[FPSPACE] Titov & the lack of god: another detail

robert at collectspace.com robert at collectspace.com
Sun Oct 17 10:02:40 EDT 2004

There is a story about Gagarin and the question of seeing God, that has 
appeared several places in print which may be one source of the 
confusion as to who spoke what, where. Online, I was able to find it 
via a search in "Theology Today" written by Carl Walters, Assistant 
Professor of Bible and Religion at Southwestern College at Memphis, 

"There is a little parable that went around in ecclesiastical circles 
shortly after the first Russian cosmonaut orbited planet earth. It was 
told that upon his return to Moscow, Major Uri Gagarin, while being 
feted at the Kremlin, was invited by Premier Khrushchev to join him for 
a whiff or two of vodka in his private office. When the two were alone, 
Mr. Khrushchev asked Mr. Gagarin, "Now tell me honestly, comrade, while 
you were up and out there did you see  him?" Gagarin, somewhat 
reluctantly, replied, "Do you really want the  truth?" And Khrushchev 
answered, "Yes." So Gagarin said, "Yes, I actually did see him, up and 
out there, in all his gleaming glory, sitting upon his shining throne." 
Khrushchev shook his head and responded, "I was afraid of that. But 
remember-don't tell anybody." From Moscow, Gagarin went on a world tour 
as the honored guest of many heads of state. (And it must be emphasized 
that in this story the Pope represents not just the Roman wing, but the 
whole Christian church.) Well, after celebrations in Peking, East 
Berlin, Delhi, and Paris, Gagarin came to Rome and to a reception at 
the Vatican. When the festivities reached their height, the Pope 
invited Mr. Gagarin back for a glass or two of his best wine and a chat 
in his private chamber. When they were alone the Pope said, "Mr. 
Gagarin, there is one question I want to ask you. When you were up and 
out there did you see him?" And Gagarin, remembering the command of 
Khrushchev, replied, "No, Your Holiness, I didn't. I looked, but I 
couldn't find him anywhere. He's just not there." Whereupon the Pope 
shook his head and said, "I was afraid of that. But please, Mr. 
Gagarin, don't tell anybody."

Robert Pearlman, Editor
collectSPACE - The Source for Space History & Artifacts

On Oct 16, 2004, at 5:29 PM, Keith Gottschalk wrote:

> thanks Carlos,
>        that confirms from a 3rd source that the remark was Gherman 
> Titov rather than Gagarin. It also narrows it down to during 1962, 
> during a US tour by him. (Titov flew in August 1961).
> If any researcher confirms - or refutes -  my vague recollection of 
> reading that he also made such a remark at Chicago, at a Rotary dinner 
> / meeting, please let us know.
> keith
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