St. John the Compassionate Mission (Toronto, ON)
Fr. Roberto Ubertino
“Orthodoxy does not need more professors, but confessors.”
-Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos
St. John the Compassionate Mission was founded in 1986 among the poor and the marginalized of downtown Toronto and is an apostolate of the Carpatho-Russian diocese. The Mission has had, and has, a variety of different programs responding to needs as they arose. “Around” the Mission has grown the thriving parish of St. Silouan. The Mission seeks to be where Orthodoxy becomes Orthopraxy.
At its heart St. John’s seeks to make real the teaching of the Fathers, especially St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom, on how the Church should be present to the “world.” The life of the Mission thus has four essential elements: diakonia (service), community, liturgy, and study, and each is lived out in a regular daily and weekly rhythm.
The Poor our Masters (St. John the Compassionate) – A Deacon’s View
Dn. Pawel Mucha
Five years ago I left Europe to be an intern for one year at St. John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto. Nine months later I was ordained as a subdeacon. The subdiaconate at the Mission was real in both liturgy and daily diakonia, and was also fulltime. At times, it was too “real” and too “fulltime!” My ordination to the diaconate came last year.
Among the many “obediences” of the diaconate has been setting up and running the Mission’s intern program – the Lived Theology School. Despite 20 years teaching experience I was to discover that the real teacher was not me, but mission life and the poor themselves. Knowledge in and of itself is not enough; it needs to find a reality.
Fr. Roberto Ubertino and Dn. Pawel Mucha minister to the poor, socially excluded, and handicapped in downtown Toronto. More information on the history and vision of the Mission can be found here, as well as on the Mission’s website.