How to choose an Orthodox liturgical bell

In your quest for a fitting voice for your temple, your first questions concern

Acoustics also leads to questions of Tradition: How does a bell for Orthodox worship express the ethos and vision of Orthodox liturgical art?

Finally, the pragmatic questions: What bells are available and would fit your budget? What sequence would make a good set? And here you will also want to know about our warranty.

Let's start to look at these issues by comparing bells to icons:

Bell manufacturing should be supervised by professional ringers who can test the quality of each bell and make sure not only of its own quality, but also that it fits the other bells of the set for which it is destined. Of course, this choice requires that the foundry be casting more than one or two bells of any given size at a time! But it's important to know that even if a bell sounds beautiful in itself, that does not necessarily mean it will sound great with another.

Manufacturers that practice this control are very few, and those that cast enough bells to offer this kind of selection are not so many either— only Russia's premiere foundries, in fact, can provide such choice. Who is casting your bell? What kind of expertise and choice do they offer?

Blagovest Bells is proud to be a member of the Campanological Arts Association of Russia, which is the foremost bell testing, certification, and training organization in the entire Orthodox world, enjoying both Russian governmental and patriarchal endorsement.

Our foundries not only employ professional ringers, they train professional ringers! And we sell only award-winning bells that have AKIR's full approval!

Does the foundry know what it's doing?

What kind of tradition and experience does the foundry have?

Is it experienced in bell-making?

Do they really know what they're doing when they set out to cast a bell of a certain weight and pitch?

Are they experienced in bells?

How do they stand up to their competition? Or have they never benefitted from the critique of strong competitors?

Read more about the founding of liturgical bells in Russia!


Let's put it this way:

Would you buy icons from an artist who hadn't trained in the traditions of iconography, even if he were otherwise a master?


The sound of a liturgical bell:
Is the bell in tune? With the flavor of tradition?

Does the bell sound beautiful?

Even if it sounds good, does it have the machined precision of a modern European bell— or does it have the distinctive, mellow, 'strawberry red' (krasniy or malinoviy) tone of a traditional Russian bell?

Is it suited for the Russian style of playing?

Will it make a good set with your others?

Read about the sound of a liturgical bell.


Ask yourself this:

Would you buy an icon that wasn't beautiful?

And if the iconographer introduced foreign elements into the composition?

What is the look of an Orthodox liturgical bell?

What's the quality of the decoration, iconography and inscriptions?

Have you ever seen a Faberge egg?

The decoration on a liturgical bell should certainly not be less than aesthetically pleasing; in fact, it should be more. A bell is a singing icon— so it's good to ask whether the visual icons on it are worthy of the name also.

Read more about the look of a liturgical bell.

In other words,

Would you buy an icon from an unskilled painter?

Specifications: What bells are available?

What bells are available from a given foundry?

Do they fit your tonal, budgetary, and other considerations?

Each foundry uses its own distinctive style and profile. For instance, Vera bells tend to be more ornate than Pyatkov; Pyatkov bells tend to run slightly heavier than Litex. Some foundries allow icons on small bells; others will cast them only bells of 100 kg or more. Some give a high, elegant polish to their bells; others prefer a look that's more unfinished and 'mediaeval'.

Whatever your specifications though, and regardless of the foundry, we import only the best sounding bells Russia has ever made.

Check out the specifications of the bells available from each foundry.


Sequence of tones: What bells do I need for my set?

In the final analysis, your main consideration in buying new bells is going to be tone sequence.

Do you have an existing bell of good quality which you intend to continue using?

What scale or key does it require you to ring?

Read more about the sequence of tones in Russian bell music.


What kind of confidence does the foundry really have?

Every foundry offers a warranty, but you need to ask what the warranty really means.

Is it simply a promise to fix problems, or do they really have a track record that says there just won't be any problems?

Our bells are unconditionally guaranteed!

But really, we offer you a lot more than a promise that your money will be well spent.

We offer you the actual Tradition.