Work began in late January on Antarctica's first Orthodox church. "When the wife of one of the researchers was killed in an accident in St. Petersburg, or when another man's wife abandoned him, what could they do? Only go get a liter of vodka and drink," organizer Pyotr Zadirov told The Moscow Times. "Now we are at least offering an alternative: go drink vodka or go weep at the church. The Communists did not offer this alternative."

When construction ends next year, a priest will work full time serving the needs of the 25-person station on King George Island. It's not, however, the continent's first church. Volunteers built the nondenominational Chapel of the Snows at Ross Island's McMurdo Station in 1956 using surplus materials.

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