A few readers may recall my fascination with farthest down under continent. A search for “Antarctica” on the side will uncover a collection of posts. Perhaps you recall this citing of a CNS article describing how Christian chaplaincy is handled at McMurdo.
Today the local paper picked up an AP story about the monk who serves the spiritual needs of fifteen to thirty Russians stationed at Bellinghausen Base.
The monk finds more of God in the remotest of Earthbound wildernesses:
In the world there’s no tranquility and silence. But here, it’s quiet enough.
I did read that the church, built in Russia and reassembled on site for consecration in 2004, is anchored to the rock by chains. Perhaps that says something about the fierce climate of King George Island, just off the continental mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula. Or perhaps, that the combination of monastic idealism, Orthodox spirituality, and the aspiration for God would lift that place of prayer off the planet entirely if it weren’t anchored to Earth.
Here, you can calmly pray to God in peace and quiet. Sure, you can do it anywhere in Russia, but here, it’s special.
Some believers will always be attracted to the margins, to the frontiers. Those might be the geographic fringes of this planet (or in the future, others). Or the fringes of society where people, even surrounded by crowds, languish in loneliness and isolation, and yearn for peace.