Pioneered in 2001 in the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles under the guidance of His Eminence Metropolitan Serapion with the blessing of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of blessed memory and with the life of Saint Paul the Apostle in mind, the vision was to have a monastic community of celibate priests, deacons, and laity living a communal life professing the vow of service in addition to the three monastic pillars of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
The three monastic vows are taken since the time of the early desert fathers, while the vow of service stems from the commitment to serve as Saint Paul served. The Brothers seek to emulate the life of Saint Paul, who exemplified the harmony of celibacy and service. Saint Paul served the rich and the poor, the Jews and the Gentiles, the educated and the uneducated. He was a model preacher and skillful author. He served all people, as he said, “I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Cor. 4:17).
Life at the Saint Paul Brotherhood is a hybrid between the monastic schedule of communal and individual Agpeya prayers, midnight praises, and Divine Liturgies. Additionally, each member is assigned a variety of services either within the residence or externally in the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii. It is a life that combines the communal life of the desert fathers, the service of pastoral care, and the evangelism of Orthodox missionaries. Some example of the services are:
- Christian education
- Diocese curriculum development
- Social services
- Personal spiritual retreats
- Social, theological, patristic, liturgical, biblical
- Diocese administrative services
- Youth services and social outreach
- Mission and evangelism
These broadly capture the overall categories of services, but within these are many and diverse subcategories that reach into the daily life of Copts and non-Copts of the Diocese.
In April 2014, by the grace of God, the Brotherhood purchased a 20-acre parcel of land with two buildings consisting of a chapel, retreat house, and housing for the current and future Brotherhood members. It is hoped that the establishment of a permanent abode will give the Brotherhood a greater sense of community, and that through it, these services may be continued.
Please keep the Saint Paul Brotherhood in your prayers.