My beloved brothers and sisters in our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! Χριστός Ανέστη! Αληθώς Ανέστη!
By the grace of God, and the Theotokos, our beloved Chapel, in New Carlisle, now has a beautiful bell tower and a magnificent church bell from Greece. Our Chapel in honor of the Mother of God has been transformed into an active Orthodox Christian spiritual pege. From this spiritual pege (fount or spring) will come to benefit Orthodox Christians for years to come with their struggle and spiritual ascesis.
Bells are a distinctive part of Orthodox Christian divine services. Bells are used for a number of purposes throughout the liturgical cycle, such as a summons for the faithful to divine services and as an announcement to those not present in church of specific moments in the services.
In the early centuries of Christianity, the Church was often persecuted and did not have the opportunity to openly call the faithful to services. The faithful were notified of times of services by personal contact or by the presiding clergy at the end of the services. After the persecutions ceased, various means of announcing services arose, but the pealing of bells appeared to become the preferred method. While bells are known from antiquity, the first use of bells in a Christian context was in Western Europe. Tradition, although probably inaccurate, ascribes the invention of bells in the late 4th century to Saint Paulinus, the bishop of Nola in Campania, Italy. However, there is no record in Europe of the use of bells religiously until the early 7the century. Bells came into use in the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church in 865 when the Doge of Venice gave twelve large bells to Emperor Michael. These bells were hung in a tower near Hagia Sophia Cathedral.
Bells were introduced in Russia almost simultaneously with the Baptism of the Rus in 988, coming to the eastern Slavs through Western Europe. These bells were generally small and used in small sets of only two or three bells. By the 14th century, however, bell foundries had come into existence than produced very large bells. Large bells in Russia weighed up to 144,000 pounds. The largest bell then cast is the Tsar Bell which stands at the base of the bell tower of Ivan III Vasilevich (Ivan the Great) in the Moscow Kremlin. This bell weighs 288,000 pounds, but was never used, because it cracked in a fire when the scaffolding used to hang the bell burned.
During Orthodox church services, bells are used at specific times. Bell ringing is used to announce and summon the faithful to divine services, to express the joy of the divine services of the Church, and for those not present at the services to announce the times of important moments in the services. Often the tolling of a bell is used to announce the death of important church and civil personalities.
In settings not pertaining to church services, bells are used to signal special occasions and announce assembly of faithful and citizens. In Monastic settings bells may be used each day to awaken the monks and signal the daily routine of Monasteries. Another tool used in Orthodox Monasteries to call the monks and nuns to divine services is the Symandron or Talando. A Symandron or Talando is a wooden plank hit by a wooden hammer in a specific way. It symbolizes Noah in the Old Testament, calling the animals to come unto the Ark before the Great Flood took place. Since then, the Holy Church, is known as the New Ark of Salvation. With each blow to the wood we hear, be faithful and put into practice what you know to be right.
We are most grateful to all the anonymous donors for the new additions to our beloved Chapel of Panagia. May the Almighty and Merciful God continue His blessing upon you and your families. Also, a sincere thank you to the keeper of the Chapel, Nick Giannakakis, for his dedication and love of Panagia's Chapel.
Divine Services will once again will begin on Friday, May 5th at 10:00 am with the service of the Small Agiasmo (Waters). All of you are invited to attend.
With agape in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,