Danilov monastery bell comes home from exile

The first of 18 bells taken out of Russia more than 70 years ago has arrived at Moscow's Sheremetevo airport. The set of bells was rescued from the Danilov Monastery in Moscow in the 1930s by American industrialist Charles Crane.

During the 1930s the Soviet government destroyed many religious buildings and monuments as part of its forced atheism campaign.

Charles Crane donated the Danilov Monastery's bells to Harvard University and they were installed in its bell tower.

Moscow's Danilov Monastery
Moscow's Danilov Monastery

The university agreed to return the original bells if Russia replaced them with replicas. The replacements were cast in the Russian city of Voronezh and are already in the United States.

Organisers say the bells' return costs over $US 10 MLN.

On September 12, a solemn ceremony will take place at the church for all those who want to celebrate the return of their historic and cultural heritage.

“There are only three sets like that existing today. Unfortunately, most of them were melted down during the Soviet times. It is really a miracle that this ensemble was saved, and to see it coming back to Russia is really significant,” commented Roman Thaker, Director of ‘The Link of Times’ Foundation.

The bell weighs about two tonnes. It is the fourth in size in the historic ensemble, and the first of the 18 to arrive in Moscow.

The rest of the bells will return to their motherland by next autumn.