At the beginning of July, I had the opportunity to visit St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona for the second time. The first time was nearly 6 years ago, shortly before we left for Greece.
Ostensibly, the reason for my visit was research for my dissertation, which will include one chapter on Elder Ephraim's missionary impact in North America.
During this visit, now that I speak a little Greek, I had the great blessing to speak with Elder Ephraim for about 45 minutes.
At my first visit to the monastery, I remember being overwhelmed by the magnificence of it all -- the land, the number of monks, the number of churches, the services, etc. This time, after having had the great blessing to visit the Holy Mountain many times, I had another view. I realized just how much Elder Ephraim sacrificed in order to come to the United States -- such is the spiritual grandeur of the Holy Mountain.
Fr. Artemios, a hieromonk from Grigoriou Monastery on Mt. Athos, was visiting at the same time.
One morning, after Liturgy, I went for a sunrise walk up to the little chapel dedicated to the Prophet Elijah.
A view down on the monastery from the chapel up on the hill.