9.27.2005

St. Fyodor: Patron Saint of Mushroom Clouds?

Russian Admiral Named Patron Saint of Nuclear Bomber Force

from AFP

MOSCOW - Historic Russian admiral Fyodor Ushakov - a hero of Russia's wars against Turkey and Napoleon Bonaparte - was designated the patron saint of nuclear-armed, long-distance Russian bombers by the Orthodox Church.

Russian Patriarch Alexei II, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, carried a reliquary and an icon of the admiral, who was canonised in 2004, into the Moscow chapel of the Russian Air Force's 37th Air Army in Moscow, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said Monday.

"I am sure he will become your intermediary as you fulfil your responsible duties to the fatherland in the long-range air force," the patriarch said.

"His strong faith helped Saint Fyodor Ushakov in all his battles," the religious leader said, reminding his audience that the famous admiral of the 18th and 19th centuries never lost a battle.

Ushakov's canonisation as a saint in 2004 follows a strong tradition in Russia of close relations between the Orthodox Church and the state, which was revived after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

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