Bless that sputnik!

Posted in Comment


‘Thank you and good luck. Glory to Russia!’ So said Russia’s space boss, deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin, when a Soyuz rocket blasted off on Tuesday carrying a new weather satellite into space. His congrats were a bit premature, though. The satellite never reached orbit, but crashed into the Atlantic Ocean instead.

In the aftermath of the crash, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin of the Russian Orthodox Church is feeling the heat, because it was he who carried out the blessing of the holy satellite before it was launched.

Now Andrei Kurayev, the popular deacon, blogger and firebrand critic of the Church, wants to know why Archpriest Chaplin is not being hauled over the coals for the epic fail of that blessing. ‘It’s very strange that the church seemingly offers services but is never held liable for their quality,’ he says.

Luckily for the archpriest, a regional priest has stepped in to sort out the theology. ‘If you bless a car that has an empty gas tank, it won’t start,’ he confirms. He also adds: ‘The Church does not perform miracles and cannot be blamed.’ Which kind of makes you wonder why they’re in the satellite blessing business in the first place.

It can only be a matter of time before church blessings come with terms and conditions in small print.

Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Simon Jenkins

Simon Jenkins

Simon Jenkins is the editor of Ship of Fools, and the author of comedy-meets-religion book, Jumble Sales of the Apocalypse.

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