Yuri Gagarin’s Flight Took Place on the Day of the Commemoration of St. John of the Ladder

  1. Lemma
  2. Юрий Гагарин совершил свой полет в день памяти преподобного Иоанна Лествичника
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Modes of interaction > Integration - Orthodox view on technology and engineering
  6. 06-12-2017
  7. Смирнов, Димитрий [Author]. Юрий Гагарин совершил свой полет в день памяти преподобного Иоанна Лествичника
  8. Русская беседа
  9. Cosmonaut - Outer Space - Saint John of the Ladder - Yuri Gagarin - Orthodox Christianity
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    1. <p>Смирнов, Димитрий, Юрий Гагарин совершил свой полет в день памяти преподобного Иоанна Лествичника, <em>Русская беседа</em>, 2011. Retrieved from: <a href="http://forum.rusbeseda.org/index.php/topic,6209.msg39837.html#msg39837">http://forum.rusbeseda.org/index.php/topic,6209.msg39837.html#msg39837</a> </p>
    1. This article by Archpriest Dimitri Smirnov speaks of his great respect toward the cosmonauts and everyone who contributed to the development of space science and the space industry. Smirnov mentions that there is still one fact about Gagarin’s flight which is unknown to most people: that his flight took place on the day of the commemoration of the great Orthodox saint, St. John of the Ladder.

      St. John of the Ladder lived in the 6th-7th century and was an outstanding theologian, philosopher and hegumen in the Sinai area, revered by the Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. St. John of the Ladder is called so because he authored a book entitled Ladder of Divine Ascent (or simply Ladder as it is often referred to). He described the ladder as having 33 steps, the same as the years of Christ 's life. St. John of the Ladder wrote that every man, especially a monk, is to rise from this earth up to heaven with this ladder.

      Smirov points out that St. John of the Ladder’s teachings correlate with Gagarin’s flight to space. Even though the ancient saint spoke primarily of spiritual ascent, in Christianity every feat is seen as a spiritual act because for a human being, a feat always involves overcoming oneself. So the fact that the first manned space flight occurred on April 12 has a symbolic meaning and is not, according to Smirnov, accidental.

      Smirnov laments the lack of interest toward St. John of the Ladder in Russia. He finds this disappointing as there is a temple inside Moscow’s Kremlin which was built to honour the saint. This temple is currently a museum. It has a very tall bell tower which Smirnov believes looks like a space rocket. He thinks it would be appropriate to have a service there on April 12 to honour both the saint and the 50th anniversary of the first manned flight to space (celebrated in 2011).

      Interestingly, Gagarin’s daughter, Elena Gagarina, is in charge of the Moscow Kremlin Museum and could facilitate the organization of such a service. However, according to Smirnov, she never expressed any interest. The author underlines that so far (in 2011) apart from MP Lyubov Sliska, no other government representative has supported his initiative.