Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Carillon Blessing at Holy Transfiguration Skete

In light of the recent postings on the blessing of bells, a guest report by Mrs. Lisa Knutson brings us news of the use of a blessing from a Ukrainian ritual book, which bears similarities both to the Pontificale Romanum (Clement VIII and 1961-2) and other Eastern forms of the blessing. Included in the report is the prayer of blessing which is similar to the Roman use and which was embedded in the longer ritual (not reported below) sharing more in common with the blessings of Eastern ritual books. Due to an unexpected illness in the family, the monks' bishop was unable to attend the Divine liturgy and blessing.

Blessing of Bells

In the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan, on Sunday, August 25th, 2013, the Monks of Holy Transfiguration Skete in Jacob’s Falls, MI. marked their 30th year celebration of the Monastic Church of St. John the Theologian with a Blessing of the Bells and recital of a newly installed Carillon.  Present for the blessing were Very Reverend Nicholas Glenn (Hegumen, Holy Transfiguration Skete) and Reverend Hieromonk Basil Paris (Holy Transfiguration Skete).

 Crafted by the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, the bells were cast in the Netherlands and then delivered to Cincinnati and tuned prior to installation in the bell tower of the monastic church.  After Divine Liturgy and the Blessing, a Carillon recital was given by Lisa Klinsky Knutson, while the listeners enjoyed a reception and walked the beautiful Lake Superior waterfront grounds and picturesque gardens of the Monastery. 

Holy Transfiguration Skete of the Society of St. John is a Catholic Monastery of the Byzantine rite, under the jurisdiction of The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas in Chicago, and belong to the Ukrainian Metropoly in the United States of America, which is in union with the Pope of Rome.  They are located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette.  In addition to monastic life of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability of life according to the Rule of Saint Benedict and the traditions of the Christian East. (from their website: www.societystjohn.com

Building His Kingdom through the Arts

In addition to a thriving bakery and unforeseen work of jam-making from local berries, the monks have an artistic apostolate, housing two 9-foot Mason and Hamlin grand pianos from the finest years of production in their parlor, a hand-crafted Spanish Guitar, a harp, and an over-arching plan for the addition of recital halls to promote the musical performing arts. 

The Society of St. John has also produced many new works of art, including sculpture, painting and icons, and are currently embarking on a restoration of the interior of their Chapel.  In addition to promoting the arts, they seek to form Liturgical items in future years.   “As our growth permits, we hope to serve as a resource for the training of church artists and the artistic education of religious and clergy.  Likewise, as our numbers and talents allow, we hope to devote our own work to the design and fashioning of liturgical objects and other elements which enhance the beauty of divine worship. In this way, in our small monastery at Jacob's Falls, no less than in the great monasteries of centuries past, we strive to work for the upbuilding of God's Kingdom through the arts.“ (societystjohn.com/kingdom)

Excerpt from the Prayer of Blessing of the Bell Tower and Carillon

O Lord, our God, who ordained that all the faithful should honor and worship You, and who commanded Your servant, Moses, the Law-giver, to make silver trumpets and the sons of Aaron to be priests, who also ordained that at the time for prayer the trumpets be sounded, so that Your people upon hearing them may prepare themselves to adore You and to arm themselves for victory over their enemies – we humbly beseech You, hear our fervent prayer, and bless + and sanctify + these bells which are designated for the service of Your holy church and dedicated to Your most holy name.  Confer upon them the power of Your grace through Your heavenly blessing and the grace of Your All-holy Spirit, so that Your faithful servants, hearing their harmonious voices, may have peace in their souls and be strengthened in the faith, that they be inspired by their melodious sound to courageously resist all the assaults of Satan and overcome them by prayers and constant glorification of You, the true God, that day and night they may hasten to church to offer prayers and to glorify Your holy name.  May storm, hail, hurricane, thunder and lightning, foul and unfavorable weather, and all the tempests of mind and heart cease to be by the music of their ringing. 

For You, our Lord God, use not only spiritual living creatures for Your glory and our salvation, but also inanimate creatures like the staff of Moses and the bronze serpent in the desert.  For all things are possible to You, and to You nothing is impossible, hence, we give glory to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever, and unto ages of ages.  Amen. 

The Bishop now sprinkles the tower with holy water, saying:

This tower and carillon are blessed and sanctified by the sprinkling of this holy water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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