Historically, there have always been those who have lived monastically without taking vows, just as there have been countless monastics who have chosen to frame their lives within the context of formal vows.
Members of the “Lay Apostolate” of the monastery, called Seraphs, consist of men and women, single or in committed relationships, who, though following ordinary professions, are called to a dedicated life of service to our Lord through prayer, study, and work, striving to be peacemakers, working for social justice, and deepening their relationship with God in spiritual affiliation with the monastic community of the Orthodox Catholic Monastery (Poustinia) of Our Lady Joy of All Who Sorrow. Any Christian who has been baptized with water in the name of the Holy Trinity and who agrees to adhere to the tenets of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Faith may become a Seraph.
Seraphs make a vow (annually renewable) to follow The Little Rule of the Seraphs of Saint Seraphim of Sarov (“The Rule”) in their private life as closely as their individual circumstances and prior commitments permit. Seraphs do not constitute a separate religious order as such, but are considered an extended part of the monastic community.
Our “Little Rule” is simply to:
- Seek to follow Christ as a Seraph of St. Seraphim of Sarov;
- Live each day as a pilgrim along the spiritual path of Orthodox Catholic spirituality, a life of constant and ongoing metanoia (conversatio);
- Make an effort to daily observe The Little Rule of the Seraphs of Saint Seraphim of Sarov as prayed by Saint Seraphim of Sarov; and,
- Evangelize the world by acquiring the Spirit of Peace and Love.
Growing in the awareness of God in their daily lives, Seraphs offer themselves for the service of God and neighbor and the formal bond of prayer, study and good works between other Seraphs and the monastic community, helping both to live holy lives, according to their own vocation, bearing witness to Christ in their daily lives.
Seraphs who are within reasonable geographical proximity to the Poustinia are encouraged to participate in a monthly Eucharistic Liturgy followed by a shared agape meal and spiritual discussion and meeting. Each Seraph is also encouraged to spend a private day of retreat at least once per year at the Poustinia.