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Bells and Russian Orthodox Peals
By Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy
Bells are one of the most essential elements of an Orthodox Church. In the "Order of the Blessing of Bells" we read, "So let all that hear them ring, either during the day or at night, be inspired to the glorification of Thy saints." Church-bell ringing is used to:
- Summon the faithful to the divine services.
- Express the triumphal joy of the Church and Her divine services.
- Announce to those not present in the church the times of especially important moments in the services.
In addition, in some cites in Old Russia, bells summoned the people to gatherings. Also, bells were used to guide those lost in bad weather, and announced various dangers or misfortunes such as fires or floods. In days of peril to the nation they called the people to her defense. Bells proclaimed military victories and greeted those returning from the field of battle. Thus bells played a great part in the life of the Russian people. Bells were usually hung in special belltowers constructed over the Entry to a church or beside it.