Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More on (soon-to-be) Sayyidna Ephrem

The following is my (hasty) translation of an article about Fr. Ephrem Kyriakos, Metropolitan-Elect of Tripoli and Koura that was posted on the site of the Orthodox Youth Movement. The Arabic original can be found here.

Congratulations, sons of Tripoli, Koura, and their dependencies, on your new pastor! Indeed, congratulations to us all! Congratulations to the Church of Antioch in its entirety for the intercessions of its holy pastor, Archimandrite Ephrem Kyriakos!

The Holy Synod of Antioch gathered yesterday morning, Wednesday 6.10.2009 under the guidance of His Beatitude Ignatius IV and with the attendance of their eminences +Georges Khodr (Mt. Lebanon), +Constantine Papastephanou (Baghdad and Kuwait), +Elias Awdeh (Beirut), +Yuhanna Mansour (Lattakieh), +Elias Kfoury (Tyre and Sidon), +Antonius al-Shadrawi (Mexico, Venezuela, and Central America), +Damaskinos Mansour (Brazil), +Sergius Abad (Chile), +Saba Esber (Hawran and Jebel al-Arab), +Georges Abu Zakham (Homs), +Bulus Yazigi (Aleppo), +Bulus Saliba (Australia and New Zealand), +Silouan Mousa (Argentina), Yuhanna Yazigi (Western and Central Europe), and +Basilios Mansour (Akkar). After discussing the candidates for the Archdiocese of Tripoli, Koura, and their dependencies, everyone moved to the church, where prayers were lifted up. The election was completed and Archimandrite Ephrem Kyriakos, abbot of the Monastery of St. Michael—Biq’ata. The sound of church-bells rang out in Tripoli, al-Mina, Koura, al-Minya, al-Danniyeh, and Zgharta rejoicing and giving praise for the blessed news.

The new metropolitan succeeds Metropolitan Elias Kurban who reposed this July after serving 47 years in the Archdiocese of Tripoli and who had been able to establish excellent church-state relations through the medical and educational establishments that he set up for the for the people regardless of their affiliation. The services for the consecration of the new metropolitan will take place in the Maryamiyya Cathedral in Damascus at a time yet to be announced.

The Monastery of St. Michael, which Archimandrite Kyriakos heads, is located on a hill overlooking the village of Biq’ata in the Archdiocese of Mount Lebanon. It is around forty kilometers to the east of Beirut. Its history goes back to the year 1856 and five monks lived there in the beginning of the twentieth century. After that, it became an elementary school until the sixties. On the 5 of March, 1984 the monastic life returned to this monastery when monks settled there. New chambers were added to the original monastery and the church was enlarged, the earth was sowed, and a hermitage was built in the forest near the monastery to be a place of calm for the monks. Many spiritual children now seek the monastery out.

Metropolitan Ephrem Kyriakos, pastor of the Archdiocese of Tripoli, Koura and their dependencies, was born in Beirut on April 15 1943. He is the son of Jamil Kyriakos and Elise Mansa. He lived with his family in Achrafiyyeh [East Beirut] until he entered the Theological Institute.

-He studied at International College in Beirut, then at the faculty of engineering at l’Université Saint Joseph, then he specialized in Paris in electronics and communications and worked in this field, taking part in the building of a subway station.

-He taught at the Jesuit University [i.e. St. Joseph’s], the technical institute in Dekwaneh, and the National Orthodox High School (Mar Elias)- al-Mina in Tripoli.

-He was the head of the Beirut center for the Orthodox Youth Movement.

-He speaks Arabic, French, English, and Greek fluently.

-He entered the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at Balamand University in 1972 and graduated with a degree in theology.

-He was in charge of the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology in 1977-1978.

-He was ordained a deacon on August 15, 1974 a priest on October 15, 1978, and an archimandrite on November 8, 1991 by +Georges Khodre.

-He became a monk in the Monastery of Saint Paul on Mount Athos in Greece on October 16, 1983.

-He established the monastic community at the Monastery of Saint Michael in 1984.

-Among his writings: “Words from the Fathers”, “St. Ephrem the Syrian”, “The Gospel of Mark”, books about Sts. Gregory Palamas, John Climacus, Mary of Egypt, Jacob Brother of the Lord, Katrina, Barbara, and others, in addition to his writings in the yearly publication of the Monastery of St. Michael.

-Some samples from his teachings:

+ An Orthodox person is austere in his life, a monk in his household furnishings, in his labor, in his clothing, chaste in his senses and his thoughts. This is because he desires the Lord, loves his neighbor, has an open heart and an open mind to those of all religions and all ideologies though he holds strongly to his own belief. He denies himself. Here someone might hasten to ask, “Are these virtues not found in every Christian, even with every good person?” We answer: in Orthodoxy this spirit predominates. It is the inclination above all other inclination. The love of God dominates over the love of the world. The Orthodox person does not allow a worldly institution or even the law or the system to get a hold over him, to rule over him, to have exclusive power over him. A powerful inclination streams grace into his heart, ignites a fire in his heart.

+ In order for us to live according to divine wisdom, or the wisdom of the Gospel, we must defy the world. Let each one of us say: I will not live for myself alone, but for others and for God. This is the wondrous Christian philosophy—the philosophy of the Cross, if you will, or the philosophy of contradictions. All this society made up of families and states has the devil behind them, making them hide within their own shells, all while God created people to be in cooperation. As St. Basil says, “Man is a cooperative being”, meaning that he lives with others, for others, and for the sake of others.


Pintradex said...

Thank you Samn! for taking the time to translate. And thank you for sharing more about Archimandrite Ephrem. A fascinating post.

Your Brother In Christ said...

Axios! God grant Metropolitan Ephraim many years, and work through him to sanctify all the spiritual children in the Archdiocese of Tripoli and Al-Koura.

Sophocles said...

Thank you Samn! for your good work. Glory be to God for still sending us such goodness and love through such men. May we listen.