NOVO-OGAREVO, November 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he was convinced that the display of Virgin Mary’s Belt in Moscow will strengthen spiritual closeness between the Russian and Greek people and facilitate further development of relations between the two countries.
Putin met with Vatopedi Monastery fathers, including Father Superior Archimandrite Yefrem, who had helped bring the belt to Moscow, allowing millions of believers to show their veneration for the relic.
“What you have done undoubtedly shows closeness between our peoples and will strengthen spiritual closeness and will certainly facilitate further development of interstate relations,” Putin said at the meeting on Saturday, November 26.
Father Superior Yefrem stressed that the monks from Mount Athos who are escorting the relic were stunned by the eagerness of people to pay homage to the belt.
“This display of Virgin Mary’s Belt shows how strong the Russian people’s belief is, and I am convinced that this is the greatest strength your people have,” the father superior said.
In his opinion, this strength connects the two countries. “Greece has been better times, and I ask you to help,” Father Superior Yefrem said.
He noted that several dozen miracles have already been registered after homage to the relic. For example, some women pilgrims said they had at last become pregnant after unsuccessful attempts for many years.
“After the Virgin Mary’s Belt tour in Russia a book will be published to tell of the miracles that occurred,” he added.
Putin expressed hope that this “will help solve the demographic problem” in Russia.