Pray, Work, Pray, Silence
Life in a monastery is very simple: prayer and work.
Services take four to six hours each day and each member of the community is expected to be present at all services, with Matins starting early in the morning. Most Saturdays a Divine Liturgy is served.
Work occupies most of the day.
Vespers is served in the evening before dinner, and during Great Lent we serve Compline following dinner.
In the evening, after Compline: Silence.
In the monastery, there is no entertainment: no newspapers, tv, radio, internet other than email and business; maybe an occasional movie for the whole community.
Each brother has a prayer rule given him by the elder.
There is plenty of silence, reading, studying, and time for stillness and contemplation.
Confession of thoughts to the elder or appointed priest in the absence of the elder, and at least weekly formal confession.
Work as Obedience
The Monastery’s primary task is to nurture its own members with the services of the Church, the Holy Mysteries, and the fostering of spiritual life. Thus, the discipline of prayer is at the heart of monastic life; but the other component is work.
There are two kinds of work in a monastery, called “obediences”
Daily Chores and Housekeeping, the necessary, mundane activity that keeps the whole community running
Income producing activities, the needful, practical activity of paying the bills
The first includes everything from cooking, cleaning, yard maintenance, laundry, and the like.
The second includes, the industries of the monastery, which range from making things for sale, to gardening, tending the animals and teaching, and so forth.
Each brother in the community has particular tasks for which he is given responsibility, and for which he is held accountable.