Sights of Kiev: St Sophia Cathedral - bells (Part 4)

Many tours around Ukraine and Kiev show the beauty of churches, sights and mention the bell towers and bells. The bells of Sophia Cathedral were always on the tier of its bell tower, which for this purpose was intended.

The origin of bells

The first bells arose in Western Europe. There is a legend that the idea of bells for the first time came to mind of St. Pavlin (late 4 – early 5 th century). The legend says that Saint Pavlin saw a dream, in which he was mesmerized by the sound of the bell-flower. This dream prompted the idea of creating bells, which would resemble a bell. But only since the 7th century the bells have become an attribute of Christian churches.

Bells in Kievan Rus

Sights of Kiev: St Sophia Cathedral - bells (Part 4)In Kievan Rus bells were used almost simultaneously with the advent of Christianity. At the excavations of the Tithe Church (the best guides in Kiev can show you this place) they found 2 bells. Earlier the bells were smaller and there were 2-3 of them at the temple. Since the 15th century, heavy bells have been cast. So the biggest bell is called “the king-bell”, it was cast in the 30s of the 18th century. Its weight is 200 tons. This bell is exhibited in the Moscow Kremlin Museum.

Types of ringing

There are two kinds of ringing – the bells and the actual ringing. Blagovest is measured blows in one bell. This name derives from the phrase “good news”. Actually the ringing is when one rings in turn to several bells.

Making bells

In the Middle Ages the process of making bells was very mysterious. The bells were sanctified with sacred water, gave them the names of those who contributed to their appearance, for example, bishops, kings, patrons. Our guide in Kiev can give you some interesting examples.

The bells of Sophia cathedral

Sights of Kiev: St Sophia Cathedral - bells (Part 4)Previously, there were 20 bells in the bell tower of Sophia cathedral. The biggest one was the bell “Raphael”, named in honor of Metropolitan Raphael Zaborovsky. It weighed 13 tons, they made it at the territory of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra by the same master as the Tsar Bell – Ivan Motorin.

In the 30-ies of the twentieth century, 19 Sophia bells were seized on the need for industrialization of the country.

What bells can be seen now in the Sophia Bell Tower

Only one big bell of Mazepa has survived. It weighed 2 tons. Among the bronze old bells of Ukraine – this is the largest. It is decorated with beautiful ornaments and a signature, when and by whom it was executed. Tours for schoolchildren in Kiev often suggest an ascent to the bell tower of Sophia and an examination of this bell.

In 2008, another 20 bells of different sizes appeared in the bell tower of Sophia.

Tour of Kiev will be able to show you all the sights of Sophia cathedral: