Memory Eternal: Living with Grief as Orthodox Christians


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Item No. 9781955890182

by Sarah Byrne-Martelli

Losing someone we love is never easy, but the Orthodox Church provides a wealth of resources that help us to bear it. Chaplain and bereavement counselor Sarah Byrne-Martelli draws on these theological, scriptural, and liturgical resources, as well as the collected experience of a variety of people undergoing grief and loss, to provide a kind of roadmap to the grieving process. Included in the book is a guide to an eight-week bereavement curriculum that can be used in a group or on one’s own. As Orthodox Christians, we do not seek to "get over" grief but to carry the memory of our loved ones eternally in our hearts.

About the Author: Sarah Byrne-Martelli is an Orthodox board-certified chaplain and bereavement counselor who has served in acute care, palliative care, and hospice since 2002. In her role as a chaplain, she cares for patients and families who are facing serious illness, grief, and loss. Sarah holds a DMin from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary and an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School. She is on the Board of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR). Sarah attends St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA, with her husband, Dr. Peter Martelli, and their son, Rafael.

Praise for Memory Eternal

"Grief and bereavement invoke some of the most intense feelings in human beings. Loss is an unavoidable reality that faces everyone. The Orthodox Christian tradition offers many healthy expressions of addressing grief through her liturgical, sacramental, and communal life. What Dr. Sarah Byrne-Martelli has produced is an excellent resource that will benefit individual readers as well as groups in a parish setting. Dr. Byrne-Martelli initially grounds her work theologically, then transitions to a pastoral care model that is needed for the faithful to help them integrate 'theory' and 'practice.' I encourage pastoral and ministry leaders to utilize this text, bringing peace, comfort, and hope to those who are experiencing sorrow." -Rev. Dr. Alexander Goussetis, Director, GOA Center for Family Care & host of the Ancient Faith Radio podcast Family Matters

"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. 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." -V. Rev. Dr. J. Sergius Halvorsen, PhD. Assistant Professor, Homiletics and Rhetoric, Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

"With the arrival of Memory Eternal, Orthodox Christians finally have a book on how to cope with grief written from a distinctly Orthodox world view. The tone of the book is empathic, wise, and compassionate throughout, offering a warm and reassuring hug to those suffering the dark and lonely days of grief. Dr. Byrne-Martelli beautifully articulates the meaningful Orthodox theology underlying the services and prayers for remembering loved ones. She expertly weaves real stories of loss with the comforting teachings of the Orthodox Church. The accompanying curriculum details all aspects of offering a grief group, enabling pastors, lay leaders, and clinicians to facilitate meetings with care and confidence." -Randa K. Anderson, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist

"In her beautifully written account, Dr. Byrne-Martelli has highlighted the sacral nature of grief as expressed and lived within the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church. Thankfully, she has laid to rest secular notions of grief as something to get over. Rather she reminds the Orthodox Christian who grieves of the profound consolation that is expressed as "Memory eternal"! We are invited through the sacramental life of the Church to remember - not forget - our loved ones who have died. For our hope resides in the living God who remembers us." -Daniel B. Hinshaw, M.D. Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Geriatrics Center & Professor Emeritus of Surgery, University of Michigan

Author: Sarah Byrne-Martelli

Paperback: 192 pages

Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing

Cover art with permission from iconographer and copyright holder Khrystyna Kvyk -;

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Related Media:
Podcast - The Wounded Healer with Sarah Byrne-Martelli

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