Novitiate Program

Do you have what it takes to become a Monk of strict obedience?

  • Are you willing to enter into a very different Christian way of life which will ultimately change the modern way you think and do things?
  • Can you accept instruction, correction, reproach, and requests from others in authority, such as the Abbot, a Novice Master, or the senior in charge of your work?
  • Can you work or learn to work at whatever task is assigned, and even find gratification in doing it?
  • Can you spend time in solitude, meditating in such a way so that it is creative and beneficial to your spiritual growth?
  • Are you interested in a life of unceasing prayer that fills every aspect of your life?

Young men are abandoning the secular world and entering the monastery.

Some people have been raised in a society where the pursuit of gratification has superseded pursuit of God. Yet oddly enough, we are discovering that many people are seeking something more spiritual, but are finding it difficult to find someone to lead them, so they simply follow the crowd. After a while, some grow tired of gratification, and in their hunger for something more rewarding, they turn to God who in fact has chosen for them and this path of monasticism.

In discerning the religious vocation of a candidate we look for sincerity and humility.

Men enter monastic life because they want to seek God. Some come from religious homes where they attended church regularly, while others come from homes where they were taught nothing about God at all.

In the primitive Benedictine tradition, a monk will take vows of Poverty (renouncing all personal positions), Stability (to remain in the same monastery for the rest of your life), Obedience (to surrender your 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). You will be 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.

The monks in communities of strict observance DO NOT take these vows lightly, but they do take them freely, seriously and without reservation.

Q. “What are some of the challenges that newcomers face upon entering the monastery?

Perhaps the greatest difficulty for a newcomer is the kind of self-sacrificing that comes from living in community. If a man is really seeking God, then the words of our Savior will challenge him: “If you want to be my disciple, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.” Without this dying to self, this humility, he will not be able to persevere in the monastery.

Q. “What are some of the major misconceptions people have about St. Finian and the monastic life in general?

A. Monks are men who are called by God to be like the angels, in that they seek God and worship Him above all else. The monk must struggle with the help of God to be a man of prayer and a man of faith. The monk is only a man; even though he is called by God to be like the angels; in this process he nevertheless will fall down and try again. This process of falling down and trying again is the spiritual struggle through which each monk goes in his journey towards union with Christ.

One would have to be blind not to notice that the world around us is escalating out of control. Secularism and modernism are destroying Christian values. Turn on the news and you can see the persecution of Christians. We must remember that he Evil one is clever in his attacks on those who confess Christ.

After spending several days at St. Finian, usually the guest candidate does NOT wish to return to the world, because his soul most always yearns to be with God and it is difficult to maintain a relationship with Christ in the secular world, so they then have a strong desire to remain.

One basic requirement for the entry into our monastery is full adherence to the Orthodox Christian Faith. Any non-Orthodox person seeking to become a monk or nun must first undergo profession of Faith, Baptism and Chrismation, and must demonstrate that they live the Orthodox Faith. 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. These are the reasons that men and women bind themselves under the Holy Rule and the direction of an Abbot, knowing full well that we are sinful men and women gathered in anticipation of the dread Judgment of Christ.

In order to be a monk of strict observance, you leave your family so that you might belong to all families, as befits one who serves in the person of Christ. You must be willing to work for and with the love of Christ, by serving the poor without compensation or wages. You must be willing to give up everything the world has to offer and pick up your cross and follow Christ.

This life is not for everybody, but for the men called to this vocation it is a great gift from God.

The Orthodox spiritual life is about a relationship with Jesus Christ. The spiritual life is about entering into Jesus’ presence and with all humility and repentance asking for His mercy and guidance. Without this, we cannot have the strength or wisdom to resist the powerfully seductive secular world around us.

This life is not for everybody, but for the men called to this vocation it is a great gift from God.