Mt. Athos, September 13, 2021
The brotherhood of the Athonite monastery of Vatopedi was overjoyed to welcome their abbot Archimandrite Ephraim home on Saturday following a 3.5-months absence.
He was greeted with a modest but joyous ceremony at the monastery port late Saturday afternoon, reports the Orthodoxia News Agency:
The fathers of the monastery believe it was no accident that their abbot returned just before the feast of the Placing of the Cincture of the Most Holy Theotokos, which is one of the most important sacred treasures of Vatopedi Monastery.
At the gate of the monastery, Fr. Ephraim venerated the Holy Belt, and then proceeded to the monastery catholicon, where the brethren glorified God.
In his words to the brethren, Abbot Ephraim noted that he was on the brink of death, which has enabled him to thank God with all his being.
Speaking with Greek media before his return home, the abbot also said that, “Doctors wonder how I came back to life. It seems God wanted to give me time to repent—to look at my life and act better.”
Recall that Fr. Ephraim has a heart condition. He suffered a heart attack in early 2019 and underwent heart surgery the next month, receiving two heart stents. Five stents had been inserted in a previous operation.