Stephen K. Ryan reports for MinistryValues.com, Jan. 24, 2012:
A new Russian nuclear submarine has been named after Saint Aleksandr Nevsky of Russia, and will be fitted with its own Orthodox chapel after the vessel finishes its sea trials. It has become the second nuke-carrying sub equipped with a sanctuary in addition to ballistic missiles.
Veneration of Saint Alexander Nevsky as a saint began soon after his death. The remains of the prince were uncovered in response to a vision, before the Battle of Kulikovo in the year 1380, and found to be incorrupt. He was glorified (canonized) by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547. His principal feast day is 23 November. By order of Peter the Great, Nevsky’s relics were transported to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg where they remain to this day
The military chapel on the submarine will allow sailors to attend religious services right on board during the sub’s long missions.
It is the sixth military chapel to consecrated into the Russian Navy. The other five were installed on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the heavy cruiser Pyotr Veliky, Russian Navy sail training ship Kruzenshtern, guided missile cruiser Moskva, and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine K-433 Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets.
From RT (Russia Times), Dec. 7, 2011:
Construction on the Alexander Nevsky began in March 2004 and it was launched in December 2010. Its sea trials began on October 24 in the White Sea. After the trials, the sub will return to port, where the chapel will finally be installed.
The development of clergy activities in the Russian army has support from the highest level. Some 240 clergy and nine priest positions have appeared in the Russian army in 2011, and by the end of the year the military is expected to fill all the vacancies with representatives from all official religions.
A full-scale military priesthood existed in Russia from the 18th century until the beginning of the Soviet era. In 2009, President Dmitry Medvedev supported a project to restore the military priesthood to Russia.
The word “incorruptible” refers to dead bodies that have not been mummified but undergo no, little, or delayed decomposition.
Incorruptibility is a Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox belief that supernatural (or Godly) intervention allows some human bodies (specifically saints) to avoid the normal process of decomposition after death as a sign of their holiness. Incorruptible bodies are often said to have the odour of sanctity, exuding a sweet or floral, pleasant aroma.
While some recognized saints’ bodies are incorrupt, not every saint’s body is so. The Catholic Church has cataloged 91 saints whose remains are incorruptible. They include such famous saints as Cecilia, Francis Xavier, John Bosco, John of the Cross, Rose of Lima, Teresa of Avila, and Vincent de Paul.
Here’s an icon of Aleksandr Nevsky:
I’ve smelled the wondrous scent of sanctity. Someday I’ll tell my story. Maybe….