Over 50 thousand faithful in two days for the Holy Belt of the Virgin in Moscow
by Nina Achmatova
The relic, one of the most venerated in the Orthodox world, ends its tour of Russia at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Thousands waited up to 18 hours to see it.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Holy Belt of Virgin, one of the most venerated relics of the Orthodox Christian world, has arrived in the Russian capital after a tour of the country which began Oct. 24 from St. Petersburg. Over 50 thousand faithful went to the at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in the first two days of exposure (19 to 20 November), where it is on display until Nov. 27. Thelucjey ones waited six hours before entering. Others expected to wait 18 hours beneath the first hints of autumn snowfall in Moscow.
The security measures deployed are at the highest levels, because the exposure of the relic coincides with the celebrations for the birthday of Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, November 20. Already the night of November 18, the authorities had placed metal detectors at every entrance to the large square which leads to the cathedral, a symbol of post-Soviet Russia's religious revival. For two days the traffic around Christ the Saviour was paralyzed and a queue of people waited on sidewalks adjacent to the church, preventing the passage of pedestrians.
With the 'tour' of Russia, the Sacred Belt of the Holy Virgin left the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos, where it is kept for the first time in history. This rare 'loan' was obtained by the the Foundation "St. Andrew the First called," led by the head of the State Railways, Vladimir Yakunin. "One of the reasons why we asked the monastery to allow teh Sacred Belt to tour Russia is the demographic situation of our country - said Yakunin to the press - We hope it will stimulate interest in the spiritual revival of our society and family values."