Here is a wonderful spiritual reflection on Elder Ephraim of Arizona and the significance of his establishing 17 monasteries in North America in the Athonite tradition.
You can learn more about St Anthony’s Monastery in Florence AZ here, which relates the story of Elder Ephraim’s monastic life and how he began establishing monasteries in America in 1995.
I have several of the Elder’s monasteries on my itinerary, and look forward very much to imbibing spiritual nectar from them, and, God willing, to making some compelling photographs of their hidden life.
The author of the below article, Igumen Gregory (Zaiens), is a monastic himself, and writes from the Hermitage of St Arsenius in Texas. Fr. Gregory describes the unique gift which Elder Ephraim has planted in America as follows,
For those in America who have chosen monasticism and have the thirst for an intense struggle in prayer, the Elder Ephraim has brought them the Athonite Hesychast tradition.
The Elder Ephraim of Arizona: His contribution to North America
The Elder Ephraim recently reached the age of ninety. He has not been functioning as an elder for more than a year because of health issues; and at his age and with his physical condition it is doubtful that he will again function in that capacity. As one who has become somewhat renowned, however, there has occasionally been controversy over him. Most of the spiritual children of his monasteries consider him to be a saint and one who has wrought a miraculous renewal among the Greek Orthodox in North America. This effect did not cease with the Greek faithful but spread elsewhere, as well.. Indeed, the lives of many have been touched and changed by the Elder. However, he has also been under attack at times, and negative opinions have been expressed concerning him—I do not want to approach this subject. But there is one aspect of the work he has accomplished that has been much on my mind recently and this is what I want to write about. I will introduce this topic with a question: What has Elder Ephraim done for monasticism in our land?