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
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
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.