Bell rings for first time in 50 years

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For this Greek Orthodox Easter, bells will ring at St. John's Greek Orthodox Church for the first time in 50 years.

The Greek Orthodox religion celebrates Easter on a different sche-dule than other Christian reli-gions. This Sunday is their Palm Sunday, and the next week is Easter.

A couple of years ago, while a monk was visiting the church for Easter, he told the congregation they needed to ring their bell, church member Nick Charchalis said. But the church didn't have one.

So the monk made a donation, which started St. John's bell fund. Soon after, getting the church a bell became Charchalis' mission.

In Greece, the faithful would hang their bells from trees. Charchalis' father always said they should follow tradition, but there are no trees by the church, and Charchalis figured the neighbors might not appreciate a bell being hung from their trees.

When Charchalis' father died, the family decided to dedicate any donations toward the purchase of the bell.

A year and a half later, Charchalis said getting the bell was "quite a milestone."

The church found its bell in Penn-sylvania.

The congregation decided to install the 100-year-old bell on top of the building.

They first made some engineering changes to the building so that it could support the bell.

The building, at the corner of Seventh and Green streets, is of a symmetrical Western design.

In Greece, Orthodox churches are built in a Byzantine style that features domes and arches. The renovation gave the congregation the opportunity to incorporate Byzantine architecture into the building.

They constructed a copper dome on top of the building to house the bell.

Although it's almost blindingly bright in the sunshine now, the copper will tarnish in time.

The dome will be complete when a brass cross is placed atop it.

The bell is rung manually, its rope hangs in the church's narthex near the entrance.

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