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Gifts of the Magi to be delivered to St. Petersburg for veneration

January 14, 2014, 7:24 UTC+3 St PETERSBURG

For the past 500 years, it is kept in St. Paul’s monastery on the Holy Mount Athos in Greece

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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

St. PETERSBURG, January 14, /ITAR-TASS/. A great relic of Eastern Orthodox Christianity — the box of Gifts, which the magi brought from the East to the newly born baby Jesus — gold, incense and myrrh — will be delivered to St. Petersburg Tuesday.

For the past 500 years, it is kept in St. Paul’s monastery on the Holy Mount Athos in Greece. It was taken to Moscow for veneration by Russian Orthodox believers January 6 and was put for public access in the Savior’s Cathedral, the biggest church in the city.

“Preliminary estimates suggest that 250,000 to 260,000 people have come to the Cathedral over the past seven days to venerate the great relic,” a spokesman for the steering committee of the action told Itar-Tass.

Tuesday morning, the ark with the Gifts will leave by jet for St. Petersburg where it will be met by clerics and city government officials. At around16:00 hours, it will be brought to the city’s Novodevichy convent where the ruling hierarch of the local diocese, Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga will chant a prayer of thanksgiving.

Access for pilgrims will be opened after that.

St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Vassily Kichedji has promised that hot meals will be organized for the pilgrims queuing up for access to the shrine. Also, the authorities will provide 20 busses where the believers standing in the queue will be able to warm up.

A total of 400 volunteers will be on duty to help people in the queue and the disabled, who will enjoy the right of free access bypassing the queue. A separate line will be organized for believers with young babies.

Access to the Gifts of the Magi will be provided from 16:30 through 22:00 hours Tuesday, from 06:00 hrs through 22:00 hrs Wednesday and Thursday, and from 06:00 hrs through 13:00 hrs Friday.

Afterwards, the ark with the Gifts will be take to the House of Mercy in Minsk (January 18 to January 24) and to the world-famous Monastery of the Caves in Kiev (January 25 to January 30).

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