Speech of William Burns, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Russian Federation. Harvard Bells Returning Ceremony. Danilovskiy Monastery, September 12, 2007I am honored to be here to celebrate the return of the first bell to Danilovskiy Monastery from its temporary 77-year stay at Harvard University.
It is particularly fitting that this symbolic event takes place in the 200th year of Russian-American diplomatic relations.
The real story is not only about bells, but about people, people from two different cultures who were motivated by mutual respect, faith and a moral imperative to do the right thing.
All of the people who contributed to this success story deserve our thanks. From the Americans and Russians who worked together to save the bells from destruction during the Communist era to today’s Russians — like Viktor Feliksovich, Father Aleksey — and Americans — many associated with Harvard University – who joined together to return all 18 of the original bells back to their rightful home here in the spiritual heart of Moscow.
This first bell has had a long and arduous journey, but one in which we, as Russians and Americans, can all take pride.
In the coming months, I look forward to hearing all 18 bells ring in their true home!