20 Nov '11, 12am

Tens of thousands of Russians queue to see belt of Virgin Mary, said to be able to boost fertility

MOSCOW (AFP) - Tens of thousands of Russians on Saturday queued outside Moscow's cathedral to see one of the most treasured Orthodox relics as it neared the end of a month-long tour of the country. The relic on loan from Greece, which believers venerate as the belt of the Virgin Mary, is believed to have miraculous powers to boost fertility, as Russia struggles to reverse a population decline. Russian news agencies said some 30,000 pilgrims had been bussed into the capital from outlying regions, to wait for hours in snow and sleet outside the Christ the Saviour cathedral for the chance to get inside. The church doors remained closed as President Dmitry Medvedev's wife Svetlana was given privileged access inside, an AFP photographer at the scene reported. The relic, visiting Russia for the first time in its history, has toured the country since arriving in Saint Petersburg ...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIS...

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