Daily Life at the Monastery
After laboring through the night in vigil and prayer, the monks eat a light breakfast and rest again for about three hours before beginning their daily work at around 8:00 am. Every monk has his assigned daily task, his “obedience.” Some attend to the grounds, cleaning, sweeping pathways, trimming trees and hedges, planting, and watering.
“Do not clothe yourself only with leaves, but spread your roots deep to find a spring, as the sycamore tree does, so that you may constantly draw water and continuously grow.” -St. Joseph the Hesychast
Others work in the monastery’s vegetable garden, vineyard, citrus orchard, and olive grove.
“Since our Christ bore His Cross, we shall bear ours, too. If we endure all afflictions, we shall receive grace from the Lord. The Lord allows us to be tempted, so that He can test the zeal and love we have for Him. Therefore, patience is needed.” -Saint Joseph the Hesychast
Others work in the kitchen, preparing the meals, setting the tables, and washing dishes. Other daily tasks include construction projects, electrical and plumbing maintenance, carpentry, metal working, financial accounting, and upkeep of the chapels.
Others offer hospitality, welcoming tourists and preparing the guesthouses for the many Orthodox Christians staying overnight at the monastery.
“Have love for everyone and be careful not to sadden or hurt anyone in any way, because your brother’s grief will serve as an obstacle when you pray.”
– Saint Joseph the Hesychast
“The more you cover your brother with love, the more grace warms you and guards you from the false accusations of men.” -St. Joseph the Hesychast
“I had rather speak five words with my understanding...than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” -1 Corinthians 14:19
The spiritual fathers of the monastery are continually meeting with the monks and the many Orthodox pilgrims for confession and spiritual guidance. In their limited free time, many of the monks also weave prayer ropes, paint icons, write, translate, and edit books, and correspond with those seeking spiritual advice.
At midday, the monks break from their labors for the common meal in the refectory. These formal meals are services presided over by a priest-monk, with opening and closing prayers and a spiritual reading taken from the lives of the saints or from a patristic text. There is no talking during the meal, but while feeding their bodies, they also feed their souls, either by listening attentively to the reading or by praying silently within.
Throughout the day as the monks labor, they struggle to keep their minds and hearts close to our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. They pray ceaselessly saying the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” The monks avoid idle talk and practice watchfulness, not allowing sinful thoughts to enter their mind or heart.
“Unless a man is assisted by inner work according to the will of God, he labors in vain at what is external.” -Saints Barsanouphios and John
The close of the day’s labors comes at 3:30 pm with the evening services of the Ninth Hour, Vespers, and a supplicatory service to the Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. These services last about an hour and are followed by dinner and the service of Small Compline, which ends at about 5:30 pm.