Russian Orthodox Church head visits penguin rookery in Antarctic

Earlier, Patriarch Kirill served a Divine Liturgy at Russia’s Bellingshausen Antarctic station on Waterloo Island.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has visite a penguin rookery on Ardley Island during his visit to the Antarctic.

Patriarch Kirill flew to Antarctica from Punta Arenas. Earlier, he served a Divine Liturgy at Russia’s Bellingshausen Antarctic station on Waterloo Island.

"An event of great historical significance took place today as the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia paid a first-ever visit to Antarctic," , the station’s chief, Vladimir Cheberdak, said on Thursday. "It is symbolic that the Patriarch’s visit coincided with the 60th anniversary of the beginning of regular exploration activities in Antarctica," after the Soviet Mirny observatory was launched in February 1956.

"Our church is well-known in the island and enjoys popularity. Over the 12 years of its existence, its visitors included presidents of a number of Latin American countries, the King of Spain, and a Russian parliament speaker," he said, adding that the church’s regular visitors are polar explorers from neighboring stations, including a Chilean one. In summer, when ships call at the island’s harbor, the church is visited by hundreds of tourists. Moreover, two couples held a wedding ceremony at the Holy Trinity Church several years ago, he noted.

The construction of a church in Antarctica is a milestone event for the Russian Orthodox Church, which now has its spiritual mission on all continets, Cheberdak noted, adding that the Patriarch’s visit will go down in history of Russian Antarctic.

"An event of great historical significance took place today as the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia paid a first-ever visit to Antarctic," the station’s chief underscored. "It is symbolic that the Patriarch’s visit coincided with the 60th anniversary of the beginning of regular exploration activities in Antarctica," after the Soviet Mirny observatory was launched in February 1956.

The Russian polar explorers presented to the Patriarch a diploma certifying his visit to Antarctica, a water-color painting featuring the Holy Trinity Church and a book, The Map of Antarctic.

First published by TASS.

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