November 2002-- Archbishop blesses first bells for Church on the Blood of the last Tsar.

November 2002-- Archbishop Vikentii blesses the first bells at the construction site of the Church on the Blood of the last Tsar, slated for completion this coming July. Help is needed to acquire the church's big bells.

“Bells of Repentance” for the Church on the Blood of the Royal Martyrs

Funding assistance needed— see below

Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
Tsar Nicholas II and family.

July 17, 2003 will mark 85 years from the date of the tragic murder in Ekaterinburg of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family— the Empress Alexandra, Grand Prince Alexei, Grand Princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, and their faithful servants— an event that changed the course of Russia’s history and divided the Russian people.

Today, at the site where the royal family was murdered, a temple is being constructed in the name of All Saints Who Have Shone Forth In Russia. Its consecration, slated for the eve of this sad anniversary, will signify in an especially striking way Christ’s triumph over evil and death, Russia’s rebirth from Communism, and the survival of Orthodoxy into the third millennium.

November 2002-- Archbishop blesses first bells for Church on the Blood of the last Tsar.

In America, these might seem like big bells. But the photo angle here is deceiving (see below), and by Russian standards, these bells are not sufficient for a major church. Two larger bells are still needed. The problem is that even a small increase in diameter means a substantial increase in cubic volume, weight, and therefore cost.

The zvonnitsa, or bell-tower of the temple will be equipped with a set of 16 bells cast at the Pyatkov & Co. foundry in nearby Kamensk-Uralskij. The weight of the two largest bells— the “blagovest” and the “polyeley”— will be 8,250 kgs (18,200 lbs) and 4,880 kg (10,800 lbs) respectively. Pyatkov & Co. will cast many of the bells free of charge, but the rest will need to be cast by subscription.

For this reason, in June 2002, Archbishop Vikentii of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturie blessed the famous modern poet and singer Alexander Novikov to initiate a fundraising drive entitled “Bells of Repentance” to raise money for the church’s bells.

This is not Novikov’s first charitable project of this sort. In 1992, he raised funds for bells commemorating the Royal Martyrs, which were installed only last year at a monastery established in Ganina Yama, over the site where the murderers had tried to destroy the remains of the royal family, and where they were rediscovered in 1979.

Alexander Novikov discusses the fundraising project with Archbishop Vikentii.

The new drive aims at acquiring bells for the church located where the royal family was actually shot. Its first success, already realized, was the casting of four alto bells on August 8, 2002, weighing 170, 345, 640, and 1,320 kgs (375, 760, 1,400, and 2,900 lbs) respectively.

However, it is necessary to raise another 6 million rubles or about $200,000 for this project. It’s not easy to come by that kind of money in Russia, and Pyatkov & Co. has asked Blagovest Bells to help with the fund drive. Blagovest, for its part, has agreed to serve as a completely transparent pass-through for donations: all the money collected will be sent directly to the foundry and spent solely on casting the bells. The names of donors will be listed at the zvonnitsa (unless anonymity is requested).

November 2002-- Archbishop blesses first bells for Church on the Blood of the last Tsar.

The blagovestnik and polyeley bells for this major church are still needed. You can help by contributing here!

All Russians, wherever they live— and all their friends— are invited and urged to help revive Orthodoxy and all that is best in Russia’s history. Anything you can give to this project will further Russia’s spiritual and cultural resurrection.

Blagovest Bells has gotten involved in this campaign because we believe it is not just about nationalism or nostalgia.

Above the shrill din of post-Communist globalism, the modern city needs to hear the martyric witness of the untold millions who died for Christ, including the long-suffering last Russian emperor and his family.

Ekaterinburg's “bells of repentance” will unite the triumphant cries of Christ's martyrs with the compunctionate song of the living as Russia— and indeed the entire human race— enters the third millennium after Christ with more than a little temptation towards further destruction.

Here's where you can donate.