BOSTON – Elder Ephraim, Abbot of the renowned Vatopedi Monastery of Mt. Athos, was transported to Switzerland from Kiev, Ukraine where he suffered a minor heart attack on February 1. Elder Ephraim had traveled to Ukraine as a member of the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate headed by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France for the enthronement of the recently elected Prelate Epiphanios of the new Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Elder Ephraim was taken to a hospital in Kiev where he received medical care and went through a series of tests, but on February 2 he was transported to Switzerland.
Before his departure, he was visited by Metropolitan Epiphanios at the hospital, who comforted the Elder and spoke with his doctors.
Elder Ephraim wished him a blessed and fruitful arch-pastoral ministry as Primate of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine.
The National Herald communicated by phone with close associates and spiritual children of Elder Ephraim at the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos who told us that “the heart attack that the Elder suffered was mild and his condition is under control.” They also said that he continues to undergo medical tests are specialized for his condition.”
TNH was told, “Elder Ephraim needs special care because in the past he had stents placed in his arteries.”
Asked when he will be returning to Greece and to the Monastery, they said “we don’t know at this moment.”
The Ecumenical Patriarchate issued an official announcement on Saturday afternoon stating that “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a letter to Fr. Ephraim with his warm wishes for speedy and complete recovery.”
The Patriarchal announcement also stated that “Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery, had traveled to Kiev as part of the four- member Patriarchal Representation to the enthronement of the Prelate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
It is reminded that Elder Ephraim had visited the United States last October, when he brought a copy of the historic icon of the Mother of God named Vimatarissa to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, which was installed permanently in the newly erected nave at the Diakonia Center of the Metropolis in South Carolina.
Elder Ephraim had also visited the White House, the State Department, the United Nations, and New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, Archbishop Demetrios of America, the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at Ground Zero in New York, as well as the parish of St. Demetrios Cathedral of Astoria, where he spoke to the pupils of the Greek day school. At the Church of St. Nicholas in Flushing he preached at during the vespers service, and he also visited the Church of the Kimisis of the Theotokos in Southampton, Long Island.
Elder Ephraim was received everywhere with reverence and honors.