On 12th April, 1961, 27 year old Soviet Cosmonaut and Airforce test pilot Yuri Gagarin became the first man ever to go into space.
At the time, the officially atheist Soviet propaganda machine announced that Gagarin had said, “I went up to space, but I didn’t encounter God.” But that was a lie.
Russian journalist Anton Pervushin was a close friend of Yuri Gagarin. He says that Gagarin was a true Christian, a firm believer who never gave up his faith.
That first space flight lasted just one hour and forty eight minutes, but it was a turning point in history. It was the height of the cold war, and Gagarin’s first space flight marked a propaganda triumph for the Soviet Union. They had clearly won the first leg of the so termed ‘space race.’ The Soviet regime had a further triumph four years later in March 1965 when Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov made the first spacewalk in history. He beat American rival Ed White on Gemini 4 by almost three months.
Gagarin’s Christian faith was never a secret to his close friends. He was a baptised member of the Russian Orthodox Church and would happily talk about his faith with them. But Gagarin had to be careful in his role as a Colonel in the Soviet airforce. The Government was officially an atheist regime and the repression of Christianity in every form was party policy.
Officials may well have known of Gagarin’s faith, but as long as he kept it under wraps it was not important. What was important was showing the official party line in public. Lies and cover-ups were commonplace at the time.
For example, Yuri’s Vostok space capsule landed a great distance from the planned landing site, but this was not disclosed. Officially, the first manned space flight was an outstanding success without a glitch. Officially, a son of the repressive regime had shown that atheistic Communism was superior to the ‘believing’ west, and that was all that mattered.
Read more at RealLifeStories