“We intend to establish a school of service of the Lord...” — Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict.
The St. Maria of Paris Lived Theology School (LTS) is not an academic school. It is rather a way to serve and to learn through prayer and theological reflection. The LTS is a “school of service of the Lord” (Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict).
Starting in the fall of 2021, in an ecumenical openness the school accepts anyone (18+) the opportunity to learn from the poor and marginalized by exercising a pastoral ministry of service in a busy inner-city Orthodox mission.
The LTS is a place to be ‘schooled’ in the practice and meaning of a specifically Orthodox approach to mission. This is done through serving and theological reflection on the meaning of mission, as it is lived in a community that has served the inner-city poor and marginalized in Toronto since 1986.
St. Maria of Paris, and others with her, not only served the poor but also sought to relate what they were living to the theological understanding of the Orthodox Church. It is in this spirit that the LTS lives within the community of those who serve, and are served, at St. John the Compassionate Mission here in Toronto, Ontario.
The St. Maria of Paris Lived Theology School was established in 2010 with the blessing of the late Metropolitan Nicholas of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
“Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” — Matthew 25:45
Look up the words ‘missionary’ and ‘mission,’ and you will quickly find that they are linked to the idea of working in a foreign country. However, it is the mission of the Church to serve the world wherever it is. Such a mission may for some be in a foreign land, but for others it is to serve those in need on one’s very doorstep. St. John the Compassionate Mission is unique, and one of the Orthodox places of mission ‘on the doorstep.’
Elizabeth Skobtsova, St. Maria of Paris, is our patron saint.
“At the Last Judgment I will not be asked whether I satisfactorily practiced asceticism, nor how many bows I have made before the divine altar. I will be asked whether I fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick, and the prisoner in his jail. That is all I will be asked.” — Mother Maria
“There is no such thing as a Christian problem. Don’t you realize that the battle is being waged against Christianity? If we were true Christians, we would all wear the star. The age of confessors has arrived.” — Mother Maria
The aim of the LTS is give the opportunity for a year for reflection, study, ministry, and prayer. This is not a volunteer position, but an opportunity to daily practice and study Orthodox mission in a lived-community setting.
The LTS program is open to anyone, regardless of religious affiliation. The experience includes:
Students who wish could also take extra courses at the Orthodox School of Theology at Trinity College of the University of Toronto. The fees for these courses are not covered by LTS tuition.
The program will be open to any person (over the age of 18, male or female) who wishes to learn from the poor, and further develop their own skills and knowledge for engaging in mission in a first-world context. Regardless of the church affiliation of the student it is understood that the context for LTS learning is the life and faith of the Orthodox Church. References from the individual’s parish priest and other recognized persons will be required. A minimum of human and spiritual maturity is required to really take advantage of this year at LTS.
The program is likely to appeal to a wide range of persons including:
Do you need more information?
If you would like to inquire about the Lived Theology program, send an e-mail to Father Nicolaie at firstname.lastname@example.org, and start a conversation.
Following your contact with Father, a formal application form will be mailed to you.
International students will need to purchase their own health insurance, and some may need a visa. Students will have to pay their own transportation to the Mission. Monthly tuition, including room and board and all other travel expenses during the duration of the program, is $600 (Canadian) per month.
Please note: application to the program requires the first month’s tuition. This will be returned if the candidate is not accepted. However, this first month’s tuition submitted with application is non-refundable if the candidate withdrawals the application after submitting it for consideration.
Candidates for the LTS are encouraged to seek sponsorship from their diocese, parish, family, and friends, who thus participate in this way to the efforts of the student.