Moscow, January 17, 2014
Over half a million believers have venerated the Gifts of the Magi, which were brought to Russia from Holy Mount Athos, reported St. Basil the Great Foundation's president Konstantin Malofeyev to journalists in St. Petersburg on Friday, reports Sedmitza.ru.
"Over ten days in Russia, 585,000 believers have venerated the Gifts of the Magi: 420,000 venerated the shrine in Moscow and 165,000 in St. Petersburg. The northern capital, the Novodevichy Convent, and the Diocese of St. Petersburg have demonstrated an excellent level of organization. I personally managed to speak with people in the queue. St. Petersburg residents have shown unbelievable patience and humility. Miracles of healing did take place, but we will tell about them later," said K. Malofeyev.
In his turn, the vice-governor of St. Petersburg Vasily Kichedzhy stressed that at least 25% of the pilgrims in the northern capital were young people. In his view, this is a sign that "Russia has a bright future".
Abbess of the Novodevichy Convent, Mother Sophia (Silina) has compared the visit of the shrine to St. Petersburg to a miracle. "I was asked all the time if we should wait for miracles. And I have answered that a true Christian does not look for miracles, but seeks for the truth and grace. But a miracle did happen--it is the miracle of communication with the golden hearts of our people, with their shining faces," said the abbess.
The governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko was on a working visit to China during the stay of the relic in the Novodevichy Convent. However, he had time to venerate the Gifts of the Magi in the last minutes of their stay in the city, coming in the afternoon to the "Pulkovo-3" airport after his return from a trip abroad the previous night.
The relic will be brought to Minsk and Kiev after St. Petersburg.