2011-04-11 14:16:00

Gagarin's family celebrated Easter and Christmas, Korolev used to pray and confess

Moscow, April 11, Interfax - Hegumen Iov (Talats), patriarchial metochion's rector of Transfiguration Church in Zvyozdny Gorodok (Star City), gave evidence that neither Yury Gagarin, nor Sergey Korolev were atheists.

"Yury Gagarin baptized his elder daughter Yelena shortly before his space flight; and his family used to celebrate Christmas and Easter and keep icons in the house," Father Iov said in an interview to the April issue of Foma magazine.

He also recalled that Gagarin urged the authorities to reconstruct Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

"Sergey Korolev lost faith for some time but eventually regained it through suffering and temptations. Of cause, he could not make it public but he used to pray and confess. Now I am trying to find out who was his confessor," Father Iov said.

As a child, Father Iov was dreaming of becoming a cosmonaut. Even as a priest, he completed a series of cosmonauts' training to better understand these people. He sees the Russian cosmonaut teams off to Baikonur and meets the crews returning from space.

In monastery (Father Iov is a monk at the Trinity Laura of St. Sergius), he has a telescope, binoculars and many books on astronomy.

According to Father Iov, sins are preventing people from further outer space exploration.

"I was once asked, "Father Iov, why do we fail to move further on in space?" I answered, "We have already damaged the Earth; so do you want to damage the whole Universe? Look, what's going on around here - robbery, murders, violence, deception and we shall carry our wickedness further on. Therefore, God does not let us move on. While we are in the process of moral growth, we shall not go far away from the Earth," the priest said.