The Blog of Ruth – Entry #3
February 20, 2011
Second Appeal to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios
The response received by the Gotruthreform website to Ruth’s story has been tremendous. Ruth’s bravery to openly reveal her harmful experience with the Ephraimite movement has given others from around the country the courage to contact our website and divulge their own negative experiences. It has not been easy for any of us to speak up on this issue. We have done so in order to educate the laity about a fringe movement operating within the confines of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese which is damaging and injuring not just some but many members of our faith. We have asked for a proclamation of the faith from our hierarchy against the heretical teachings emanating from the campground of Elder Ephraim. Just like Ruth, we too have been waiting. The Editors at gotruthreform.org. have an obligation to our forefathers who made tremendous sacrifices to build our Greek Orthodox Churches in this country to help and protect our churches. It is because we love our faith that we must publish articles and personal accountings to prevent others from suffering similar abuse at the hands of some of the monks, nuns and priests who follow Elder Ephraim. We again applaud Ruth for her commitment to educate the laity in order to protect them from the suffering she endured. After waiting for several months for a response to her first letter, Ruth decided to write a second letter to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios appealing for help.
Ruth’s Second Letter to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios
Dear Your Eminence,
It is now almost Christmas and I have waited patiently for the courtesy of any kind of reply or response to my first letter. I do not know how I could have expressed any more urgently the situation with my husband’s entrapment at that monastery. Since I wrote to you, something unconscionable has occurred. My husband has written a letter to, not his daughter, but his 89-year-old mother, informing her that he never wants to hear again from our daughter by phone. If she wants to contact him she can send him a hand-written letter. By extension, if he does not want to hear from her by phone, he also does not want to ever see her again, for why would he want to see someone whom he has forbidden to speak to him?
The people who know my husband cannot believe that he could possibly have done such a heartless thing. He obviously did this under direct obedience to the abbot, who controls everything with an iron hand. I am deeply shamed by his agreeing to do such a thing to our daughter, whom he has always loved dearly and been very close with. More than that, I feel that his personality change in such a short period of time is a very serious indicator that has become mentally unbalanced. It was only two weeks before that he was waiting anxiously for his daughter to call him at the agreed-upon time every Wednesday morning, and inquiring if she had called yet.
Who do I have to turn to besides yourself? Our close friends among the clergy whom I have spoken with all with one accord say that my husband is imprisoned in a deadly cult. No one can understand why no action at all is being taken among the hierarchy in this matter. It is in your power and, as far as I know, your power alone, to extricate him so that he can come home and at the very least hear why I was forced to abandon our original plan. After thirty-one years of standing by him in marriage, and seven years of preparing the jots and tittles of his world for the monastery, he at least owes me the time of day.
One of the most fundamental teachings of Our Lord in the Gospel is to leave your gift at the alter if you have offended your brother and be reconciled. Because of this situation, I can in no way receive communion in good conscience, and yet my husband receives communion regularly with full knowledge that we are not reconciled. The Gospel of Reconciliation is apparently irrelevant to the abbot of the monastery, who will not allow my husband to have any contact with me whatsoever. My husband and I never had any agreement that one of us would live in a monastery cut off from the entire family, and the other one would live in the world with no resources or prospects whatsoever. Our agreement was to live in oneness of spirit in separate monasteries, with the understanding that we each could talk to our children on the phone once a week and they were welcome to come and visit at any time. Both of these agreements have been broken through no fault of my own.
Perhaps there is no way you can understand the anguish, the pain, the discouragement of being cruelly and unjustly cut off from your spouse of thirty-one years. My life has been a mental and emotional agony, a living hell for the past eight months. This betrayal has resulted in the darkest hours of my entire life, a seven-fold midnight. This is not the man I have known all of these years. He is clearly being deceived. He has no contact whatever with people who are truthful. This abbot is his only source of information. He has been told that I will be returning to the monastery, and has been advised to pray for that (which was conveyed in a letter to his sister shortly after I returned home.) Yes, he has even been assured that his prayer to the Mother of God with tears will be answered. The truth is, I will never under any circumstances set foot in one of those monasteries again. I deeply regret the day I ever heard of the Ephraim movement. Indeed, my buckets are filled with tears of weeping and wailing before the Mother of God that she will rescue him from this madness and return him to his rightful, lawful place with his wife.
I am beseeching you once again to take action, remove my husband from the monastery, and instruct him to come and reconcile with his family. I believe it is a serious sin to scorn his prior commitment to Christ in the sacrament of marriage in order to follow a dream of becoming a monk. The vow of obedience, which he believes to be binding, will never be a sacrament. It is an option. I was told by the “elders” that it was fine to abandon your marriage. I had believed that, which is why I agreed to separate. It wasn’t long before I felt that God was not at all pleased with that decision and that it was not blessed by God at all. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” I have lived to regret listening to these “elders” that tell you to live as brother and sister, which we did for seven long years waiting to enter the monastery, and to abandon your wedding vows. It was a mistake for which I have paid dearly. I cannot speak for the historical parting of married couples in the past, but it is eminently clear that in our day the hope of finding a dispassionate person with no personal agenda as a spiritual guide is futile. We should have listened to Fr. Seraphim Rose on that one.
If you won’t listen to me as a prince of the church, I ask you to listen to me as one human being to another.
Sincerely in Christ,