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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Orthodox Want a Chapel in Every City Train Station

Orthodox Christians departing from Kursky Station can now offer up a prayer for a safe train trip at the station's own chapel.

The Orthodox Church, which plans to eventually open chapels in all nine of the city's train stations, opened the chapel dedicated to Blessed Matrona of Moscow in a room just off Kursky's waiting hall Tuesday.

"Prayer is the life of the church," Metropolitan Sergy of Solnechnogorsk, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate, said after a blessing ceremony. "Among other daily needs, the church always raises the prayers of travelers. Now one can ask a blessing for a trip or thank the Lord for a safe homecoming here at Kursky Station."

Unlike a church, Orthodox chapels do not have an altar and do not have a permanent priest. Traditionally, chapels were erected on the sides of the roads, at crossroads or in villages where there was no church.

Religious materials will be sold alongside candles in the Kursky Station chapel.

Kursky is the second station to get a place of worship. The first chapel was opened last year at Paveletsky Station, and two more will open shortly at the Leningradsky and Yaroslavsky stations, the church said in a statement.

The Railways Ministry has long used its ties with the Moscow Patriarchate as an important component of its public relations efforts and has funded the construction of a church in a train car.

All of the station chapels will be branches of the Moscow Patriarchate's chronically underfunded Publishing Council, the body in charge of official church publications.

"If the book sales in the chapels are organized well, they could become a serious source of revenue," said Sergei Chapnin, executive editor of the official church newspaper, Moskovsky Tserkovny Vestnik.

Chapnin said plans are being discussed to build chapels in Moscow's airports.