mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

Harvard's Russian Bells

Back in January 2004, the New York Times reported that the Danilov Monastery in Russia wanted Harvard to return the bells which have hung in the Lowell House bell tower for about 80 years. I was one of the bell-ringers in college, and so I wrote a letter to the Times, supporting the notion that Harvard should get to keep the bells. After all, had Harvard not bought them from Charles Crane, they would have been melted down and would no longer exist.

As it stands, though, the agreement made between Harvard and the Russian Orthodox Church was for Harvard to return the bells. However, the monastery agreed to cast a brand new set of bells for Harvard, so Lowell House could still have bells in its bell tower. I saw in today's Boston Globe website the following AP report:

July 25, 2007
MOSCOW -- Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II yesterday consecrated 18 newly cast brass bells destined for Harvard University in a trade that will return the originals to Russia nearly 80 years after they were saved from Stalin's religious purges. The originals have hung for decades in the towers at Lowell House and Harvard Business School's Baker Library in Cambridge. American industrialist Charles R. Crane bought the bells from the Soviet government in 1930, saving them from being melted down in purges that left thousands of monks executed and churches and monasteries destroyed or turned into prisons and orphanages.

So how do I feel about this? Well, the old bells had character and history, but so will the new ones. As long as Lowell House has bells in its bell tower, I'm happy. I just hope I get invited back for whatever celebrations Harvard plans to inaugurate the new bells.

More information can be found at
Patriarch consecrates bells for Harvard (
Lowell Bells Get Russian Farewell (The Harvard Crimson)
Tags: boston, harvard, personal

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