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Warsaw receives St. Mary Magdalene relic

PR dla Zagranicy
John Beauchamp 17.08.2014 08:49
The hand of St. Mary Magdalene arrived at the St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Cathedral in Warsaw at a special ceremony, Saturday evening.

Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

The welcoming ceremony on Saturday night brought together the leaders of the Orthodox Church in Poland as well as Archbishop Henryk Hoser of the Warsaw-Praga Catholic Diocese, representatives of the city authorities and of the diplomatic corps, including the Russian Ambassador Alexander Alekseev.

The head of the Polish Orthodox Christians, the Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland Sawa has said that St. Mary Magdalene was, together with the Mother of God, the first witness of the Resurrection of Christ, adding that she is one of the few women to whom the Orthodox Church gave the title ‘equal to the Apostles’.

Father Doroteusz Sawicki, a lecturer at the Academy of Christian Theology, told Polish Radio that the arrival of St. Mary Magdalene’s relic is a highly important event not only for Orthodox believers but for all Christians, including Roman Catholics. “Mary Magdalene is the saint of undivided Christianity,” he stressed.

The relic of St. Mary Magdalene is the most sacred treasure of Simonopetra Monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. During its journey, on board a plane, it was taken care of by six monks from the monastery.

The saint’s hand is said to be incorrupt and gives off a bodily warmth as it is still living. A piece of wood from the Holy Cross was also brought to Poland. “These relics leave Mount Athos very rarely. We first applied for permission three years ago,” Father Sawicki said.

From Warsaw the relics will go to several centres of Polish Orthodox Christians, including the Holy Mount Grabarka in eastern Poland which on Tuesday, 19 August, will be the scene of the annual pilgrimage marking the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Christ. President Bronislaw Komorowski and the First Lady are to take part in the celebration. (mk/jb)

Bishop Jerzy of Siemiatycze (right) and Hegumen Archimandrite Elizeusz (second right) carry the relic of St. Mary Magdalene into the cathedral. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
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