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MOSCOW, January 07, /ITAR-TASS/. About 3,000 people are standing in a queue around Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral to worship one of the biggest Christian relics, the Gifts of the Wise Men to the newborn Jesus, which were delivered from Greece’s Mount Athos to Moscow late on Monday, on the Orthodox Christmas Eve, a spokesman for the organizing committee told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“All auxiliary services are working in a routine regime. About 800 policemen are securing public order. No serious incidents have been reported. By Tuesday morning, only two persons sought medical aid, none was hospitalized,” the spokesman said.
The city authorities have deployed 23 buses near the cathedral, where people will have a possibility to get warm and have some rest. Apart from that, the authorities organized field kitchens and toilets. About 100 volunteers offer help to the pilgrims.
The will be displayed at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral till January 13. The cathedral will be open for believers daily from 08:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
On January 14, the shrine with the Gifts of the Magi will be brought to St. Petersburg where it will be accessible for pilgrims at the Novodevichy nunnery till January 17. Later on, the Gifts of the Wise Men will be displayed at the Charity House in Minsk on January 18-24, and at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev on January 25-30.
The Gifts have left the Agiou Pavlou (St. Paul’s) monastery on Mount Athos in Greece for the first time since the 15th century. The relics are accompanied by a delegation of the brethren led by Archimandrite Parfeny (Mourelatos), who has been living in Athos for more than 50 years.
The gifts of the Wise Men of the East, gold, frankincense and myrrh, are kept in the monastery's sacristry. The gold is in 28 square and triangular plates bearing the finest ornament and measuring 5 by 7 centimeters. The frankincense and myrrh are in dark olive-like balls numbering 70.
The legend has it that shortly before her death, Virgin Mary gave these gifts to two righteous women. Later on, these relics were brought to Byzantium, and after the Turkish conquest in 1453, they were taken to Mount Athos by a Serb nun Mary.
Athos monks believe that the Gifts of The Three Kings have healing power, thus testifying to the Christ's coming to this world.