News and other topics of interest

This page contains news of general bell-related interest, especially about Russian bells. For news of activities involving our suppliers and ourselves (including the recasting of a number of great bells), see this page.

Anti-noise advocate sues San Francisco church over ‘bells
The ‘bells’ of a San Francisco church ring too loud and too often for someone who lives half a block away. Not really bells, but loudspeakers, their sound is “as loud as your alarm clock every 15 minutes” on Sunday, complained Mr. Coe, who filed suit in SF's Small Claims Court. The judge dismissed the suit, but it raises interesting questions about bell ringing in the city. Get the whole story and our comments here....

Will the Patriarch's Danilov Monastery get its bells back from Harvard? Stay tuned...
Harvard has 18 Russian bells purchased from the Soviet government in 1930— one of only five sets of pre-revolutionary bells left in the world. They came from Moscow's oldest monastic establishment, now also the Patriarch's residence. The monastery has been trying to get the bells back for the past 20 years. Complete story here....

View from on top of Christ the Savior Cathedral Bell Ringing Heals Illness and Depression
Patriarchal Zvonar Igor Vasilievich Konovalov says he has forgotten about sickness since he began to ring. No virus has afflicted him, even once! What is more, he seriously states that bell-ringing positively heals illness. Many times he has seen a ringer go up into the bell tower sick and come down well....

'Santa Maria bell' auction to open at $1 million, but scientists are skeptical: The planned sale in Madrid of "the ship's bell of the Santa Maria" stirs a tempest of controversy over whether the bell actually is authentic, and who should own it. And just before it was to go on the block, a Spanish judge orders it seized so Portugal can investigate its claim to the artifact, which was found in Portugese waters....

Exhibition of Mediaeval Bells opens in Veliky Novgorod
June 6, 2002-- An exhibition of medieval church bells opens in Veliky Novgorod on Friday, it was reported by the Novgorod state joint museum and reserve. Fourteen ancient bells will be on display at the permanent display on the first floor of the Novgorod Kremlin's Sofia belfry.... 

Bells Ring in Spiritual Rebirth
SERGIYEV POSAD, Moscow Region -- After prayers were chanted and speeches said, thousands of eyes looked up Wednesday afternoon to the glittering cupolas of the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Monastery. A mammoth Krupp crane began slowly lifting Pervenets, the first of three giant bells that will replace those destroyed by Bolsheviks 72 years ago....

2300-Year-Old Bells Unearthed in Cambodia
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia— Two metal objects unearthed by a landmine detection team near a former Khmer Rouge base have turned out to be bronze Buddhist bells, believed to date back to as early as 300 BC. They are now in the care of Cambodia's national museum in Phnom Penh, and experts say they are a major archaeological find. 

New Bells for Trinity-Sergius Lavra
SERGIYEV POSAD, Moscow Region — Patriarch Alexy II on Thursday blessed two giant church bells made to replace a pair that were torn down from a tower at one of the country's holiest sites and destroyed 72 years ago under Josef Stalin.... The bells -- one weighing 27 tons and the other more than 35 tons -- were poured at ZiL, the factory that made the limousines Stalin and other Soviet leaders rode in....

New Bells for Belgrade Cathedral
BELGRADE, Serbia — Patriarch Pavle and other clergy consecrated 49 new bells for St Sava Cathedral in Vracar in November 2001. The largest of the 49 bells weighs 6.2 tonnes....

Ivan Ilyich, "The Loudspeaker on the Tower" (.pdf):
"While in the West mechanical devices are pressed into liturgical use, the Eastern Church remains wary of any replacement of bodily acts by technical means." And yet, "It is remarkable that the Russian church, which so carefully guarded silence within its church buildings, allowing only the human voice in the liturgy, filled the air with the sound of bells."....

By Whom the Bells Toll
"Each belfry is unique.... A virtuoso bell-ringer... might find [her]self completely at a loss at a neighboring belfry, where the number of bells and the tone of each would differ. Ksenia Ulianova, a 14 year-old lay sister... has held her position for over a year and has honed her skills...."

Theft of Historic Bells at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco
Read about the dramatic theft and restoration of the famous 19th century tsarist bells at San Francisco's Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, which occurred in August-September, 1999.

They Stir the Soul and Leave a Ringing in the Ears!
"Russian church bells are to Western ones as blini are to a Denny's pancake stack: the same thing, prepared by wholly different rules."

Spasskaya Tower:
Bells in Spasskaya Tower now resound every three hours with melodies by famous Russian composer Mikhail Glinka. Valeria Korchagina of the St. Petersburg Times listens in... and learns about the tower's long and tumultuous history.

A "Perfect Bell":
A better bell has been created in Australia with a little help from a supercomputer.

The World's Three Largest Bells
Surprise!— the world's biggest working bell is not in Russia, but in Burma. Another is under water, but there has lately been some talk of trying to raise it. One day we hope to tell more about Burma's fascinating bells, but the Mingun Bell makes interesting comparison with Russia's famous giant!

List of the World's Largest Bells
A Select List of Russian Bells Weighing 36,100 Pounds (1,000 Puds) or More, with Comparative Weights of Some of the Largest Bells of Asia, Western Europe, and North America, after Edward V. Williams, The Bells of Russia: History & Technology (Princeton Univ. Press: 1985), pp. 183-185.)