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Russian Divers Construct 'World's First Underwater Orthodox Church'

Divers in Crimea began construction of an underwater Russian Orthodox church, placing a giant cross at the bottom of the Black Sea, Crimean news service Krym.Realii reported Wednesday.

The 3-meter cross, styled as a ship anchor, will become the “initial structure, around which the world's first underwater temple will be built, which will bear the name of St. Nicholas — sailors' patron saint,” a spokesperson for the Russian Orthodox Church in Crimea was quoted by Krym.Realii as saying.

The cross was placed at a depth of 20 meters approximately 100 meters off the coast of Cape Fiolent, the report said.

Construction is sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Kremlin-linked nationalistic biker gang, the Night Wolves, the report said.

Orthodox Church leaders in Crimea hope the underwater temple will draw tourists to the peninsula, the spokesman was quoted by Krym.Realii as saying. The Russian government has been trying to promote Crimean tourism, following last year's annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.

No date for construction completion has been set, as the timing “will depend on many factors,” the spokesman was quoted by Krym.Realii as saying.

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