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Virgin Mary Holy Belt

    The Holy Belt of Theotokos is the only heirloom that is preserved from its terrestrial life and a part of it is kept in the Vatopedi Monastery. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary herself made the Belt of camel hair. After her Metamorphosis and the delivery of the Belt to Apostle Thomas, two poor pious women from Jerusalem undertook the responsibility of its preservation. This continued from generation to generation with gentle virgins coming from this family. The Byzantine Emperor Arkadios transferred the Belt to Constantinople and placed it in a reliquary called \"Agia Soro\".
    Later, the daughter of Arkadios, Pulcheria, when she became the Empress, embroidered the Belt with a golden thread and built the temple of Halkoprateion, where she placed the reliquary. Around 1150, the Holy Belt was cut into pieces and have been distributed among churches.
    During the reign of Manuel I Komnenos the celebration of the Holy Belt was officially established on 31st of August, because on that date the emperor Arkadios delivered the Belt at \'\'Agia Soro\'\'. In the Fourth Crusade, in 1204, pieces of the Holy Βelt were stolen from the crusaders, but some devout Christians hid one piece. After the reoccupation of Constantinople in 1261 by Michael II Palaiologos, the piece of the Holy Belt was placed in the Temple of Virgin of Blachernae. This piece was dedicated by Emperor John VI Katakousinos (1341-1354) to the Vatopedi Monastery, who later resigned from the imperial duty, became a monk named Ioasaf and lived a monastic life at the Vatopedi Monastery. The Holy Belt of the Theotokos preserves the grace of the Virgin Mary, consecrates the faithful Christians and relieves them of their sorrows and illnesses.

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