DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK: July 14, 2008
Clergy and Parishioners of the Church Abroad, Along with the Synodal Cathedral Choir, Participate in the Official Transfer of the Danilov Monastery Bells
The Link of Times Foundation and Harvard University jointly organized a ceremony held on July 8, 2008, to officially exchange the historic bells of Moscow’s Danilov Monastery for a set of exact replicas, and to see off the old bells as they return to Russia. Those attending the event in Harvard were given the unique opportunity of seeing almost all the bells, both the new set, made in the city of Voronezh’s Vera Foundry, and the historic Danilov bells themselves.
The ceremony began at noon at one of the squares of Lowell House. After a brief opening statement, everyone headed for the bell tower to watch as the workers lowered the last bell via crane onto a truck. The clergymen approached the bell as they sang Spasi Gospodi liudi Tvoya [“O Lord, Save Thy People”] as Archimandrite Alexy, Prior of Danilov Monastery, blessed the bell with holy water.
Fr Alexy then performed a moleben of gratitude together with clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church in America. His Grace Bishop Nikon of Boston and New England, Administrator of the Albanian Archdiocese (Orthodox Church in America) attended the moleben. Eleven members of the Synodal Cathedral Choir of New York sang under the direction of Peter Fekula, who, coincidentally, graduated from Harvard in 1985 and lived in Lowell House, where he was a bell-ringer. Among those in attendance were many parishioners of ROCOR’s Epiphany Church.
After the moleben, the Synodal Choir gave a concert. This was followed by speeches by Professor Diane L. Eck, Lowell House Co-master; Fr Alexy; and Victor Vekselberg, the Chairman of Link of Times Foundation. The President of Harvard University, Professor Drew Faust, participated in the signing ceremony. Afterwards, Mr Vekselberg presented gifts to the participants of the transfer ceremony. Everyone in attendance was then given the opportunity to ring the “Tsar’s bell,” which was made by Feodor Matorin in 1682.
The bell was finally loaded onto a truck. A reception then followed.
In the fall of 1930, eighteen bells of Moscow’s Danilov Monastery were sold by the Bolsheviks to the American industrialist Charles Richard Crane. Crane donated them to Harvard University. Since then, 17 of the bells have been located in the tower of Lowell House. Fr Alexy noted that the bells were thereby saved, since they would have been destroyed had they remained in the USSR. One of the bells hung in Harvard Business School and was returned to Danilov Monastery on August 15, 2007. For many Harvard graduates over the last 70 years, the bells were an inseparable part of daily college life. Thanks to the new bells, the traditional peal of Russian bells will continue to be heard in Harvard.
The Danilov bells will be brought to New York, then sent via ship to Russia. The vessel will arrive in St Petersburg in mid-August. From St Petersburg they will be transported to Moscow and restored to Danilov Monastery on September 12.
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