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Brothers & Sisters of Mercy

“Serving the Table of the Lord and the Tables of the Poor.”

This way of life is open to a lay Orthodox person who desires to live daily a life of community, service to the poor, and prayer. Not all brothers or sisters of Mercy live at the Lourmel House.

If you are interested, please e-mail to Father Nicolaie at, or speak with him directly.

You may than be invited to come and spend three months with us to see if this life would be good for you.

If you decide to stay, and the spiritual father agrees, you will be invited to make a one-year public commitment, renewable yearly.

As a Brother/Sister of Mercy, you will have opportunities for theological and biblical study, silent retreats, as well as work in the vineyard of the Lord.

The Brothers and Sisters of Mercy are dedicated to the patronage of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, who restored such a way of life to the Orthodox Church — a life combining the spirit of both Martha and Mary.

St. Elizabeth

“It is extremely important if we devote our lives not only to our own needs and requirements but also start to share it with other people. This is where God’s truth and power, which is made manifest through weakness, lies, and it is thanks to it that we can change when we come to help a sick, hopeless and lost person. It is through us that the Lord gives the word of comfort to these people. We grow spiritually at the same time. It is very important for us because the world teaches us to be egoists: live for your own sake and it doesn’t matter how other people live! That is why the ministry of a sister of mercy who sacrifices her time, her energy, and her heart to serve her neighbours is rewarded a hundredfold. The Lord gives one an experience of love and mercy they will need when they pass from this temporary life to the eternal one.” — Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok, of Saint Elizabeth Convent

Click to see a pamphlet with more details:

brothers sisters of mercy

Br Luke Brother Luke Sr Penka Sister Penka  

Living in community

St. John the Compassionate Mission is an apostolate of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. We are an Orthodox Christian community living daily in obedience to the Gospel and the living tradition of the Orthodox Church.

The particular asceticism that we are called to live is one that opens our doors to the marginalized and those who for different reasons find themselves also on the of the periphery of the church. This “harsh and dreadful Love” (Fyodor Dostoevsky) has its own demands and rhythm. Wisdom is needed to be able to grow in holiness in it. P. Nicolaie, the spiritual father of the community, the weekly theological reflections, time at the hermitage, and the intense life of prayer, allow for this way of life to take deep roots in us.

The community was founded on the example of St. John the Merciful and the Fathers of the Church, especially St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom. It has also been influenced by the more contemporary writings and the examples of Mother Maria of Paris, Mother Gavriela, Charles de Foucauld, St. Silouan of Athos, and Archbishop Anastasios of Albania.


The community began as a small mission in a poor neighbourhood in Toronto, over 35 years ago. The main building of the Mission has a beautiful chapel, a gift to us from the ‘Pain de Vie’ community, with beautiful icons donated from Madonna House. We also have an artisanal bakery (beside the main building), and a thrift store, where we recycle items donated. The bread used in the Divine Liturgy is baked by our community each week.

Some of the community members live at Lourmel House, just two minutes from the main building.

We welcome anyone to come and share in our life. You don’t need to be Orthodox, but you do need to be willing to participate in the life of this community, centered on the liturgical and prayer life of the Orthodox Church. Short visits can be always arranged by writing or calling Fr. Nicolaie.

We are especially looking for people who would like to come and stay for a longer term (a minimum of three months) as serving guests (see below here). Room and board can be provided. The serving guests, as they are called, would be expected to participate fully in the life and ministries of the community.


Serving guests

We welcome anyone who is interested in living with us the life of the Mission. Sometimes people just want to stay for a few days, or sometimes even weeks.

We call such visitors ‘Serving Guests,’; full details are available on request — by e-mail to Father Nicolaie at, or better yet, just call him or visit.

Serving guests

What can you expect?

• A warm welcome!
• A place to stay with other community members.
• Inclusion in the work of the Mission.
• Time to discuss your concerns and questions with someone from the community.
• Regular prayer life.
• A place to sleep and eat.
• An opportunity to learn about the Mission and its history.

What is asked of you?

• While with us, that you live in obedience to what the spiritual father (P. Nicolaie) asks of you. We take this very much to heart.
• To respect the common usage of the Mission and Lourmel House.
• Please read To Give A Beautiful Witness: The Rule of St. John The Compassionate Mission before coming.
• Take part in the daily work and prayer of the community.
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
©2024 St. John the Compassionate Mission
416-466-1357 |
155 Broadview Avenue, Toronto M4M 2E9
Charitable Registration #893281832RR0001
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of North America