Holy Pascha (Geronda Ephraim of Arizona, 1980)

NOTE: The following is taken from Fire from the Holy Mountain: The Prayer Diary of Elder Epraim, entry for March 24, 1980, Sunday of Pascha, p. 86:


Today is the Resurrection of Christ.

“Come receive light from the unwaning Light…”


O unwaning, unsetting, unending light, supremely radiant and extremely white, how You magnetize my nous, my soul, my heart! I long for You unwaningly, with endless love and eros. When shall I be counted worthy by the gift of mercy of my most holy God and Father to enjoy You eternally, eternally!


My unworthiness worries me, for I am not worthy of this lot of the saved—rather, I deserve to go to hell and be punished forever.


The Resurrection, the eternal Pascha, attracts me tremendously. The state of things above draws me. I long and yearn to be up in heaven, up in security. But when will this happen?


O Pascha with the angels, with the saints, with everyone dressed in white, how much you please and attract me! There they chant new and ineffable songs and sing to God with fantastic but also inexpressible peace and tranquility.


O Pascha with no end or change of its indescribable joy and celebration! My Father and my God, protect me from every evil so that I, too, the monstrosity, may be counted worthy one day of being in this Pascha that human words cannot describe or express.


“Likewise, do thou exalt and be glad, O my lady Theotokos, in the arising of Him Whom thou didst bear” (cf. Heirmos, 9th Ode of Paschal Canon). In the loveliness of the divine beauty of Your Son and God, remember even me, the filthy one, so that I may be together with you in the eternal Pascha!


“It is the day of Resurrection, let us be radiant, O ye peoples; Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha” (Heirmos, 1st Ode of Paschal Canon).


I bid You farewell, my Father, until next year.



Holy Friday (Elder Ephraim of Arizona, 1980)

NOTE: The following is taken from Fire from the Holy Mountain: The Prayer Diary of Elder Epraim, entry for March 22, 1980, Holy Friday, pp. 84-85:

Elder Ephraim Arizonaa

“Already the unjust judges have dipped their pens in ink, and Jesus is sentenced and condemned to the Cross…” (Matins Aposticha, Holy Friday).

O my light, O my joy, what is happening now with Your Passion! You, my sweet breath, my Jesus, You lifted on Your shoulders the burden of my guilt, and like a harmless, innocent, pure, and charming lamb, You are led to the slaughter of crucifixion for my sake.

Oh, what can I say! My mind stops before Your infinite love and sacrifice. I suffer along with You as I follow You during the entire journey of Your sacrifice for me on the Cross. I have nothing else to give You and I sit and weep, because I cannot help You in what is happening to You and in what You allow and have decided. You suffer as man, but as God You command everything to take place.

Oh. I am ashamed to look at You up on Your Cross, because You were innocent and because they should have crucified me. I am the guilty one. But You knew, my Lord, that I could not pay off my debt. This is why You came and put on the garment of my guilt, and the unjust judge with the pen wrote the condemnation for You instead of me.

My debt is infinite towards You, my sweet countenance and beauty! How shall I pay it off, since I am constantly increasing it with my lack of feeling for Your sufferings. Grant me tears to weep and weep, so that You might take pity on me like the harlot (vid. Lk. 7:36-50) and forgive me my great debt.

I kneel before You, my crucified Lord, my most sweet and adored Jesus, I venerate You with streams of tears because of Your great and immense sacrifice for me, who am guilty and liable because of my impious deeds.

I sing praises to You with all my soul. My soul cries out with unutterable shouts, smothered by the unbearable profusion of gratitude and thanks for everything You went through to save me. My debt towards You is enormous.

With inexpressible awe I stand before Your Cross. I see You crucified, in a situation that I should be in, because I am the guilty one that deserves such a death.

But arise, my sweet worship, so that my heart may rejoice and my soul may delight.

A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.
A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.

Fire from the Holy Mountain (Geronda Ephraim of Arizona)

Before all the monasteries were established, Geronda Ephraim and Fr. Savvas would stay in the homes of lay people when they traveled to North America. They would give homilies, Geronda would do confessions in peoples’ homes, etc. Fr. Savvas had somehow come across Geronda Ephraim’s “Prayer Diary” and copied out a bunch of entries. In the early 90’s, he would read some of these passages to lay people (at least the ones that were “close” to Geronda and part of the “family”). In the mid-2000s, these diary pages were translated into English. Spiral bound copies of both the Greek and English are given to monks and nuns in Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries to “help them in their vigil,” “inspire them to pray and struggle,” and “to see how great a saint God has given us as a Geronda,” etc. Essentially, it’s also a way for the Elder to promote himself, without him actually vocally telling his subordinates, “I’ve seen God”,”I talk to God”, “I’ve seen the Father”, etc. For, the Elder gave the blessing for them to be translated, as well as the blessing for them to be distributed to all his monasteries.

Temptation of Christ