Address on the Journey of the Historic Bells from Saint Petersburg to Moscow

Benjamin Rapoport
8 September 2008
Novgorod


Address on the Journey of the Historic Bells from Saint Petersburg to Moscow


[* Indicates pause for translation]
We are witnessing a miracle today, the safe return of the historic bells of the Danilov
Monastery from America to Russia.*
As the senior bell-ringer at Lowell House and Harvard University, I bring you greetings
from the society of student bell-ringers who for many years rang and cared for these
historic bells at Harvard University. * These unique bells lived with us in America
during a dark period of Russian history. All of us here today know that few Russian bells
survived that dark period. * And so it is a miracle that we witness here today as these
historic bells near the end of their journey back to the Danilov Monastery in Moscow. *
Lowell House, Harvard University, and their students now have a beautiful new set of
Russian bells. * And through this exchange of bells, made possible by the Link of Times
Foundation and Harvard University, Harvard students together with expert Russian bellringers
have begun formally studying the history and traditions, the musical theory and
techniques of Russian bell-ringing. * These bells were not only kept safe in America;
students at Harvard University also learned to value and continue the traditions these
bells represent. * We hope that this pair of zvons, the old one at the Danilov Monastery
in Moscow and the new one at Lowell House of Harvard University, will be an enduring
source of cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the people of our two
countries. *
I hope that the miracle we witness here today, the return of these historic Russian bells to
Russia, will especially be a symbol to the young people of Russia, to students and
children who will grow to become the next generation of citizens and leaders. * We
know that in the Russian tradition, church bells are called “singing icons,” and their songs
are meant to elevate the souls of the Russian people. * As these bells return to Russia,
perhaps they also bring back with them an ancient piece of the soul of the Russian
people. * I hope that the beautiful voices of these bells will raise your spirits, and that
they will always be a reminder that hope, enduring through difficult times, can be
rewarded with miracles. *
Spasibo y Mnogaya Lieta!