The relics of the saints and martyrs and their veneration in the Holy Chuch in a long established tradition. Throughout the centuries, faithful Christians have looked upon the relics and lives of the holy men and women of God as a source of healing and inspiration. This tradition is still alive in the Church and continues to play an important and significant role in the spiritual life of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, which is in the possession of our Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch.
The Church of our Lady of the Zunoro [Belt] in Jacksonville, Florida
It is a tradition in our Syrian Orthodox Church to dedicate churches to the saints and have a relic from that particular saint placed in the church. Thus, when the faithful of Jacksonville, Florida acquired a church, they dedicated it to our Lady of the Zunora (Belt). Then they asked His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim to obtain for them a piece of the sacred belt from our Patriarchate in Damascus, Syria. His Eminence did so, and a Saturday, January 17, 1998, he placed it for veneration before a large gathering of faithful in our Church of the Virgin Mary in Paramus, New Jersey. There, after a special liturgical service, the faithful venerated the relic and received its blessings. The event had a deep effect on the life of all who were present, filling them with spiritual joy and exaltation. The relic has since been placed permanently at our Syrian Orthodox Church of our Lady of the Belt in Jacksonville, Florida.