Our doors are open to newcomers to our monastic life. However, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Potential members of our order need to have thought deeply about this choice, and the order’s council must exercise careful discernment about any new candidates. This section will briefly describe the path a potential brother or sister must walk in order to be considered and eventually accepted as a permanent member of one of our communities.
Prospective Candidates are welcomed from any social background, nationality, race, religious background, sexual orientation, and state of health. Typically, a Candidate will have visited one of our other communities over a period of time (months or years, for a duration of days, weeks, or months) to get to know the members of the community, its daily life, and its common values. If interest in becoming a Candidate is expressed, the brothers and sisters will have a frank discussion with the potential Candidate about the potential challenges – and joys – such a life can bring, as well as what sort of behaviour is acceptable and what is not.
When a clear desire to join is made, the Elders meet in council to discuss the individual’s potential Candidacy. New brothers and sisters are accepted only by a consensus of brothers and sisters, with attention paid to the potential Candidate’s maturity, spiritual dispositions, and familiarity with and collinearity with Paleochristian values.
If the evaluation is positive, the individual will enter into a Candidacy under the guidance of the brothers and sisters, taking residence at the community for a period of at least three months, during which they will receive additional and intensive training and feedback regarding their compliance with the order’s rules, principles, and values. By engaging in monastic life, the Candidate comes to know herself, and the brothers and sisters come to know the Candidate as they engage in private and group prayer and meditation, communal meals, conscious labor, and study.
After their probationary period as a Candidate, the council of Elders conducts another evaluation to discern if the Candidate is truly called to live as a Paleochristian brother or sister. If both parties are in agreement, the Candidate may vow to live in the community for a period of at least two years as a Novice. Novices retain personal ownership of their possessions, but must contribute to the community through labor and, if possible, monetary support.
During this integration period, a Novice may find, progressively, his place within the community. He can contribute to its well-being and fellowship by means of his aptitudes, skills, knowledge, and creativity. During this time, the Novice undergoes more intense instruction and takes on additional duties within the community.
After the completion of their two-year vow, a Novice should engage in deep prayer and meditation in order to truly grasp the magnitude of the choice she is to make. Upon reflection, the Novice may choose to extend her vow, or petition the Elders to take her own vows as an Elder of the community. If the council considers the Novice ready, then she is permitted to take her vows.
Upon taking these vows, the Elder gives himself to the community in Christ, and takes his place within the body of Christ, vowing to live his life in accord with the Paleochristian order of the Fellowship of the Cosmic Mind. At this point, the Elder’s possessions are held in common, according to the terms of the community’s charter.