27 October 2011, 15:08
Not less than 300 thsd people venerated the Belt of the Holy Virgin in St.Petersburg
Moscow, October 27, Interfax - 300 thousands of people venerated the Belt of the Holy Virgin when the shrine stayed in St.Petersburg, head of Andrew the First-Called Foundation press service Alexander Gatilin said.
"No one expected such a flow of believers... People stand in lines for 10-15 hours to kiss the Belt just for one second, to pray, to ask the Holy Virgin about something. They spent these ten hours in cold," he said in his interview with the Vechernyay Moskva daily on Thursday.
Visit of the Holy Belt from the Vatopedi Monastery on Athos to Russia is organized by Andrew the First-Called Foundation. The shrine has left Greece for the first time in the history of its stay in the Vatopedi Monastery.
On November 19, the Belt will be delivered to Moscow, on November 23 it will come back to Athos. Mostly women come to kneel down before the reliquary with the Belt as they are not allowed to the Holy Mount.
For many years Vatopedi monks have done small belts, blessed them on the belt of the Mother of God and spread among the believers. As usual they take a bobbin with 300 meters of ribbon, which is blessed on the reliquary with a special prayer. Then the bobbin is handed over to the monks: they divide the fabric for meter and a half belts, twist them and put into plastic bags together with the text telling about the shrine and instructions how to pray and observe fast.
Orthodox believe that thanks to intercession of the Holy Virgin these belts help cure female infertility, bear and give birth to a healthy child. As the belt of the Mother of God is kept on Athos where women are not allowed, Russian women have a rare chance to kneel down before the shrine, pray for granting children, health to relatives and friends and prosperity to Russia.
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