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Office of Chaplains : Orthodox Chapel

Orthodox Chapel of Saint Martin

othodox_chapel.jpgThe chapel of St Martin of Tours at the US Military Academy at West Point is part of the Orthodox Church in America's Diocese of New York/New Jersey, under the omophorion of His Grace Bishop Michael. This ministry to Orthodox cadets of all backgrounds was begun by Archpriest John Nehrebecki in 1962 as an outreach of the Diocese of NY/NJ of the (then) Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church (now The Orthodox Church in America). Since the chapel is on the grounds of the Military Academy, it is appropriate that our patron should himself have served in the military. St Martin went on to become the Bishop of Tours, in what is now France. He was known, even in his lifetime, as a great worker of miracles.

For several years, the chapel was served by student priests attending St Vladimir's Seminary, and also by Archpriest Cyril Stavrevsky, who was Dean of Students at St Vladimir's.

More recently, the Diocese of NY/NJ of the Orthodox Church in America has been responsible for providing priests to serve at St Martin's Chapel. Archpriest Joseph Frawley, the current Orthodox Chaplain at WP, has been serving there since 1998.

One of the highlights in the history of St Martin's Chapel was the visit of His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah in August 2009. His Beatitude presided at the Divine Liturgy, then joined the cadets and visitors for brunch in the Mess Hall. Metropolitan Jonah spent more than an hour with the cadets, answering their questions, and asking them about their life at West Point. His Beatitude also met with the Head Chaplain, Col. Michael Durham. Among the topics they discussed was the fiftieth anniversary (in 2012) of the Orthodox chaplaincy at WP.

His Grace Bishop Michael, our diocesan hierarch for NY & NJ, made his first visit to St Martin's Chapel on January 23, 2011. It was our great joy to have him preside at the Divine Liturgy and impart the Holy Mysteries to us. Vladika's sermon reminded us that we must be able to discern Christ with our spiritual eyes in all circumstances, even when confronted with hatred, danger, and the possiblity of death.

Following the Liturgy, our officers, cadets, and guests went to the Thayer Hotel for brunch. During the meal Bishop Michael spoke with the cadets about their routine at West Point, and chatted with them about various subjects. We look forward to having him with us again, and to strengthening the bonds between our Archpastor and his flock.

St Martin's Chapel is located in the lower level of the Cadet Chapel. Services are in English, and usually begin at 10:30 AM on Sundays, except when the cadets are away for the summer, or on holiday weekends. Confessions are heard from 10 AM until 10:25, or by appointment. Only Orthodox Christians in good standing, who have prepared themselves by prayer, fasting, and a recent Confession are permitted to receive Holy Communion. Those who have not attended Orthodox services for more than three Sundays should come to Confession before receiving Holy Communion. It is best to phone or email the priest to be sure that there will be a service, or to let him know that you will be visiting from an Orthodox parish.