Orthodox priest takes on much more than expected

Stars and Stripes | Cindy Fisher | June 24, 2007

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Duesenberry thought serving as a Navy chaplain would be as simple as being an Orthodox priest who wears a uniform.

He was wrong.

Instead, he discovered that being a chaplain entails a lot more.

Duesenberry is an Eastern Orthodox Christian — a faith most similar to the Roman Catholic Church but with some major differences.

Eastern Orthodoxy is not under leadership of the pope, and the church’s priests can be married if they marry before they are ordained, he said.

After seminary, Duesenberry, who is married, became a priest at a small parish in Pennsylvania for three years. To make ends meet, he also held a secular job as an insurance agent.

But there was something missing.

. . . more


1 thought on “Orthodox priest takes on much more than expected”

  1. This a time when the work of military chaplains is needed more than ever. Repeated and extended deployments to Iraq have created great stress for our US servicemen and women. Most have seen terrible things, dead civilians, sickening acts of violence and cruelty, and friends and comrades killed and maimed. They are returning home with very high rates of post-traumatic stress.

    A psychological or spiritual trauma can, in its own way, be as crippling and devastating as a physical wound, and it is after such injuries to the soul when people urgently need God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit for healing and recovery. In this sense, the military chaplain is God’s first responder. I’ve counted four Greek Orthodox servicemen who have been killed in Iraq, so there are definetly other servicemen who need the help of Orthodox chaplains.

    It is very important that we pray for our servicemen and women in Iraq and their families, and ask God to support the chaplains who are there to assist them.

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