Praise Poseidon: Get Ready for the First Underwater Church
Grab your goggles and wiggle into your wetsuit. 20 meters below the sea, 200 meters off the coast of Crimea in a place called Cape Fiolent, a group of Russian divers have just erected a giant cross in preparation for the construction of the world’s first underwater church.
The project was initiated by Russian Orthodox Church official and diving enthusiast Archimandrite Tikhon, with help from the Mother of Beavers diving club and the Night Wolves motorcycle gang. Yes, those are real organizations. In an interview with the Russian news outlet RIA Novosti, Tikhon expressed his hopes that the church will allow “divers… to pray to God properly while underwater.” Tikhon also hopes the church will serve as a tourist attraction, and plans to include relics from the Crimean War and the Great Patriotic War.
It sounds wild, but Tikhon is intent on establishing this as a legitimate place of worship. Apart from the historical artifacts and, well, the whole underwater thing, this church will “look like a church,” he says. “There will be icons inside—just like in a real church. Most likely they will be… in stainless steel or stone.” The church is going to be named after St. Nicholas—who, it turns out, is not only Santa Claus, but the patron saint of sailors.
There has been no mention of the project’s completion date, but it is reported that the next construction team will likely set up a stone altar and candlestick holders. How the clergy are going to perform baptisms (or light candles, for that matter) remains to be seen.
You can watch video of the divers setting up the 3-ton cross with really dramatic music below:
Images by Igor Reznik