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» 11/17/2011
RUSSIA
The icon of the Mother of God in space together with Russian astronauts
by Nina Achmatova
The International Space Station gets a new crew, in March an icon of the Mother of God of Kazan arrived, now in plain sight together with the picture of the first man in space.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - As the world celebrated the arrival of a new crew on the International Space Station (ISS), during a live TV broadcast of the astronauts speaking about their experiences two images were clearly visible: the first man in space, the Russian Gagarin , and the icon of Our Lady of Kazan (see photo).

The icon of the Virgin, one of the most venerated by Orthodox Russians, was gifted last March by the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, to the then Director of Space Agency (Roscosmos) Anatoly Perminov. "I hope that the icon is taken on board the ship on the journey that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first man in space," to the religious leader had hoped referring to the mission of the Soyuz TMA-24 that shortly thereafter, on 30 March, would be leaving for the ISS, a mission dedicated to the now legendary Gagarin. According to the Patriarch, the astronauts "as well as their complex and important duties" will also make "in some way a spiritual mission" with the icon.

It is not the first time that an icon of Our Lady has traveled in space: in 2009 the image of Our Lady of the Sign was carried to the ISS on Soyuz TMA16.

The mission of the Soyuz TMA22 which ended yesterday, November 16th, was followed with bated breath as it was the first manned mission since the end of August, when a cargo rocket had crashed in Siberia. Before leaving Baiknour Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan) the space ship was blessed by an Orthodox priest. This has been an obvious success for Soyuz, which is now the lone standing form of transport to get to the ISS since NASA pulled its shuttle and the Russian space industry, marked recently by a series of accidents. Currently the crew on the ISS consists of three Russian cosmonauts, two American astronauts and one Japanese astronaut.



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See also
08/29/2004 RUSSIA - VATICAN
Aleksij II: "Orthodox and Catholics together against secularisation"
07/21/2005 RUSSIA
Aleksij II delivers the Mother of God Icon to Kazan
08/31/2004 vatican - russia
Message of Patriarch Alexij II to Pope John Paul II
09/06/2004 VATICAN - RUSSIA
McCarrick: "You could see joy in people's eyes after the icon's return"
09/01/2004 RUSSIA - VATICAN
Orthodox Church hopes in more meetings in Moscow and Rome after icon's return

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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