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Patriarch Kirill wished ISS crew happy Orthodox Christmas via audioconference

11:11 | 08.01.2015 | Society

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Moscow, 8 January 2015. PenzaNews. The Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus Kirill has wished the crew of the International Space Station (ISS), including Penza-born Alexander Samokutyaev, a happy Orthodox Christmas, via audioconference on Wednesday, January 7.

Currently, the ISS crew includes Alexander Samokutyaev and five more spacemen: Barry Wilmore, captain of the current Expedition 42; flight engineers Elena Serova, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti; and Terry Virts, captain of Expedition 43.

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church talked to Russian space voyagers.

“Alexander Mikhailovich [Samokutyaev], I would like to wish you, Elena Olegovna [Serova] and Anton Nikolaevich [Shkaplerov] a happy and warm Orthodox Christmas. Today is very great, bright and happy day. Practically all of our people are celebrating, a lot of people in churches, people with happiness on their faces say prayers for their country, for their own good, for their relatives and dear ones, and, of course, for our excellent spacemen who carry their highest duty up there in the skies for our Motherland and all the nation,” said the Holy Patriarch.

He expressed his gratitude to the space voyagers for their tough work.

“I think you cannot find a single person who would be indifferent to real and tangible feats of valor you deal with. I would like to wish you the God’s blessing, sound health, peace of soul and success in your highest mission from all my heart – and, of course, peaceful, trouble-free and successful return to Earth,” Patriarch Kirill said.

In his talk with Alexander Samokutyaev, the leader of the Orthodox Church noted that the Russian people, after their uneasy history, are turning back to religion, and said this decision supports them in their ability to achieve heroic deeds.

“A man’s ability to make risky decisions that surpass one’s limitations is a sign of a healthy and spiritually sound soul and inner strength. And for us, you are an example of a hero in peaceful times. Therefore, your duty, as I would call it, is important not only in your area of work, but also for education of our youth, and all people. I heartily thank you for your labor,” he said.

In the address to the flight engineer Elena Serova, the Patriarch called her “a wonderful ideal for men and especially for women.”

“You are beautiful, and we always feel something good and warm whenever we see you on TIV: a young, beautiful, energetic Russian woman works in space. May the God help you in your work, in your family life, may everything be well, peaceful and calm. May the God protect you. I also wish you to safely return to Earth,” he added.

In their turn, space voyagers told the Patriarch about their Orthodox Christmas celebrations in the ISS.

According to them, they had an opportunity to watch live broadcast of the patriarchal Christmas service from the Savior Cathedrai.

According to the press service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus, the leader of the Orthodox Church wished to meet the space voyagers after their return, and addressed good wishes to other members of Expedition 42. 

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