Father Michael Westerberg is Awarded the Mitre - 08/12/18

Father Michael Westerberg of Holy Transfiguration Church in New Haven is Awarded the Mitre at the Hand of his Eminence, The Most Reverend Archbishop Nikon

The Very Reverend Michael Westerberg was baptized as an infant at Holy Trinity Church in East New York, Brooklyn. From childhood and through his early teen years, he spent his summers at his grandparents’ cottage situated in the pine forests of a large community of Russian immigrants, ROVA Farms in Jackson, New Jersey, where, as a young boy he looked up to the parish priest, Father Peter Popov, who served vespers daily. Following Father Peter’s example, Father Michael has served vespers daily for the entire forty-four years of his priesthood.

Father Michael was active in the Boy Scouts of America and attended camp in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where he eventually served as a staff member. He served as Lodge Chief of the Nassau County (NY) Order of the Arrow.

In 1966 while in college, Father was drafted and served in the army in both Germany and Vietnam. Returning from Vietnam, he worked at a brokerage firm on Wall Street until he could return to college. Father Michael completed his undergraduate studies at Salem College, West Virginia excelling in oratorical competitions, after which he enrolled at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. As a seminarian doing volunteer work in New York area hospitals, he met Lydia Koblosh. They married in June 1974. Father was ordained to the diaconate in September 1974, and to the priesthood by then Bishop Herman (later Metropolitan Herman,) in January 1975. During his senior year at St. Vladimir’s, Father began serving Holy Resurrection Church in Berlin, New Hampshire as assigned by Bishop Dmitri, the New England Diocesan bishop.

Father Michael has served the New England Diocese in many leadership capacities. He was dean of the Northern New England Deanery for three years and dean of the Connecticut Deanery for six years. He served as administrator for numerous parishes as vacancies necessitated. He was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese by the late Bishop Job, and served in that capacity for fifteen years while the New England Diocese did not have a resident hierarch.

Father Michael has also served in various departments of the Orthodox Church in America. He was Chairman of the Department of Pastoral Life and Ministry, a member of the Department of Lay Ministries and a member of the Department of External Affairs. He was elected to several terms as diocesan representative to the Metropolitan Council. Elected by the All American Councils, he served on the OCA Pension Board for ten years, the last seven as group leader.

Father Michael was Orthodox chaplain at the West Haven, CT, Veteran’s Hospital for thirty-five years, until his retirement from the VA in December 2016, and he continues to serve as chaplain to the Orthodox Christian students at Yale as he has for thirty-seven years. He has also been an active member of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in Connecticut since its inception twenty-five years ago.

Father Michael has served as rector of Holy Transfiguration Church in New Haven, CT, for the past thirty-eight years. He has mentored numerous seminarians, over thirty years, as part of the St. Vladimir’s Field Work program. At Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 12, 2018, at the hands of Archbishop Nikon, Father Michael was awarded the high honor of wearing the priestly mitre. Axios!