MOSCOW, January 30, 21:52 /ITAR-TASS/. A great relic of Eastern Orthodox Christianity - the Gifts of the Wise Men to the newborn Jesus, which have left Greece’s Mount Athos for the first time since the 15th century, will be taken to Russia’s southern city of Volgograd by the blessing of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill on February 3, 2014, forty days after a series of terrorist attacks that claimed numerous lives, the press service of the organizing committee at the Synodal information department of the Moscow Patriarchate said on Thursday.
Two terrorist attacks were staged in the city of Volgograd over the last days of 2013. On December 29, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the entrance to the waiting hall of Volgograd’s central railway station. On December 30, a suicide bomber blew up a trolleybus in the morning rush hour. These attacks claimed 34 lives. About 100 people were wounded. Fervent prayers for the multiplication of love, eradication of animosity and rancor, recuperation of the sufferers, and repose of the departed slain through human ill-will were served in all Russian Orthodox churches.
“I believe this villainy will not intimidate residents of Volgograd, will not sow panic in the hearts of our people but will make us think about our homeland, about our life,” the Patriarch said before the service.
The relic will be displayed at Volgograd’s Kazansky Cathedral from 18:00 to 24:00 on February 3, and from 06:00 a.m. to 24:00 on February 24.
The Gifts of the Magi were delivered to Russia on the Orthodox Christmas Eve, January 6, 2014. The relic was exhibited in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and then was taken to Minsk and Kiev.
The Gifts the Wise Men of the East, one of the few relics connected with the earthly life of Jesus Christ that have been preserved to the present day - gold, frankincense and myrrh are kept at the sacristry of the Agiou Pavlou (St. Paul’s) monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. The gold is in 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 box brought from Greece has part of the original Gifts: three gold plates with a thin filigree ornament with beads from a mix of frankincense and myrrh attached to it on a silver thread. 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.