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» 11/28/2011
RUSSIA
Putin and Communist leader among two million pilgrims to Virgin's Holy Belt
by Nina Achmatova
The relic’s tour of Russia ends, in Moscow alone 800 thousand faithful brave sub-zero temperatures to see it. During the election campaign leaders also in church. Opposing comments from those who see this as a "clear sign of the religious revival of the post-Soviet Russia", and those who see it as proof of the "social desperation" that is gripping the country.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - A veritable ocean of people, with the center of the Russian capital brought to a standstill and the most unlikely candidates rushing to kneel in church. From November 19 to 27 the Holy Belt of the Virgin was on display in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. One of the most venerated relics of the Orthodox Christian world, it drew about 800 thousand pilgrims to Moscow, who have faced queues of up to 5 km with average 12-15 hour wait and sub-zero temperatures.

Not even in the Soviet times could the mummified corpse of Lenin boast such numbers. Political leaders, aware of the importance of the event, took advantage of the occasion to boost their visibility ahead of the legislative election on December 4. The prime minister and possible future Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the leader of the Communists, Gennady Ziuganov, were just some of the most famous figures who flocked to kiss the relic that here-to-fore had never left Mount Athos, where it is kept. Many others, bypassing the kilometer-long queue, arrived in front of the cathedral with sirens blaring and used preferential queues to the anger of waiting crowds.

For days it was difficult to even walk around Christ the Saviour. The police were forced to deploy 14 thousand agents to ensure security, who even demanded documents from pedestrians to cross the street.

The Holy Belt of the Virgin arrived in the Russian capital at the end of a tour of the Country, which began on October 24 from St. Petersburg. In all two million pilgrims flocked to worship it in 14 different cities before arriving in the capital.

On average, the comments have pitted those who read the story as a "clear sign of the religious revival of the post-Soviet Russia", and those who see it as proof of the "social desperation" that is gripping the country where the growth in the number of billionaires does not match a more widespread prosperity.


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See also
11/21/2011 RUSSIA
Over 50 thousand faithful in two days for the Holy Belt of the Virgin in Moscow
by Nina Achmatova
10/13/2010 RUSSIA
Appeal to Medvedev against mosque
02/01/2005 RUSSIA - PALESTINE
Peace begins in the Holy Land, Russian Patriarch tells Palestinian President
01/31/2011 RUSSIA
Catholics increasingly present in Russia society, apostolic nuncio says
by Nina Achmatova
10/24/2011 RUSSIA
Sacred Belt of the Virgin arrives in Russia, one of the most venerated relics for orthodox
by Nina Achmatova

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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