St. Paul Abbey Guidelines for visitations and Retreats

St. Paul Abbey requests that in order to benefit from your retreat and time at the Abbey and that the sanctity of the Abbey is maintained, the following guidelines be kept.

Church Guidelines

  • Please abide by the Church Schedule.
  • Please arrive at church 10 minutes prior to the beginning of service.
  • Please respect the sanctity of the church and dress appropriately (no shorts, no sleepwear in church).
  • If arriving late, prostrate (worship) in the back of the church and refrain from greeting anyone.
  • Readings and serving in the altar is to be distributed by one of the monks and please follow the father leading the service.

Arrival Guidelines

  • The Abbey provides sheets and pillows.
  • Bring your own toiletries, towels, and masks.
  • Bring your Bible, Agpeya and a spiritual book. No electronics are allowed in the Church.
  • Latest arrival time is 9PM
    • No one may stay in the retreat house without prior registration (if you need to register, click here)
  • Servants are advised to collect phones and electronic devices from retreatants upon arrival in order to help facilitate a fruitful and beneficial retreat.

Throughout your Retreat

  • No leaving the Abbey premises throughout your stay unless granted permission.
    • Leaving the Abbey without permission is not allowed during the retreat period and doing so without permission will result in the retreat being terminated.
  • Please note that bedtime is at 10:30 p.m.
  • Indoor gatherings or cooking are not permitted after 10:30 p.m.
  • You will be expected to prepare your own meals from the food provided by the Abbey.
    • The Abbey does not provide food for groups. It is requested that ready-made or ready-to-cook meals are brought.
  • The Abbey is your place so please keep it clean (please do not leave dirty dishes in the sink)
  • No food in the bedrooms and please ensure no food is left outside after meals.
  • No one may stay in the retreat house without prior registration
  • Please do not leave wet clothes in the washing machine.
  • Refrain from sleeping on the beds without sheets and pillow cases.
  • Shoes and socks should not be left in bedrooms. Please use the shoe rack in the hallway instead.

Upon your departure

  • Ensure that the retreat house and refractory are clean and ready for the next visitor.
  • Please make sure to bring the sheets and pillows to the laundry room before leaving (except for the covers).
  • Please sweep the bedroom and empty the trash bin prior to your departure.

Four [monks] from Scete dressed in skins once came visiting the blessed Abba Pambo, and they each made known the virtue of another in his absence. The first one fasted a great deal; the second was indifferent to possessions; the third was very charitable. Of the fourth one, they told him that he had been under the authority of an elder for twenty-two years. “I tell you that obedience is greater than the virtue of you all,” Abba Pambo replied to them, “for each one of you has obtained whatever virtue he possesses by his own will, while he, suspending his own will, does the will of somebody else. Such persons are confessors if they hold fast to the end.