Scenes from the Blessing of a new Blagovestnik at St Nicholas Church, San Anselmo, California. Click on each thumbnail or scroll down to see the full image.


The Order for the Blessing, Naming, and Chrismation of a Bell

The following text is taken from the Great Book of Needs, Vol. II: The Sanctification of the Temple and Other Ecclesiastical and Liturgical Blessings, expanded and supplemented edition, translated from the Church Slavonic with notes by St. Tikhon's Monastery (South Canaan, Pennsylvania: 1998), pp. 183 to 192.

We have also supplemented the text provided there with the prayers for the naming and chrismation of a bell, which are given in the Euchologion, or Trebnik published in Zhovkve (1926), pp 355-367. This additional material appears in [brackets].

Please also note that we have corrected the first sticheron in Tone 2 at the end of the service (p. 191 in the book), so that it makes sense. The punctuation and wording of the version in the book make the sound of the bell into the cause of God's anger!

The bell is set near the church in such a way that it may be sprinkled with Holy Water from the outside, the top, and inside. (Thus, it is proper to bless it before it is placed in the bell tower.) If a Bishop performs this service, he is vested in all his hierarchical vestments, or, at least, in Mantiya, Epitrachelion, Omophorion and Mitre; if a Priest performs the service, he is vested in Epitrachelion and Phelonion. He comes out of the church and proceeds to the bell where Holy Water and a basin for the Holy Water has already been set out on a table appropriately covered And he begins as usual:

+ Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

And the Clergy sing (Tone 6):

Amen. O Heavenly King....

Then the Reader continues with the Trisagion prayers.

After Our Father...:


For Thine is the Kingdom....


Amen. Lord, have mercy. (12 times) Glory... now and ever... Come, let us worship..., and Psalms 148-150:

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the highest.
Praise Him, all you His angels; praise Him, all you His hosts.

Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you stars and light.
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and thou waters above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord:
For He spoke and they came to be;
He commanded and they were created.

He established them forever, even unto the ages of ages.
He set a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth, you dragons and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind, all fulfilling His word;

Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and feathered birds;

Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all judges of the earth;
Young men and maidens, old men and youths:

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted;
His praise is above the earth and heaven, and He will raise up the horn of His people:

A hymn for all His saints, for the children of Israel,
and for the people that draw nigh unto Him.

Psalm 149

Sing unto the Lord a new song; His praise in the congregation of the saints.
Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him; let the sons of Sion rejoice in their King.

Let them praise His name in chorus; with timbrel and psaltery let them sing unto Him.
For the Lord is well pleased with His people, and shall exalt the meek unto salvation.

The saints shall boast in glory, and shall be joyful on their beds.
The exaltation of God shall be in their throats, and two-edged swords in their hands:

To execute vengeance upon the nations, and chastisement among the peoples;
To bind their kings with fetters, and their glorious ones with manacles of iron;

To execute on them the judgment that is written:
This glory shall be to all His saints.

Psalm 150

Praise God in His saints;
praise Him in the firmament of His power.
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
praise Him according to the multitude of His majesty.
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
praise Him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise Him with timbrel and choir;
praise Him with stringed instruments and pipes.
Praise Him with sounding cymbals;
praise Him with cymbals of jubilation.
Let every breath praise the Lord.

Glory... now and ever....

Alleluia.... (thrice).

And the Deacon says this Litany:

In peace let us pray to the Lord.


Lord, have mercy. (after each petition):

For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

For this holy house and for those who enter with faith, reverence, and the fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.

For our Lord, His Beatitude Metropolitan (N.), for our [Arch]bishop (N.), for the honorable Priesthood, the Diaconate in Christ, for all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord.

For the President of our country, for all civil authorities, and for the armed forces, let us pray to the Lord.

For this city [if a monastery: For this holy habitation], for every city and country, and for the faithful dwelling in them, let us pray to the Lord.

For seasonable weather, for abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.

For travelers by land, by sea, and by air; for the sick and the suffering; for captives and their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

And immediately he adds the following:

That He will bless this bell to the glory of His holy name with His heavenly blessing, let us pray to the Lord.

That He will grant it the grace that all who hear its sound, whether by day or by night, shall be roused to the glorification of His holy name, let us pray to the Lord.

That by the voice of its ringing all destructive winds, storms, thunder and lightning, and all harmful weather and destructive things of the air may be appeased, calmed and cease to be, let us pray to the Lord.

That it may drive away every power, craft and slander of invisible enemies from all His own faithful people who shall have heard the voice of its ringing, and arouse them to the observance of His commandments, let us pray to the Lord.

[For the servant(s) of God, [NN.], who offered these bells to this holy House, for their health and salvation, and for the visitation of God upon them, let us pray to the Lord.]

For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger and necessity, let us pray to the Lord.

Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.


To Thee, O Lord.


For unto Thee are due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.



After this, Psalm 28(9) is read:

[The priest takes the censer and censes the bell on all four sides, both outside and inside, while the Psalm is chanted.]

Psalm 28(9)

Bring unto the Lord, O you sons of God,
bring unto the Lord the sons of rams;
bring unto the Lord glory and honor.

Bring unto the Lord glory to His name;
worship the Lord in His holy court.

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory has thundered,
the Lord is upon the many waters.

The voice of the Lord is in might,
the voice of the Lord is in majesty,

The voice of the Lord Who breaks the cedars;
yea, the Lord will break the cedars of Lebanon.

And He will reduce them to pieces like the calf of Lebanon;
and His beloved is like a son of the unicorns.

The voice of the Lord Who divides the flame of fire,
the voice of the Lord Who shakes the wilderness;
yea, the Lord will shake the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the hind give birth,
and shall strip the forests bare;
and in His temple every man tells of His glory.

The Lord dwells in the flood,
yea, the Lord shall sit as king for ever.

The Lord will give strength unto His people;
the Lord will bless His people with peace.

And at the conclusion of Psalm 28(9):

[The Priest names each bell, saying:

In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall be called by the name (N.), according to the grace granted to us from the life-creating Spirit.




[Again and again on bended knees] let us pray to the Lord.


Lord, have mercy.

And [kneeling down,] the Priest [places his hand on (each) bell, while he] prays aloud [the following] Prayer:

O Lord our God, Who desirest always to be glorified and worshiped by all Thy faithful: In the Old Covenant, Thou didst command Thy servant, the Lawgiver Moses, to make silver trumpets, and the sons of Aaron, the priests, to blow them when they would offer sacrifice unto Thee, that Thy people, having heard the voice of the trumpets, would prepare themselves to worship Thee, that they might gather themselves together to offer sacrifices unto Thee, and, with the resounding voice of these trumpets in time of war, they might arm themselves with might for victory over their enemies:

Now, O most holy Master, humbly we beseech Thee: Look down mercifully on the fervent supplication of us, Thine unworthy servants, and upon this bell, fashioned for the service of Thy holy Church, and to the glory of Thy magnificent and all-holy Name:

With Thy heavenly blessing and the grace of the Thine All-consecrating Spirit, do Thou bless (+) it and consecrate it, and send down upon it the power of Thy grace,

That Thy faithful servants, having heard the voice of its peal, may be strengthened in piety and faith, and with courage, may oppose all the slanders of the devil, and overcome them by prayer and by the everlasting glorification of Thee, the True God,

That with haste, day and night, they might be led to the church in prayer and glorification of Thy holy Name.

May storms, hail, whirlwinds, fearful thunder and lightning, evil and destructive winds befalling them be appeased, calmed and made to cease at its ringing.

For Thou, O Lord our God use not only spiritual and living things for Thy glory and for the salvation and use of Thy faithful, but also inanimate things, such as the Staff of Moses and the Bronze Serpent in the Wilderness, for as Thou dost desire, Thou dost work most glorious things and perform miracles.

For everything is possible for Thee, and nothing is impossible; and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.




Peace be unto all.


And to your spirit.


Bow your heads to the Lord.


To Thee, O Lord.

And as all who are standing about bow their heads, the Priest reads this prayer:

O Master, God the Father Almighty, Who, at the voice of the trumpet, when seven priests went before the Ark of Testimony, didst cause the firm walls of Jericho to fall down and crumble, and didst deliver all living in the city into the hands of Thy people:

Fill now also this bell with Thy heavenly blessing, that the voice of its ringing, when it is heard, may banish the power of contrary winds far away from the cities of Thy faithful, and extinguish all the arrows of their fiery destruction falling upon us, that is, devouring lightning, and by Thine all-powerful and mighty right arm, let the falling hail, and every evil and harmful wind be held back and driven away; yea, let them be appeased, calmed and banished.

For Thou dost work all these things to Thy glory, that they may be a means to our salvation.

And he exclaims:

For Thine it is to be merciful and to save us, O our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father Who is without beginning, together with Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thine all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.



And, taking up the Holy Water, the Bishop (or Priest) sprinkles the top of the bell on the four sides, making the Sign of the Cross, and saying:

This bell is 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.



In like manner he sprinkles the inside on the four sides, saying the same. Then, taking up the censer, he censes the bell on the four sides, both inside and out. And as he is doing this, the Reader reads Psalm 69(70).

Psalm 69(70)

O God, attend unto my help;
O Lord, make haste to help me.

Let them be put to shame and confounded that seek after my soul.
Let them be turned back and brought to shame that desire evils for me.
Let them be turned back at once and brought to shame
that say unto me: Well done! Well done!

Let all rejoice and be glad in Thee that seek after Thee, O God;
And let them that love Thy salvation say continually: The Lord be magnified.

But I am poor and needy, O God, do Thou help me.
Thou art my Helper and my Deliverer, O Lord, do not tarry.

[Then the Priest raises his hands, and says:

Glory to Thee, O holy Trinity our God, glory to Thee!

And he anoints the bell with Holy Chrism, saying:

To the glory of the holy Trinity, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Then the following Psalm is chanted or read:

Psalm 133

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is,
for brethren to dwell together in unity.

It is like the precious ointment upon the head,
running down the beard, even the beard of Aaron,
running down to the collar of his robe;

Like the dew of Mount Hermon,
and as the dew that descends upon the mountains of Zion:

For the Lord commands the blessing,
even life for evermore. ]

When this is finished, the Deacon exclaims:



The Reading from Numbers!


Let us attend!

And the Reader chants the Reading from the Fourth Book of Moses (Numbers 10:1-10):

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

"Make for yourself two silver trumpets; of hammered work you shall make them. And they shall be for you for the calling of the assembly, and the breaking of the camps. And if you shall sound with them, the whole congregation shall be gathered to you before the doors of the Tent of Witness. And if they shall sound with one trumpet, all the rulers, even the heads of the multitudes of Israel shall come to you.

When you sound an alarm, the camps pitched to the east shall break. And when you sound an alarm a second time, the camps pitched to the south shall break. And when you sound an alarm a third time, the camps pitched to the west shall break. And when you sound an alarm a fourth time, the camps pitched to the north shall break; they shall sound an alarm at their departures.

And when you shall gather together for an assembly, you shall sound, but not an alarm. And the priests, the sons of Aaron, shall sound with the trumpets; and it shall be to you a perpetual statute throughout your generations.

And if you shall go forth to war in your land against your enemies who oppress you, then you shall sound a signal with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the Lord, and you shall be saved from your enemies.

And in the days of your rejoicing, and in your feasts, and in your New Moons, you shall sound with the trumpets over your whole-burnt offerings, and over your peace offerings; and there shall be for you a remembrance before your God: I am the Lord your God."

Then these Stikhera are sung or read. [Please also note that we have corrected the first sticheron in Tone 2 (p. 191 in the St. Tikhon's Great Book of Needs), so that it makes sense. The punctuation and wording of the version in the book make the sound of the bell into the cause of God's anger!]:

(Tone 2):

The earth and the other elements
move against us who are troubled and storm-tossed, O Lord,
because Thy fury is unleashed on account of our sins.
Having heard the voice of this sign,
as Thou heardest the silver trumpets of Moses,
with Thy deeply compassionate eyes look down upon us,
and do not convict us through Thine anger,
but, showing loving kindness, forgive us,
delivering us from all Thy fearsome threats, //
for Thou alone art merciful.

(Tone 1)

O Thou Who, as the Fashioner of all things,
alone makest the foundations of the whole earth to struggle, O God,
and causest the bed of the sea to shake,
deliver us from Thy just reproaches,
driving away, at the sound of this sign,
bad storms and ill winds, thunder and lightning.
Give us courage to strive always to Thy glory,
and to the fulfillment of the commandments of Thy Saints, //
as Thou art the Lover of Mankind.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

(Tone 4)

O Lord Who by Thyself alone
didst fashion all things instantly in the beginning,
and Who now, through the voice of this consecrated bell
dost effect everything among us:
Do Thou banish all despondency and laziness
from the hearts of Thy faithful.
Graft the fear of Thee, together with godliness,
in us who are hastening to prayer,
and through Thy power move us to make haste in every good deed,
delivering us from every slander of enemies,
and preserving us unharmed in a safe haven from destructive winds:
through the prayers of the Theotokos and all Thy Saints, //
as Thou alone art compassionate.

At the conclusion of these:


Wisdom! Most holy Theotokos, save us!


More honorable than the cherubim and more glorious, beyond compare, than the seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee!


Glory to Thee, O Christ our God, and our Hope, glory to Thee!


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (thrice). Master [Father], bless!

And the usual Daily Dismissal.