St. Ivan Rilski Chapel
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The St. Ivan Rilski Chapel (St. John of Rila Chapel, Bulgarian: Параклис Свети Иван Рилски) at the Bulgarian base St. Kliment Ohridski on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands is the first Eastern Orthodox edifice in Antarctica, the southernmost Eastern Orthodox building of worship in the world (cf. Trinity Church, Antarctica), and one of eight churches on Antarctica.
The chapel was named after patron of the Bulgarians, St. Ivan Rilski. It was built with the assistance of the Bulgarian Antarctic scientific team, whose research season from the beginning of the winter until the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. During this time, the base employs a total of between 12 and 15 people, geologists, biologists, doctors, meteorologists, botanists and others.
The chapel was shipped in pieces totaling three cubic meters and three tons, via a Spanish ship. The completed chapel was consecrated on 9 February 2003.
The chapel’s bell was donated by Nikola Vasilev, ex-Vice Premier of Bulgaria who worked as a doctor at the Bulgarian base in the 1993/94 season, while the roof cross was donated by the Bulgarian artist Dicho Kapushev. The chapel features an icon of Jesus Christ the Bridegroom by the Bulgarian artist Georgi Dimov, and an icon of St. Ivan Rilski donated by President Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria, who visited and lit a candle in the chapel on 15 January 2005.
St. Ivan Rilski Chapel was provided with new premises in the 2011/12 season.
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- L.L. Ivanov. Antarctica: Livingston Island and Smith Island. Scale 1:100000 topographic map. Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2017. ISBN 978-619-90008-3-0
- The project for the first Eastern Orthodox chapel in Antarctica is ready. Church Gazette. 16–30 April 2002. (in Bulgarian)
- Penguins open Bulgaria’s EU bid. Sofia Echo, 30 January 2003.
- Consecrating the Bulgarian chapel in Antarctica. Standard News Daily. 9 February 2003. (in Bulgarian)
- Creations by the icon painter Georgi Dimov even at the South Pole. Sega Daily, 22 February 2003. (in Bulgarian)
- Ivanov, L. and N. Ivanova. Livingston Island. In: Antarctic: Nature, History, Utilization, Geographic Names and Bulgarian Participation. Sofia: Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2014. pp. 16–20. (in Bulgarian) ISBN 978-619-90008-1-6 (Second revised and updated edition, 2014. 411 pp. ISBN 978-619-90008-2-3)
- Ivanov, L. General Geography and History of Livingston Island. In: Bulgarian Antarctic Research: A Synthesis. Eds. C. Pimpirev and N. Chipev. Sofia: St. Kliment Ohridski University Press, 2015. pp. 17–28. ISBN 978-954-07-3939-7
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