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» 11/17/2011 11:38
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
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

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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