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Church Honors Chernobyl Victims

September 13, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ With a tribute from President Boris Yeltsin, the Russian Orthodox Church opened a new chapel Sunday dedicated to victims of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.

The chapel at Moscow’s Mitino cemetery, the final resting place of 28 firefighters who died as a result of their service at Chernobyl, is called ``Joy for All Who Grieve.″

Yeltsin sent a letter to those taking part in the opening ceremony, paying tribute to all Russians who have perished while fighting catastrophes and calling on the nation to remember their heroism.

At the ceremony, the chapel was blessed by Patriarch Alexy II, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who also laid a wreath at a memorial to Chernobyl victims.

Construction work on the chapel began on April 26, the 12th anniversary of the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine, which was then part of the Soviet Union.

``Nature is unpredictable, and on some occasions we cannot counter its destructive force. It is within our abilities, however, to avoid conflicts, bloodshed and the deaths of people,″ Yeltsin wrote.

``Accord and civic peace in society depend on us, on our common sense and goodwill.″

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