|Madonna of the sacred belt|
Museum of Prato
According to tradition, the Virgin Mary gave her belt to Saint Thomas at the moment of her
assumption to heaven. The belt is kept in the Sacro Cingolo chapel in the Basilica of Prato.
|photo: voix de la russie|
As reported in Bigbrowser Blog at Le Monde last week: more than 200 000 Russian pilgrims gathered before an Orthodox relic said to stimulate fertility and protect expectant mothers. 52 people were hospitilized after extensive waiting in weather well below freezing, said Russian authorities. The relic, the belt of the Blessed Virgin, is normally found in the Vatopedi monastary of Mont Athos, Greece where no women are allowed. The venerated textile is on a one month tour of 12 Russian cities.
This relic of the Blessed Virgin's belt was presented to Geofroy I Boterel by the Patriarch of Jerusalem on his return from the Seventh Crusade in 1252. A mere 8 cm fragment of linen is today kept in the church of Ancenis of Quintin. It was once carried from house to house for the benefit of pregnant women -who often kept a snippet- until Louis XIII put an end to this practice in the 17th century.