On Becoming a Monk


When someone enters the monastery to become a monk, he spends six months in the monastery as an Oblate Brother, a time spent proving that he has the genuine desire to follow monastic discipline for the sake of his own repentance and the saving of his soul. Afterwards he is tonsured and begins a novitiate of at least three years until the time of his profession of monastic vows. In the Benedictine tradition, a monk takes vows of stability (to remain in the same monastery for the rest of his life), obedience (to surrender one's own way of doing things to the complete judgment of the Abbot), and reformation of life (to lead the life of monastic discipline in life-long poverty of temporal goods and in complete chastity in the war against concupiscence). Also, monks are not permitted to smoke, to cut the hair of their head or beard, or to drink alcoholic beverages other than wine (which may be had in only small quantity). Additionally, all monks are expected to study the principles of our Faith in great detail, especially by reading and displaying competence in the works written by the Orthodox Fathers of the Church.

One basic requirement for the entry into the monastery is full adherence to the Orthodox Faith, i.e., that Faith taught by the Orthodox Church. Any non-Orthodox person seeking to become a monk or nun in any of our monasteries must first undergo catechesis, profession of Faith, adjuration of heresy, and Baptism and/or Chrismation, and must demonstrate that he or she lives the Orthodox Faith in the life of the Church's cycle of worship. Also any candidate for the monastic life must have a true and humble zeal marked by a sorrow for all his or her sins against God, and a firm conviction of his or her own lacking of knowledge in the discernment of a life of spiritual and mystical progress. For these are the reasons that men bind themselves under the Holy Rule and the direction of an Abbot, knowing full well that we are sinful men gathered in anticipation of the dread Judgment of Christ, at which the ancient Fathers of the Church assure us that even the Saints shall tremble.

"Have this mind in you that was in Christ Jesus, that even though He was Equal to God, He did not think that Being Equal to God was to be Clung to, but emptied Himself, Becoming Obedient even to the death of the Cross". (Philippians 2: 5,6)