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Thursday 27 July 2017

Russian cosmonaut takes relics of saint to space

The Soyuz MS-02 space capsule carrying Sergey Ryzhykov lands near Dzhezkazgan. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AP)
The Soyuz MS-02 space capsule carrying Sergey Ryzhykov lands near Dzhezkazgan. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AP)

A cosmonaut who has returned to Earth after a mission on the International Space Station says he took a relic of a Russian Orthodox saint with him.

Sergei Ryzhikov told Russian news agencies that he would give the tiny relic of St Serafim of Sarov's body to an Orthodox church in Star City outside Moscow, home to the cosmonaut training centre.

Mr Ryzhikov, who landed with two other crew members on Monday after six months in space, said he would celebrate the relic's return at a church service in Star City on Thursday.

Space exploration in atheist Soviet society was often portrayed as the debunking the existence of God.

Russia has since experienced a religious revival, with the overwhelming majority of Russians now identifying themselves as Russian Orthodox.

AP

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