Reports say that the Russian warship that was sunk by Ukrainian forces may have carried a piece of Jesus' "True Cross."
Last week, Ukraine earned a victory against Russian forces when the defense sunk the Russian warship. Now, reports are saying that the sunken Russian warship may have been carrying what some Christians believe is a fragment of the cross that Jesus Christ was crucified on, or the "True Cross."
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva, which was instrumental in capturing Snake Island in an infamous incident during the early days of Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine, sank on Thursday after it was severely damaged by an explosion. A Ukrainian official said that the damage was caused by a missile strike on their side.
But back in 2020, the Christian relic called the "True Cross" was taken onto the Moskva, as reported by Sergiy Khalyuta, the archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church's Sevastopol District to a Russian state media outlet called TASS. The "True Cross," which was where Jesus was crucified, was allegedly found by Roman Emperor Constantine's mother, Empress Helena.
Parts of the cross had been dispersed among different sects and churches throughout the centuries. Khalyuta told TASS that the fragments of the cross are very rare and are of great religious importance to Christian denominations all over the world.
"This relic used to belong to a Catholic church, but was acquired by anonymous patrons of arts, and it was their will to send the relic to the [Black Sea] fleet," Khalyuta reported to TASS. "The Moskva cruiser has an onboard chapel, where services take place."
The "True Cross" fragment aboard the Russian warship was embedded into a 19th-century metal cross, which was then stored in a reliquary. According to Russian news agencies, both the Moskva, which was commissioned in 1982 as the Slava, was armed with 16 anti-ship Vulkan cruise missiles with a range of at least 700 kilometers.
Moskva, which was an Atlant-class guided-missile cruiser that Newsweek reported was a $750,000 million loss for the Russian military, was one of two ships that captured Snake Island on February 25. The now-famous incident involved Ukrainian border guards responding to Russian military demands to surrender with "Russian warship, f--- you...!"
At first, Russia claimed that a fire had started on board, causing ammunition stores to detonate. But Ukrainian governor Maksym Marchenko, who governs the region around the Black Sea port of Odessa, reported that Moskva was hit by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles. Russia later said that the fire was contained but that the damage caused Moskva to later sink when Russian forces attempted to tow it to safety while a storm was ravaging the sea.
It is unclear if the holy relic aboard the Russian warship was saved.
Meanwhile, early Monday morning, new photos and a short video clip appeared on social media depicting the last moments of the Russian warship before it sank into the Black Sea on Thursday. The images showed a huge column of black smoke coming from the Russian warship, which was listing to one side with large black holes most likely caused by missile attacks, as well as significant scarring above the waterline on the port side in the middle of the warship.
According to CNN, it is the biggest wartime loss of a naval ship in 40 years and is considered a huge blow to Russian confidence amidst their unprovoked attack on Ukraine.