Occultism, Occult Functionaries & Demonology in the Old Testament (Solomon Nigosian, 1978)

NOTE: The following article is taken from OCCULTISM in the OLD TESTAMENT, pp. 9-15.

Occultism in the Old testament (1978)

From the early origins of the settlement of the Old Testament people in Palestine up to the Babylonian captivity, their religious practices included magic, sorcery, witchcraft, demonology and divination. There is no better evidence for this than the words of the author who recorded the cause for the defeat and exile (in 586 B.C.) of the southern kingdom, Judah:

And he [Manasseh] did what was evil in the sight of YHWH, according to the abominable practices of the nations…he rebuilt the high places…he erected the altars for Ba’al…worshipped all the host of heaven…burnt his son as an offering, and practised witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted the mediums and the wizards. [2 Kings 21:2-6]

The situation in the northern kingdom, Israel, was similar. Less than a century and a half before Judah’s downfall, Israel too had gone to exile (in 721 B.C.). And its religious practices also included the magical and divinatory arts.

And…the children of Israel sinned against YHWH their god…and feared other gods…and did secretly things that were not right…and made their sons and daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and sorcery. [2 Kings 17:7-17]

Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle of the destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian rule
Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle of the destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian rule

These arts were practiced by various skilled functionaries: the sorcerer, the soothsayer, the medium, the necromancer, the wizard, the charmer, the auger, the diviner, the dream-expert, the seer, the vision-expert, the priest, and the prophet. The importance attached to such qualified practitioners by the Old Testament people is seen in the statement by Isaiah (3:2-3), who places the expert in charms, the skillful magician and the diviner on the same plane as the mighty man and soldier, the judge, the elder, and the prophet. Isaiah was merely stating a known fact—namely, the high prestige that such practitioners enjoyed within their society (cf. also Isa. 8:19). Similarly, when Jeremiah (27:9) tells the public, “do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dream-experts, your soothsayers or your sorcerers,” he is simply reiterating the importance attached to these practitioners in the life of the people of the state.

Incidentally, Jeremiah’s distinctive use of the second masculine plural form—your—is very significant, for it indicates that there were at least two types of practitioners: the false and the true. When Jeremiah accuses “your prophets, your diviners, your dream-experts, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers,” it is obvious that his accusation is not directed against all persons who performed such practices, since he himself was one of them. Rather, Jeremiah was accusing only those whose practices he considered to result in false victims, omens, and oracles, because they were not performed by consulting YHWH.

προφήτης Ιερεμίας

It was not just the ordinary people who sought help from the skilled functionaries; the kings did likewise. King Manasseh made public use of soothsayers, augers, sorcerers, medium-experts and wizards (2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chron. 33:6). Similarly, King Ahab had qualified practitioners in his palace who were also experts in the art of cleromancy (1 Kings 20:30-34). Moreover, he consulted some 400 prophets, experts who performed their magical imitative art in order to ensure the success of his mission (1 Kings 22:1-28). That Ahab had 950 prophets who possessed and controlled the mystical knowledge of Ba’al and Asherah (1 Kings 18:19) surely indicates the importance attached to such men by the Israelite sovereigns.

Furthermore, King Saul made use of the services of mediums, wizards, dream-experts, cleromancers, prophets, and necromancers (1 Sam. 14:36-46; 28:3-19). When David succeeded Saul as king he inherited from his predecessor not only the court officials, but also the court experts in magical practices and divinatory arts. He often consulted them, especially in time of national raids and attacks (2 Sam. 5:17-25). On the other hand, King Solomon not only inherited these court experts, but added a host of qualified functionaries whose deities were other than YHWH: Sidonians, Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites and Hittites (1 Kings 11:1-10). These functionaries performed the various magical practices and divinatory arts connected with their respective deities, Ashtoreth, Milcom, Molech and Chemosh. They must have been in sharp conflict with the group who performed their arts in the name of YHWH. More will be said about this conflict presently.

Prophet Solomon
Prophet Solomon

The so-called attempted reforms of both King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chron. 29:3-31:20) and King Josiah (2 Kings 23:4-24; 2 Chron. 34:1-7) indicates, at least, how deeply rooted was the belief in the efficacy of magical practices and divinatory arts. But there is more than that! The Old Testament people had built on certain hilltops and valleys, as well as beside various trees, waters, rocks and stones, altars or sanctuaries. It was only natural that the people should continue to go to such “sacred” sites not only to burn incense and worship idols, molten images, and all the host of heaven, but to practice magic, sorcery, human offerings and divination (2 Kings 17:7-18). They persisted in such practices even during Hezekiah’s and Josiah’s so-called reform, and performed the magical customs of the surrounding nations (2 Kings 17:8).

The settling of the Old Testament people in Canaan involved, both culturally and religiously, the establishment of close relations—if not complete fusion—with the native people and the surrounding neighbors:

So the people of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons. And they served their gods…forgetting YHWH their god, and serving the Ba’als and the Asheroth. [Judges 3:5-6]

Thus the practice of magical and divinatory arts in Israel had developed from various sources. Nevertheless there appears to have developed an intense power struggle between those that practiced the art in the name of YHWH and those who practiced in the name of a number of other deities, collectively known as Ba’alim. These latter were regarded as “false” through and through by the former—false deities, false practitioners and false messages (Jer. 14:14; 27:9-10). While the struggle may have existed from the first on a small scale between the practitioners themselves, eventually it came into the open and became a political power struggle on a national scale.

Righteous Hezekiah
Righteous Hezekiah

Thus, the reforms of King Hezekiah and King Josiah should perhaps not be regarded as attempts to abolish magical and divinatory practices, but rather to suppress the so-called false practitioners in favor of true practitioners. Both these two kings used their political powers to overthrow the false functionaries, whose practices were regarded as abominable. In contrast, King Ahab and King Manasseh used all possible means of political pressure to uphold and support such false practitioners. Consequently, these two latter kings “rebuilt the high places…erected the altars for Ba’al and made an Asherah…worshipped all the host of heaven and served them…practised witchcraft and did sorcery, and consulted the medium and the wizards” (2 Kings 21:2-6).

A number of early prophets—Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Elisha, Elijah, and a host of seers, dream-experts, priests, and prophets, all tried to suppress the so-called practitioners who used the sacred arts in the name of Ba’alim. Thus, Isaiah (57:5-9) condemned the public not because they practiced the magical rite of cereal offering and libation, but because they exchanged YHWH’s power for other deities (cf. also Ezek. 16:19-22). Again, it was commonly believed by the YHWHistic group that those who consulted “foreign” gods stirred YHWH to jealousy and provoked him to anger (Deut. 32:16).

Prophet Samuel
Prophet Samuel

Furthermore, the YHWHistic group believed that the so-called false practitioners offered sacrifices, not to their respective deities, but to demons (Deut. 32:17). However, much to their frustration, the public continued to seek the practices of these false functionaries.

Consequently, the YHWHistic group strongly opposed and openly condemned those who performed the practices of the art considering them to be not only evil or abominable (Deut. 18:9), but “playing the harlot” (Exod. 34:15-17; Lev. 17:7; 20:2-6; Deut. 31:16; Judges 2:17, 8:33; Psalm 106:39). As a matter of fact the metaphor of harlotry was commonly used by the YHWHistic group who regarded all practices of the art that excluded YHWH as being an improper intercourse, prostitution and fornication (Isa. 1:21; 57:3; Jer. 2:20; 31:1-8; Ezek. 16:15-25; Hos. 2:5; 3:3; 4:15).

It became the strong conviction of the YHWHistic group that the cause of the defeat and exile of the northern kingdom, Israel, and similarly of the southern kingdom, Judah, was that the state and the public performed the practices of the false functionaries (2 Kings 17:7-20; 21:1-14). And if for a moment one were to accept this perspective, then obviously one is not only accepting that magic and divination were integral parts of the society, but is in fact saying that the false functionaries had the upper hand and the majority of the society sought their aid, since “YHWH sent them to exile.”

Of course, both groups engaged in various forms of the art and their practice was widespread. Many feared, worshipped, and through the help of practitioners, offered sacrifices with libation to numerous deities and demons (Deut. 32:17). Plagues, disease, and all sorts of mishap were attributed to demons and evil spirits (Ps. 78:49; 91:6; Job 3:8; cf. also Isa. 13:21; 30:6; 34:8-15). Not only were protective amulets worn in order to ward off evil but recourse was made to magical practices in order to remove or transfer the contagion.

Besides averting evil powers and influences, many performed various practices of a magical nature in order to seek the favor of deities and demons, or appease their wrath (for example, when social or religious taboos had been broken). One of the significant apotropaic acts was aimed at the protection of the living from harm which could be caused by the spirit of the departed.

The effectiveness of the “binding spell” and of the various genres of imitative magic performed either for the removal of evil, misfortune and disease, or for the purpose of war-victory, or to avert vengeance, or even to appease hostile spirits, will be discussed in the following pages. Similarly, the symbolic imitative performance of the prophets, as well as the restrictions and prohibitions imposed upon the society to protect themselves from hostile spirits, mysterious powers and evil influences will be cited to indicate that such magical practices were not only frequently performed but favorably looked upon as legitimate enterprises.

Thus in order to avert evil powers and influences, to appease the wrath or seek the favor of deities and demons, the Old Testament people resorted to magical practices. To find solutions to personal or national distress, to solve disputed questions, to discover the will of deities regarding various affairs, the people sought omens and resorted to the art of divination. Numerous qualified functionaries, such as sorcerers, soothsayers, seers, diviners, prophets and priests, all had important roles within the society, and their expert services in magical and divinatory practices were sought both by the public and by the state.

The art of cleromancy (divination by lot-casting) was considered a proper method of obtaining decisions regarding various affairs, assignment of duties, discovering guilty individuals and solving disputed questions. Again, strange as it may appear to us, there is not the least doubt that the Old Testament people firmly believed that certain expert functionaries had the power to evoke and communicate with the dead—an art known as necromancy. Moreover, they thought that a person could become the unconscious agent of a spirit of deity so that any pronouncement by such a person would instantly be seized by those skilled in the art as a clue of good or evil omen—the art of cledonomancy.

Furthermore, there can be no doubt that the Old Testament people believed that dreams and visions were messages emanating from supernatural powers, benevolent or malevolent spirits and deities. The “dream-expert,” the “vision-expert” (gazer), the “seer” and the “prophet” were among those who attached great importance to dreams and visions, regarding them as vehicles by which divine intentions were revealed. Such an art is known as oneiromancy.

Not all occult techniques, however, were considered approved methods to inquire of God. Inquiries performed by “a diviner, a soothsayer, an auger…a medium…or a necromancer” were unconditionally banned (Deut. 18:10; Lev. 20:6, 27). Despite this prohibition, however, and despite the efforts of King Saul (1 Sam. 28:3, 9) and King Josiah (2 Kings 23:24) to eliminate from the society these so-called illegitimate practices of inquiry, the Old Testament people consulted “diviners, soothsayers, augers and mediums” (2 Kings 17:16-17; 21:6; Isa. 8:19; Jer. 27:9; Hos. 4:12).

Thus it is difficult to conceive how the Old Testament people regarded the practice of magic and divination “evil.” Probably, what was abominable to a certain group was that such practices were not done in the name of YHWH (who, in their view, was the only powerful and true deity) but in the name of other deities (who were absolutely false deities). It seems that magic and divination were not only permissible, but were legitimate religious enterprises—if performed correctly in the name of YHWH. Many naturally confused the issue with YHWH and performed their practices in the name of other deities. This must have brought them into sharp conflict, opposition, and condemnation. In fact, in the struggle, even political power was used (such as the reform of Josiah) in order to repress such non-YHWHistic activities.

At any rate, magic and divination were integral parts of the society and numerous practices were performed by skill functionaries.

Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel

After a Discussion about Elder Ephraim with an Abbot of a Monastery (December 24, 2010)

The following article is taken from ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑ ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΣΟΣ.

Elder Ephraim and 4 monks (AZ)

Elder Porphyrios said:

At the end of his life, Elder Ephraim will be the only person who will deposit healing.1

He will be the saint of humility.2

The Jews want to kill him.

So, they sent a woman to confess and gave her a knife with poison. And you only have to touch him and the Elder will die. So the girl went to the monastery and after waiting 5-6 hours, she entered the cell to confess and supposedly the following event occurred: As soon as she went to confess, the Elder was not in the cell. She looked left, she looked right…nothing. She didn’t see the Elder. She looked here, she looked there…nothing. The Elder was hovering high above at the ceiling. He looked at her sternly and told her to throw away the object that was in her hands. Afterwards, she narrated her entire life from her childhood years. The Elder told her the following: Do not mention anything you saw until my death. However, after she left the cell, she narrated everything to everyone, about the holiness of the Elder.3

Elder Porphyrios said:

Elder Ephraim will do a great work because he did complete obedience to his Elder, Joseph the Cave-Dweller.

Elder _______, narrated:

Once, Elder Ephraim, his disciple and a Metropolitan were found together in the same car. The Metropolitan vulgarly insulted Elder Ephraim non-stop. Elder Ephraim did not speak at all. When the disciple got out he asked the Elder why he did not respond to the Metropolitan. The Elder told him that he is the bishop and we do obedience to him. A man of complete humility and obedience. May we have his blessing.4

Geronda Ephraim and the late Fr. Savvas Filotheitis.
Geronda Ephraim and the late Fr. Savvas Filotheitis.

A Testimony about the Monastery of Saint Anthony in Arizona:

The following was narrated by a Christian Orthodox parishioner of the area and frequent visitor to the monastery that Elder Ephraim the Filotheitis founded.

When he was to build his monastery, Elder Ephraim began to go to the desert of Arizona. Then he heard bells, and then told the driver to proceed as far as he could into the desert. So he continued to hear the bells that the others could not hear. They went deeper into the desert, several kilometers into the depth of complete desolation. When the Elder arrived in an area that was close to the center of the desert stopped hearing the bells. Then the Elder said, “Stop. We will make our monastery here.” So, they built the magnificent monastery in the desert of Arizona.” Works that people start and Christ finishes. Wondrous is God in His saints. Amen.

St. Anthony's Monastery in the Sonoran Desert.
St. Anthony’s Monastery in the Sonoran Desert.

NOTES:

1. This statement can also be used to “validate” the monks and nuns who say that Geronda Ephraim is not only the holiest man in the history of the Orthodox Church, but also the last of the saints, “Who will there be after him? No one has reached, nor will be able to reach the spiritual heights he has.” Geronda Ephraim has also told his abbots and abbesses on more than one occasion, “Woe unto you when I am gone!” A very cryptic and enigmatic saying.

2. When Geronda Porphyrios and Geronda Paisios were alive, they are said to have frequently criticized Geronda Ephraim and Elder Joseph the Hesychast. In 1998, the Abbots of Geronda Ephraim (Frs. Paisios (AZ), Dositheos (TX), and Joseph (NY) had a meeting and agreed to boycott the books of Geronda Paisios and Porphyrios from their bookstores due to all the problems they gave Geronda Ephraim in Greece, as well as all the things they said critically about him. Furthermore, Geronda Paisios book, Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters, does not even mention Elder Joseph the Hesychast once. The boycott seems to have relaxed at some of the monasteries as they sell both these Elders’ books now. Not to mention, Geronda Joseph’s monastery in New York has distributed two of Geronda Paisios’ books, Epistles and Elder Paisios of Mount Athos. Now, with the numerous books being translated into English, and the growing popularity of these two Elders in North America, the disciples of Geronda Ephraim are telling pilgrims about all the positive things these Elders said about Geronda Ephraim and Geronda Joseph (and of course, omitting the negative). However, none of these praises of Geronda Ephraim or Elder Joseph the Hesychast appear in any of their books (not to mention, not all the books written about these two Elders are “validated” by their disciples). These praise “quotes” come from the same mouths that just 15 years ago, were talking about how much Geronda Paisios and Geronda Porphyrios fought and spoke out against Geronda Ephraim, and how jealous these two Elders were of Geronda Ephraim, and how much difficulty the two Elders gave him.

3.  In some accounts, the girl is a Jehovah’s Witness. Though, considering the monastery’s teaching that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Zionist creation, are funded by the Zionists, and serve the aims of Zionism, then perhaps one can say that it was the Jews…(see Αρχιμ. Χαράλαμπος Βασιλόπουλος, Ο Οικουμενισμός χωρίς μάσκα, 1972, pp. 45-48).

4. This incident was recorded secretly and is found on the “Secret Archive/Μυστικό αρχείο (of Elder Ephraim)” series compiled by Fr. Savas Filotheitis of blessed memory. Unfortunately, when Geronda Ephraim learned of the existence of this DVD, he ordered the abbots and abbesses to take back whatever copies they had given to their monks and nuns. The information this series contained was too sensitive and incriminating as Geronda Ephraim speaks very freely about the Patriarchate, bishops, priests, about certain monks in Philotheou, joining ROCOR, etc. As well, there are recordings of bishops and priests who didn’t know they were being recorded saying incriminating things.

Ger. Ephraim et al (Iero Divine Liturgy, 2005)

“Get Ready, Very Difficult Days Are Coming” (Geronda Ephraim of Arizona, July 2010)

Wednesday, July 26th, 2010

The famous Elder Ephraim of Arizona and Athonite monk urges more “preparation because the very difficult days will start soon.”

 Γέροντας Εφραίμ της Αριζόνα: “Ετοιμαστείτε, έρχονται πολύ δύσκολα…”
Γέροντας Εφραίμ της Αριζόνα: “Ετοιμαστείτε, έρχονται πολύ δύσκολα…”

This exhortation was made to an abbot of an Athonite monastery who visited him recently and asked him about the developments in Greece. Geronda Ephraim was very clear: “Very difficult days are coming” …And the monastery has already made a “crisis team” responsible for preparing the monastery for very difficult days for an unknown period of time.

The above could be a bad joke. But it is not … Unfortunately, the upcoming events are more visible to the naked eye, since all of us can see now what is coming, namely misery and hunger …

The 2008 Greek riots started on 6 December 2008, when Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old Greek student, was killed by two policemen in Exarcheia district of central Athens.
The 2008 Greek riots started on 6 December 2008, when Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old Greek student, was killed by two policemen in Exarcheia district of central Athens.

“I cannot understand the world. Everyone asks, “Me to catch the new measures?”!!! Honestly, I cannot understand how much modern society and the people who live in this country has been eroded. No one cares about his neighbor. No one cares about the problem that has hit the door of his fellow citizen, his neighbor. Everyone thinks about whether the “measures” affect their own petty interests!”

“Frankly, I believe that God will give the opportunity for us recover. Greek Orthodoxy revealed great contemporary figures who offered to the work of God, who fought to save human souls. Porphyrios, Paisios, Joseph … Elders who bled in the struggle for their fellow men, in the struggle to drive out the suffering and evil from the hearts of the people who suffered …”

“What morality is there left? Evil has hit the family, Education. Evil has hit in every healthy cell of society and today we live the results of this war. People are running without worrying about their neighbor. Society that we knew no longer exists. Today individualism dominates…”

The Greek Austerity Protests started May 5th, 2010.
The Greek Austerity Protests started May 5th, 2010.

“Why? Because some played with the Greek character and eroded all those characteristics that could help him. It is unthinkable! Individualism is alive and well, while the fraud became ‘charisma.’ They grew generations who were taught how to grab. And this in a state of complete impunity…God sees this.”

Today, an Athonite monk laid down these shocking things to me in a discussion. And his voice trembled with emotion and anxiety about what will happen.

“Be careful,” he told me. “Tell others to be careful. Do not let your logic surrender to what they tell you. Where is the valor of those who do not permit anyone to reduce them? Where are those brave young men who gave their blood for us all? This land was drenched with blood. It is a great pity that foreigners and the unworthy governed it… be careful.”

What can I say? I remembered Geronda Ephraim of Arizona’s words: “Very difficult days are coming. Take care of your soul. Gather and give to your struggle …” He said these things a few months ago. And now it has become clearer: “The very difficult days will start in September.”

The prayers of the Geronda are always with us. But I wonder: what do we do to help ourselves? Do we simply worry about whether the measures will touch us?

“Someone should tell you that you do not live in a dream or a nightmare. You live in a very ugly reality that it will only get worse …”
http://kostasxan.blogspot.ca/2010/07/blog-post_8331.html

The Marble-King John (Theologoumena of Geronda Ephraim)

Elder Ephraim says that when the Greeks take back Constantinople, 33 years of prosperity will pass and then full apostasy will start and the Antichrist will rule.

Elder Ephraim reveals that it is not yet the epoch of the Antichrist’s government and that there are still prophecies that have not happened, such as the 33 year reign of the sleeping marble King, John, after the 3rd world war and the capture of Constantinople.

Geronda Ephraim of Arizona.
Geronda Ephraim of Arizona.

Elder Ephraim speaks about this event on various cassettes:

“There is a sleeper General named John who the Archangel Michael will then indicate to Christians that he will reign now. He will indicate the place to them with his finger and they will call him to lead and reign over the Greek Orthodox people. And this will happen!
“Years ago there was an [Old Calendarist] Archpriest named Hierotheos on Mount Athos. He came from Asia Minor and the Ecumenical Patriarchate placed him on Mount Athos to perform ordinations, memorial services, liturgies, etc. He was a holy Archpriest in the type of St. Nicholas. I was counted worthy of the Priesthood by this holy Archpriest from Asia Minor. Blessed man of God! “One thing I will tell you. What vigils that we did! This 80 year old man did fifteen hour vigils without sitting at all in the seat. He descended from his throne in the stall again upright. And in the Liturgy which followed three hours after the long Orthros, standing! We placed a chair for him to sit down and he did not want it. He said, “Still our Panagia does not tire me” even when he was trembling from fatigue. This holy Archpriest told us he saw the sleeping General John, who will be resurrected when the great 3rd World War takes place! He saw him! Because the lips of an archpriest don’t lie.

“So, he told us the truth. And we asked him. For at that time my blessed and holy Elder was still alive (the famous Joseph the Hesychast and Cave-Dweller), and all our synodeia and had gotten him in our church and we sat there and asked him questions. And he said it. We heard with our ears. “He said, „There is this sleeping King and he will resurrect again!‟ We said, „When, Elder? When, holy Archpriest of God?‟ He said, „When the third World War takes place!‟ And he also told us that, „The right hand of the King is on the handle of the sword! Which sword is in the scabbard.‟ And he said, „when the sword is out of its sheath, then the third World War will start.‟ And we, out of our curiosity asked him: „Your Reverence, how far is the sword out of the sheath?‟ He replied, „Just a few centimeters remain to come out!‟”

There is a cassette where Elder Ephraim tells listeners that he has seen the marble King John himself. It is unknown if he meant in a vision or with his physical eyes.

2 Sources of Geronda Ephraim’s Teachings on the Marble King:

Saint Ioannis Vatatzis the Beneficent and Geronda Ephraim of Arizona.
Saint Ioannis
Vatatzis the Beneficent and Geronda Ephraim of Arizona.

Unfortunately, the original prophecies that Elder Ephraim is referring to are pseudepigraphs.

The first one, attributed to St. Methodius of Patara [4th century] is from the 7th century and written by an anonymous Syrian Monophysite. Even if it was written by St Methodius, the text itself contains so many historical and theological errors that it’s already rendered heretical just by Scriptural and ecclesiastical teachings.

There is a prophecy on St. Constantine’s Tomb that has never been recorded or mentioned by any ecclesiastical writer or historian, nor is it in his Synaxarion.

The next prophetic text in succession which is attributed to St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ is rejected by St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain as follows: “The Life of this Saint Andrew is preserved in a manuscript of much breadth, a book almost of great composition, in which are contained numerous prophecies concerning the future. I will never issue this here, since it is said it contains some things that are doubly unacceptable, and it is found at Iveron, as well as other places.” (Synaxaristes For the Twelve Months of the Year, vol. 3)

It should be noted that the St. Andrew “prophecy” seems to be plagiarized and expanded from the earlier “Methodius” text.

The prophetic text  attributed to St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ is rejected by St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain.
The prophetic text attributed to St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ is rejected by St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain.

Besides the fact that most of these prophecies strongly contradict the Scriptural and Patristic eschatology accepted by the Orthodox Church, their origins are dubious and obscure, they are not referenced as factual, nor incorporated into the eschatological writings of the Church Fathers (i.e. not found in St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. John of Damascus, St. Photios the Great, St. Gregory Palamas, St. Ecumenios, St. Andrew of Caesarea, etc.), and they seem to relate more with Hellenic nationalism and xenophobia than orthodox spiritual teachings. It is worthy to note that these prophecies were also widely disseminated Apostolos Makrakis’ disciples. Even into the 1970’s there were monks on Mount Athos who followed Makrakis and wrote about the Constantinople prophecies (Such as Archim. Neilos Sotiropoulos, who wrote The Coming Double-Edged Sword in 1965: http://www.slideshare.net/stratilatis/ep-4676176 )
The sleeping king’s sword has been almost fully out of the sheath for almost 60 years now, and both Elder Ephraim and Elder Paisios of Arizona reference the sword to this day.

To this day, both Elder Ephraim and Elder Paisios of Arizona reference the sleeping king's sword coming out of its sheath.
To this day, both Elder Ephraim and Elder Paisios of Arizona reference the sleeping king’s sword coming out of its sheath.

Again, as a theologoumena, it’s not dogmatic nor is it a belief that one’s salvation depends upon. However if these prophecies are just mere ‘Greek superstitions of simple-minded people,’ as Fr. Athanasius Mitilinaios states, then the people who believe in these fables could be in a shock when it does not occur.
However, a good disciple says, “Whatever the elder believes, thinks, and decides, I also believe, think, and decide in exactly the same way” [Counsels of the Holy Mountain, Chapters on Obedience]. Thus, if one happens to be a disciple of Elder Ephraim, it’s better for them to believe these prophecies so they can be of one mind with their Elder.

The Apostle John Returns

In one of Elder Ephraim’s cassettes on the Antichrist, he speaks about the return of the two witnesses, Enoch and Elijah, and also mentions the Apostle John will be returning, too [‘according to some Fathers’]. The Patristic consensus is that only Elijah and Enoch will return.

Sermons by Elder Ephraim on Eschatological Subjects (In Greek):

When Will the Antichrist Appear?

The Second Coming of Christ

0NY7

In the homily, When Will the Antichrist Appear?, Geronda Ephraim states:
“According to the Revelation of John and the prophecy of the Saints we await the Antichrist! We expect him… The Antichrist will test people on how much they believe in Christ … Some say that the Antichrist was born and is a certain age now. Others say no. The “no” is the most prevalent and most true, because when the future Antichrist comes, humanity must be found in the worst condition! Then he will come as a “Savior” … As the “Messiah” … And will deceive people to follow him …

Has he been born now? The human condition itself does not foresee him … Because the people on Earth now have all the goods. They don’t have a need for the Antichrist’s offering! What could he give us to believe him? We have no need of him… Not all the prophecies of the Saints have occurred yet!
When we take Constantinople, 33 years of prosperity will pass and afterwards the complete apostasy of mankind will begin; the Antichrist will rule! This is not yet the government of the Antichrist, because there are still prophecies that have not occurred, such as the government of 33 year reign of the sleeping King John after the 3rd World War and the capture of Constantinople by the Greeks.”

St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY (pathway to the old bookstore).
St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY (pathway to the old bookstore).

The Brotherhood in New York Will Be the First to Martyr

Before St. Nektarios Monastery was established in New York, and before many of the monasteries were established, Geronda Ephraim use to give sermons in peoples’ houses. He’d travel from Montreal to Toronto, down through New York. He would stay at a spiritual child’s house, and from there word would get out and people would flock to this house to go to confession and hear Geronda’s teachings. On more than one occasion, he mentioned he wanted to start a monastery in New York State, and he also made prophecies that whichever brotherhood would be there would be the first of his monks to martyr.
In 1998, while the Brotherhood of St. John the Theologian was seeking shelter at St. Anthony’s Monastery (until they found a property to purchase in New York), Geronda Ephraim gave many homilies to the Fathers in the Gerondia. He mentioned how he had a feeling the Antichrist would make his first appearances in New York as it had the highest Jewish population in America and all the Headquarters of the “dark powers” were located there. He also stated that the monks in New York would be the first to martyr out of all his monasteries. He has prophesied this on more than one occasion.

St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY (looking up at the guest quarters from the first pond).
St. Nektarios Monastery in Roscoe, NY (looking up at the guest quarters from the first pond).

NOTE:

If Geronda Ephraim makes an error, the monastics usually refer to the following teaching of St. Barsanuphius and John’s to justify his error:

Do not think that people, even if they are saints, can grasp the depths of the divinity…Saints, having been made teachers, or making themselves such, or compelling other people to succeed greatly, succeed their own teachers, and, having received support from above, exposited a new teaching, but simultaneously preserved what they took from their former teachers, i.e., the incorrect teaching. Having succeeded and afterwards been made spiritual teachers, they did not pray to God that He might reveal them to be the first of their teachers; whether it was the Holy Spirit who suggested what their teachers taught them but, considering them to wise and intellectual, did not examine their words; and therefore the opinions of their teachers got mixed up with their own teaching, and these saints sometimes said that which they learned from their teachers and sometimes the good which was suggested to them by their intellect; but subsequently these and other words were attributed to them. (Direction on the Spiritual Life 610)