Construction of the world’s first underwater church has begun off the coast of Sevastopol in the Crimea to allow divers to pray to God and honour Russia.
So far a cross three metres high and three tonnes in weight has been erected on the 20-m-deep sea floor.
The construction team hope to install a stone altar and candlestick holders next.
The idea was put forward by Archimandrite Tikhon, an official in the Russian Orthodox Church and an enthusiastic diver. Â
In an interview with RIA Novosti he said the finished building, which will be about 200m off Cape Fiolent near Sevastopol, would be an actual church.
"Inside there will be images, icons – everything that you would find in a church," he said.
The location of the church, off Cape Fiolent. A buoy will mark its position. (Igor Reznik)
He also wants the site to include relics from the Crimean War and the Great Patriotic War, and to be a tourist attraction.
The project is being put into practice by the Mother of the Beavers diving club in Sevastopol and the Night Wolves, a nationalistic Russian motorcycle group.
A report published by the parish behind the initiative states that the submarine church is needed to allow "divers … to pray to God properly while underwater".
It did not say how clergy would tackle the problem of baptism, or how they would light candles.
A video of the cross being installed can be watched here.