Saturday, February 20, 2010

Relics, icons, and crosses onboard Intl. Space Station

Moscow, Russia, Jan 20, 2010 / 12:11 am (CNA) - 
The Gospels, four icons, crosses and a relic of 
the True Cross have been taken aboard the 
Russian segment of the International Space 
 Station (ISS), a Russian cosmonaut has 
reported. A photo taken by the station crew 
shows an icon and a crucifix floating in zero 
gravity in the ISS.

Writing on his blog at the website of the 

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), 
Cosmonaut Maksim Suraev responded to 
readers' questions about religious symbols 
on the space station.

"We have four holy icons on the Russia 

segment. We also have the Gospels and 
a big cross," he said, according to a blog 
entry translated by Russia Today in 
November 2009.

Russia Today reported that the Lord's Divine 

Cross was given to A.N. Merminov, the head 
of Roscosmos, by the late Patriarch of 
Moscow Aleksy II. The cross was delivered 
to the station in 2006 by the crew of Soyuz 

Suraev added that he has a reliquary cross 

in his cabin.

[A reliquary is a container of a relic, so the 
True Cross segment is in a container the
shape of a larger cross. - Justina]

"A priest gave it to me at Baikanur before 

the launch. Father Job told me a piece of the 
original cross on which Jesus was crucified is 
contained in mine."

He added that his cross was blessed in the 

major monastery of Sergiev Posad.

"It will be with me the whole expedition 

and will return with me to Earth," the 
cosmonaut wrote.

Holy relics and other objects have been on 

previous spaceflights. U.S. astronaut Ronald 
Garan brought a relic of St. Therese of 
Lisieux with him on the space shuttle 
Discovery in 2008. He plans to bring another 
relic of the saint with him on a mission to 
the ISS in 2011.

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