Some of the most important relics of the Eastern Orthodox Church - the Holy Offerings, which tradition says, were presented by the three wise men to the infant Christ -- were put on display in northern Greece on Sunday (23 November).
GV EXTERIOR Priests carrying Holy Offerings in procession through streets of Langada northern Greece.
CU Holy Offerings being carried. (2 SHOTS)
SV Bishop Spyridon and other priests in procession.
SV Bishop kissing Offering.
CU Bishop leading prayers and offerings covered in flower petals. (4 SHOTS)
TV holy Offerings carried into procession. (2 SHOTS)
GV Procession escorted by troops moving through street of St. Mary's Cathedral as bell crime. (3 SHOTS)
CU Priests carrying offerings into cathedral
SV Members of public enter Cathedral
CU INTERIOR Silver Icon of Virgin Mary PULL BACK TO SV Holy offerings on display (2 shots)
CU People kissing offerings and placing donations on altar table.
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Background: Some of the most important relics of the Eastern Orthodox Church - the Holy Offerings, which tradition says, were presented by the three wise men to the infant Christ -- were put on display in northern Greece on Sunday (23 November). The offerings have been locked inside the Mount Athos monastery since the 15th century but, at the request of the local bishop, they were taken in religious procession to the nearby city of Langada.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of people from all over Macedonia came to Langasa to watch the procession.
The Holy Offerings are believed to have been offered to the infant Christ by the Magi or wise men. The gifts were frankincense - symbolizing faith, gold - symbolizing the divine kingdom, and myrrh - symbolizing the divine sacrifice.
It was at the request of Bishop Spyridon that the offerings were released from Mount Athos the historic Iviron monastery that has recently celebrated one thousand years of religious activity.
The Bishop led the crowd in prayers as priests held the Holy Offerings covered in flower petals.
The offerings have been held in a special crypt at Mount Athos since Orthodox priests had rescued them from Constantinople, just before its fall in 1453. The offerings had been taken to Constantinople by the Byzantine Empress Helen.
After prayers the Bishop led the procession of the Offerings to St. Mary's Cathedral.
The Cathedral bells tolled to mark the arrival of the historic relics.
The Holy Offerings will be on display in Langada until Sunday (30 November) when they return to their traditional home.
The Holy Offerings are not the only treasures on Mount Athos. Since its foundation in 980 A.D. the monastery has gathered a priceless collection of Byzantine icons and carvings, as well as one of the christian world. Women are banned frog the Holy mountain, along with all female animals, so the appearance of the offerings in Langada was a rare opportunity for women to see them.
Beside the offerings, the congregation placed money, a more modern token of faith than the frankincense of the magi.