Showing posts with label Antarctica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Antarctica. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2019

Ukrainian Ecclesiastical Conflict Impacts Antarctic

Chapel on Ukrainian research station switches from Moscow-compliant jurisdiction to the new independent Ukrainian church - churches and religions in Ukraine are calling for peaceful presidential elections.

Kiev ( Ukrainian church dispute now has an impact on the Antarctic.

 The Volodymyr Chapel, which was officially part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, was built in 2011 in the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station in Perpetual Ice. The Ukrainian National Scientific Antarctic Center in Kiev has announced that the chapel of the new autocephalous "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" is to be placed under the control of the Ukrainian media. A corresponding request to Metropolitan Epifanij, head of the church, had already been made and answered positively.

According to media reports, at the Antarctic Station's current shift change, a copy of that tomos (document) was also brought along, with which Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I released the Ukrainian Church into independence at the beginning of January 2019.

Meanwhile, there are more important decisions in Ukraine itself. The "All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religions" called on the people of the presidential election next Sunday for a "conscientious voting decision" and not to vote "against something" but "for a good and, above all, peaceful future for all". In the election of the new head of state, it should be remembered that one should choose not in their own interest, but in the interest of the good of the entire state. The elections must be peaceful, respect for those who represent other political opinions, is essential, according to the church and religious representatives.

The Council also proclaimed Saturday, 30 March, the "Day of Prayer and Fasting" for honest and peaceful elections. The "All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religions" has around 20 Christian, Muslim and Jewish churches or religious denominations.

The current incumbent President Petro Poroshenko has to fear for his re-election on Sunday. According to surveys, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, and especially the actor and newcomer Volodymyr Selenskyj in the electoral favor before Poroshenko. According to observers Poroshenko was all the more eager to found the new Ukrainian Orthodox National Church. In the surveys, he was able to gain between six and eight percentage points.

The President is not only looking for closeness to the Orthodox, but also the Catholic Church. So this week he handed over to representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ternopil a small monastery complex that originally belonged to Dominicans and was expropriated during the communist era. According to a report by the church news portal "", “historical justice" has been restored. He also wanted to thank the Greek Catholic as well as the Orthodox Church of Ukraine for their constant prayer for Ukraine, Poroshenko said.

Nearly 28 percent of already determined voters said they were voting in favor of Selenskyj. Poroshenko and Tymoshenko are going head-to-head with about 16 to 17 percent to qualify for the April run-off election. The 36 other candidates remained in the polls under 10 percent of the vote. More than 20 percent of voters, however, said they were still undecided.

Trans: Tancred


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Catholic Chapel in Antarctica Closed

The Catholic chapel in Antarctica is closed.

The National Science Foundation, the group behind the US Antarctic Programme, has asked the New Zealand diocese to cut a decades-old link to the ice.

A Protestant chaplain from the US Military and a Catholic priest from Christchurch had been posted at Antarctica for 57 consecutive summers, staying from October until February.

One of the reasons for the withdrawal was a decline in church-going, the diocese said.

Father Dan Doyle, who first went to Antarctica 40 years ago, said attendance at the Chapel of the Snows at McMurdo had been in steady decline, as had the number of residents using the chaplaincy. This is because the number of Americans has shrunk owing to budgetary cuts.

The Church had once offered religious services, personal counselling and support for as many as 2000 men and women stationed at McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott Stations and Scott Base.

The peak population was now about 1200 – a sharp fall from even 10 years ago.

Doyle said the call for religious services at the bases had also changed. When he first went to the ice in the mid 1970s, a ham radio was a vital link to the outside world, whereas now the staff could easily keep in touch by internet and email.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Southernmost Church in the World: Where Father Kirilov Celebrates Mass at 25 Degrees Below Zero

Father Sophrony Kirilov at the Southernmost Church
in the World
"The Russian workers at the South Pole expect, like every other believer, spiritual support and a Church very devoted to God." With these words  Russian Orthodox priest Sophrony Kirilov describes his task. He's a "special envoy" of the Moscow Patriarch on King George Island, as the British call them, or Isla 25 de Mayo, as the Argentines say. The island belongs to the sub-Antarctic archipelago of the South Shetlands. Here Father Kirilov cares for the southernmost church in the world.
The Russian priest is one of a hundred people who spend even the winter in this latitude, although the temperatures can reach minus 25 degrees centigrade. In the summer the average temperature rises only slightly above the zero-degree mark. The island is 95 kilometers long and at its widest point 25 kilometers wide. Overall, it accounts for an area of ​​1150 square kilometers, in which, after all, 500 people stay there in the summer. The majority lives in the Incorporated in a Chilean settlement Villa Las Estrellas (Star Village). In winter  there are all of  the 50 people. They have the Catholic Chapel of Mary Queen of Peace in the settlement.
The archipelago was discovered in 1819 by British navigator William Smith. He took possession of  it for Britain  and gave the largest island the name of the then reigning British King George III. from the House of Hanover.

"In the world there is no peace and quiet. Here, however, it is still "

Trinity Church Iconostasis
Father Kirilov is 38 years old and belongs to a group of Russian priests, they are rotate in Antarctic chaplaincy. It is for the fourth  assignment to the Southern Shetlands. A "special place", he says. "In the world there is no peace and quiet. Here, however, it is silent. God loves the silence. It is a privileged moment in the relationship between man and God."
In 2003 at the request of the Patriarch of Moscow,  the southernmost church in the world, Holy Trinity Church,  was built in  the Russian Antarctic.  The research station, for a time was also a depot of the Russian Antarctic fleet,   founded in 1968 during the Soviet era.  It is named after the seafaring Baltic German  Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen (1778-1852), who served the Russia as an Admiral. Two years later William Smith also discovered islands in the Antarctic.
The church is entirely built of wood, which was specially brought from Russia. In 2004 it was consecrated. Since then, Russian priests also perform their services in Antarctica. In summer, station staff and visitors have to withstand the gale force winds of up to 200 kilometers per hour in order to reach the church. In winter it's  cold. Here, especially at the end of the earth, when  people enter  the church, they are really moved by the beauty and grandeur of icons, reported Father Kirilov.
At night the church is illuminated from below, to be a kind of beacon for ships.

The exhibition: "Thanks be to God. It is always a precious gift for me "

Southernmost Church in the World
Father Kirilov celebrates Holy Mass in the church: "Thanks be to God. It is always a precious gift for me ". Of course he would wish for more believers. In winter there are but usually only 15 Russians living on the station.
On weekdays Father Kirilov also works as a mason and carpenter. The painted carvings at the entrance to the church come from him. The flower ornaments recall in the long winters, the beauty and diversity of nature. With a pair of skis or a snowmobile he also likes to  explore the island.
In addition to the Orthodox Church and the Chilean chapel in the King George Island in Antarctica, there is since 1976 a Catholic chapel, which is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. It is located at the Argentine research station Esperanza (Hope) on the Antarctic Peninsula.
In 2013 a group of scientists of the French / Italian  Concordia Research Station Dome, also on the Antarctic mainland, the shrine "Mother of the Eternal Glaciers". It stands at an altitude of 3233 meters.
Life in Antarctica is not easy, says Father Kirilov. Moscow  is 16.000 kilometers away. That makes itself felt. "Nevertheless, I know that I have the day I leave when another priest replaces me, I will have nostalgia for this terribly inhospitable land." Why it is so?  "Here you can pray to God in peace."
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Timone
Trans: Tancred

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Antarctic Researchers Construct and Venerate Wayside Cross With Crucifix and Image of Virgin Mary

(Antarctica) In the eternal cold of Antarctica researchers have erected a wayside shrine. The place, where the wood panel has been planted with a wooden crucifix and a Marian icon, is called Our Lady of the Glacier. "You will be my witness in Jerusalem and in all of Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the Earth" (Acts of the Apostles 1:8). The words, which Jesus gave in his departing message to the disciples, have been adopted by a group of researchers. They have erected a wayside cross in one of the most uninhabitable parts of the Earth, in the middle of the Antarctic. The researchers are active at the French/Italian station Dome Concordia, which lays on an enormous high plateau in the East Antarctic. On the station, laying at 3,233 meters above see level, the outline of Dome C may be found, located about 1,000 kilometers from the coast. The station is part of the European Commission and European Science Foundation funded Antarctic Research Project EPICA.

The chief doctor of the research team, Vincenzo Di Giovanni explains in a letter, that two members of the expedition came by the idea for the erection of a wayside cross and that it was agreed upon by the others. From wood, they set up a box of wood panel with a small roof and put a Crucifix and Marian icon on the panel and between the two is the inscription "Protect Us".

The wayside cross was put up between the research station and the ice field, on which planes land. In the mean time, the Scientists have ceased calling the station Concordia among themselves, but after the Virgin and Mother of God Mary "Mother of the Eternal Glacier".

Last December 8th some colleagues of the research station formed a procession to the wayside cross, and prayed there on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception together. As Doctor Di Giovanni continued to write, that the wayside cross is also "respected by the Moslem scientist or the agnostic or atheist researchers."

"Here on the extreme end of the world we need God's assistance and want to fulfill his mandates", says Di Giovanni in his letter from the place, where the temperature goes 80 degrees celsius below zero. A place in which for six months during the Summer, the son never goes down and in the extreme polar night, an eternal darkness rules.

On the religious topography of Antarctica there is, besides the wayside cross of Our Dear Lady of the Glaciers, still another Christian place. Already since 1976 there is a Catholic Chapel of the Antarctic at the Argentine Research Station Esperanza (Hope) which is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. In 2003 the Patriarch of Moscow established on the island of South Shetland a Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi Bild: Religion en Libertad/Wikicommons

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ukrainians to build an Orthodox church in Antarctica

Kiev, January 14, Interfax - Church-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 stay 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 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 fly 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 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. Works on building and installing the chapel will be paid by philanthropists. Byelorussians intend to erect the similar chapel on the continent as they plan to open their base in Antarctica this year.

Besides, Ukrainians will present 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.

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