St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery: Approval for Phase 3 – Monastery Building and Additions (2010)


Ta Skedia

The owner has filed a site plan development application to facilitate the construction of a new 2 storey residence for St. Kosmas to replace the existing monastery residence which is proposed to be demolished (574 m2  or 6179 square feet) in order to provide for sufficiently sized living quarters for the existing sisters as well as provide guest rooms for travelling bishops, priests and nuns. The new residence would have a total gross floor area of 1788 m (19,250 square feet). A front entrance feature is proposed to be added to the existing place of worship
consisting of 87.37 m2 or 940 square feet.  The place of worship and residence will be connected through a basement corridor. Within the cluster of buildings a stand alone monastic prayer building is also proposed (70.95 m2 or 764 square feet). These buildings will be located  approximately 470 metres from the Caledon-King Townline Road.  Since the existing septic system was upgraded in recent years there is no proposal to make any changes to the system as the daily use of the residence cannot exceed 4500L/day.

St. Kosmas Monastery

A minor variance was obtained by the owner to reduce the front’ yard minimum from 480 metres to 470 metres to permit the construction of the monastery residence in February of 2010 with no appeals filed.

5.6 Discussion

5.6.1   Replacement Dwelling
The proposed monastery will replace a current dwelling on the property which is currently being utilized as a residence for the sisters; however the size does not accommodate their current or future needs. When the new monastery was originally proposed as part of the overall master plan for the site it was to be located in the same general location of the current residence. The owner is proposing to complete the overall site development with the construction of a monastery originally outlined in the master plan for the property except for a future cemetery. The proposal is for a replacement dwelling as well as a small expansion to the place of worship and the construction of ·a prayer building. The overall design of the monastery is to resemble a large country estate home and not to appear institutional in anyway in order to achieve the intent of the official plan amendment for the property.


In order to attain this country home appearance, significant site works are proposed in the form of a circular driveway with a main entry covered with a porte cochere, central terrace in which the house, place of worship and prayer building surround, terraced retaining walls, green roof for the underground area connecting the house to the place of worship and terraced gardens which is flush with the grade of the terrace. Substantial site works are proposed as part of this development area in order to adequately address stormwater on the site. Storm drains, dry wells and catch basins are proposed to deal with overland flow routes. As a result, a detailed stormwater management and grading plans were submitted with the required erosion and sediment controls illustrated on the drawings. Based upon a review by Township Engineering staff, the overall stormwater design is found to be acceptable.

In order to address safety, the existing driveway was constructed at an appropriate grade to  accommodate EMS vehicles.   Further, it is proposed to have the residence installed with a sprinkler system so this further provides another element of safety from the standpoint of the Township of King Fire and Emergency Services Department.

St. Kosmas 1

5.6.2  Addition to the Place of Worship

The proposal also includes an addition to the existing place of worship in the form of a multi­ purpose room, gift shop and lobby. Due to current space constraints, some of the public functions of the place of worship such as the gift shop are carried out in the present monastery residence. With the replacement of the monastery with a proper residence and an addition to the place of worship, public uses will be solely directed to the place of worship. The intent of site plan development agreement for the proposed uses on the subject property in the past always related to ensuring the public interest was maintained. The first two phases involved the construction of gates and an extensive driveway leading to the place of worship and monastery. The second phase concerned the construction of a parking lot with screening.

The proposed site plan for the overall development was reviewed in terms of stormwater management and grading and there are still outstanding issues identified by Township staff. These are to be resolved prior to the execution of a site plan development agreement. The outside place of worship courtyard provides a public gathering space which is then linked to the parking lot with an existing sidewalk. The draft site plan development agreement has conditions relating to the site works required for the area of the place of worship only as this is the area of public interest to ensure they are constructed appropriately.

St Kosmas 2

5.6.3   Valley Slope Reforestation

As part of the overall master plan, valley slope reforestation was to occur to help stabilize the steep valley slope at the far rear portion of the site. This valley slope reforestation was also part of the phase 3. During pre-consultation to complete phase 3, it was determined at the time of the official plan amendment in 2000 there was concern addressed by the TRCA and Township of protecting the stream corridor from development and to stabilize this area. As time has passed, the area has naturalized and reforested itself. Based on a site inspection by TRCA staff in August of 2009, the area targeted for restoration has already naturally regenerated and therefore, there is no need to propose a planting plan. TRCA has no objection to agreeing that this condition in the site plan development agreement has been fulfilled for the phase 3 works (APPENDIX B)

St. Kosmas 3


The required application fee has been submitted. In addition, any external costs incurred by the Township through the processing and review of these applications will be recovered from the applicant.

7.        CONCLUSION

The application proposes the construction of a replacement dwelling to the existing monastery, addition to a place of worship and a stand along prayer building. The proposed development represents the final (phase 3) of the overall site works for the subject property except for a future cemetery. The replacement dwelling is required to address space constraints associated with the existing monastery building. The place of worship addition with its connection to the monastery will concentrate all public uses into one structure. The development has demonstrated conformity with the site specific official plan amendment and zoning by-law for the subject property.


The proposal has been reviewed by the relevant commenting agencies and departments and the applicant has addressed the majority of issues which have been raised to date except for stormwater management. It is recommended that site plan approval be approved subject to the owner resolving the stormwater management issues prior to the execut ion of a site plan development  agreement.

St. Kosmas Greek Orthodox Monastery: Exemptions to Noise By-Laws

Every year, due to specific by-laws, the sisters of St. Kosmas Monastery have to request an exempt to the Noise By-Law for the night of their Feast Day (August 23rd-August 24th). Each year it is granted.

St Kosmas Backview

C.O.W. #2006-193

Committee considered correspondence from the St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery, dated July 5, 2006 requesting and exemption to the noise by-law to host outdoor Church Services on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006 and Thursday, August 24th, 2006.

Nun Procession at St. Kosmas Monastery, Canada.
Nun Procession at St. Kosmas Monastery, Canada.

Committee recommends that the correspondence from the St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery be received and that an exemption to the Noise By-law for Church Services for Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. and Thursday, August 24th, 2006 morning from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00p.m., be approved and that the St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery be requested to notify all residents in the vicinity in advance of the event.


C.O.W. #2007-182
Request for exemption to the Noise By-law
Re: St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery
14155 Caledon King Townline

Committee considered correspondence from the St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery, dated July 5th, 2007 requesting an exemption to the noise by-law to host outdoor Church Services on Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 and Friday, August 24th, 2007.

Nuns chanting at St. Kosmas Feast Day (August 24, 2009)
Nuns chanting at St. Kosmas Feast Day (August 24, 2009)

Committee recommends that the correspondence from the St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery be received and that an exemption to the Noise By-law for Church Services for Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and Friday, August 24th, 2007 from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., be approved and that the St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery be requested to notify all residents in the vicinity in advance of the event.

Gerondissa Alexia Voutzali
Gerondissa Alexia Voutzali


Sister Philothei's Request for Noise By-Law Exempt

C.O.W. #2008-177
St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery  requesting exemption to the Noise By-law

Feast of Patrokosmas 2014 4-02

Committee considered correspondence from St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery, dated June 30th, 2008 requesting an exemption to the noise by-law to celebrate an outdoor Church Service on Saturday, August 23rd and Sunday, August 24th, 2008.

Feast of Patrokosmas 2014 5-01

Committee recommends that the correspondence from St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery be received and that an exemption to the Noise By-law for St. Kosmas Aitolos Greek Orthodox Monastery at 14155 Caledon King Townline Rd., Bolton for Saturday, August 23rd, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, August 24th, 2008 from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. be approved and that the applicant be requested to notify all residents in the vicinity in advance of the event.


Feast Day

Why are newly tonsured monks and nuns not included in the Orthodox Observer’s Clergy Updates section? (2002)

A debate on an Orthodox Christian forum in 2002 about why the Greek Archdiocese does not keep track of their newly tonsured monks and nuns in the same way it keeps track of its priests:

A. Styl writes:

The Orthodox Observer often lists a “Clergy Update” that lists ordination of deacons and priests, retirement of priests, and new assignments of priests–all good information.

Iero 2
Inside the altar during Divine Liturgy at St. Anthony’s Monastery (AZ)

Where is the list of newly tonsured monks and nuns in the monasteries and convents under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese? Families of these newly tonsured monastics often learn of the tonsuring and the location of their loved one after the fact. If the Archdiocese keeps track of its priests, why are the monks and nuns kept out of the loop? Why the secrecy or even the shadow of secrecy in listing these monks and nuns?

The absence of this list runs parallel with the absence of information about the monk Ephraim-led monasteries on the GO web site or Orthodox Observer. If establishing 16 monasteries within the last 10 years is a tribute to the Church, why is it not highlighted and presented to the people as a model? Because it is not a model of monasticism and because the GO church doesn’t know what to do with this rogue monk. Cults depend on secrecy and isolation in order to survive.


Iero 3
Inside the altar during Divine Liturgy at St. Anthony’s Monastery (AZ)

Alex Arnakis: The difference is that priests, deacons, etc., are public functionaries, and therefore the public has a right to know who they are. Monastics, on the other hand, answer to no one except themselves (and their monastic superiors), and thus are entitled to a curtain of

If the monastics want to cut themselves off from their families, it’s their business. This isn’t to say that doing so is right, because (in my opinion) it violates the Commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” The Commandment applies even if the parents are dysfunctional (and we all know how common dysfunctional families are among

Because the Ephraimite monasteries are *not* a tribute to the Church; they’re an embarrassment to the Church. The problem is that monastic life for the young is not consistent with the so-called “family values” that the Church is trying to promote.

Ephraim is a fish out of water. If people want to join monasteries, there are plenty of monasteries in Greece that they can go join. Monasticism just doesn’t fit with the ethos of America.

Serge: Perhaps it has to do with monasticism’s origins as something semi-independent of other church instititutions. Isn’t this still at least somewhat true in Orthodox monasticism, where each full-fledged monastery is independent of the others?

Marina: Monastics are not clergy and no such publication exists in Greece or Cyprus, for example.

Cunneen: Alex, I have to take exception to that. On the Catholic side, the Benedictines among others are alive and well in this country. They provide retreat centers and places of silence and peace for the rest of us, which is an important corrective to the ethos of America.

I’m sure that Orthodox monasticism is just as important to American Orthodox.

Alex Arnakis: I should have said “Monasticism in the tradition of Mt. Athos, as promulgated by Elder Ephraim, doesn’t fit with the ethos of America.” I’m sure Roman Catholic monasteries don’t recruit teenagers against the will of their parents, and do other things to split families apart. Nor do they make a personality cult of their abbots, doing such things as drinking their bath water.

The Trappist monks of Holy Cross Abbey (Berryville, Virginia) make some awfully good fruitcake. (BTW, I notice that they don’t accept novices younger than 23.)

Cunneen: All Orthodox monasteries in the U.S. aren’t Athonian, are they? We met monks
from a small (monastery?) in Northern California affiliated with OCA; they make icons and do some simple farming. There are only three of them, but they seem very happy and open.

Rd. Constantine Wright: There is a map and list of the Athonite monasteries in America at the following link:

This is at the website for St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, AZ.

Fr. Ephraim is not being secret. There are several public websites given in the list. Fr. Ephrain travels (insofar as he is allowed to do so) and speaks openly. On the other hand, the efforts at secrecy are coming from those who are trying to suppress monasticism, the heart of our Orthodox Faith, in this country.

Alexander Arnakis: No, there were monasteries before Fr, Ephraim. But he’s the one who sparked the growth, and the controversy.

A. Styl: Yes, there are several public websites, but the Archdiocese’s web site and its newsletter, the Orthodox Observer, do NOT list him or his monasteries’ activities. Those of us who want to expose the monk Ephraim and his cult are not against monasticism within the Church. There is monasticism and then there is monasticism, the Ephraim-type that requires secrecy and deception. The term of “salvific deception,” which allows one to lie in order to preserve one’s salvation is touted to the novices and tonsured monks/nuns. In other words, it’s ok to deceive others in order to preserve and further your own salvation and your monastic community. The guardians of our faith are allowed to lie?


I have attended several GOA National Clergy-Laity Congresses over the past decade, and the Fr. Ephraim monasteries have been a great source of private debate. When they have been brought out at public meetings, the GOA hierarchs clearly have admonished those present that they consider these monasteries under their jurisdictions, but for some reason or another, they have little or no control over what occurs there. Metropolitans will visit these monasteries on occasion, but other than that there appears to be little or no control exterted by them. The GOA drafted some regulations concerning these monasteries, but I am not sure what happened to them.

In the meantime, the GOA over the years has established several monasteries of its own, which are clearly included on their web site. I have visited non-Ephraim and Ephraim monasteries (two Ephraim monasteries are in my area, with one may be housing a young man whose recruitment was and still is a major source of controversy.) The non-Ephraim monasteries are open and warm, the Ephraim ones secretive and furtive in nature. The monk (within one year of joining was tonsured!) in question avoided contact with the general public during my visits. The monks and nuns of the GOA monasteries behaved
differently. While rumors swirl about how the Ephraim monasteries operate and how they recruit youngsters to become monks, no such rumors swirl around the GOA formed monasteries, nor of any other monasteries of other canonically recognized Churches in the USA.

The Ephraim monasteries are organized around Fr. Ephraim, all 16 or so of them. True monasteries are organized around a single abbott, not multiple monasteries organized around a single abbott. And Ephraim himself has jurisdiction hopped when it has suited him to do so, and how and why he left Mt. Athos has never been disclosed or explained. Many insist that he left Mt. Athos because he was on the verge of being booted out over some unusual behavior and teachings. Again, there is no way of verifying this, and until there is proof offered, at best they are rumors that just keep on persisting.

You know the old expression, where you smell smoke, there must be fire? In the Ephraim monasteries, the “smoke” smell is clearly evident.

Peter A. Neenan: Contrary to American ethos? Tell that to the Benedictines!

Catherine Hampton: Please present the evidence that this term is used and taught by
Archimandrite Ephreim and others in his group….

I’m a former member of a religious cult (a Protestant based cult) who has no problem accepting that an Orthodox group could also fall into this particular sin. (I’ve seen it happen.) However, I also have no problem believing that, for political or other invalid reasons, a group of people might accuse a particular monk or leader of cultism when they are not actually guilty of it.

So far, the evidence I’ve seen about Archimandrite Ephreim is equivocal, and not terribly well supported.

If there is real evidence of genuine cultlike behavior (as teaching the doctrine you cite above would be), I’d like to hear it, and see it posted. But it should be real evidence — the testimony of multiple witnesses, a sound recording in the voice of Archimandrite Ephreim, a document written by him that he acknowledges or that can be proved to
have come from him, etc.

Otherwise, I’m going to assume that the war we all observed within the Greek Orthodox Church in America is continuing, and that a partisan in this war is engaging in propaganda to sway our opinion for reasons that have nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of the person he’s accusing. :/

That’s interesting information…  You know, somebody really should gather together these stories, interview the people involved, and post it in one location.  Over five years ago, I and another former member of a cultish Protestant group did this.  It proved useful to a huge number of people who had been members of or otherwise were affected by the group, people whose very existence we didn’t suspect and most of whom didn’t realize that others had had the same experiences they did.

The advantages of getting specifics into the daylight — names, dates, first-hand testimony, and analysis by outsiders who do  not have an axe to grind — is hard to overstate.  Maybe you could start something like this?

Seth Williamson: Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it, the kid was old enough to join the armed forces without parental consent. Then why can’t he become a monk?

Cunneen: Reading accusations and waiting for evidence seem to be two of the major
activities of this newsgroup. We get a lot of both.

That’s what makes unsupported accusations so evil; puff up enough smoke and people begin to believe there’s a fire because you said so. That’s essentially the method of propaganda: make an accusation often and loudly.

Atstaves: Hi Catherine. Try going to There are extensive articles on the Ephraim monasteries for anyone to review, including a few articles by an Archbishop who has taken exception to several of their teachings and has written articles setting the record straight.

Baseless rumor and its smoke will usually dissipate within a short period of time. With the Ephraim monasteries, after a decade, the smoke just never seems to go away.

Go to and read all about them along with an Archbishop’s response over two or three articles contradicting Ephramite teachings. You will get a better idea of what some of us are talking about.

I wish it were just idle rumor.

Regards, Louis Geo. Atsaves

A. Styl: Catherine, you want real evidence? So do we! Those families, except for the one in Tennessee, hesitate to speak out for two reasons: 1) ostracism from their parish (questioning the Ephraim-type of monasticism is not encouraged or translates into condemnation of all types of monasticism) and 2) isolation from their loved one inside an Ephraim-led monastery or convent as evidenced from the young Fr. Theologos and his self-isolation from his family. Letters are written and calls are made to Church heirarchs but nothing is done to set up guidelines or counseling. The secrecy of the whole thing is mind boggling! This power of spiritual dependence is so strong that parishes and priests fear speaking out because the Ephraimites idolize their “spiritual father”-the monk Ephraim. Families don’t want to be labeled as troubled or dysfunctional because their loved ones joined a cult. These families feel shame and guilt. As a former member of a Protestant cult, you could appreciate this I’m sure. We hear from these families but we cannot reveal their names for the sake of their privacy.

Please go to the following web sites for more information and “evidence” from personal testimonies, newspaper articles, and reports on Ephraim’s views on marriage and aerial toll houses, etc. from the Ukrainian Orthodox Archbishop Lazar Puhalo. Other than a few things on the Orthodox News web site (,) we can’t lead you to more “evidence” other than these:


The rest of the debate can be found here.