Russian Reprise: The Bells Toll Again from Moscow’s Kazan Cathedral (VIDEOS)
If you listen carefully, you can gradually discern the complex rhythms and patterns of Russian Orthodox bells. These ancient musical instructions are called zvon, and originally there were many of them, rung during various parts of the liturgy and on special occasions, from weddings to funerals.
Though some of the unwritten zvon were lost during Soviet times when bell-ringing was outlawed, the ones that lived on in the memories of older bell ringers have been collected and can be heard again today. For me, there are no bells more grand and meaningful than those of Kazan Cathedral on Moscow’s Red Square – here on an early Sunday morning in summer.
Just before the Soviet Union fell, work began on rebuilding Kazan Cathedral – a three-year undertaking that ended in 1993. It’s easy to spot the church in Red Square, with its salmon-and-cream color scheme topped with green arched roofs, golden domes, and Orthodox crosses. Its interior is decorated with a massive chandelier, mosaics, murals, an iconstasis, and gilded icons, including a copy of its namesake icon, “Our Lady of Kazan.”
Whenever I return to Moscow and stand in Red Square, I imagine these bells are conveying joy, happiness, and comfort to all.
You can listen to Russian bells ringing on many of MIR’s scheduled tours to Russia, including Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages, which circles the Golden Ring with its 12th and 13th century churches.
- Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure
- Siberian Odyssey: Legends of Lake Baikal & Tuva
- Siberian Winter Escapade
You can also book a custom private journey to these destinations.
(Top photo: Once destroyed by Stalin, Kazan Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square was re-opened in 1993. Photo credit: Helen Holter)
PUBLISHED: December 21, 2015