McKees Rocks parish awaiting shipment of Russian Orthodox bells
Five Russian Orthodox bells are on their way from Voronezh, Russia, to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in McKees Rocks.
The bronze bells, ranging in size from 9 pounds to 42 pounds, were shipped last week and are expected to arrive in about two months.
The bells are part of a revival of historic Orthodox Christian traditions happening at the McKees Rocks church, said the Rev. Thomas Soroka, senior pastor.
“For me, the bells are an important aspect of a larger renaissance of authentic Orthodox traditions that had been lost or that are being restored in our parish,” Soroka said. “I feel like they’re part of a larger vision in the parish, and a larger work of restoration of authentic Orthodox worship and Orthodox expression.”
The purchase was underwritten by a private donor to the tune of about $2,600, he said. Two more bells may be ordered.
Once the bells arrive, the church will decide how to display and play them. The church’s current bell tower will not be able to accommodate all five bells, he said.
Russian Orthodox bells are different from those found in Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in that they remain stationary, while the clapper moves and is played in a rhythmic way, he explained.
“These bells are a lost art form, so we have a couple people who are learning how to play them in an authentic Orthodox manner,” Soroka said. “Orthodox bells tend to have a more strident, discordant tone, but they’re also very beautiful.”
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .