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St. John the Baptist's relic arrives in Moscow

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Thousands of believers have gathered in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior for a night service to be celebrated by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, who called on Orthodox Christians Wednesday to pray before the hand of the man who the Gospel says baptized Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.

MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - A sacred Christian relic - what is considered to be the right hand of St. John the Baptist - was delivered to Moscow's main cathedral from Montenegro Wednesday.

Thousands of believers have gathered in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior for a night service to be celebrated by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, who called on Orthodox Christians Wednesday to pray before the hand of the man who the Gospel says baptized Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.

"Today... we are greeting the right hand of the holy prophet and have an opportunity to pray this shrine and receive a blessing from the right hand of the one who saw Our Lord and Savior approaching the River Jordan and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God'," the patriarch said.

The relic will be kept in the cathedral until June 16 and then will be taken to other Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian cities.

The right hand of St. John, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, was kept in St. Petersburg from 1799 until the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Alexy II first saw the relic during a visit to Montenegro in 1993.

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