St John the Compassionate Orthodox Mission
155 Broadview Avenue
Phone: (416) 466-1357
St John the Compassionate Mission is an apostolate of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. It is an Orthodox Christian community dedicated to serving the poor and the marginalized. It is 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 Charles de Foucauld, Dorothy Day and Jean Vanier.
The community began as a small mission in a poor neighbourhood in Toronto over 30 years ago. Now we're a small group of clergy and lay folks plus an extended community, located on the east side of Toronto. The main building of the Mission has a beautiful chapel (where we worship). We also have a famous artisanal bakery (beside the main building), and a thrift store. Both the Bakery and the Thrift Store are run as social enterprises. We share with the Catholic Worker centers a concern and care for the poor. Unlike Catholic Worker houses we do not have regular accommodation for the homeless or casual visitors.
We have a house nearby the Mission for an intentional community for those who are interested in serving the poor and learning from the deep spirituality of the Orthodox Church. 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 fully in the life of this intentional community centred on the liturgical and prayer life of the Orthodox Church. We are especially looking for people who would like to come and stay longer term as community members for a minimum commitment of three months. Room and board can be provided. The members would be expected to participate fully in the life and ministries (programs) of the whole community.
Broadly speaking, our work involves running an early morning breakfast program for the homeless throughout the year, serving regular meals at the mission, running a small parish, various outreach programs, regular discussions and lectures, and all kinds of other ad hoc projects that develop. Recently, this has led us to the east of the city where the working poor live in great high-rise towers. We are renting an apartment on the first floor of the building and getting to know the residents of the towers. We have converted the apartment into a space where people can meet, share meals with one another, and pray.
Consider contacting the St John the Compassionate Orthodox Mission to volunteer your time or to participate in their community life.