Canadian Nuns Drive 10 Hours to Ohio to Purchase Armageddon Supplies

NOTE: The following article is taken from Lehman’s Country Life. The owner of Lehman Hardware and Appliances Inc., Galen, describes how a couple of nuns from Geronda Ephraim’s monastery in Quebec drove 10 hours to the village of Dalton, Ohio (pop. 1,843) to fill two vans with products “to help when the power leaves them in the dark.” Interestingly, many of these products can be purchased at various locations in Quebec. However, the nuns chose to drive 10 hours to a small village in a different country to pay a higher price (via the exchange rate).

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A Visit From The Sisters of Le Troupeau Benit by Galen Lehman

 

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The sisters often sell their foods and other wares at outdoor markets like this one. (L: Sr. Macrina, R: Sr. Theofano)

 

Last week our store was blessed with an interesting visit by a group of sisters from Quebec, Canada. These ladies live in a Greek Orthodox religious community and apparently use many of our products, as they came prepared with a LONG list of items they needed! The Sisters run a cheese factory called Le Troupeau Benit (The Blessed Flock) where they make and sell cheeses made from their very own sheep and goats.

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Our bright, reliable Aladdin lamps will light the way for the sisters when their power goes out ($235 each).

Beth Smith handled the order entry and had many of us running around gathering items for these ladies. They spent most of their day at the store with a short leave in the afternoon for lunch at Mrs Yoder’s Kitchen in nearby Mt. Hope, Ohio. The Customer Service counter was piled so high we finally had to find another place to gather their wares. The items ranged from milk bottles,Aladdin lamps and canned meat, to lamp partscast iron kettleshow-to books and many miscellaneous housewares items.

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Our 3-legged cast iron kettles are oil-cured and ready to cook delicious meals outdoors. 7 sizes available at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Our staff member Roger helped them load up, and in the conversation discovered they live the Lehman’s lifestyle of gardeningcheesemaking and many other self-sufficient skills. They have electricity, but it frequently goes out on them. This trip was to get items to help when the power leaves them in the dark. Hurray for the Aladdin lamp! They had two vans with seats down and loaded all the goods into them, then had a 10-hour drive back home to Quebec.

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The sisters live a simple lifestyle and practice self-sufficient skills such as gardening, cheesemaking and keeping livestock such as chickens, sheep and goats.

We were honored and blessed to serve this very special group of sisters, and we thank them for their visit. We hope the products they purchased will be beneficial in aiding their noble ventures!

For more on these intriguing and enterprising women, visit https://scottnevinssuicide.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/inauguration-of-new-cheesemaking-facilities-for-le-troupeau-benit-quebec-monastery/

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http://www.monasterevmc.org/

SOURCE: http://countrylife.lehmans.com/a-visit-from-the-sisters-of-le-troupeau-benit/#more-25113

The Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery Tumblr page makes the following observation:

Are the nuns preparing for the last days?

One wonders: Why these nuns would drive 10 hours out of province and country to purchase items readily available in Quebec? Especially when the Canadian dollar is so low (1 CAD = 0.72453 USD, thus 1,000.00 USD = 1,380.21 CAD; 1,000.00 CAD = 724.53 USD). Not to mention all these items have to be declared at the border, though there are numerous ways to enter Quebec illegally without border checks. The cost of gas for a 20 hour round trip which include tolls, plus food and snack expenses, are also not cheap. Some of the American monasteries along the border have bank accounts in Canada (usually under a trusted pilgrim’s name, or a shell account) and they send up the Canadian dollars they receive in donations to be deposited there. It is unknown if the Canadian monasteries do the same down here for the US dollars they receive from pilgrims.

The few convenient routes from the monastery to the Lehman’s store are still a few hours out of the way from the MI, NY, and PA monasteries that the nuns sometimes visit for feast days, or privately on regular days.

Perhaps they did not want locals of Quebec to be scandalized with the thousands of dollars spent on things which may seem superfluous. Because why pay $30 for an oil lamp at their local hardware store (http://www.homehardware.ca/en/cat/index.htm/Indoor-Living/Housewares/Decor/Decorator-Lighting/Oil-Lamps/_/N-ntkmx) when they can drive 10 hours to buy $300 Aladdin Deluxe Brass oil lamps (https://www.lehmans.com/p-3182-aladdin-deluxe-brass-table-oil-lamp.aspx)? One wonders why such fancy, expensive lamps are needed for “when the power goes out?”

In September 1999, some of the heads of the monasteries stayed at St. Nektarios Monastery in New York as a stopover before Archbishop Demetrios’ enthronement (Saturday, September 18, 1999). Due to Hurricane Floyd, the monastery lost it’s power and some of the basements were flooded (this was before Geronda Joseph spent half a million dollars+ on a generator to power the main buildings). Hieromonk Chrysostomos and Father Kassianos went out and purchased regular oil lamps and lamp oil for each room/monastic. If Gerondissa Thekla followed this pattern, then that is around $6,900 (9,523.42 CAD) for the 23 nuns to have their own lamp (compared to the $690 it would have cost them at their local hardware store).  If the nuns purchased lamps for all the different buildings on their property …

The canned meat is also a curiosity since monastics are forbidden to eat meat by the orthodox canons (interestingly, bishops who are also tonsured monastics tend to ignore this canon here). In some cases, out of economia, monastics who are very ill will be given an obedience to eat meat for strength.

It wouldn’t be for the goats. Though goats will eat almost anything, farmers know that you never feed goats meat, meat byproducts, or food prepackaged for your carnivore pet such as dog food or cat food. For the most part it is illegal to feed animal byproducts to any ruminate animals (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AnimalVeterinary/GuidanceComplianceEnforcement/GuidanceforIndustry/UCM052385.pdf).

Sometimes, out of economia, non-orthodox workers may be served or permitted to eat meat at monasteries during construction. In extreme cases of economia, pilgrims might be given a blessing to hunt on monastery property. In 1999, Geronda Joseph gave Gerasimos Kourkoumelis permission to hunt Canada Geese at St. Nektarios Monastery, NY. This was allowed for a two-fold purpose: 1) to create a bond with Gerasimos and soften him to the church 2) to eliminate the Geese that were destroying the grass and golf turfs of the property.

With the excahnge rate, the canned meat products are more expensive than those sold in Canada.

https://www.lehmans.com/c-89-canned-meat.aspx

Who knew the end of the world would be so expensive …

http://stnektariosmonastery.tumblr.com/

 

He Was Going to Create an Organization Not in Accordance with the Church (Theodore Kalmoukos, 1989)

The monk Ephraim would go first to Canada after having received "permission" of Bishop Sotirios and then he would come to the U.S.A. in the Astoria, New York area, by preference.
The monk Ephraim would go first to Canada after having received “permission” of Bishop Sotirios and then he would come to the U.S.A. in the Astoria, New York area, by preference.
In case he refused to obey, the Patriarchate is determined to proceed with defrocking him, a fact that the Patriarch mentioned in a conversation with the committee.
In case he refused to obey, the Patriarchate is determined to proceed with defrocking him, a fact that the Patriarch mentioned in a conversation with the committee.
the position of the heirarchy of the Church was ecclesiastically proper offering a serious order to Fr. Ephraim "to return immediately to the monastery where he was tonsured."
the position of the heirarchy of the Church was ecclesiastically proper offering a serious order to Fr. Ephraim “to return immediately to the monastery where he was tonsured.”
He would then appear at the Archdiocese asking a blessing to stay from the Archbishop Iakovos.
He would then appear at the Archdiocese asking a blessing to stay from the Archbishop Iakovos.

Reprinted from the National Herald, Monday, June 5, 1989

“Not in accord with the Church and inappropriate. The presence of monk Ephraim from Mt. Athos in New York. The Patriarch advised him to get to his senses, otherwise, he will be defrocked. The role of Panaghia Glykofilousa.”

[Boston] A serious clerical problem has been created in our community and really with possible division in the Church because of activities of the monk Ephraim, the abbot of the Philotheou monastery at Mt. Athos together with the Christian brotherhood under the name “Panaghia Glykofilousa.” The above referenced individuals operated “not in accordance with the Church and inappropriately,” to a point that the Ecumenical Patriarchate would punish the monk Ephraim with defrocking. The situation is as follows:

How the Monk Ephraim First Appeared in the U.S.A.

About ten years ago the monk Ephraim started visiting the U.S.A. and Canada with the excuse, in the beginning of getting therapy on his leg, and later, to hear confessions from people with whom “he had a spiritual union.” Most of the time, he was using the trick of receiving “permission after the fact” from Archbishop Iakovos, who as a matter of fact, even under these circumstances showed understanding and love and offered him the permission.

The following actually happened: The monk Ephraim would go first to Canada after having received “permission” of Bishop Sotirios and then he would come to the U.S.A. in the Astoria, New York area, by preference. He would then appear at the Archdiocese asking a blessing to stay from the Archbishop and finally, [Archbishop Iakovos] would act as a father and give him permission, but at the same time, making sure to tell Fr. Ephraim he omitted asking for permission ahead of time. Fr. Ephraim, who is considered by some who know him as a spiritual leader, started handling confessions at their homes and many times even performed liturgy, something that would reach the level of “outside the Church activities,” although he [Fr. Ephraim] would insist that this was done “for practical reasons.”

Around the year 1984 in Astoria, NY, a “Christian brotherhood” under the name “Panaghia Glykofilousa” was created with Mr. George Dimopoulos as the head of the organization which was established in the most part by “followers” of Fr. Ephraim. This brotherhood opened a store in Astoria selling religious items and, in a way, became the home base for Fr. Ephraim. Please note that similar situations have been established in other cities in the U.S.A. and Canada.

Fr. Ephraim’s visits started becoming more frequent to a point that he would spend more time here [U.S.A.] than in his monastery at Mt. Athos. Circumstantially, we say that he avoided performing the liturgy together with other clerics of the Archdiocese, sometimes offering excuses that would reach the limits of jokes, that is, that he does not like high profiled churches and big crowds, when in reality, he was trying to avoid including the Archdiocese in his universal movement. In spite of this, the Archdiocese faced him with love and tolerance. As a matter of fact, several discussions took place between bishops, Mr. Sotirios of Toronto, Mr. Iakovos of Chicago, and Mr. Maximos of Pittsburgh to use the monastic experience of Fr. Ephraim and start monasticism in the above referenced areas, which shows that the bishops embraced this with a spirit of love.

And Wealth Resulting from Property

Recently, though, the brotherhood “Panaghia Glykofilousa” of New York was not satisfied with just a bookstore and its “Christian activity” but bought a piece of property in the Poconos of Pennsylvania for $150,000 with future plans to establish a monastery, putting in charge Fr. Ephraim. We must underline, however, that construction-wise and administration-wise, it would belong to the brotherhood who then would only make a “typical report” to the Archdiocese. This way they would be appropriate and they would be fulfilling an obligation to the Church.

And a Green Card

Consequently, the brotherhood was able to provide Fr. Ephraim with a green card of permanent residence in the U.S.A., a fact that reveals many intentions and presents a lot of doubts. Without any doubt, this has legal implications because the questions as to why and under what occupation was he given a permanent residence, especially to an abbot of a monastery who promised at the time of his “tonsure” to remain in the monastery. Naturally, in this case, there are many serious theological reasons which we will cover in the future.

A Proper Stand of the Archbishop

As soon as Archbishop Iakovos was informed of the events, he informed by telegraph Mt. Athos (Holy Mountain) and ordered Fr. Ephraim to return there. As a matter of fact, at a meeting of the two at the Archdiocese, Archbishop Iakovos made clear the slip to Fr. Ephraim and called him to face his responsibilities before this case reached a level of no return for the Church and Fr. Ephraim personally. In the meantime, the other Brotherhood of Chicago “Panaghia Glykofilousa” had placed an agreement to purchase a piece of land with intent to build a monastery there, at the cost of $450,000. They had already paid a $20,000 deposit. Information has it that the contract was cancelled after the way things turned out.

Patriarchate: Pay Attention

Last week a committee of the brotherhoods of Fr. Ephraim, there exists 10 such brotherhoods, with George Dimopoulos in charge wanting to bypass Archbishop Iakovos, went to the Ecumenical Patriarchate hoping they will receive the blessing [of the Patriarchate] so they can proceed. However, the position of the heirarchy of the Church was ecclesiastically proper offering a serious order to Fr. Ephraim “to return immediately to the monastery where he was tonsured.”

In case he refused to obey, the Patriarchate is determined to proceed with defrocking him, a fact that the Patriarch mentioned in a conversation with the committee. The Patriarch Mr. Demetrios is commonly known as a man of God, filled with forgiveness and truth, simple, wise and with a lot of love for everyone. For such a man to reach that point and speak about defrocking Fr. Ephraim means that he wanted to maintain the unity of the Omogenia # and not allow any type of “extra-religious activities.”

The Omogenia is not a Vineyard Without a Fence

Something that Fr. Ephraim and his followers did not take into account is that the Church and the Omogenia* has ecclesiastical limits. They are not a vineyard without a fence “activities exceeding the limits” unless they want to be equated with Peters, Paissiuses, Pangratioses, Panteleimones, and all the remaining “high-handed” bandits of the purely non-existent….

* Omogenia=native-born or fellow Greeks

NOTE: The Panagia Glykofilousa Brotherhood shut down in the early-2000s. Mr. Photios “the Cretan” rented a Uhaul truck, loaded it with all the bookstore’s books, and drove them up to St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY, where he donated them. The Abbot, Geronda Joseph, let his monks have first pick, then he took some to sell in the bookstore, and donated the rest of them to the Apostle Paul Bookstore in Toronto, Canada (via Mr. Tzimi).

The Panagia Glykofilousa Brotherhood was named after the wonder-working icon of the same name located at Filotheou Monastery.
The Panagia Glykofilousa Brotherhood was named after the wonder-working icon of the same name located at Filotheou Monastery.