Over 50,000 queue in freezing Moscow to see holy relic

Some 50,000-60,000 people queued on Wednesday evening outside downtown Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral to see a belt believed to have belonged to the Virgin Mary.

The relic, brought to Russia from Mount Athos in Greece for the first time in history, has been on display in the Cathedral since November 19 and will remain there until Sunday.

“The average time waiting time is 24 hours,” a church spokesman said, adding that about 300,000 people had already seen the relic.

Believers from central Russian regions, as well as from other former Soviet states, have poured into the capital to see the belt. They are provided with free meals and tea as they wait.

Over 1,500 policemen, two patrol boats and 25 ambulance cars are on duty to help the believers. Some 50 people have been taken to hospital since November 19.

Believers say the Virgin Mary wove the belt out of camel wool and wore it until the end of her Earthly days, when she passed the belt on to the Apostle Thomas.

The relic belongs to the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. The belt was brought to Russia on October 20 and has already been shown in many Russian cities, including St Petersburg.


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