Touring relic seen by 3 mln in Russia, goes home

Nearly 3 million faithful venerated a relic of the Virgin Mary that was exhibited in a number of Russian cities.

The Virgin Mary’s Cincture, a belt Christians believe was worn by Jesus’ mother, was brought to Russia from Mount Athos in Greece on October 20.

The faithful waited in lines up to 5.5 kilometers long for as much as 28 hours in order to touch or kiss the belt, which is believed to heal infertility and other ailments.

The belt was venerated by about 2 million people in 14 Russian cities, including St Petersburg, before arriving in Moscow, where it was seen by another million.

The relic was on display from November 19 through 28 at Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral, the country’s largest Orthodox church.

Believers from all over Russia, as well as other former Soviet states, flocked to the capital to see the belt.

The pilgrims ate a total of some 82,000 portions of buckwheat porridge and drank almost 100,000 cups of tea provided by city hall free of charge, deputy head of the city trade and services department Alexander Ivanov said.

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.


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