An Old-Fashioned Chapel Raising!

Recenty, we were blessed to dedicate our new chapel, named in honor of  St Seraphim of Sarov. 

As many of you who have followed this blog are aware, we already have a church, so why a chapel?  Well, mainly because we could, being as we are located in a semi-rural setting and we have several acres.  Three of those acres were set aside for a graveyard.

It was decided several years ago, that as part of our site plan, there should be a little gazebo located in the graveyard where people could go and sit while they visited their loved ones. 

One day upon returning from St Antony-in-the-Desert monastery in Arizona, John Sames (our Senior Reader) thought to himself:  “why can’t that small gazebo be a small chapel?”  After all, at St Antony’s there are several churches on the grounds and the smallest one is an open air chapel dedicated to St Seraphim of Sarov. 

After all, we had already broken ground on our parish hall, so how hard would it be to have a 100 square feet of concrete poured in another place?  So he went to our priest, Fr Ambrose Arrington and asked him what he thought.  Fr Ambrose said, “why not?”

As fortune would have it, we had a young family move to our city last year.  The father (Herman) is a contractor himself and he’d always had a vision of building a church with his own hands.  Believe it or not, one dedicated to St Seraphim!  

A trifecta so to speak.  Needless to say, things started falling into place rather quickly.

So then, about three months ago, Fr Ambrose announced after liturgy that –as part of our construction project–there would be a chapel, due east of the Church, right smackdab in the middle of the graveyard.  (We had just broken ground on our parish hall several months earlier and they were getting ready to lay the slab for it.)

Jumping at the chance, I immediately went to John and said “why don’t we build it ourselves?”  After all, it had been my late father’s dream to someday build a small exoklissi in the countryside, just like all those small churches and chapels that dot the mountainous landscapes of Greece.  If those people could do it, he reasoned, so could we.  My father’s dream became mine as well.  And John’s.  (He loved my father immensely.)

Anyway, John had already beaten me to the punch!  Herman would head up the project and any man from the parish who volunteered to help out would would more than welcome to participate.  

All in all, it took about four Saturdays of hard labor (and a whole lot of love) but we finally did it!  Herman had itemized all of the materials so they were ready to go.

Below are several photos of the building process.  At the bottom is a short video of its dedication (courtesy of David Burrows, who just happened to be visiting us that Sunday).


Herman Hall, the General Contractor                                                   

                                                                                                  Reader John Sames, Project Mgr                                                             

                                      From the youngest to the oldest, and everyone in between:                                                                                                                               




<–Some old guy who still thinks he’s a youngster



       Fr Ambrose and David Kulp        A View of the graveyard


Some parishioners giving their approval!

<–The winds were clocked at 28 mph that day!

For a video of our chapel’s dedication, please go to:


*For additional pictures, please visit our parish’s website (click on “News” then “Photo Gallery”):




  1. Constantine W says

    Such a wonderful parish, full of wonderful parishioners. We are so blessed to have God bring my family here to Holy Apostles. My teenagers right down to my newest born (11/11/22) daughter, Marciana will be able to enjoy the little chapel. Your father was a good man and so are you George, may God grant him a rich entrance into His eternal kingdom.

  2. What a beautiful sacred space! I was overjoyed to be visiting on the day of this dedication. Holy Apostles is simply beautiful through and through. Your church helped start ours in Stillwater, OK – St. Nino. George it was an honor to have you at our baptism. Pray for us as we are in the seminary stage and leading a mission in Rome, GA – St. Clement of Rome.
    With love,
    David and Elizabeth Burrows

    • David, I’m not that far from you, I’m in Metro ATL. I go to the ROCOR parish here. I actually just found out about St. Clement and the other mission parish in Cullman, AL from my priest.

      • Good things happening down in the South.

        • Zel Parapas says

          Really, read Sowell, Rednecks. (also has an interesting analysis of Russians vs Germans). Curiously, Tom Sowell never mentions Greeks here or in Ethnic America.

  3. Holy cow! The church is beautiful! I’ve always been partial to wood/earth tones more than the white/marble look. the best are those full on log cabin churches they have in Russia. I think we have a couple here as well.

    Anyway, this is awesome to see. I’m always happy to see St Seraphim glorified.

  4. This is awesome! Great seeing a parish work together like that.

  5. Truly beautiful. Are those actual graves in the cemetery? I would love to see the tradition of cemeteries by churches restored. How wonderful it would be to have that physical connection with those remembered and loved in the same place we worship and commune with the saints.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Yes. So far there are 8 people buried. Part of the impetus is that funeral costs at corporate cemeteries are through the roof. We wanted to spare our parishioners the exhorbitant cost.

      One of our stipulations that we decided early on is that we would offer spaces to all Orthodox people, regardless of jurisdiction. Already there are two people from other jurisdictions buried there. It just so happened that today was “Clean-up Day,” and when I got there this morning, it just so happened that there was an open grave. Later that morning there was going to be a funeral for an recently-reposed deacon from another state.

  6. Praise God! This is amazing, and thanks for sharing pictures too! I love it! My husband and I are on an expedited exit plan from our state (Calunicornia), and we’ve been downsizing since right before covid struck in anticipation of the move out of state. We have zero idea where we are headed, we just know that once we have work and a place to call home, we must leave what has become a portal to hell, and not look back. We are starting to visit possible locations to move. Gosh, maybe a trip to Oklahoma should be on the itinerary?!

    • George Michalopulos says

      We would love to see you make the trek to God’s Country! Our parish has quite of few Californians (my wife included). I call it the “reverse Okie phenomenon.”

  7. I am so happy for you. That is a beautiful chapel. We build a chapel off of our Nave many years ago and it is one of the best decisions we have ever made as a parish. Ours is 30’x10′ and we keep it dark and there is a very intimate feeling. We can get about 40 in there if necessary but we tend to average 12-30 people for our weekday (T, W & Th) Orthros & Liturgy services. My only regret, and it may be yours eventually, is that it’s not a little bit larger. I will be very interested to see how your folks respond to the services in there. Enjoy!

    • George Michalopulos says

      I hope that more parishes shall build chapels as well. I would love to see stand-alone (enclosed) baptistries/chapels as well. Baptristries able to accommodate adults.

  8. Beautiful!

  9. If anyone is wondering, I wasn’t just watching Father work, we were taking turns, that ground is hard!