Churches should be beautiful – even if they’re in Antarctica, right?
That seems to have been one of the philosophies behind the construction of Trinity Church, a small but gorgeous Eastern Orthodox church near the South Pole.
Trinity Church is the southernmost Eastern Orthodox church in the world. It is not, however, the southernmost church in the world: that coveted title is held by a small Catholic church located in a permanent ice cave near an Argentinian base (check it out here!). The ice cave chapel is certainly “cool” in its own way, but Trinity Church stands out for looking like a normal church.
A normal Eastern Orthodox church, that is: which means it’s adorned with stunningly beautiful iconography.
Here’s a first look inside (more photos at the end):
Wow! Isn’t it incredible?
The project that led to the creation of Trinity Church dates back to the 1990s. With the approval of the then-Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow Alexy II, a fund was started called “Temple for Antarctica” and began raising money all over Russia.
The church was built in Russia then shipped to Antarctica in pieces, where it was reassembled under the direction of the Orthodox priest who became its first pastor. The 15m high church was filled with beautiful icons and even given its own bells. It was finally consecrated on February 15, 2004 by a Russian Orthodox bishop who traveled there just for the occasion.
The church has one or two Orthodox priests year round and can accommodate about 30 worshippers. The priests sometime baptize converts and have even had a wedding in the small church. But one of the more important tasks of the priests there is to pray for the souls of all the Russians who have died in Antarctica.