Apologetics Index

Father Ephraim, St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery

Tucked away in the desert, not far from the prison in Florence, Arizona, there’s a mysterious, multi-million dollar religious compound that’s drawing criticism.

For the past 8 months, the Eyewitness News 4 Investigators have been documenting several families’ claims of brainwashing and inappropriate teachings at St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery.

Under the condition that we wore the proper attire, we accepted an invitation inside the monastery in the hopes of uncovering this mystery.

David Smith: “I was looking, at the time, for a mystical side to religion. He was reported to work miracles. To have capabilities to read people’s thoughts and to levitate when he prayed. To heal people..”

David Smith, a former student, is referring to Father Ephraim, the leader of St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery.

It’s been said, Ephraim’s followers heard bells ringing when they stepped on this land — a signal to build, right here, on 106-acres.

This kind of beauty, architectural and natural, in the middle of Arizona is rare and so are the stories you’re about to hear.

From these religious grounds, there are tales of tormented families and anti-Semitic innuendo.

From across the country, parents came to the Investigators, desperately seeking help. Three families, two of which are Greek Orthodox, traveling, on their own dime, to Tucson.

They say, the leadership at St. Anthony’s Monastery is controlling their kids – kids like Niko Pantanizopoulos.

David Smith: “In confession, I was told about the protocols. It’s where I was taught that the end of the world is coming, that there’s a shadow government that controls the United States, that FEMA had concentration camps set up to destroy families with.”

The Eyewitness News 4 Investigators found, Father Ephraim himself makes reference to The Protocols of Zion. That’s a book that claims there’s a secret Jewish conspiracy for world domination.

In one of his own writings, Father Ephraim references the Protocols. He calls the Zionists “infamous” and the Protocols “notorious”, but, religious experts say, any reference at all to that writing goes against Greek Orthodox faith.
– Source: Monastery Mystery, KVOA, USA, Feb. 9, 2006

News and News Archive

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Web Sites

Orthodox Patristic Wisdom This personal blog was recommended to us, by the author of the blog, as a ‘pro’ site. We list it as such, but will remark that the material found there – which also addresses statements made by ex-member David Smith – would give most Christians cause for concern. What is described lies far outside the boundaries of normal, healthy Christian life. This brings to mind these words of Paul:

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, {21} “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” {22} (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)–in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? {23} These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23 NNAS)

St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery Official web site

Pseudo-Prophet The web site of former member, David Smith.
Parents of Ephraim Monastics (POEM)

P.O.E.M. is a support network of similarly minded and concerned persons. We are dedicated to assisting you in finding the support you need resulting from your experiences with the Greek Orthodox Church Monasteries under the direction of Fr. Ephraim. You are not alone at P.O.E.M.

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First published (or major update) on Thursday, February 16, 2006.
Last updated on February 19, 2023.

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