Chapel of the Snows

The Chapel of the Snows is a non-denominational Christian church located at the United States' McMurdo Station on Ross Island, Antarctica and is one of eight churches on Antarctica.

The Chapel of the Snows
Chapel of the Snows.jpg
The Chapel of the Snows, as of 2007
RiteRoman Catholic, Latter Day Saints, Protestant
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusActive
Year consecrated1956
Funded byUnited States Government
(destroyed by fire in 1978, rebuilt in 1989)
Chapel of the Snows interior 2008


The chapel is the second southernmost religious building in the world and has regular Catholic and Protestant services. During the Austral Summer, the chapel is staffed by rotational chaplains. The Diocese of Christchurch supplies Catholic priests and the U.S. Air National Guard supplies Protestant chaplains. The chapel is also host to services and meetings for other faith groups such as Latter Day Saints, Baháʼí, and Buddhism and non-religious groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These meetings are dependent on lay leadership to be the points of contact and facilitators. The building itself may hold up to 63 worshippers.[1]

The original Chapel of the Snows, before the 1978 fire.

The original Chapel of the Snows burned down in 1978 and was replaced with a new temporary chapel. After the current chapel was built, the makeshift building (which has since burned down as well) was converted to other uses. The current chapel, dedicated in 1989, features custom stained glass which depicts the Antarctica Continent, the Erebus Chalice (during Austral summers only), and memorabilia from the US Navy's historic involvement in Operation Deep Freeze. The altar of the Chapel of the Snows is believed to come from St Saviour's Chapel in Lyttelton, New Zealand,[2] where Robert Falcon Scott worshiped prior to embarking on the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition.[3]

The chapel is one of the buildings which will be replaced as part of the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernization for Science project, to upgrade and improve facilities at McMurdo.[4]

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Chapel of the Snows. A history of the Chapel of the Snows
  2. ^ "Chapel returning home to Lyttelton". Anglican Taonga. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  3. ^ "St Saviour's Anglican Church (Former)". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  4. ^ "The Antarctic Sun: News about Antarctica - A Next-Generation Antarctic Science Station". Retrieved 2019-06-20.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 77°51′S 166°40′E / 77.850°S 166.667°E / -77.850; 166.667