May 20, 2016
In what follows, I will say something that pertains to a personal deposition. I was associated for decades with Fr. Ephraim of Katounakia, of renowned ethos and conscience. Also renowned was the fact that he also possessed a “spiritual television”. As for me, I had gone to him on many occasions with the intention of posing certain very specific questions, in a specific sequence, and using my own vocabulary. When I did visit him, and without having posed any of my intended questions, he gave me his replies, in my intended sequence, and with my vocabulary. I am mentioning this as a personal experience; it is not an unprecedented phenomenon - it has been experienced by many others also.
There was one time when, as a young professor at the School of Theology at the time, about thirty years ago, I had mentioned the following to him: given that the clime of Ecumenism has also been flourishing in the School of Theology, especially that of Thessaloniki, I had certain nagging problems and questions, because I could see it being represented by otherwise respected professors. Naturally, both my conscience as well as my learning had reacted against it, however, I desired, beyond my scientific status, to also obtain a charismatic reply, which is something that I did for many other issues.
So I asked him on the matter in hand - if he could tell me what kind of thing Ecumenism is.
He replied outright and without any difficulty:
"This question, my child, had also been posed by someone else, some time before you. I myself have been up here on these rocks for forty years... I have even forgotten my Greek (note that he had completed Middle School) and as such, I haven’t preoccupied myself with that issue. But, because I had to reply – seeing that I had been asked about it, and since I had no knowledge of the matter - I went to my cell and prayed, asking Christ to inform me what Ecumenism is. I received His reply, which was that Ecumenism has a spirit of wickedness and is dominated by unclean spirits."
So I asked him exactly how that was verified. He replied that "after praying, my cell became filled with an unbearable stench, which caused my soul to feel asphyxiated; I couldn’t breathe spiritually."
I asked him if that had been an extraordinary event for him, or if that was the way that Christ responds in analogous cases, and he assured me that "in all the cases that are involved with sorcery, with unclean spirits, that is the state in which He enlightens me. Sometimes there is a spoken response, but in the present case, that was His answer and I have the absolute certainty that Ecumenism does not have the Holy Spirit, but the unclean spirit."
What I am saying at this moment one might say has the character of intentional impressions. But I want to inform you that I was overjoyed, because what the elder had told me in person, I had also seen recorded by his pious retinue, who had published an honorary tomos about his person, his spirituality and his words. So it has been certified in there as well, but it has also been verified with other, trustworthy theologians, who likewise happened to have heard it personally.
I had not publicly mentioned this until now; but things have taken such a turn, that I am obliged to bring it up. Of course it had played a decisive role in my stance towards Ecumenism. As a professor, a scientist, I am naturally obliged in every case to examine the matter with scientific criteria and to substantiate my viewpoint scientifically – and that is what I do in my classes also, step by step; however, I regard this deposition to be significant, because it was delivered in a charismatic manner by a man who knew nothing about the issue. He had never read, never heard of it, and yet, he deposited his direct spiritual experience. I think that things speak for themselves here.
* * *
From the book Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church - A Synod lacking in Synodality and Orthodox Self-awareness