As a [[novice]] John began his obedience in the kitchen. From the start, John demonstrated his obedience and humility as he entered into a life that was everything he had hoped it would be. In June 1861, John was asked by the Superior of the skete, Fr. Paphnutius, to become the cell-attendant of the Elder Ambrose a position that he would retain for the next fifty years. Even as happy as he was John still contemplated would he be better off elsewhere - Kiev, even [[Mount Athos]]. But, the understanding Elder Ambrose, realizing John's thoughts, urged him to stay at Optina.
On [[April 15]], 1872, John was [[tonsure]]d as a [[
monastic ranks|rassophore]], followed on [[June 16]], 1872, with his tonsure as a [[monk]]. He was given the name Joseph, honoring St. [[Joseph the Hymnographer]]. On [[December 9]], 1872, Fr. Joseph was [[ordination|ordained]] a [[deacon]] by Bishop Gregory of Kaluga after Joseph was unexpectedly nominated by [[Igumen]] Isaac, when on [[December 7]] he and Fr. Ambrose could not agree on the ordination of two other candidates.
On [[October 1]], 1884, Fr. Joseph was ordained a [[priest]]. That day, Bishop Vladimir of Kaluga conducted the ordination at the [[Divine Liturgy|liturgy]] celebrating the opening of the [[Wikipedia: Shamordino Convent|Convent of Shamordino]], eight miles from Optina, that was built by Fr. Ambrose. From that day the nuns regarded Fr. Joseph as their priest, and, after the repose of Fr. Ambrose, he became the spiritual director of the convent.