Vera LLC, of Voronezh— Profile

Vera LLC was founded in 1989, one of the first companies, if not the first, to cast bells after Perestroika.

The bell foundry was blessed in 1989 by Metropolitan Methodiy of Voronezh and Lipetsk and is devoted exclusively to bell production. It has all the equipment needed for the complete manufacture of bells from design to shipping.

The company itself is privately held by its founder and director, Valeriy Nikolaevich Anisimov. Its chief engineer is V.V. Serkov, its chief foundryman is V.E. Lysikov, and its chief artist is N.V. Minakov, and it employs 27 persons full time and 5 part-time as designers, artists, moulders, pattern-makers, caulkers, milling machine operators, turners, welders, electricians, smiths, smelting technicians, etc.

Based on the careful analysis of historic bells, modern acoustical research, and the experience of casting over 8000 bells in the past decade, the firm has created a most euphonious set of bells whose excellence is confirmed time and again at Russia’s most important bell exhibitions.

Vera’s bells are moulded in ceramic forms. Ceramic moulding provides a maximally smooth surface which requires only minor stamping and polishing once the bell is removed from the casting pit. The crown on Vera’s bells has been specially patented.

The modeling of iconography, inscriptions, and other ornamentation is executed either in latex or using laser-incised lindenwood. Customers attest to the uniquely detailed and precise ornamentation.

At the request of the customer, the surface of a bell can be given an artificial patina or, on the contrary, it can be protected from oxidation in such a way that allows the golden color of bronze to last a long time.

The tongues of the bells are either turned or forged, or are of composite construction, depending on weights and requirements of the order. Bimetallic clappers using a steel rod with a bronze nucleus are specially moulded.

The factory has lathes for the correction of bell sound. A rotary milling table allows the foundry to treat bells of weight up to three tons.

Since 1989, the firm has supplied bells for about 1500 churches, as well as for museums, theatres, civic organizations— as mentioned, about 8000 bells to date! The annual volume of production is about 100 metric tons. Some important customers have been

Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, Zvennigorod (35-ton bell)

Trinity-Sergius Lavra
St. Sofia Cathedral, Novgorod
Valaam Monastery clock tower

Christ the Savior Church, Southbury, Connecticut
Descent of the Holy Spirit Church, Los Osos, California

Cathedrals of the following cities:
Mirny, Yakutia (above Arctic Circle)
Sviyazhsk Lake, Tatarstan
Bielostok, Poland
Tsetinie, Montenegro
Ostrog Monastery, Yugoslavia
Patras, Greece

Clock tower in Kazan
Clock tower at Klukonschpiel Kirche in Archangelsk

Large bell sets for cathedrals of all Hero Cities of the former USSR

And many, many others.

Due to the large number of bells produced under very regular conditions, chemical and structural analyses are conducted only on a statistical sample of the bells which are cast for Russian use, as a matter of quality control. However, all bells made for export are analyzed, by requirement of Russian Customs. All are unvarying in the superior quality of their bronze.

All Vera bells are insured for 100 years under a Certificate of Warranty. Defects are corrected, or the bell recast, free of charge. In actual practice, defects do not occur.

The firm has received innumerable letters of gratitude from priests who have acquired its bells. It participates in all bell exhibitions, and has won numerous diplomas, including a patriarchal gramota and the Order of St Daniel (depicted above).

The success of the enterprise is based on its expertise in all branches of the foundry’s work. In particular, its artists and foundry masters are among the best in Russia. The managing team has the highest training in bell-founding, and its foundrymen have more than 25 years’ experience. New foundrymen are hired only after they’ve received several years of higher apprenticeship in bell founding.

The firm cooperates in campanological and acoustical research with the Voronezh Federal institute of Communication and also with the Acoustics Laboratory of the Naval Institute in St. Petersburg, and keeps abreast of current research about bells and bell music. Vera is a member of the Campanological Arts Association of Russia (AKIR).

Vera adheres to the canonical usages of the Russian Orthodox Church regarding the manufacture and tuning of bells. Some special orders for Catholic churches, carillons, etc. have required individual work according to customer specifications, but generally, decorations, iconography, and font faces used for the ornamentation of bells are completely traditional.

The firm cooperates with many building and restoration organizations occupied with resurrection of Russia’s thousands of desroyed temples. From time to time, the firm is called upon to produce exact replicas of historic bells. In such cases, an exact copy of the old bell is made, capturing the original down to its smallest details through the application of new materials and technologies.

Such cooperation also assumes the exchange of information and services for the (re)construction of bell towers and the hanging of bells. The training of zvonars is conducted at the Voronezh seminary’s Dormition Church belltower, and also at the foundry’s own belltower in Shilovo.

Future plans include the casting of bells heavier than 16 tons, as well as the perfecting of existing sets of bells. Bells are the main product of the factory, but the company is currently exploring the naturally related fine-art sculpture market.

The firm has a number of shops in Moscow and St. Petersburg and other Russian and foreign dioceses, but deliveries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States comprise only a minor percentage of the foundry’s total volume.

The firm is represented outside the CIS by Blagovest Bells of San Anselmo, California.