According to a number of religious texts, Thomas the Apostle, or Doubting Thomas since he did not believe in the ascension of Christ until he touched Christ's wounds, also doubted the Virgin Mary's Assumption. It is said that she tossed her girdle, or what is now called a belt, that she had made from camel hair herself, to Thomas from above in order to make him believe that she had been lifted to heaven.
Today there are two parties that claim to possess the belt in its entirety: the Cathedral of Prato in Italy and the Vatopedi Monastery on Mt. Athos in Greece. Despite the claims of both the cathedral and monastery, thousands of people come out to see both pieces when they are made available for viewings. In Italy, the belt can be seen five times per year: Easter, May 1, Aug. 15, Sept. 8 and Dec. 24. On Mt. Athos, viewings are limited only to men, so the current showing in Russia is quite special.