Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bell-Ringing in the Church

Q & A with Fr Job, installment XI:
Question: Here in Brazil we ring the bell at the beginning of the Liturgy, during “It is truly meet,” and at the end of the Liturgy. Please explain.

Answer: According to the Church Rules (Typikon) there are festal and daily bell ringing. The latter in our times is rarely performed. The festal ring calls to the Vigil and Liturgy. It reminds the faithful of the Divine service and invites them to church and prayer. Proclaim from day to day the good tidings of His salvation, of our God (Ps. 95:2). First there are two rings from the largest bell -- the blagovestnik. After that, when the sound of the second ring has quieted, the bell-ringer begins to perform measured rings. During the blagovest he must read Psalm 50 twelve times or read Psalm 118 once (Blessed are the blameless). Then begins the trezvon -- the ringing of all the bells. At the Vigil the trezvon is done in two parts, and at the Liturgy in three parts, that is, three times with three breaks.

There is again bell ringing during the Liturgy at the beginning of the Eucharistic canon – the most solemn part of the service. In the altar at this time the Bloodless Sacrifice is being offered; the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ is being performed. “Let us lift up our hearts” is pronounced by either the priest or bishop. “We lift them up unto the Lord,” answers the choir. After the exclamation “Let us give thanks unto the Lord,” the choir sings “It is meet and right to worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Trinity one in essence and undivided.” The bell begins to ring the blagovestnik. The bell-ringer rings twelve times on the festal bell, the number of Apostles at the Lord’s Mystical Supper. It is necessary to finish the ring before the end of the reading of the Eucharistic canon, before the exclamation “Especially our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed, and glorious Lady, Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary...”

In Church practice there is also ringing after the end of the Vigil and festal Liturgy, although the Typikon does not prescribe this. The festal trezvon at the end of the service reflects that joy which fills the hearts of the faithful on the festal day.

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