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About Brothers / Sisters of Mercy

The Lived Theology School (LTS) at St John the Compassionate Mission has been receiving Lay Missionaries for the past few years. We now, in response to requests, wish to take this experience a step forward and to provide opportunities for those who wish to serve the Church and the poor as Brothers/Sisters of Mercy.

This is for those who having completed a period of formation in LTS, or with an equivalent suitable experience, wish to continue to live a life of compassion for a definite period of time; that can vary according to the willingness of the person seeking such a life. It is for at least one calendar year, or perhaps even several years.

These sisters and brothers of mercy will chose to live a committed Orthodox Christian life of work and service for the whole of the period of service agreed between the candidate and the Mission. This is neither monastic nor married life but a dedicated time of work and service to the poor and marginalized. It is also a time to learn and to grow.

This is an opportunity to live a life fully immersed in the life, liturgy and ministry (diakonia) of the Church. The sisters and brothers will live a life modeled on that already lived in many Orthodox communities and parishes in Europe and is here offered for the first time in North America.

The brothers and sisters of mercy will have their own distinctive dress whilst serving the poor and marginalized of the inner city – the so-called 4th World - and their own typikon, or rule of life.

Inquiries/interest should be sent to livedtheologyschool@yahoo.ca for the attention of Dn Pawel. For newcomers to the Mission an extended visit to St John's will be required as part of the assessment process.

St Elisabeth the new Martyr This new opportunity is dedicated to the patronage of St Elizabeth the New Martyr who restored such a way of life to the Orthodox Church – a life combining the spirit of both Martha and Mary.

The purpose of our Brothers/Sisters of Mercy:

  • to be a lay ministry of service (diakonia) to the poor and marginalized
  • to live fully as a member of the community at St John's
  • to live fully the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church
  • to live a committed life of prayer both at the Mission and at Lourmel, the community house of the Mission
  • to undertake such studies as are required to understand the theological meaning of such a diakonia
  • to dedicate an agreed period of time to this service
  • to live a life of obedience in accordance with the “taxis” (order) of the Church

Who is this service for?

  • essentially, for lay members of the Church
  • for both women and men; single or married
  • for those of any age over 18
  • for those who have completed a year at the Lived Theology School at the Mission, or/
  • are able to demonstrate that they have sufficient experience and maturity to undertake this way of life
  • those with a willingness to serve in whatever way required
  • those willing to learn and to grow
  • with a love of the poor
  • a willingness to learn from the poor
  • those who have not found a place of service in the Church
  • those seeking a deeper life of prayer
  • those physically able to undertake the work of mission

This opportunity is open also to anyone willing to immerse him/herself as fully as possible in the Orthodox life of the Mission.

What is the essence of the life of Brothers/Sisters of Mercy?

  • living the Gospel in a practical way: evangelical and Orthodox
  • prayer: both liturgical and personal
  • living with others as part of a community
  • growing in faith and understanding through study and reflection
  • living according to the ascetical tradition of the Church
  • developing and using existing skills and gifts
  • learning and utilizing new skills and gifts

Why be a Brother/Sister of Mercy?

This is:

  • a unique opportunity in North America to serve the poor and the Church
  • a way to grow in your Orthodox Christian faith
  • a way to be fully involved in the apostolic life of the Church
  • a way to commit your life to God and the Church using your skills and experience
  • a way to live out your baptism in a concrete manner
  • a way to contribute to the mission work of the Church

How long will Brothers/Sisters serve?

  • for at least one whole calendar year
  • longer periods of service will be by mutual agreement

What work will Brothers/Sisters undertake?

  • assisting in the daily running of the Mission (in any of its places of service)
  • pastoral work related to both the Mission and the Mission parish
  • development of new outreach work of the Mission in Toronto
  • leading worship at the Mission
  • undertaking responsibility for specific agreed work and service

What costs are involved in being a Brother/Sister of Mercy?

  • Travel to and from Toronto
  • the Mission will give you room and board
  • Brothers/Sisters of Mercy will be able to draw from the common fund for incidental expenses
  • you should have your own medical insurance for at least the first 3 months

When can I become a Brother/Sister of Mercy?

  • there is no specific date of entry
  • if not a Canadian citizen please consult with us about visa requirements