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Police on standby near cathedral exhibiting Mary's belt overstrained

November 23, 2011, 21:59 UTC+3

“The situation has been brought under control. But people are overstrained,” the source said

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MOSCOW, November 23 (Itar-Tass) — The situation near the Christ the Savior cathedral where the cincture of the Virgin Mary was displayed remains under full control, said an official representative of the headquarters, established to supervise the relic while it remains in the Russian capital, on Wednesday.

The Virgin Mary's belt was delivered to Moscow on November 19. Until November 27 the holy relic will remain in the cathedral of Christ the Savior, where a huge crowd of pilgrims from Russia and “near abroad” lined up in a long queue to worship the relic exhibited round the clock.

“The situation has been brought under control. But people are overstrained. We have enough strength, facilities, medical assistance and guards to ensure order, but too many pilgrims have arrived,” the source said.

The city authorities provided 150 buses where people might get warm; free hot buckwheat porridge has been served in nine places, and around 40 hot tea services are operating; more than 400 street toilet cabins are available. Besides, there are 25 ambulances and three brigades of psychologists on standby near the cathedral. Two boats of the Ministry for Emergency Situations have been monitoring the situation from the Moskva river, and more than 1,500 policemen are ensuring order on the street, the source said.

No incidents have been reported in the queue of the pilgrims while the relic remains in Moscow, it said.

Pilgrims who came from other regions of Russia account for approximately 60 percent of the believers in the queue. Most of them came from the Moscow region, Lipetsk, Voronezh and Kursk, in other words, from the whole Central Federal District, the source said.

The St. Mary's belt believed to heal believers of infertility and bring them health is permanently kept at Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos in Greece.

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