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Russian paratroopers receive chapel on wheels

RIA Novosti

16:04 27/05/2011 MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Orthodox Church has given the country's Airborne Troops a mobile chapel to accompany them on military drills and combat missions, a paratrooper spokesman said on Friday.

The church is part of a wider project to restore full-scale military priesthood, which existed in Russia from the 18th century to the start of the Soviet era.

"Russian paratroopers received their first mobile church in May, financed by the Russian Orthodox Church," the spokesman said.

The chapel is built on the frame of a truck trailer and is equipped with a life-support module, an electric generator and multimedia equipment.

It is serviced on the field by a priest and a five-man support team.

The chapel will be tested during forthcoming airborne exercises.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in 2010 that Orthodox Church military chaplains will soon appear in the Russian army.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, two thirds of the country's servicemen consider themselves religious. Some 83 percent of them are Orthodox Christians, about 8 percent are Muslims, and 9 percent represent other confessions.

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