imageThis is an interesting posting from Greg Kandra, a Roman Catholic deacon serving in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York on his blog, The Deacon’s Bench. It is entitled Thousands of Russians line up to see “Holy Belt of the Virgin”:

The Holy Belt of Virgin, one of the most venerated relics of the Orthodox Christian world, has arrived in the Russian capital after a tour of the country which began Oct. 24 from St. Petersburg. Over 50 thousand faithful went to the at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in the first two days of exposure (19 to 20 November), where it is on display until Nov. 27. Thelucjey ones waited six hours before entering. Others expected to wait 18 hours beneath the first hints of autumn snowfall in Moscow. . . .

And then he adds this important note:

UPDATE: A reader notes something worth remembering:

The Orthodox do not revere Mary’s Assumption into Heaven as such, rather they refer to it as the Dormition, the falling asleep of the Virgin. At her death, Jesus received her soul and takes it into heaven. In Orthodox iconography, Jesus is at the BVM’s deathbed, receiving her soul that is in the form of a child. The apostles come from the ends of the earth to mourn her falling asleep. Orthodox do believe that Mary’s soul and body have already experienced the Resurrection. One of the points of contention between the Orthodox and the Catholics are the different nuances regarding Mary’s end on earth. As you know, this did not become Catholic dogma until 1950.

But it gets very interesting as discussion brings in the Shroud of Turin. There is this comment from someone who identifies himself as a Canadian Roman Catholic:

While I do believe in veneration or the Relics of the Saints, and know they are necessary for consecration of the altar (in the altar stone), I cannot believe in this one. There are no known relics with absolute certainty from either St. Joseph, Mary, or Jesus for that matter, and even the Shroud of Turin thanks to Carbon dating . . .

And this reply from a Deacon Steve:

The Shroud of Turin hasn’t been definatively disproven. The sample taken for the carbon testing was from an area that was known to have been damaged and repaired. The scientist who was in charge of the testing and originally felt it was fake is now calling for more testing since it has been shown that the area sampled was repaired, which would throw off the testing. He was very adamant that the Shroud was fake based on the test results, and is now fighting against time to be allowed to retest it, as he is dying of cancer. I would love to see the Shroud get retested but in the end it doesn’t really matter. I do believe it is authentic. But in the end it doesn’t matter as it is a private matter, not part of the deposit of faith required for salvation.

And this from Ad Orientem:

Whether the Shroud is the actual burial cloth of Christ is immaterial. If it is then it is a holy relic of of Our Lord and Savior. If it is not then it is a holy icon in tradition off the “Acheiropoieta” or icons not made by human hands. In either case it is thing of great sanctity.