The rite of blessing of a ship performed for the first time in Taiwan

The Chinese Orthodox Church
English translation by Nina Tkachuk Dimas – 21/6/13

On June 12, 2013, at the invitation of the shipowner LPL Shipping S.A., the merchant vessel “Costas L”, located in Kaohsiung Harbor, was blessed according to the Orthodox rite of blessing of a new ship.

The rite was performed by Priest Kirill, Rector of the Christ the Savior Patriarchal parish in Taipei (Moscow Patriarchate).

The ship is a transcontinental bulk carrier cargo ship of the “supermax” category; weigh 44,000 tons, 190 meters long. On July 5th the bulk carrier stood at a roadstead in Kaohsiung Harbor. Two days after the blessing, the ship set sail across the Pacific Ocean, bound for Canada.

At the beginning of the prayer service, Fr. Kirill turned to the captain and the ship’s crew with welcoming speech and explained the meaning and purpose of the event.

The prayer service was attended by the ship’s captain Vitaly Alexandrovich Popovich; a spokesman for the ship-owning company LPL Shipping S.A.; team composition, technical staff and the ship’s crew of 23 people, citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Canada and the Bahamas. Services were conducted in Church Slavonic, Chinese, Greek and English.

The rite of blessing of a ship bound on a sea voyage was also performed on the ship. All who prayed were anointed with oil from the relics of St. John of Shanghai, a patron saint of Taiwan.

After the service Father Kirill thanked the representatives of the ship’s command and the ship-owning company. He gave each member of the crew an icon of the Theotokos and a set of books about the church and spiritual life. The ship’s commander was given a certificate of the sanctification of the ship. The captain and the shipowner’s representative thanked the priest Kirill of the Patriarchal parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Taipei and presented gifts as tokens of gratitude.

The historic event, covered by the media, created support among members of Taiwan’s authorities, and interest on the part of the Taiwanese public.