Sunday, April 25, 2010

Interview About Elder Ephraim's Book on Elder Joseph the Hesychast



The video above is an excellent interview with the renowned homilist and author Fr. Stephanos Anagnostopoulos in which he speaks about the book he published titled My Elder Joseph the Hesychast and Cave-Dweller. He also has some things to say about Elder Ephraim of Philotheou and Arizona, whose experiences and memories this book recalls and who is the compiler's spiritual father.

He has known Elder Ephraim of Philotheou since 1962, which was after the falling asleep of Elder Joseph the Hesychast in 1959. Fr. Anagnostopoulos emphasizes the fact that since the falling asleep of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Ephraim has transmitted faithfully the teachings of his elder to all the monasteries he oversaw on Mount Athos and established in Greece and North America. Elder Ephraim entrusted all his memories of Elder Joseph to Fr. Anagnostopoulos to put them in a book in a proper arrangement and with proper editing. He worked on this book for two and a half years before publishing it. Originally the manuscript of Elder Ephraim was over 1,000 pages, but Fr. Stephanos was able to condense it to about 450 pages. It took two and a half years because there were many repeated stories of Elder Joseph that needed editing and they needed to be arranged in chronological order. He also wrote the Prologue. In his Prologue his aim was to reveal to the reader what authentic Orthodox monasticism is.

When asked what people living in the world would get from reading this book, he responded in short that they will receive an understanding of true spiritual life, of what it is to love prayer and self-control, of what Christ accomplished on the Cross by pouring out such grace upon His Saints who are even our contemporaries. It is basically a small taste of heavenly realities. When those in the world reflect on the life of Elder Joseph, it will inspire everyone to do the small things, compared to his great things, to receive the same grace of the Holy Spirit.

Most of the over one hour interview recounts the life and teachings of Elder Joseph. Many questions are also asked to clarify his life and teachings. At the 23, 28, 33, 35, 38, 46, 52, and 59 minute mark in the video there is also some beautiful video footage of life on Mount Athos.
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