Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Bishop Efraim’s Visit

Our beloved father and Metropolitan John is sending Bishop Efraim to us on Saturday evening
April 28th. Bishop Efraim will serve the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday 29th April.
On the Sunday, after the Divine Liturgy, we shall move to the Dresden Scout Hall for a shared
buffet-style lunch.
When sayedna John came to consecrate St. Michael’s we arranged fish and chips for lunch.
This time let us show our hospitality with some excellent “special dishes”.
Please sign up for this, indicating what you will provide. Whatever you can do well is a “special
dish”. Remember that monastics do not eat meat so some dishes should be fish or vegetarian.
Whilst it is correct to address our bishop as “your grace”, and liturgically as “Master”, the more
informal form of address is “sayedna”, like “vladyka” for the Slavs. We greet him, of course, by
kissing his hand and asking for his blessing.
Why all the fuss?
The Orthodox Christian Church is not like any other kind of religious society, and we cannot
find outside of Holy Orthodoxy anything which properly parallels our God-given concept of true
Luke 9: 1&2 “He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over
all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the
Matthew 10: 40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him
Who sent Me.”
These are the very words of our Saviour Christ and the Church has always taken them literally.
St. Ignatios of Antioch, writing in 107 A.D., “The Bishop in each church presides in the place of
God… Wherever the Bishop appears, there let the people be, just as wherever Jesus Christ is,
there is the Catholic

At the consecration
of a Bishop, he is given a
threefold power: to rule, to
teach and to celebrate theMysteries.
The first Bishops, the
Holy Apostles, and
those consecrated by
them formed an
The priests were the
helpers of each
individual Bishop in
instructing the faithful and in performing liturgical services.
Whenever a priest serves the Liturgy he represents the Bishop and the Bishop represents, or
“stands in the place of” Christ Himself.1 Timothy 5: 12 & 13 “We urge you, brethren to recognise those who labour among you, and
are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their
work’s sake.”
Whenever there is a clergy-meeting in London, I invariably thank Fr. Samir for his hospitality to
us… very polite and very English! Fr. Samir, my dear brother, always points out that he has not
offered “hospitality” which is for strangers, but rather he has welcomed us as “family”. We
have been “at home” together.
It was such a shock to our English system when we first saw Orthodox men and women kissing
each other in greeting, as instructed by the Holy Scriptures, rather than the somewhat cold and
formal handshake.
When bishop Efraim comes to us let us be excited and full of love, for he represents Christ and
he is “family”.
His Grace Bishop Efraim was born in Jdaidet Artouz in the Damascus countryside in 1978.
He finished his secondary school education in Jdaidet Artouz in 1996 and joined the college
of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at Damascus University in 1997. He entered Saint
George's Patriarchal Monastery as a novice and became a monk in 2001. He then moved to
Greece where he acquired a Bachelor's degree in Theology from the Theological College in
Athens in 2006.
In 2007 he was ordained a deacon and
then a priest in the Al Hosn diocese by
the laying on of the hands of His
Eminence Bishop John of Al Hosn (now
the Metropolitan of Europe).
In 2009 he gained a Masters degree from
the faculty of Greek Literature at Athens
University and a Masters degree in the
field of Patristic studies at the College of
Theology in Athens University.
He is now preparing his doctoral thesis
in the field of Greek literature at the
College of Philosophy in Athens
University, Greece.
He is skilled in Ancient and Modern
Greek as well as English.
He was an active member of the
Orthodox youth movement in
Damascus and served in its choir, also
attending many conferences and
meetings and acquiring many skills in
ecclesiastical and pastoral matters.