Seminarian Hieromonk Kilian Becomes Navy Reserve Chaplain

18 November 2011 • On-campus Event

(left) Clean-shaven Hieromonk Kilian takes the oath of office to become a U.S. Naval Reserve Chaplain; his uncle, Lieutenant Colonel David Searle, of the U.S. Air Force, administered the oath.(left) Clean-shaven Hieromonk Kilian takes the oath of office to become a U.S. Naval Reserve Chaplain; his uncle, Lieutenant Colonel David Searle, of the U.S. Air Force, administered the oath.As he took a military oath that dates back to the Revolutionary War, Hieromonk Kilian—a seminarian in the Master of Theology program at St. Vladimir’s—also became known as “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Christopher Sprecher,” and a chaplain in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Hieromonk Kilian, who completed his Master of Divinity degree at the seminary in 2011, continues to make history here on our campus: he was the first monk to be tonsured to the monastic rank of “Lesser Schema” in our Three Hierarchs Chapel, in 2010; he now becomes the first monk on our campus (and perhaps the Orthodox Church in America) to be inducted into the U.S. Naval Reserves as a chaplain.

“Growing up in a Marine Corps family—both my father and mother were Marines—I was surrounded by the rhythms and discipline of military life. I believe my work as a Navy chaplain in this environment of men and women working under extreme stress and with the highest discipline as they offer their lives in service and protection of our country will be well served by the complementary rhythms and discipline marking out my life now: not only those imbued in me as a ‘Marine brat,’ but also those breathed into me by life in the Orthodox Church as a monk and priest.”

Father Kilian was sworn in by his uncle, Lieutenant Colonel David Searle, of the U.S. Air Force; and Lieutenant Marcus Williams, the U.S. Naval officer who recruited Fr. Kilian, witnessed his oath of office. Lieutenant Colonel Searle, just prior to administering the oath, recognized the serious commitment that Fr. Kilian already had made in promising service to God, and said that he had confidence that “Chris”—whose developing character he had observed since Fr. Kilian’s childhood—would be equally committed to his duties as a military chaplain. The ceremony took place in front of the flagpole that was newly dedicated on the campus during Orthodox Education Day this year, which had as its theme "For God and Country" and which honored the work of Orthodox military chaplains.

While pursuing his theological studies, Fr. Kilian recently was appointed rector of St. Gregory Palamas Orthodox Church, in Glen Gardner, New Jersey. This month the Hunterdon County Democrat posted an article and photo about his work as pastor at St. Gregory’s. Read it here.