Thursday, December 18, 2014

The True Cross Circles the Earth 16 Times a Day

The Gospels, four icons, crosses and a relic of the True Cross are aboard the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS). A photo taken by the station crew shows an icon and a crucifix floating in zero gravity in the ISS.

The True 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 TMA-8.

In 2010 Cosmonaut Maksim Suraev said he also has a relic of the True Cross in his cabin: “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.

Many Russian astronauts, according to Fr. Job Talats, spiritual father of many cosmonauts, have converted from atheism to Orthodoxy and often bring icons and relics with them. A piece of the True Cross remains aboard and circles the earth 16 times a day.

Fr. Job has also established the Church of the Transfiguration at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre at Zvezdnogo Gorodoka (Star Town) near Moscow. He has further stated:

"The cosmonauts call me before they exit the spaceship to walk in Space, asking for my prayers and blessings. Yuri Lonchakov, a spaceship commander, had read the entire Bible during the entire length of his flight. During the last hours of their flight we kept in touch regularly, discussing theological matters such as how God created the world, why He created it that way, how the Saints comprehended the nature of the Universe.... ╬čleg Skripinchko, while still in orbit, rang up to congratulate us on the visit by the Patriarch Kirill to the church in the Space Centre. Moreover, Fyodor Yurchikhin of Greek descent who had recently returned from a 6-month orbit around the Earth, had with him some holy relics of Saints Theodore the Army Commander and Theodore the Overseer."