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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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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