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".. as leader of the most numerous Orthodox Church.."

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
      [Vatopedi s Igumen Ephraim had previously brought the belt of the Theotokos to Russia.] http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=10531 June 2013,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 7, 2013
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      [Vatopedi's Igumen Ephraim had previously brought "the belt of the Theotokos" to Russia.]

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=10531

      June 2013, 10:12
      Senior Athos monk praises Russia, urges global
      Orthodox unity
      Mount Athos, June 7, Interfax - The abbot of the Vatopedi
      Monastery on Mount Athos, Archimandrite Ephraim, praised Russia and called for
      global Orthodox unity.

      "Even though it has been nearly a year and a half,
      our taking the Cincture of the Theotokos to Russia, the main relic of our
      monastery, is still fresh in our memory," Ephraim said after a prayer service at
      Vatopedi on Thursday that he co-led with the head of the Russian Orthodox
      Church, Patriarch Kirill.

      Nearly 4 million people, including top Russian
      leaders, came to see the cincture and partake of its supposed miraculous powers
      while it was shown in various Russian cities between October 20 and November 28,
      2011. It had been brought to Russia by Father Ephraim.

      The archimandrite
      said the crowds that had come to venerate the cincture in Russia "may be
      considered the largest peaceful assembly of people worldwide in the 20 and 21st
      centuries."

      "Nearly 4 million people kissed the holy cincture, and quite
      many of them queued for more than 17 hours to do this. Numerous miracles
      occurred while the holy cincture was [in Russia]. They are still continuing,
      especially miracles of childbirth. In some of the regions, visiting the relic
      helped solve demographic problems. Statistics show an inexplicable rise in the
      birth rate," Fr. Ephraim said.

      "We have been able to see the great
      strength of the Orthodox Russian people. The power of the Church remains great
      in our days. The Russian Church as the most numerous enjoys great power and
      influence all over the world. We can never forget the immense support that you
      gave us at a time of ordeal," he said.

      He credited Russia with continual
      help to Vatopedi and the entire Mount Athos during Ottoman rule and claimed
      there are special historical ties between Vatopedi and Russia. He mentioned that
      Vatopedi keeps about 1,500 old Russian icons, which are considered the largest
      collection of Russian icons outside Russia.

      The monastery also keeps
      letters from Russian emperors stating donations to Vatopedi and asking for
      relics to be temporarily brought to Russia.

      Today "traditional values are
      questioned and there are more and more crises of various kinds," the abbot
      said.

      "We have reached a point where the entire Orthodox community needs
      to unify. This is a necessary condition for Orthodoxy to manifest itself as true
      Divine revelation and the true way of life for everyone. Today Orthodoxy must
      show its true universal character. Your, Your Holiness, as the leader of the
      most numerous Orthodox Church, would be able to help achieve this," Fr. Ephraim
      said.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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