Citadel Christmas Candlelight Services

Watch live: To ensure that as many people as would like are able to enjoy this beautiful tradition, the services will be available via livestream to watch from the comfort of home from anywhere in the nation.

The community is invited to enjoy one of Charleston’s oldest holiday traditions, The Citadel Christmas Candlelight Service. There is no fee to attend one of three services being held each evening at 7:30, Dec. 1 – 3, at the college’s historic Summerall Chapel.

The first candlelight service was held in 1937, as reported in the college’s newspaper that year.

This year, cadets from the college’s three vocal ensembles, the Protestant and Gospel Choirs and The Citadel Chorale, will perform traditional Christmas music along with members of the world-renowned Citadel Regimental Band. Part of the grandeur of the celebration includes poinsettias that cover the front of the chapel provided by Citadel families, faculty and staff, as well as neighbors from throughout the Charleston community to honor or remember someone they love. Lights are dimmed, and cadets in formal dress uniforms hold candles and sing as they proceed into the chapel. The performance is conducted by candlelight.

Built in 1936, Summerall Chapel has held a special place in the lives of cadets, students, faculty and staff, as well as neighbors and visitors. Cruciform in design, the chapel is in the style of 14th century Gothic architecture. The great chancel window, located directly behind the altar, was dedicated in 1942 as a memorial to all Citadel graduates who gave their lives in defense of their country. It portrays exemplars and symbols of courage, sacrifice, religion, truth, duty, loyalty, patriotism, faith, charity, prayer, adoration, praise and immortality. The furniture throughout is plain sawed Appalachian Mountain white oak stained cathedral brown. The ceiling and timbering are pine. Thousands of people visit the chapel every year.

The South Carolina Corps of Cadets includes students of many different religions and all are welcome to worship at Summerall Chapel or can receive assistance from the chaplain in connecting with the college’s diverse religious collaborators at other places of worship in the Charleston area.

There is no admission fee to attend The Citadel Christmas Candlelight Service. Parking is also available at no cost. As there is no reserved seating, early arrival is highly recommended.