New Chapel at Erlanger provides sacred place for praying and reflection

Chattanooga, Tenn. – Erlanger Health System employees, donors, and volunteers celebrated the opening of a new Chapel at Erlanger Hospital on Friday, September 11, 2015.

The dedication and blessing of the Chapel featured readings, prayers, and songs by local representatives from various faiths and musical backgrounds and recognized those who have supported the design of the chapel through the Arts at Erlanger committee and fundraising initiatives.

The interfaith Chapel is a sacred location where members of the community, patients, staff, and families can gather for spiritual renewal, refuge, and prayer — a place that reflects the sacredness of the work that takes place each and every day at Erlanger.

The Chapel is a collaboration of acclaimed artist Daud Akhriev, his son Timur Akhriev, and award-winning designers Hefferlin+Kronenberg Architects. Born in the Chechen-Ingush Republic, part of the former Soviet Union, Daud Akhriev is known internationally and has created several prominent works of public art in Chattanooga.

Over the course of this summer, Mr. Akhriev and his son created a mosaic from hundreds of hand-painted and designed mosaic tiles. Avoiding traditional religious iconography, the artist imagined Spirit as floating and ethereal, arriving at the image of the bird, a symbol in many cultures of spirit and peace. The central focus of the mosaic is an abstracted circular bird’s nest sheltered by encircling wings. The nest associates the hospital with a place of safety and care where one heals for a time. To either side of the nest are birds in flight who have already left the nest to fly.

The Chapel was made possible by a generous donation of $75,000 by the Erlanger Hospital Auxiliary, a volunteer group that supports Erlanger services through proceeds from special events and donations.