). Thus, it’s never really about the struggle and hardships of the individual but rather their fall or shortcomings are weapons the devil uses to target Geronda Ephraim. 

When the individual is regarded as holy or as some esteem in the Greek community, the monastery’s simple answer is usually, “No one is infallible. Even saints on their deathbed have lost their souls due to lapsing into pride. Only Christ is infallible. Nothing is concrete until you’ve actually passed the toll-houses and are saved. Saints have even lost their souls on the last rung of the ladder.”

Of course, when Geronda Ephraim’s spiritual children have reputations and are “famous,” such asStylianos KementzetzidisElder Ephraim DikaiosFr. George Passias, etc.then the “deeper,” “spiritual” explanation of their fall becomes Ephraim-centric: “The demons used these people to hurt and sadden Geronda Ephraim.” 

In this case, because Fr. George helped Geronda Ephraim so much in the early years and was instrumental in the establishment of so many monasteries in America, sharing inside information so Geronda Ephraim would be aware of “what was going on behind the scenes in the Archdiocese,” etc., the devil became jealous and resented him. Thus, he wanted to make Fr. George fall for two reasons:

1) To hurt and sadden Geronda Ephraim.

2) To scandalize the Greek community and make people fall from the faith (since so many Greek Orthodox regarded Fr. George as pious and holy).

Fr. George & Family

After his suspension, Fr. George sent an email to his “spiritual children” announcing his retirement. The complete email that Fr. George Passias sent to numerous followers is below:

My Beloved Spiritual Children in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Today I share with you a very difficult and trying period in my priestly life.

The time has come for me to resign from the active ministry for personal and health reasons. Now I will  dedicate myself to the repentance that I have tried to preach and share on behalf of our Lord.  At the direction of my spiritual father Geronda Ephraim, I will now fade out of this world for a considerable time according to God’s will. He has chosen for me according to my multitudinous sins and shortcomings, that I should retire and follow the way of silence, prayer, fasting, and utter devotion to our Lord.  Please do not ask where I am going and where I will be.  Then it would not be possible for me to fulfill what is my lot.

It is immeasurably difficult for me to direct you to seek through prayer and vigilance, another spiritual father who will be able to address your needs with love, truth, and conviction for the betterment of your souls.  God will provide.  But you must also do the due diligence by seeking another Father, and then after prayer, choosing him as your spiritual guide and father. Think not that I will forget you!  Never! I have already entered your names to be commemorated every day in the Holy Liturgy forever!

I am very grateful to the Lord for granting me to be a spiritual father to you, and have tried to do the best that I could to do in that role making myself as available as time and health permitted.

I will always love you through prayer and in my heart together with your family.
Please pray for me and Presvytera Mary, and my family I implore you.

In His Abiding Love,

+Father George G. Passias

Concerning Elder Ephraim’s Monasteries In America (Ken McRae, 2005)

NOTE: The following is a segment from an Orthodox Christian debate about Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries. There are links at the end of the article for all the articles referenced:

Map of Geronda Ephraim's monasteries in America (minus the secret ones).
Map of Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries in America (minus the secret ones).

Hello to All ~

Thanks for the links. Sorry, but I have’nt had a chance to check them out as yet, though I intend to. In the mean time, I’ve cut and pasted the passages from the links I originally posted that gave me pause to question what’s going on with Elder Ephraim. For the record, though, I regard or esteem him eminently worthy of double honour for his monastic labours. Sixteen monasteries in the North American wasteland is nothing short of miraculous, IMO.

However, I cannot deny that I’m deeply troubled by the number of hierarchs that obviously have a problem with him and his monasteries. Are these hierarchs working for the Adversary? They certainly seem to think Elder Ephraim might be!! What has the Elder done to offend so many Orthodox hierarchs, who clearly think he’s a great deceiver and manipulator?

From the May  2008 SCOBA Meeting.
From the May 2008 SCOBA Meeting.

The accusations made below, and I’m sure you’ll agree, are clearly of the most serious kind, and it troubles me deeply to see hierarchs utter them daringly or fearlessly! I will have to check all the links that have been posted to keep up-to-date on this matter. I am particularly interested to hear how Elder Ephraim’s spiritual father has addressed the matter. Does anyone know who that is and if he’s ever spoken out, at any time, in Elder Ephraim’s defense?

I must confess, though, that I am deeply biased toward Elder Ephraim. My first inclination is to discredit his enemies, and think them to suffer from strong delusions themselves. Nevertheless, I will reserve such judgment(s) for now, ’til I have time to look into the matter more fully. God grant us all spiritual discerment, in Christ!!

Icon given to monks & nuns for their cells. In some monasteries, monastics have a blessing to prostrate before it and pray to Geronda Ephraim for help during difficult warfares.
Icon given to monks & nuns for their cells. In some monasteries, monastics have a blessing to prostrate before it and pray to Geronda Ephraim for help during difficult warfares.

Excerpts from the Links In the Original Post:-

01 – “There is a wide spectrum of feelings about Ephraim, among both clergy and laity. On the extremes, some view him as God’s gift to Orthodox spirituality in America, while others see him as a cult leader who should return to Mt. Athos.” from The Ephraim Question

02 – “At its annual meeing in the year 2000, the Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL), heard a speaker on “Cult Mentality: A Threat to Individual Responsibility in the Church”. The speaker was Greta Larson, a co-founder of the web-site, “Protection of the Theotokos – A Site for Victims of Abuse in the Orthodox Church.” The site address is “pokrov. org”, and it contains other articles on cults. In her speech, Ms. Larson also referred to an article by Metropolitan Isaiah which warned about the dangers of blind obedience.” from Yes, Investigate the Monasteries

03 – “In 1998, Metropolitan Isaiah of the Denver diocese issued a protocol to his priests titled: “The Lord Does Not Want Slaves in His Kingdom”. He wrote in part:

Metropolitan Isaiah, Geronda Ephraim & Hieromonk Nektarios Arvanitakis
Metropolitan Isaiah, Geronda Ephraim & Hieromonk Nektarios Arvanitakis

“This spirit of blind obedience with the deadening of the free will is unfortunately being practiced among some of our people and even by some of our clergy. They will not do anything without first receiving a ‘blessing’ from their ‘spiritual father’. And if they have been convinced that the spiritual father is a walking saint, they will eat his unfinished food after the common meal and even consume other things which may have touched the spiritual father in some particular way. This is nothing more than idolatry. It puts God aside and constitutes the worship of His creature.”

He went on to say that: “It may be that some of our people, by following the monastic rule in the outside world, feel convinced that they are becoming more spiritual. However, they are sadly mistaken: for the monastic, as a novice, is willingly obedient in order to determine if he wishes to live the life of a monastic. Once he is accepted as a monk, he must resume the use of his free will in conforming to the way of life which he has chosen. The laity, on the other hand, cannot use the monastery or the spiritual elder as one uses a horoscope, not functioning unless they receive permission.”

He concluded with: “If there are members of the Diocese who have fallen into the error of negating their free will and being totally dependent on what their spiritual mentor instructs them to do, let them know that God does not want slaves in His Kingdom, but obedient children who constantly exercise their free will as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven.” from The Ephraim Question

04 – “When the new Metropolitan (Bishop) of the New Jersey diocese took office this spring, it was reported reliably that at his first meeting with the clergy, he announced that Ephraim and his followers were not welcome in the diocese and that the faithful should go to their own priests for confession. This diocese includes some 50 churches in five states. There has been no further confirmation or a denial of the Metropolitan’s statement. In the absence of any denials, one can assume there is some validity to the reports about the Synod’s concern and about the Metropolitan’s directive.

L-R: Bps. Vikentios and Evangelos of New Jersey.
L-R: Bps. Vikentios and Evangelos of New Jersey.

There was also the warning earlier this year from another bishop, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston. He was quoted by the Herald as saying: “Neither is there a place in Orthodoxy for radical fundamentalism, religious fanaticism or cult leaders disguised as Orthodox sages.” “Was he talking about the Ephraim situation? If not, who was he referring to?

Are these accidental words: fundamentalist and cult? Did the bishops wake up one fine day and decide to use them?” from The Ephraim Question

Bishop Methodios of Boston Liturgizing on Mt. Athos (2011)
Bishop Methodios of Boston Liturgizing on Mt. Athos (2011)

05 – “In the Greek-American paper, The National Herald, English Edition of April 5-6, 2003, it was reported that the Eparchial Synod of America, recently discussed “…the monasteries established all over the U.S. by the former abbot from Mt. Athos, Fr. Efraim. It has been said that some sort of fundamentalist movement with a cult philosophy has been advocated by the followers of Efraim, and is having an impact among the clergy and theology students at Holy Cross School of Theology.” from Yes, Investigate the Monasteries

Ambassadors

[Note: Hellenic College Holy Cross sponsors regular pilgrimages to St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery in Roscoe, NY, – See more at: http://www.hchc.edu/studentlife/#sthash.62VYsxtX.dpuf ]

06 – “One of the complaints voiced by some clergy and laity is that the Ephraimite confessors have focused on sexual matters. A member of a group visiting an Ephraimite monastery reported that the monk-confessor had a lengthy list of questions, most of them of a sexual nature, and gave severe penances even to married couples, with the penances being longer for the wives. In the evening, the men and women were separated to hear different speakers. The one who addressed the women berated them about being sinful, as women, and that their only virtue was in bearing children. If true, is this an example of the “fundamentalism” that has been referred to? In view of what has been learned these past two years about the clergy abuse problem , particularly in the Catholic church, the monks’ pre-occupation with sexual matters could indeed be seen as a form of sexual misconduct.” from The Ephraim Question

[Note: The sexual sins contained in the 38 Canons of St. John the Faster are the questions asked in confession:

07 – “I understand that Father Ephraim insists that a married couple must abstain from Holy Communion for a forty-day “purification” period after they have had sexual relations.” by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, from Troubling Teachings

Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, censing an icon of Fr. Seraphim (Rose)
Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, censing an icon of Fr. Seraphim (Rose)

08 – “Sadly, in our day, perhaps more in North America than in Greece, but even in Greece, there has developed a new guru cult concept of “gerontes.” Alas, this cultish idea is actually cultivated by many self-styled and even acknowledged “elders.” Gerontes or elders, many of them self-appointed and self advertised, others acknowledged by monastic establishments, have begun to act and be looked upon like the Hindu gurus, and this may be linked in part to the all-encompassing New Age Movement. In English, we call this a “cult.” It means that people have begun to have a “proskynisis” [worship] for the “geronta,” that comes parlously close to idolatry, but often even passes over the border into real idolatry. This is a great danger for us in our time. One frequently encounters people who say with complete conviction, “my salvation depends on Father so and so, my geronta.” Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, from The Problem of Guru Cultism

09 – “Concerns about Efraim have been expressed for several years now. It is about time that there was an investigation. Because monasteries don’t have “parish councils” doesn’t mean that lay people should be kept in the dark about them, here in America or elsewhere. Some of the concerns about Efraim and his monasteries have to do with funding, with personality cults and with blind obedience and mind-control.” from Yes, Investigate the Monasteries

St. Kosmas Monastery in Canada is the only Ephraim monastery with a "parish council," collection plate, etc.
St. Kosmas Monastery in Canada is the only Ephraim monastery with a “parish council,” collection plate, etc.

10 – “Fr. Ephraim who came to America under nefarious circumstances in the early 90’s first joined the Russian synod in exile after receiving a “directive” from God as he proclaimed at the time. However, when he was threatened by the Ecumenical Patriarchate that he would be defrocked, he received another “directive” from God and abandoned the Russians.” from Diocesan Clergy Refuse to Support the Archbishop

11 – “One should be reminded that in the past Fr. Ephraim has troubled the Greek Orthodox Church of America including the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the formation of religious organizations with his devotion to the Russian monks of the diaspora, according to the information he received as he claims from God. Later, he left the Russians and placed himself under the Greek Orthodox American Archdiocese. Nikos Pantanizopoulos, according to the interview with his father John, met Fr. Ephraim through their parish priest in Knoxville, Tennessee, a Fr. Carellas, who presently is in a convent in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. When Niko’s parents advised him to enter the Holy Cross Theological Seminary and then to decide if he wants to become a priest, he answered them, “Fr. Carellas and Fr. Ephraim told him that the Holy Cross is inhabited by the devil” and they [Carellas and Ephraim] advised him to go to the St. Tikon Theological Seminary [Russian], as stated by Mr. Pantanizopoulos.” from He Became Ill

"Fr. Carellas and Fr. Ephraim told him that the Holy Cross is inhabited by the devil" - John Pantanizopoulos
“Fr. Carellas and Fr. Ephraim told him that the Holy Cross is inhabited by the devil” – John Pantanizopoulos

12 – “The Clergy Brotherhoods of the Detroit and Chicago Dioceses refused to throw their support behind Archbishop Spyridon in his effort to fight off open defiance by the five Metropolitans of the Eparchial Synod of America, by a significant part of the clergy and wide segments of the laity.” And: “In private conversations some priests expressed fears about the climate of divisiveness among the clergy which is fostered by the Archdiocese. Just last weekend the Archbishop visited Detroit and had spoken against the Eparchial Synod of the Metropolitans in front of both the clergy as well as the lay Parish officers (see article, page 3).” And again: “Fr. Ephraim has significant influence in the administration of the Archdiocese. The current Chancellor, Fr. George Passias, happens to be one of the Ephraim’s most loyal followers. Ephraim is also admired by the new President of the Theological School, Archimandrite Damaskinos Ganas, who, according to sources, wants to invite Fr. Ephraim to hear confessions from students.” from Diocesan Clergy Refuse to Support the Archbishop

Fr. George Passias, happens to be one of the Ephraim's most loyal followers.
Fr. George Passias, happens to be one of the Ephraim’s most loyal followers.

13 – “Monks from the “army” of the mysterious Fr. Ephraim, the spiritual father of Fr. George Passias, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, are participating in the pro-Spyridon campaign.” from Church Life In America Is Being Trivialized

14 – ” … all the rules that were stated about monks not interfering with the ministries of our parish have been broken in our parish.” from Monasticism vs. the Parish

15 – “A message that appeared on the Internet in 1999 may provide a clue or two. It was apparently from an Orthodox priest in Arizona, and said, in part:

“My situation has progressed with the mission group here and there is new pressure on me to be in a more ‘regular’ situation. Let me explain. There are about a dozen convert families here who float between all the ‘ethnic’ churches because they are zealous for traditional spirituality and get impatient with either the closed minded ethnic dominance or a ‘modernized’ and enemic version of Orthodoxy. So these people spend a lot of time at Fr. Ephraim’s monastery in Florence and take seriously the advice of their spiritual fathers there. They have committed themselves to starting a new mission parish that is traditional, not dominated by one ‘ethnic’ flavor, doesn’t have the old world parish politics, has services every day, does outreach to young people, helps bring new converts deeper into the church, etc., etc. They are withdrawing from the Greek, Antiochian, OCA and ROCOR churches to begin this new mission, and are doing it under the guidance of the monks at the monastery.” from The Ephraim Question

az-2-10-2014-st-anthonys

https://web.archive.org/web/20091012020433/http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2198

Articles Referenced:

The Ephraim Question: https://web.archive.org/web/20050826125554/http://www.orthodoxnews.netfirms.com/43/The%20Ephraim%20Question.htm

Yes, Investigate the Monasteries: https://web.archive.org/web/20100106032611/http://rickross.com/reference/ephraim/ephraim12.html

Two Troubling Teachings Reported: https://web.archive.org/web/20091113093352/http://www.rickross.com/reference/ephraim/ephraim11.

The Problem of Guru Occultism: https://web.archive.org/web/20100106032524/http://rickross.com/reference/ephraim/ephraim10.html

Diocesan Clergy Refuse to Support the Archbishop: https://web.archive.org/web/20100106032725/http://rickross.com/reference/ephraim/ephraim1.html

He Became Ill: https://web.archive.org/web/20091113093417/http://www.rickross.com/reference/ephraim/ephraim8.html

Church Life in America is being Trivialized: https://web.archive.org/web/20100106032409/http://rickross.com/reference/ephraim/ephraim4.html

Monasticism vs. the Parish: https://web.archive.org/web/20100106032457/http://rickross.com/reference/ephraim/ephraim5.html

Diocesan clergy refuse to Support the Archbishop (Theodore Kalmoukos, 1998)

Note: This article is taken from The National Herald, November 21, 1998.

BOSTON. – The Clergy Brotherhoods of the Detroit and Chicago Dioceses refused to throw their support behind Archbishop Spyridon in his effort to fight off open defiance by the five Metropolitans of the Eparchial Synod of America, by a significant part of the clergy and wide segments of the laity. In particular, the two regional clergy organizations refused to endorse a letter put forth by the National Presbyters Council in opposition to previous statement signed by 73 priests which contained a scathing condemnation of the Archbishop’s policies (The National Herald, Nov. 7-8,1998).

Archbishop Spyridon gave Geronda Ephraim the blessing to open 8 new monasteries in 1998 [2 in NC, 2 in FL, 1 in MI, 1 in IL, 1 in TX, 1 in NY].
Archbishop Spyridon gave Geronda Ephraim the blessing to open 8 new monasteries in 1998 [2 in NC, 2 in FL, 1 in MI, 1 in IL, 1 in TX, 1 in NY].
At a Tuesday meeting of the Clergy Brotherhood meeting of the Detroit Diocese, 16 out of the 42 diocesan priests present also questioned the tactics of their Brotherhood’s president Fr. George Matsis, of Toledo, Ohio, who tried to promote the letter supporting the Archbishop. Sources told The National Herald that Fr. Matsis was unable to overcome the opposition and that, after a motion by one of the objecting priests, the proposal was tabled. A telephone message by the Herald to Fr. Matsis has not returned.

Fr. George Matsis. While in Toledo, he was one of 18 priests who were invited to Constantinople to be received at an audience by Patriarch Bartholomew I.
Fr. George Matsis. While in Toledo, he was one of 18 priests who were invited to Constantinople to be received at an audience by Patriarch Bartholomew I.

In private conversations some priests expressed fears about the climate of divisiveness among the clergy which is fostered by the Archdiocese. Just last weekend the Archbishop visited Detroit and had spoken against the Eparchial Synod of the Metropolitans in front of both the clergy as well as the lay Parish officers (see article, page 3).

In Chicago, where Fr. Chris Kerhulas, the President of the National Presbyters’ Council serves as priest at the Parish of St. Basil, the local Clergy Brotherhood was called to a meeting on Friday, November 13. The meeting was attended by only eight outof the 55 diocesan priests. Fr. Kerhulas raised the issue of his letter in response to the statement by his 73 colleagues against Archbishop Spyridon. Participants in the meeting vehemently rejected Fr. Kerhulas proposal– Fr. Kerhulas was unable even to read his letter. (Fr. Kerhulas discusses this issue extensively in an interview published in this issue of the National Herald).

Fr. Chris Kerhulas. Robert Krantz's movie "Do You Wanna Dance" (1999) was based on the life and ministry of Father Chris Kerhulas, who served St. Basil Church in Chicago for many years.
Fr. Chris Kerhulas. Robert Krantz’s movie “Do You Wanna Dance” (1999) was based on the life and ministry of Father Chris Kerhulas, who served St. Basil Church in Chicago for many years.

The influential Fr. Ephraim

In the early 90's, Fr. Ephraim joined the Russian synod in exile after receiving a "directive" from God as he proclaimed at the time. However, when he was threatened by the Ecumenical Patriarchate that he would be defrocked, he received another "directive" from God and abandoned the Russians.
In the early 90’s, Fr. Ephraim joined the Russian synod in exile after receiving a “directive” from God as he proclaimed at the time. However, when he was threatened by the Ecumenical Patriarchate that he would be defrocked, he received another “directive” from God and abandoned the Russians.

Other sources told the National Herald that at a meeting of the National Presbyters Council Fr. Kerhulas proposed to invite the controversial priest-monk Ephraim, a former abbot from the Athos, the monastic enclave in northern Greece, as speaker at a retreat of the Clergy of the Archdiocese but was forced to abandon the plan when some of the members of the Council opposed it. Fr. Ephraim who came to America under nefarious circumstances in the early 90’s first joined the Russian synod in exile after receiving a “directive” from God as he proclaimed at the time. However, when he was threatened by the Ecumenical Patriarchate that he would be defrocked, he received another “directive” from God and abandoned the Russians.

Fr. George Passias is a long-time spiritual child of Geronda Ephraim. His time as chancellor in the mid-90's was instrumental in helping the Elder expand his monastic vision here in America.
Fr. George Passias is a long-time spiritual child of Geronda Ephraim. His time as chancellor in the mid-90’s was instrumental in helping the Elder expand his monastic vision here in America.

Ephraim has established a string of monasteries in America and, under through intense confessional activity, has created many personal loyalties. Typical of his activity the case of 16-year-old Angelo Lenekakis who acknowledges Fr. Ephraim is his “role model” as published the “Orthodox Observer,” the official newspaper of the Archdiocese (October 20,1998). Fr. Ephraim and his followers try to attract youths in order to fill his Monasteries.

Angelo Lenakakis (Orthodox Observer Youth Spotlight, Oct 20, 1998, p. 21)
Angelo Lenakakis (Orthodox Observer Youth Spotlight, Oct 20, 1998, p. 21)

Fr. Ephraim has significant influence in the administration of the Archdiocese. The current Chancellor, Fr. George Passias, happens to be one of the Ephraim’s most loyal followers. Ephraim is also admired by the new President of the Theological School, Archimandrite Damaskinos Ganas, who, according to sources, wants to invite Fr. Ephraim to hear confessions from students. Fr. Ganas did not respond to the Herald’s offer for an interview.

V. Rev. Damaskinos Ganas, Presiding Priest at Kimisis Theotokou Church, Brooklyn, NY.
V. Rev. Damaskinos Ganas, Presiding Priest at Kimisis Theotokou Church, Brooklyn, NY.

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