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Written for the State of Faith Project, we were unfortunately unable to film this side idea, but I still loved the opportunity to write about these hidden gems.


A frozen tundra of ice and snow, most people would be surprised to learn that Antartica is home to not just one church, but seven churches, all unique and distinct from one another.


Sitting on Ross Island, home to the U.S. McMurdo Science Station, rests the Chapel of the Snows. A non-denominational church, where both Protestant and Catholic services occur, along with other religions held by the researches. The Chapel of the Snows though has an unlucky history however, having burned down twice. The most recent Chapel of the Snows was created with stainless artwork depicting the Antarctic continent.


Venturing much, much further south, rests a Catholic church almost entirely comprised of ice. Known as the Ice Cave Catholic Chapel, this church stands near the Argentinian research base, established in 1955. It is the Southernmost place of worship in the entire world.


The next Antarctic church we will explore is the Trinity Chapel, which wasn’t even originally built in Antartica at all. This Russian Orthodox church was built in the 1990s and then transported to Antartica via a supply ship. The church rests near the Russian Science station on King George Island. The church rotates Russian priests annually. While rarely filled to capacity, this church has performed a wedding ceremony between Russian and Chilean researchers.


The next few churches reflect the countries they each represent. The Chilean Chapel of Santa Maria Reina de la Paz is a vivid blue, reminiscent of Chile. This church rests on the Chilean Military base on King George’s Island. At the Esperanza Base Station, one of Argentina’s research stations, is the bright orange and yellow San Francisco de Assisi Chapel. The church isn’t alone at the base however. The Esperanza Base Station also has a permanent school, a museum, a bar, and even a hospital where several babies have been born.


At yet another Argentinian base is the Chapel of Santisima Virgen de Lujan at the Marambio Base. More substance over style, this church rests at the most important Argentinian base in Antartica. Due to its quality runway, many different planes use this base to arrive and leave the continent, causing it to be called “Antartica’s Entrance Door”.


Finally, on Livingston Island, is the St. Ivan Rilski Chapel for the Bulgarian base. This church stands grey against the bright white snowy backdrop of the Antarctic tundra. Definitely substance over style, the church is fairly plain but has a chapel bell donated by the ex-Vice Premier of Bulgaria, Nikola Vasilev, who worked as a doctor on the Bulgarian base in the 90s. In fact, much of the churches decorations were donated by people who visited the base or by people who wanted to show appreciation for those who spend their time in the tundra of Antartica.


At first thought, most wouldn’t even think that Christianity has touched the far reaches of the Southern Hemisphere, but where people go, so does the Word of God. These tiny churches, scattered across of white abyss bring light to the Antarctic even in the midst of dark winter nights.

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