Kiev, January 14, 2011
A chapel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be built in Antarctica this spring.
"When we send polar explorers to the South Pole we don't ask about their confession. But every person can have a wish to be alone, to pray. Why don't we build a church?" Director of the National Antarctic Scientific Center Valery Litvinov was quoted as saying on Friday by the Ukrainian Segodnya.ua website.
It is not the first Orthodox church on the ice continent: Russian carpenters built a 15-meter Orthodox church from Siberian cedar in 2004 that is dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
"When you pray there you get unspeakable impressions. It is zero altitude, but you have such a feeling that the church almost flies above Earth," Archbishop Augustine of Lvov and Galicia and said as he had celebrated a Liturgy in the church in 2007 and is going to consecrate the Ukrainian chapel in spring.
The chapel is being made in Chili and is much smaller than the Russian church. It will be sent to Antarctica late in March with a new group of polar explorers. The building and installation of the chapel will be paid by philanthropists. Byelorussians intend to erect a similar chapel on the continent, as they plan to open their base in Antarctica this year.
Additionally, Ukrainians will present the Russian church of the Holy Trinity a bell cast by the Donetsk metallurgical plant. According to the polar expedition head, Chili customs officers were perplexed to find the bell in their luggage. Besides, they found salo (traditional Ukrainian lard - IF) in their luggage while bringing food in the country is subjected to $300 fine. Customs officers appeared to be believers and turned a blind eye to salo and the bell.