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MOSCOW, January 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Over 460,000 people have worshipped the Gifts of the Magi, a Christian relic taken out of Greece for the first time since the 15th century, in Belarus for five days, the organizer of the relic’s trip to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine said Wednesday.
“Since the evening of January 17 up until today, the flow of pilgrims in the Job the Long-suffering Church in Minsk’s Charity House has not been decreasing. More than 460,000 people have worshipped the relic, which is even more than in Moscow,” organizing committee spokeswoman Maria Korovina told Itar-Tass.
She said that about 20,000 people were currently standing in line to venerate the Gifts despite cold weather, adding that the total number of those who have worshipped the relic in Minsk could near 500,000 people by tomorrow evening.
Korovina said Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the head of Belarusian Catholics, came to worship the Gifts on January 20.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, Biblical Magi, or Wise Men, were led by the Star of Bethlehem to the place where the baby Jesus was born. They brought Christ gold, which was a gift to kings, frankincense, a sign of veneration, and myrrh, used to anoint the deceased, thus venerating Jesus as King, God and Man.
The Gifts were displayed in Russia on January 7-17, then sent to the Belarusian capital Minsk where they will be open for veneration until January 24. Later, the relic will be taken to Kiev, to be displayed in the world-famous Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, or Monastery of the Caves, in the Ukrainian capital on January 25-30.