Sarah Byrne-Martelli

First and Last Name: Sarah Byrne-Martelli


My home: Somerville, MA


Home parish and Jurisdiction: St. Mary Orthodox Church, Cambridge, MA (AOCA)


Do you have a prior degree from St. Vladimir's? What year? No

What is your present profession / vocation, title, and place of employment?

Board Certified Chaplain, Massachusetts General Hospital
Affiliate Faculty, CSU Institute for Palliative Care

Was there a moment you decided to come to seminary? Was it a person, an event, a book you read, that prompted your enrollment?

I have been serving as a hospice and health care chaplain for 14 years. My M.Div. degree is from Harvard Divinity School, and I converted to Orthodoxy while at HDS. I have known friends and colleagues from SVOTS for many years, and when they announced the new D.Min. program, I knew it was time for me to have a solid Orthodox education. I have always loved the writings of Fr. Hopko, Fr. Behr and Dr. Bouteneff, among others. The D.Min. is giving me the chance to more intentionally reflect and write about the experiences I have had as a chaplain.

Why did you choose St. Vladimir's Doctor of Ministry Program?

As an Orthodox female chaplain, I work in between two worlds, so to speak—the Orthodox world and the secular health care world. I wanted to deepen my background of Orthodox theology, ethics, and other related areas in a way that would also engage a broader, multi-faith context. The deep Orthodox spirituality, along with the level of academic practice and engagement with modern scholarship, made St. Vladimir's the right place for me.

Would you share one "ah-ha" moment you experienced during your D.Min. on-site intensive in October 2016?

I am the only woman in the Doctor of Ministry program, and I have felt welcomed as a peer and a colleague. The onsite intensive pushed all of us to explore the key theological and moral questions of our coursework, and I felt that the ministries and gifts of all those present were valued and supported.