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15 Aug, 2023 10:07

Christian leaders unveil inflatable church for Russian soldiers

The portable facility has all the necessary amenities and can serve up to a platoon of believers at a time, a priest has told RIA Novosti
Christian leaders unveil inflatable church for Russian soldiers

Russian Orthodox clergy have unveiled an experimental inflatable military church that is expected to be used in the Ukraine conflict. The portable religious facility, which has all the modern conveniences, was demonstrated at the Army 2023 forum outside Moscow.

According to a video shared by RIA Novosti on Monday, the church consists of a truck adorned with Christian icons and an inflatable camouflage tent, with a holy banner reading “For Faith and Motherland.” The interior of the facility resembles an ordinary Orthodox church.

Speaking to the news agency, priest Boris Grishin said that the entire tent structure – which is based on a lightweight aluminum carcass – measures 4x4 meters and can accommodate up to a platoon of service members.

The church can be deployed in rear sectors but Grishin noted that the vehicle can operate without the tent, allowing it to travel to the front line. He added that the truck’s amenities include a refrigerator, shower, sink, bio toilet, and bunks for the priest and his assistant driver. The latter also acts as a guard as the chaplain cannot be armed.

Grishin added that upon arrival, the mobile church can be set up in as little as 10 minutes and taken down in 15. “You put [the tent] up, quickly inflate it, hold a service, take it down, and leave,” he explained.

Frowned upon during the Soviet era, religion began to become more prominent in the Russian Army in the late 2000s, with the first military chaplains being assigned to units in early 2010. The Russian Defense Ministry said at the time that religious services could be provided not only to the Orthodox faithful, but also to soldiers of other religious denominations based on the composition of a specific unit.

In an effort to provide soldiers with the opportunity to pray, the Russian Airborne Forces tested an air-mobile church in 2013 which was dropped from a plane during exercises. The facility came in the form of an inflatable tent and contained church features made of crash-proof materials.