While Kruzenshtern is currently on her way to Sochi for the XXII Winter Olympics, we recollect the recent events in Bari and Patras, where the cadets and the crew had some memorable religious experiences
In Bari, Italy the cadets and the crew of Kruzenshtern visited Basilica of Saint Nicholas. The basilica is an important pilgrimage destination both for an Orthodox Christians from Eastern Europe and Russia. For over 1000 years the church holds the relicts of Saint Nicholas, the patron of sailors and fishermen among others. The legends with the most likely historical basis are the stories of Nicholas helping sailors. So without questions, it was essential for the sailors of Kruzenshtern to visit the Basilica and to see the relicts with their own eyes.
In Basilica the cadets participated in liturgy and got their names pronounced according to the crew list. Caprtain Mikhail Novikov received a Saint Nicholas icon from the senior priest of Basilica. Also, in the altar part of the church the Kruzenshtern mission received the fire from the icon-lamp. Kruzenshtern is entrusted to take this fire to Sochi and to pass it to the Russian Olympic Team.
That special day would not be full without a Christian miracle and that would be a Christening of a Kruzenshtern cadet Rustam Ibrashev. As it is customary in this case, the trainee got his Godmother and a Godfather. Dominica Prokofievna, the servant from the town church became Rustam’s Godmother, while Kruzenshtern’s chief mate Mikhail Eryomchenko became the Godfather. From now on the cadet’s spiritual home is Bari – a port from Kruzenshtern’s voyage 1/113.
In just a couple of days, on the 27th of January the vessel called in Patras, Greece, by-passing an unexpected 6th scale earthquake at sea. The day of call a delegation of Russian embassy in Greece and Patars and Eastern Orthodox Church representatives came on board Kruzenshtern. Guests welcomed the cadets and the crew of the barque, noted the fact that Russia and Greece have a lot in common and wished Kruzenshtern a great sailing.
The Russian Compatriot Society in Greece has also welcomed Kruzenshtern and actively participated in the whole call in. Grown-ups from the Society granted cadets with the traditional orange cakes while the kids performed traditional Russian dances.
With great pride Russians point out that lately due to the economical and historical situation, there has been a great interest to everything that’s Russian in Greece. This visit is expected to bring more into consolidation between the two countries.