Thousands of people formed a 500-meter line outside the House of Mercy in Minsk shortly after the relics described as the Gift of the Magi arrived in the Belarusian capital from Moscow.
Reporters estimated that 7,000 to 10,000 people had braved freezing weather to wait for a chance to see the relics on the first day of their display. Some of the believers arrived at the venue as early as 9 a.m.
Two tents were pitched by volunteers of the Belarusian Red Cross Society, where the faithful were given warm drinks and could simply get warm. In addition, they were able to walk into one of six warm buses parked at the venue.
The relics were expected to be open to public view until 10 p.m. Visitors will also be able to see them from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. between January 18 and 23.
Kept in the Monastery of St. Paul of Mount Athos, the 15th-century golden case purportedly containing the Gift of the Magi was brought to Russia earlier this month.
The Magi are believed to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The gold is in the form of 28 pieces of carefully engraved coins of different shapes. Each coin has a different design of different and complex artistry. The frankincense and myrrh take the form of mixtures in the form of 62 roughly spherical beads the size of a small olive.