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    » 10/24/2011, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Sacred Belt of the Virgin arrives in Russia, one of the most venerated relics for orthodox

    Nina Achmatova

    The precious relic, leaves Mount Athos for first time and arrives in St. Petersburg for a tour of the country. The promoters of the initiative: "We hope to help our demographic situation."
    Moscow (AsiaNews) - One of the most venerated relics of the Orthodox Christian world has arrived in St. Petersburg: the Sacred Belt of the Holy Virgin has left the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos for the first time for a tour of Russia, which ends in Moscow. This rare 'loan' was granted the "St. Andrew the First called," Foundation led by the head of the State Railways, Vladimir Yakunin. "One of the reasons why we asked Monastery Vatopedi to be able to bring the Sacred Belt to Russia is the demographic situation of our country - Yakunin told the press – We hope this will help stimulate interest in the spiritual revival of our society and family values."

    The relic has thus left Greece for the first time, since it was placed in the custody of the monastery on Athos. About 20 monks will accompany him on his journey in the Federation. The father superior of Vatopedi, Archimandrite Yefrem, said that an '"exception" was made for Russia: the monastery had already turned down requests from other country like the United States and Romania. The Sacred Belt will return to Greece on November 23.

    Located in the centre of the peninsula of Athos and dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin, the Vatopedi monastery ranks second, after that of the Great Lavra, in the hierarchy of the Athonite monasteries. It has a rich collection of images and relics, including the Sacred belt of the Holy Virgin. The belt was woven from camel hair by Mary herself. The legend tells that, before her Assumption, Mary gave it to the Apostle Thomas. It was later preserved in the Imperial Palace of Constantinople until, in the fourteenth century, a king of Bulgaria seized it. Later, Prince Lazarus of Serbia gave it to Vatopedi.

    For years the monks have donated to the faithful small belts modeled on that of the blessed Virgin. They are placed in plastic bags containing prayers and instructions on how to observe fasts. The Orthodox believe that thanks to the intercession of the Virgin these belts help treat female infertility. Since the Sacred Belt is preserved on Mount Athos, where access is permitted only to men, it is a rare opportunity for Russian women to venerate the relic.
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    See also

    21/11/2011 RUSSIA
    Over 50 thousand faithful in two days for the Holy Belt of the Virgin in Moscow
    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.

    28/11/2011 RUSSIA
    Putin and Communist leader among two million pilgrims to Virgin's Holy Belt
    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.

    13/10/2010 RUSSIA
    Appeal to Medvedev against mosque
    Moscow residents against the construction of a new place of worship for Muslims are turning to the Russian president: "We do not want the conflict to be transformed into religious confrontation."

    28/02/2013 RUSSIA - LEBANON
    A relic of St Maron given to Moscow's Annunciation Cathedral
    The installation occurred yesterday at the hands of Card Rai and Patriarch Kirill during the 4th century saint's feast day according to the Orthodox calendar. The ceremony marks the good relations between the Maronite Church and the Moscow Patriarchate. As he waits for the conclave date, today Patriarch Rai is set to meet the speaker of the State Duma and the Catholic archbishop of Moscow.

    02/09/2004 RUSSIA
    Aleksij II: "United against terrorism, a threat to the world"

    Hundreds of people demonstrate against terrorism in Grozny.





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