Thousands visit prayer site for stricken Russian submarine

 As the rescue attempts continue, former submariners around the world have established an internet prayer site for the sailors trapped on the crippled Kursk. The site carries a prayer and invites readers to sign a guest book. At the time of going to press, more than 6,000 had already sent messages. There are good wishes and prayers from the UK, America, Japan, Finland, France and Kuwait - many from serving or retired sailors and their families. One message reads: "I was trapped by the Ruskies during the war like a rat in a tin box. But I am praying for these boys now." Orthodox priests are comforting the families of the sailors on board the Kursk. Mr Vladimir Andreyev, press counsellor at the Russian Embassy in London said that while there were no formal chaplaincies in the Russian armed forces, since the fall of Communism individual parish priests were establishing and developing relations with sailors, soldiers and airmen. He said that the Orthodox church usually organised some kind of ceremony at the launch of a new ship or the departure of a expedition. Mr Andreyev said the news of the accident on the Kursk came in the middle of the Russian Orthodox Bishops annual meeting in Moscow this week. He said: "The Grand Patriarch of Russia and Moscow, Alexei the Second led prayers for the safe recovery of the crew of the Kursk."

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