Patriarch Kirill blessing the Russian team for victory in Vancouver

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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russias blessed the Russian team for victory at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The farewell ceremony and the prayer service took place in the Christ the Savior Cathedral before 250 sportsmen and coaches.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russias blessed the Russian team for victory at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The farewell ceremony and the prayer service took place in the Christ the Savior Cathedral before 250 sportsmen and coaches.

“We are praying for the Lord to help and support us. It takes a man of character to win a victory. Concentrate all your powers and do everything you can to meet the nation’s expectations,” the patriarch said, addressing the sportsmen.

He reported that Archpriest Nikolai Sokolov, rector of the church at the Tretyakov Gallery, will travel to Vancouver together with the team. In the Olympic Village Russian sportsmen will have a special place to pray, adorned with the icon of St. George the Victorious, a saint symbolizing the victory of the good over evil. The patriarch donated the icon of the Holy Savior.

The Olympic sportsmen unanimously agreed that a farewell like that boosted their team spirit and made each team member even more determined to win.

Russia’s Olympic team includes 175 sportsmen (as compared to 178 in Turin in 2006). Under the national training programme for the 21st Olympic Games in Vancouver, drafted by the The Chief Department of the Russian Olympic Committee, Russian sportsmen are expected to win 34-39 medals, including 9-12 gold medals, allowing them to claim a place in the top three of the unofficial team point-count.

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