Not commenting on that real estate business that went on recently regarding Fr. Ephrem of Vatopedi, I offer a few statements he has made on his current trip to Russia.
In the Moscow Theological Academy he had the following to say about Russian church singing: “Today’s Russian singing tradition is not ancient. The ancient unisonous Russian singing is more moving (umilitelnyi-inspiring compuction). Byzantine singing moreso inspires compunction and spiritual perception. But singing is of secondary importance in the services; the most important is a right heart.
“Fr. Sophrony [Sakharov] is, without doubt, a great saint of God. A few athonites call him ‘a modern Gregory Palamas.’ Personal encounters with him witness to the fact that he was a blessed man.” [Source]
Before visiting St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Archimandrite Ephrem met with the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev. “I do not conceal the fact that your president amazed me. We conversed about two hours. In him I saw a believer, a man who loves his homeland, loves the Church, and the clergy,” Fr. Ephrem said, sharing his impressions with the students. [Source]