(Moskau) The Holy Girdle of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, which is one of the most honored relics of Orthodox Christianity, is in Moscow. The Russian capitol is the last stop of a tour which began its trip through Russia in St. Petersburg on 24th of October. Till the 27th of November, the relic which is also known as the cincture of Mary, will be displayed at the Moscow Christ the Savior Church, recently reopened for the first time since the break-up of Communism. In the first two days there were over 50.000 faithful who came to venerate it. Whoever was lucky only had to wait about six hours in the line. Many stood for over 18 hours in the snowfall and waited patiently, till they could visit the Icon.
For the protection of the relic the strictest security measures were undertaken because the installation of the Holy Girdle fell on the birthday celebration of the Moscow Patriarch Kyril I. Since the 18th of November, the faithful must first pass through a metal detector to see the symbol of the spiritual rebirth of the Russian Orthodox Church after 74 years of Communist dictatorship.
With its "pilgrimage" through Russia the Girdle of Mary had to leave its home in the Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos in Greece where it is guarded. The special permission to allow the relic to leave the Monastery in the little Monastic Republic in Greece, falls upon Vladimir Yakunin, the Chief of Russian state transportation. "A reason, is the demographic situation in our country.," explained Yakunin to the Press. "We're hoping that this will lead to the spiritual rebirth of Russia, which is calling for Christian values and above all, the family."
The Vatopedi Monastery dates back to the 10th Century. Which tradition states was a Monastery reestablished there from the 4th century. There is a similar tradition of veneration for the stole of Mary in the Oriental and Latin Churches.
Text: Asianews/Giuseppe Nardi
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