Elder Ephraim of Arizona fell asleep in the Lord early this morning (EET) at the age of 91 after a long illness.
Elder Ephraim, also known as Ioannis Moraitis, was born on June 24, 1928, in Volos, Greece. He spent his childhood in poverty helping his father with his work, but he always followed the example of his mother (who later became a nun and bore the name “Theophano”).
At the age of 14, he decided to follow a monastic path, but his spiritual father did not give him the blessing to go to Mount Athos until he was 19 years old. Upon his arrival at Mount Athos on September 26, 1947, he went straight to Elder Joseph the Hesychast in the Monastery of Timios Prodromos (Saint John the Forerunner), who accepted him into his brotherhood. Nine months later, in 1948, he received the name “Ephraim”.
In 1973, the brotherhood moved to the Holy Monastery of Philotheou where Elder Ephraim became abbot. Thanks to his good reputation, the monastic brotherhood grew rapidly.
In 1979, he went to Canada due to health issues. Along with his medical examinations, he was preaching the Greek population and hearing their confessions. Then, he wanted to establish a monastery in America, so that the Greek population would have their own spiritual place.
He established 19 monasteries in North America, 17 in the US and 2 in Canada, both for men and women, which are subject to the Greek Orthodox Archdioceses of America and Canada. Elder Ephraim lived in St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona, not too far away from Phoenix and the town of Florence.