Just over two years after the launch of the first chapel boat on the river Volga, a second 'floating church' is about to enter service for the Orthodox Church, this time on the river Don. According to a report from the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, this second boat will be formally launched at a solemn dedication ceremony next Tuesday (18 July) in Volgograd. The ship will be 'baptised' in the name of St Nicholas by Metropolitan German, the Orthodox Bishop of Volgograd and Kamyshyn. Aid to the Church in Need will be represented at this ceremony by its president, Hans Peter Rothlin. The new ship is some 100 feet long and 30 feet wide. It is intended to serve as a church and pastoral centre to the communities along the banks of the river Don and its tributaries during the ice-free months from April to October. Its most important area of operation will be the 200-mile stretch between Kalatch-na-Donu and Serafimovitch. The ship will carry a floating team of priests, who will take turns to supply the pastoral ministry. The ship cost around 65,000 US dollars to convert - a cost that was borne entirely by Aid to the Church in Need. This type of collaboration with the Russian Orthodox Church has been one of the priorities of this Catholic charity ever since 1992. The ship will be based in Volgograd, a city linked via a canal to the river Don, which lies to its west.
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