It is the middle of the day, and the sound of the church bells is streaming from the bell tower of Saint Elisabeth Convent. It challenges the everyday routines and breaks the monotonous flow of our lives. It gives meaning to our existence. It urges us to look beyond the finite world towards heaven and eternity.
The Convent’s bells do not sound like the irregular strikes of a tocsin but like a joyous melody. This, too, is not a coincidence. The music of the bells calls us to come to Church; it urges us to seek a meeting with God and reminds us of the joy that awaits us, the inner peace and calm that we can have, and the blessing and glory of a life in Him. It gives us an idea of the genuine freedom that we can have. We are invited to a feast at the house of our Lord. The bells are chiming, conveying to us His hope to see us at the table so He could give us the whole world.
Our bells are ringing to bring this good news to everyone, so we can dispel the darkness of despair and inspire hope in people’s souls. We hope to sound our bells at our Women’s Rehabilitation Center in Vishnevka to bring much-needed reassurance to its residents, the disadvantaged women. The preparations are almost complete, and the prerequisites are in place – the skilled and dedicated bell ringers and the bell tower in the newly rebuilt church, and the grateful listeners. The bells are the only thing that is missing. “The church is like a spring with the water of life, and the bells are its welcome addition. The chiming of the bells is a call for people to come to the Lord, and the Lord will take care of all who come to him,” says Sister Tatiana Zhedik, one of the bell ringers.
Tatiana has served at Saint Elisabeth Convent for many years. She does obediences at the Catalogue of St. Elisabeth Convent and the care home for disabled children. She has also completed musical school and has put her great talent to good use. She is a long-time singer in the church choir. Six months ago, she completed her training as a bell ringer and has practised her newly acquired skill ever since, to the delight of the Convent’s laity, monastics, and the residents of the neighbourhood.
“Bell-ringing has become an essential part of my life. I live amid the music of the bells that fills the space around me and gives me a boost of energy. When I play, I feel refreshed and full of life,” says Sister Tatiana.
Tatiana rings the bells at the Convent. She also chimes the single bell in the bell tower of the Church of Sergius of Radonezh at the Women’s Rehabilitation Center that gives shelter to disadvantaged women. The church stands in the place of an old village church that was destroyed by fire. Even as the construction of the new church was in progress, the worship services continued. To date, the rebuilding is almost complete. The bell tower of the new church has one active bell, and room for another seven.
“We sound the bell to signal the beginning of a worship service,” explains Tatiana. But it is not possible to convey the message of celebration and joy from meeting God with just one bell. At the Pascha, we borrowed a mobile set of church bells and played them at the paschal service. The effect was remarkable and impressive. No one was left indifferent. I was happy, excited, and pleased to find that all the people at church shared my sensations.
For Tatiana, the sounding of the bells is a call for awakening. We call back to life the Women’s Rehabilitation Center’s residents, reminding them about the love of God and encouraging them to contemplate their future and the eternal life that awaits them. The ringing of the bells awakens their spirits and gives them the strength to rebuild their lives. That way, the music of the bells brings beauty and faith to their lives and restores their will to overcome their dire circumstances.
“To the despairing and depressed, the chiming of the bells will be a reminder that they are not alone. The ringing of the bells creates a sense of community and relatedness to God and one another,” underlines Tatiana.
One thing that keeps us from breaking the barriers to rebuilding our inner selves is our indifference. The joyful music of the bells can dispel its darkness. Some will be inspired, some will remember their moments of strengths, and some will be reassured. We hope to lighten up as many hearts and minds as possible, and we are counting on you to help us in doing so.
With the blessing of Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok, the spiritual father of Saint Elisabeth Convent, we are launching a fund-raising campaign to procure and install seven bells at the Church of Saint Sergius of Radonezh. We invite you to contribute to this campaign by making a donation. May our indifference bring hope to as many people as possible and help them experience God’s grace. You can make your contribution by following this link. We will mention our contributors during the worship services at the Church of Sergius of Radonezh. May God bless you!
Film about our Women’s Rehabilitation Center: https://youtu.be/BFmmYFJhJg4
To support our church bell fundraiser: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=ELZGPL5ZF9S2E
If you have any questions or difficulties please contact Sister Tatiana at firstname.lastname@example.org