A relic from Mount Athos in Greece has flown to St. Petersburg, where hundreds of believers, especially women, have queued in order to pay their respects and pray for blessing. This relic is believed to have miraculous powers to boost fertility.
The relic, on loan from Greece, arrived on Thursday afternoon at Saint Petersburg and is known as the Belt of Virgin Mary. It will remain in St. Petersburg until Monday and then it will travel on to the cities of Norilsk, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad and finally Moscow.
The relic arrived in Russia for the first time after an initiative taken by the influential Russian Orthodox Church, who is actively promoting motherhood to help the government halt a steadily rise in population decline.
The shrinking population has become somewhat of a matter of national security for Russian leaders.
‘It’s a serious problem and an important topic for our country,’ the head of the church, Patriarch Kirill, told this week AFP.
“The fact that this is such a singular relic helping women is especially important for our city and our country, where the demographic situation leaves much to be desired” added the Russian Patriarch.