March 24, 2011
A star of the 16th magnitude in the Scorpio constellation has been named after St. Afanasy of Kovrov – a saint who held services even while serving time in the Vladimir jail for his religious beliefs during the Soviet era. Vladimir Orthodox Gymnasium initiated a request to name the star after the Orthodox saint, the local edition of the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reports on Thursday.
The official certificate on naming the celestial body was given to pupils by the Commander of the Space Crew, the hero of Russia Yury Lonchakov, and rector of the Transfiguration Church in Zvezdny Gorodok Hegumen Iov (Talats).
“For a long time the Church and space exploration were pitted against one another, but if one’s heart is open to God, then there are no boundaries between the ecclesiastical and worldly scientific affairs,” said Archpriest Alexei Golovchenko, director of the school.
Father Afanasy Sakharov was appointed bishop of Kovrov, vicar of the Vladimir Diocese in 1921 at the age of 34, but next year he was arrested. The next 30 years he spent in camps and exiles, and his last term in jail ran out on November 9, 1951.
THE LETTER OF BISHOP AFANASIY (SAKHAROV) TO HIS SPIRITUAL CHILDREN