In the Orthodox Church, there is a long-standing tradition of building chapels or shrines on personal property. Often they are built in gratitude for a prayer answered, or to honor a revered saint.
In this video, Bishop Ilia Katre of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America and Fr. Emmanuel Lemelson bless a property where such a chapel is being built in Vermont. The family chapel, which will have seating for approximately 60 and welcome the faithful in the area to gather and worship, will be dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria. According to tradition, Catherine was noted scholar from noble lineage, and became a Christian at 14, converting many people to Christianity. She was martyred at the age of 18 in the early 4th century by the pagan emperor Maxentius.
“[The chapel] is a prototype of a larger chapel that is planned in the village of Stowe – hopefully for next year…” says Fr. Emmanuel. “The thinking wasn’t so much to publicize the fact that there is a chapel, so much as to tell the story of glorifying God through its construction… It is a doxological act, and planting the seeds of Orthodox Christian faith/community in a part of the world where it barely exists…”
In a world where the Christian message is often stifled, ridiculed or extinguished, Christian chapels are a reminder that God is present in our midst.