The Athonite elder, who previously called on Ukrainians to remain faithful to His Beatitude Onuphry, now believes that they need to conduct a dialogue with Dumenko.
“Not long ago I spoke with Abbot Ephraim of Vatopedi. He told me that the UOC needs to build a dialogue with one confession (I won’t specify which one, because they are touchy and can be prosecuted for incitement). I answered him that previously the Orthodox of Ukraine treated them as schismatics. And now they are treated as atheists, because even hints of their faith and its manifestations are not observed. Or am I wrong? – the bishop wrote.
Let us recall that earlier Archimandrite Ephraim called on Ukrainians to support the UOC and His Beatitude Onuphry. “I appeal to the Ukrainian people and ask them to adhere to the canonical Orthodox Church, which is headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry,” the archimandrite said in 2015. – And I ask you with love that we become members of the canonical Church. And the entire Holy Mountain accepts and recognizes only the canonical Ukrainian Church led by Metropolitan Onuphry.”
In February 2019 he arrived in Kyiv in order to participate in the enthronement of Dumenko. However, he was urgently hospitalized due to a heart attack. The attack turned out to be clearly far-fetched and served only as an excuse to refuse to participate in the enthronement of Dumenko as leader of the OCU. In this way, Ephraim was able to please all parties – he honored the OCU with his presence and showed respect to Bartholomew, and at the same time did not become an enemy of the ROC.
Matt. 26:34: Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
Since 2011, Archimandrite Ephraim became an accused in court in the case of land plots of the Vatopedi monastery. December 24 2011after returning to Athos from Russia, where Archimandrite Ephraim participated in bringing the Belt of the Mother of Godhe was detained by Greek law enforcement services and on December 28, despite suffering from acute respiratory viral infection, accompanied by a high fever, he was taken to Korydallos prison in the suburbs of Athens on charges relating to the period 2001-2008, when the Vatopedi monastery exchanged the lake Vistonida (Since 890, the lake belonged to the Athos monastery of Vatopedi, but was then illegally taken by the Greek authorities) in northern Greece with adjacent plots of state-owned luxury real estate worth, according to various estimates, more than 100 million euros. Abbot Ephraim himself states that all transactions were legal.
Then Ephraim of Vatopedi, who was facing a long prison sentence, was literally pulled out of prison by representatives of church, state and public structures of Russia, who turned to the Greek leadership with concern about coercive methods of solving the problem.
On December 30, protest pickets began in Moscow and St. Petersburg at the Greek diplomatic missions in support of the prisoner (pretrial detention under Greek law can last up to 1.5 years), and the chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Mikhail Margelov announced Russia’s intention in January 2012 to raise the issue of the fate of Elder Ephraim at a PACE session if the issue is not resolved by then.
On March 29, 2012, the appeal court decided to replace the detention measure with a bail of 300 thousand euros. In addition, Abbot Ephraim is prohibited from leaving his monastery and leaving the territory of Greece, and is also ordered to regularly report to the police.
The story with the trial ended in 2016, when the Supreme Court dropped all charges against Father Ephraim.