The construction of the world’s first underwater Orthodox church has begun in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea.
The first part of the building to be put in place is a three-metre-tall cross, styled to resemble a ship’s anchor. The cross was placed approximately 100 metres off the coast of Cape Fiolent, just south of the city of Sevastopol, at a depth of 20 metres. This cross forms the initial structure around which the church willl be built.
The church will bear the name of St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, a spokesperson for the Russian Orthodox Church in Crimea was quoted as saying by Crimean news service Krym.Realii.
According to the report, the building of the church has been sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and nationalistic motorcycle gang the Night Wolves. Leaders of the Orthodox Church in Crimea have expressed their hope that the underwater church will attract tourists to the peninsula.
“The underwater temple will look like a [normal] temple. Inside there will be images, icons — everything that you would find in a church.” said Archimandrite Tikhon, who initiated the plans for the church, as reported by news agency RIA Novosti.
The expected date for the completion of the church has yet to be confirmed.
Source: The Moscow Times and Lenta (in Russian)