Ampelochori, Greece, September 8, 2020
The great 20th-century Athonite elder Ephraim of Katounakia was canonized by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople at its session on March 9, together with Elder Joseph the Hesychast and Elder Daniel of Katounakia.
His first feast day since his glorification was celebrated on Sunday, September 6, including with a hierarchical Divine Liturgy in his home village of Ampelocori, in the south-central Thebes prefecture, reports the Orthodoxia News Agency.
Watch a video of the Orthros and Liturgy for the feast:
The celebrated continued with a hierarchical Great Vespers at the St. Demetrius Cathedral in Thebes, officiated by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece. Watch a video of the Vespers service:
Several hierarchs reflected on the example of St. Ephraim for the faithful. “St. Ephraim is a powerful and rich gift… He was a great person and could still comfort and guide a person on the right path today,” said Abp. Ieronymos.
Metropolitan Clement of Peristeria noted: “Today is a very important day for all of Orthodoxy… It was a special blessing to visit the cell in Katounakia, where St. Ephraim received us, embraced us, and blessed us with prayers for our journey. Today is a special day of grace for me.”
Metropolitan Nektarios of Argolid recalled: “We received a special grace, having eaten with St. Ephraim. We received many lessons for the spiritual life. I wish us all to have the blessing and prayers of St. Ephraim, because he promised that he would pray for us.”
Metropolitan George of Thebes and Levadia stated that: “[St. Ephraim’s] life and prayers prove that our holy Orthodox Church gives birth to saints and incessantly offers fragrant fruits of holiness to the Lord.”
Metropolitan Athenagoras of Ilion, Acharnes, and Petroupoli commented: “It should be said that St. Ephraim always revealed everything that he bore within himself. He was modest and loved people; he did not pressure them, did not force them, but simply gave them love. I wish that he might become a comfort for all of us in difficult times, and that we would treat our youth with love and comfort.”
The feast of St. Joseph the Hesychast, who taught St. Ephraim the art of salvation, was also recently celebrated for the first time in his hometown, and in English at Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia.