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Officials gather at Vnukovo airport to bid farewell to holy relic

November 28, 2011, 14:28 UTC+3

An official ceremony of bidding farewell to the relic was held at the airport

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MOSCOW, November 28 (Itar-Tass) — The Cincture of the Virgin Mary - one of the best worshipped world relics, was brought to Vnukovo airport on Monday morning.

An official ceremony of bidding farewell to the relic was held at the airport. The ceremony was attended by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Mass Communications Minister Igor Shchegolev, President of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin, Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, representatives of the federal authorities and the Moscow administration and the clergy.

Patriarch Kirill said a 15-minute prayer as he worshipped the relic. Upon completion of the ceremony Metropolitan Ephraim, the Abbot of Vatopedi Monastery, where the relic stays permanently, declared that they witnessed a great strength of the Russian Orthodox people. The Russian Patriarch thanked Metropolitan Ephraim for bringing the Belt of the Virgin Mary to Russia.

For his part, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin expressed gratitude to Metropolitan Ephraim for the organization of the visit to the cathedral by hundreds of thousands of believers. The presence of one of the greatest Orthodox relics in Moscow will bring good and comfort to every Moscow family, Sobyanin said. Sobyanin also thanked the Russian Patriarch and President of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin, who heads the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, for the organization of the display of the relic in Moscow.

Around a million people or almost one-third of all the pilgrims who worship the Belt in Russia came to the Christ the Savior Cathedral, Sobyanin said. He expressed gratitude to Moscow residents for patience and hospitality they demonstrated while the relic was in Moscow. Sobyanin also thanked all those who ensured order and security, provided food and medical assistance to hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who came to the Christ the Savior Cathedral to worship the relic. "Thank you very much. God Bless you," Sobyanin said.


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