Construction begins on world’s first underwater church

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.  

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.

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