Staunton, April 16 – A Western news agency is now reporting that a February 2020 TASS story said that commanders of the Black Sea Fleet planned to put what if true would be one of Christendom’s holiest relics, a piece of the true cross, on board the Moskva, the Russian warship that Ukrainian forces have just sunk in the Black Sea.
(For the original 2020 TASS report, see tass.com/society/1123855; for the revival of the story after the Moskva was sunk in current reporting, see businessinsider.com/sunk-russia-warship-may-have-carried-holy-relic-on-board-2022-4.)
Russian officials have neither confirmed nor denied this report, and it thus remains an open question whether they may have been directly or indirectly behind its appearance and whether they hoped earlier that the relic would protect the ship or now that its destruction might be used to whip up support for Moscow against Ukraine in Russia and the West?
But regardless of the answers to those questions, it raises an even more fundamental one: What did the Russian government of Vladimir Putin and Russian Church of Patriarch Kirill think they were achieving by putting such a relic on a warship rather than in a shrine to which the faithful could make pilgrimages?
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