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Belt of blessings: Christian relic visits Russia

Published time: November 20, 2011 09:40
Edited time: November 20, 2011 13:40

Priest worships the holy relic during the service held for the arrival of the sash of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (RIA Novosti/Igor Zarembo)

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Thousands of Muscovites are lining up to worship one of the most revered Orthodox Christian relics - The Mother of God's Belt – as it goes on display at the Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

­The Orthodox Church believes in a legend that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, wore a belt woven from camel wool, and, after her death and Assumption, it came into the hands of the Apostle St Thomas.

The Christian relic, which came to Russia from Greece, is believed to have divine powers to cure infertility and disease.

 In the first centuries of the Christian era, the Belt was held in Jerusalem.

By the end of the 4th century, the relic was taken to Constantinople (now Istanbul).

It had been repeatedly cut into parts throughout history. And only three pieces remain.

One of them is kept in Georgia, the two others are in Prato, Italy, and at Vatoped Monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. The latter is believed by Orthodox Christians to be under protection of the God`s Mother.

The Belt has never been taken from Athos before, with an exception only made for the month-long Russian tour across 14 cities this year.

The relic will be on display for more than a week.