Alumni News

Living with Grief: Alumna Sarah Byrne-Martelli pens new book 'Memory Eternal'

Sarah Byrne-Martelli

Sarah Byrne-Martelli, D.Min., has published a new book through Ancient Faith Ministries, titled, Memory Eternal: Living with Grief as Orthodox Christians.

Byrne-Martelli is the palliative care chaplain at Massachusetts General Hospital and is endorsed as a board-certified chaplain by the Antiochian Archdiocese. She also serves as board secretary of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR). In 2020 she became the first woman to graduate from St. Vladimir's Seminary's Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program in its current format. 

Memory Eternal Book Cover

“This book grew out of my dissertation at St. Vladimir's, where I did qualitative research with grieving people, along with reflections on theology, liturgy, and secular bereavement theory,” said Byrne-Martelli. “The book includes an eight-week bereavement curriculum for groups or personal journaling and reflection.

“Many of the themes will resonate most with Orthodox Christians, but I also wrote it with the intent of making it accessible to people of many traditions. I include grief tips for a broader audience, along with exercises that reflect a modern framework for bereavement.”

The director of St Vladimir's D.Min. program, The Very Rev. Dr. J. Sergius Halvorsen, is one of many who have endorsed Memory Eternal.

“This book gently, compassionately, and with disarming eloquence shines the light of Christ into the dark corners of grief: the universal experience that many of us tend to hide in the shadows,” wrote Fr. Sergius. “By combining a thoughtful meditation on the spiritual, psychological, and physical experience of grieving, with real-life stories from those who have experienced grief and loss, Sarah Byrne-Martelli invites the reader to see that ‘the Church teaches us how to grieve.’ This volume is a wonderful resource for the grieving and for those who walk with them in faith.”

Memory Eternal is available in eBook, paperback, and an audiobook edition narrated by Byrne-Martelli. 

She is also inviting anyone interested to follow her page on Instagram and to reach out to her to set up a talk or workshop, with the aim of creating a grief group in their community using the Memory Eternal curriculum.