The Church Bells

Published by Jacob P Varghese on

Churches use bells for spiritual and practical purposes such as to call the faithful to worship, to signify the time for worshipers to gather for worship and to announce times of daily prayer called the canonical hours. to highlight a particular stage during a Church service, to remind the faithful of God’s presence in their daily lives, and to announce important occurrences to the local community. However, the primary purpose of ringing Church bells today is Bells are first mentioned in the Bible during a description of the high priest’s robe. Exodus instructs that “bells of gold” were to be attached to the hem of the high priest’s robe so that the people could hear the high priest as he entered and exited the Holy of Holies (Exodus 28: 31-35). 

Big Bells

Big Bell
Large (big) bells and small (hand) bells are used as a part of worship, in Churches. Some churches ring large bells from steeples or bell towers by pulling on ropes attached to the bells. In Christian tradition bells, are rung in a Church for various ceremonial purposes or reasons, should be heard far away. Some Churches have the big bells within the Church. The big bell is made of an alloy of brass or it is crafted with several metals and alloys, and quantities of these metals are mixed, to produce a sound that provides and creates complete harmony, bringing the worshiper to a state of supreme calm.. Some Churches may have a single bell, or a collection of bells which are tuned to a common scale. During ancient times, in the early Church, striking a piece of wood was used instead of bells.

The ringing of bells signifies the following:

  • As the blowing of the horn, was used to call people together, for greeting and praising the king and receive his blessing, so do the bells asks his faithful to assemble for praising our King, Jesus Christ.
  • Bells are rung to summon the faithful to assemble for worship and prayer, at Church.
  • The sound of the bell attracts the believers to Church like the bugle sound of shepherds, which attracts the scattered sheep.
  • As the trumpet or heralds gather the troops for combat with the enemy, so the bells gather us, to battle the Satan, the enemy of human race.
  • Bell sounds, recall the faithful, the death of our Lord, Jesus on a wooden cross. When we hear its sound, we are to sign the cross and say ‘Barekmor’ ie Bless my Lord or ‘Kurielaision’ Lord, have mercy on us
  • Bells were used in the past for solemn or joyous feast day and for calling attention, to emergency situations or special announcements for all of us to hear. Continuous ringing of bells is used during exaltation of Holy Fathers. (Bishops). Single stroke bells are sounded to show the passing away of the faithful of our Church. A set of two or three strokes is sounded to tell that it is time to assemble for worship and so on.
  • The bell is rung 33 times prior to the beginning of worship and prayers in remembrance of the age of our Lord.
  • During Holy Eucharist, bells are rung at the beginning of public worship, at the elevation of Holy Mysteries and at the procession of Holy Mysteries.

Hand Bells
The small hand bells or altar bells are shaken during Eucharist’s worship to draw the attention of the worshipers to solemnity of the important and sacred occasion, reminding them to pay careful attention and to unite in prayers and at times to make the sign of the cross. It is also rung during procession of feasts, connected to the Eucharist.

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The small hand bells are rung during Eucharist’s worship to draw the attention of the worshippers and to proclaim the solemnity of the important and sacred occasion, reminding them to pay careful attention and to unite in prayers and at times to make the sign of the cross. It is also rung during procession of feasts, connected to the Eucharist.

Altar Bells

This bell is used to proclaim important occasions during worship

  • At the start of the Holy Qurbana proclaiming the Birth of Christ.
  • When we respond by saying “Oh Thou who was crucified for us” Trisagion.
  • At the time of reading Evangelion (Gospel)
  • While blessing of the Censer (Dhoopakutti).
  • When Shooshepo is celebrated.
  • When the priest waves his hands over the Holy Qurbana.
  • When the celebrant blesses the bread and wine.
  • Once again when the celebrant raises his hands.
  • When the priest waves his hand over the Paten and Chalice (Epiclesis).
  • During the song “Hearken, gracious Lord” is sung, announcing the Holy Resurrection of our Lord.
  • During the Elevation of Holy Mysteries (Holy Ascension).
  • When the priest proceeds towards the congregation holding the Paten and Chalice (The Second Coming).

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