Biography of Elder Ephraim Kyriakos
the Newly Elected
By: Fr. Mark Arsenios Wyatt
Father Ephraim Kyriakos is from Rashaya, Lebanon, he was a graduated engineer in the late 60's from the Jesuit University of Beirut and worked for a few years before leaving his family's house to study Orthodox Theology at Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology at Balamand University (Al-Koura, North Lebanon). He completed his studies there and continued at the Theological Academy of Thessaloniki, Greece.
While in Greece, he also decided to fulfill his calling to monasticism and become a monk. He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Athos (Greece) and stayed a few years there in Saint Paul's Monastery. He was under the direction of his spiritual father there, Elder Parthenios, who is the Abbot of that monastery until this day, and is a well-known and respected Holy Father of the Orthodox Church. Father Ephraim was tonsured a monk by the hand and blessing of Father Parthenios and he was given the name "Ephraim" after the widely revered Saint Ephraim the Syrian. This was an honor for Father Ephraim, since both he and the Saint he was named after are from the Middle East.
Father Ephraim was asked by the Antiochian Patriarch, His Beautitude ELIAS IV (Mouawad), to return to Lebanon and reopen Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology, as it was closed during the Lebanese civil war, and work as Dean. He did so from 1979-1981, where he surrendered his position to Archpriest Michel Najm.
Father Ephraim then founded his own monastery in Nahr Baskinta, under the jurisdiction of His Eminence Georges Khodre, Metropolitan of Mount Lebanon. The monastery is located nearly 1200 meters above sea level and is called “Holy Archangel Michael Monastery”, and Father Ephraim is still presently the Abbot there and now has several monks under his spiritual direction. He recently established a new Church, which was consecrated also by Metropolitan Georges, as an attachment to the Monastery, and is reserved for a more quiet setting for his brotherhood to pray alone. The Patron Saint of this Church is St. Ephraim the Syrian.
Fr. Ephraim has also published and translated many theological and spiritual books into Arabic over the years; books including the Patristic Commentaries for the Gospel & Epistle Readings for Sundays and Feast Days, the Teachings of St. Ephraim the Syrian and the Letters of Elder Paisios the Athonite, enriching Orthodoxy for the faithful Arabic readers. He also continues to write articles for Orthodox periodicals and magazines, as well as providing an annual publication by his monastery containing many spiritual topics in both Arabic and English.
Even though Fr. Ephraim is Abbot of his own monastery and serves the spiritual needs of the neighboring village, he still spares time to give lectures and frequent visits to the students and his spiritual children of Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology, as well as many other monasteries and parishes in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. And also as far west as North America, where we are spiritually blessed with his holy presence this year at our Clergy Retreat.
May God grant Fr. Ephraim many more years to continue his ministry here and abroad, and may he remember us all at the Holy Altar in Archangel Michael Monastery.
Archimandrite Ephrem Kyriakos
Metropolitan-Elect of Tripoli & Koura & Dependencies
The following is a translation of an article about Fr. Ephrem Kyriakos, Metropolitan-Elect of Tripoli and Koura that was posted on the site of the Orthodox Youth Movement.
Congratulations, sons of Tripoli, Koura, and their dependencies, on your new pastor! Indeed, congratulations to us all! Congratulations to the Church of Antioch in its entirety for the intercessions of its holy pastor, Archimandrite Ephrem Kyriakos!
The Holy Synod of Antioch gathered yesterday morning, Wednesday 6.10.2009 under the guidance of His Beatitude Ignatius IV and with the attendance of their eminences +Georges Khodr (Mt. Lebanon), +Constantine Papastephanou (Baghdad and Kuwait), +Elias Awdeh (Beirut), +Yuhanna Mansour (Lattakieh), +Elias Kfoury (Tyre and Sidon), +Antonius al-Shadrawi (Mexico, Venezuela, and Central America), +Damaskinos Mansour (Brazil), +Sergius Abad (Chile), +Saba Esber (Hawran and Jebel al-Arab), +Georges Abu Zakham (Homs), +Bulus Yazigi (Aleppo), +Bulus Saliba (Australia and New Zealand), +Silouan Mousa (Argentina), Yuhanna Yazigi (Western and Central Europe), and +Basilios Mansour (Akkar). After discussing the candidates for the Archdiocese of Tripoli, Koura, and their dependencies, everyone moved to the church, where prayers were lifted up. The election was completed and Archimandrite Ephrem Kyriakos, abbot of the Monastery of St. Michael—Biq’ata. The sound of church-bells rang out in Tripoli, al-Mina, Koura, al-Minya, al-Danniyeh, and Zgharta rejoicing and giving praise for the blessed news.
The new metropolitan succeeds Metropolitan Elias Kurban who reposed this July after serving 47 years in the Archdiocese of Tripoli and who had been able to establish excellent church-state relations through the medical and educational establishments that he set up for the for the people regardless of their affiliation. The services for the consecration of the new metropolitan will take place in the Maryamiyya Cathedral in Damascus at a time yet to be announced.
The Monastery of St. Michael, which Archimandrite Kyriakos heads, is located on a hill overlooking the village of Biq’ata in the Archdiocese of Mount Lebanon. It is around forty kilometers to the east of Beirut. Its history goes back to the year 1856 and five monks lived there in the beginning of the twentieth century. After that, it became an elementary school until the sixties. On the 5 of March, 1984 the monastic life returned to this monastery when monks settled there. New chambers were added to the original monastery and the church was enlarged, the earth was sowed, and a hermitage was built in the forest near the monastery to be a place of calm for the monks. Many spiritual children now seek the monastery out.
Metropolitan Ephrem Kyriakos, pastor of the Archdiocese of Tripoli, Koura and their dependencies, was born in Beirut on April 15 1943. He is the son of Jamil Kyriakos and Elise Mansa. He lived with his family in Achrafiyyeh [East Beirut] until he entered the Theological Institute.
-He studied at International College in Beirut, then at the faculty of engineering at l’Université Saint Joseph, then he specialized in Paris in electronics and communications and worked in this field, taking part in the building of a subway station.
-He taught at the Jesuit University [i.e. St. Joseph’s], the technical institute in Dekwaneh, and the National Orthodox High School (Mar Elias)- al-Mina in Tripoli.
-He was the head of the Beirut center for the Orthodox Youth Movement.
-He speaks Arabic, French, English, and Greek fluently.
-He entered the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology at Balamand University in 1972 and graduated with a degree in theology.
-He was in charge of the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology in 1977-1978.
-He was ordained a deacon on August 15, 1974 a priest on October 15, 1978, and an archimandrite on November 8, 1991 by +Georges Khodre.
-He became a monk in the Monastery of Saint Paul on Mount Athos in Greece on October 16, 1983.
-He established the monastic community at the Monastery of Saint Michael in 1984.
-Among his writings: “Words from the Fathers”, “St. Ephrem the Syrian”, “The Gospel of Mark”, books about Sts. Gregory Palamas, John Climacus, Mary of Egypt, Jacob Brother of the Lord, Katrina, Barbara, and others, in addition to his writings in the yearly publication of the Monastery of St. Michael.
-Some samples from his teachings:
+ An Orthodox person is austere in his life, a monk in his household furnishings, in his labor, in his clothing, chaste in his senses and his thoughts. This is because he desires the Lord, loves his neighbor, has an open heart and an open mind to those of all religions and all ideologies though he holds strongly to his own belief. He denies himself. Here someone might hasten to ask, “Are these virtues not found in every Christian, even with every good person?” We answer: in Orthodoxy this spirit predominates. It is the inclination above all other inclination. The love of God dominates over the love of the world. The Orthodox person does not allow a worldly institution or even the law or the system to get a hold over him, to rule over him, to have exclusive power over him. A powerful inclination streams grace into his heart, ignites a fire in his heart.
+ In order for us to live according to divine wisdom, or the wisdom of the Gospel, we must defy the world. Let each one of us say: I will not live for myself alone, but for others and for God. This is the wondrous Christian philosophy—the philosophy of the Cross, if you will, or the philosophy of contradictions. All this society made up of families and states has the devil behind them, making them hide within their own shells, all while God created people to be in cooperation. As St. Basil says, “Man is a cooperative being”, meaning that he lives with others, for others, and for the sake of others
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
New Metropolitan of Tripoli: Archimandrite Ephrem Kyriakos
Metropolitan Elect Ephrem
In July of 2009 His Eminence Archbishop Elias Kurban fell asleep in the Lord. He was beloved by the people as a true shepherd and was renowned for his beautiful chanting. He was affectionately called "The Nightingale of Antioch".
I was notified this morning that the Holy Synod of Antioch has elected Archimandrite Ephrem Kyriakos as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Tripoli, Koura and Dependences. I look forward to seeing more news of this.
Abouna Ephrem Kyriakos is Abbot of Holy Archangel Michael Monastery in Baskinta, Lebanon. Although trained as an engineer Ephrem entered the field of theology at Balamand University in the 1960s and continued at the Theological Academy of Thessaloniki, Greece. He entered the monastic life at Athos and was tonsured by the hand of Elder Parthenios of Saint Paul's Monastery.
Archabgel Michael Monastery - Baskinta
After the Lebanese civil war he returned to Lebanon at the request of Antioch's Patriarch and reopened the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology. In the 1980s Father Ephraim founded the Holy Archangel Michael Monastery in Baskinta. He has served there ever since with several monks under his spiritual direction. A more complete biography can be found here.