Elder Ephraim was born in 1912 in Ampelohori of Thebes and was named Evaggelos. His father was John Papanikitas and his mother Victoria. From a young age was inclined towards the Scriptures and abandoned the ways of the world. In Thebes he met the Elders Ephraim and Nikiphoros who were to become his mentors.
He was practicing the mental prayer, fasting, kneeling and obedience. His mother heard from St Ephraim the Syrian that her son’s desire to become a monk was also God’s wish.
In September 1993, Evangelos retreated to the desert of the Holy Mountain, Katounakia at the hesychasterio of St Ephraim. His was tonsured and was named Logginos. In 1935 he received the great schema and was named Ephraim after his elder. The following year he was ordained a priest.
Elder Ephraim was honoured with making the acquaintance of the leader of hesychasm , Elder Joseph the Hesychast ( 1898-1959). Elder Joseph became his spiritual father at the blessing of Elder Nikophoros and taught him the genuine spiritual life. Therefore, Elder Ephraim for his part teaches us that we must insist in finding a non- delusioned spiritual father who will be able to foresee the devil’s designs and lead his spiritual children to Heaven, having administered the proper spiritual medicine to them.
In this context, we raise the question whether those clergy and laity who are seemingly working for the so-called revival of the Church, for the ‘liturgical revival’, for Ecumenism, for the relationship between confession and psychiatry, or those who travel to the Vatican and exchange compliments with the Pope’s men, have actually found, or have ever sought spiritual Fathers who would possess the charismas of the Holy Spirit and therefore they did not experience obedience as taught by the Holy Fathers of our Church.
Is their ‘theology’ based on their ego and do not know what abandoning their will means, something which will make them the vessels of the Holy Spirit? Have they sought a spiritual father who will elevate them to higher religious offices and not to Paradise?
Blessed Elder Ephraim distinguished genuine obedience from the non-genuine when he advised a monk to practice obedience to his elder out of love and Godly zeal and not like a submissive animal.