Flock of Antarctica's Orthodox temple celebrates Holy Trinity Day

The only Orthodox temple in Antarctica had a Holy Trinity Day service on Sunday, a source at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of the Federal Hydro-Meteorological Service told Itar-Tass on Sunday. "Not only Russian polar explorers but also their colleagues from other Antarctic research stations attended the service," he said.

"The place for the Orthodox temple was selected so that it could be seen from afar. The Holy Trinity Church is the first site tourists see on their way to Antarctica from Terra del Fuego," the source said. The wood for the Antarctic temple was supplied from Altai. Palekh craftsmen did the iconostasis.

Thirty people can simultaneously visit the Siberian cedar church with the height of 15 meters. The church opened on May 29, 2004. A representative of the Holy Trinity - St. Sergius Lavra consecrated the temple. Nowadays, the church has a permanent priest.

There are about 45 round-the-year research stations in Antarctica. Russia has five active stations and one field base: Mirny, Vostok, Novolazarevskaya, Progress, Bellingshauzen and Druzhnaya 4. Three stations - Molodyozhnaya, Russkaya and Leningradskaya - are mothballed. All other former Soviet stations have been closed down permanently, he said. Russia resumed comprehensive research in the Pacific sector of Antarctica after a 16-year pause. The crew of the research vessel installed automatic meteorological and geophysical equipment at the previously mothballed stations Leningradskaya and Russkaya. The institute' s forecast center is regularly receiving reports from the Antarctic Pacific coast.

The Russkaya station, which closed down in the end of the 20th century for the lack of funds, received automatic weather and geophysical gadgets this winter.