MOSCOW, November 25 (Itar-Tass) — Representatives of the Russian Orhodox Church admitted on Thursday that they had not expected such a great number of believers coming to worship a Christian relic – the belt of the Mother of God, which was brought to Moscow from the Afon Mountain, Greece. Clergymen describe the agitation as a miracle, and experts – as the result of an effective PR campaign. Both admit that the worship of the belt is the most massive religious event in Russia in the past 100 years. In order to make the queue, which, according to the authorities, includes 100,000 people, to move fasters, the shrine with the belt was put on a special arch. Now the believers are passing under the relic without touching the shrine.
The belt of the Mother of God was brought to Moscow on November 19. Since that day some 400,000 people came to worship it to the Cathedral of the Redeemer, Kommersant reports. A day before the arrival of the relic, a queue made up of several hundred believers lined up outside the Cathedral. By November 19 it grew to include 25,000 people and extended by five kilometres. The average time one had to spend in the queue reached 24 hours. On Thursday the queue grew by three- to four-fold. According to Moscow authorities, it included 100,000 people on Thursday. “We expected the arrival of many believers, but not such a massive one,” said Mikhail Yakushev, Vice President of the Foundation of St. Andrew, the First Called Apostle. It came as a surprise for the Moscow authorities too.