01/11/09: Ecumenical Patriarch receives Russian cosmonaut and Olympic champion at Phanar

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew honored the Russian Cosmonaut of Greek Heritage, Mr. Theodore Yurchikhin-Gramatikopoulos with the cross of "Panagia Pammakaristos" of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at the Phanar, January 11, 2009.

Accompanying the cosmonaut was the Greek Olympic Champion Mr. Valerious Leonidis, the Prime Minister of Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia of the Russian Federation in the Caucasus and President of the International Association of the Greek Communities of the States of the former Soviet Union Mr. Vladimir Kaisev, and the representative of this association Mr. G. Iliadis.

His All Holiness, congratulating the cosmonaut, who was named in his country “A hero of Russia”, said, “We are proud not only because you are a child of our venerable Omogeneia, but also a faithful son of the Orthodox Church.” The honored cosmonaut was in outer-space in 2002 for eleven days and in 2007 for a six and a half month period. Prime Minister Kaisev responded by saying, “For us, the Greeks of Russia, it is a great honor to be here. It was a long dream which was finally realized.”
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