Will Harvards Lowell House bells return to Russia?
Background: Harvard has a set of 18 Russian bells purchased from the Soviet government in 1930, one of only five complete, intact sets of pre-revolutionary Russian bells left in the world. They came from Moscow's oldest monastery, which is now also the Patriarch's residence.
The monastery has been trying to get the bells back for the past 20 years, but they have become part of Harvard's culture too, and the university is not just hoping to get rid of them. Among other things, two towers would have to be dismantled in order to remove them. Nonetheless, the dialogue has been amicable, and Harvard is willing to entertain the idea of their return.
In reverse chronological order, the whole story is archived here, mostly from Harvard sources, for your convenience:
Details of a joint plan to study the feasibility of returning the Lowell House bells to Danilov Monastery. (Harvard Gazette)
Harvard announced that it would commission a study to determine the cost and feasibility of returning the Lowell House bells to their ancestral home in a Moscow monastery. (Harvard Crimson)
After years of clicking a link on the Lowell House website to hear their Russian bells clang, a delegation of monks from Moscow rang the bells in person for the first time this weekend. (Harvard Crimson)
As a delegation of monks arrives to urge Harvard to return their monasterys
bells, realistic discussions of the cost of such a project take place.
This is an important development, in view of some of the wildly inflated
figures being bandied about previously. (Harvard Crimson)
A delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church will start talks with the authorities of Harvard University on the return to Russia of 18 old bells of the Svyato-Danilov monastery in Boston on Friday. (Pravda Online)
A delegation of monks from Moscows Danilov Monastery is due to
arrive in Cambridge today for a brief trip to see the Lowell House bells
and ask the University to return them to the 721-year-old monastery
where they originated. (Harvard Crimson)
Visa problems prevented a delegation of Muscovite monks from coming
to Harvard this weekend on a quest to reclaim their sacred bells from
Lowell House. (Harvard Crimson)
St Prince Daniel of Moscow, the son of legendary Russian military leader
St Alexander Nevsky, founded the Danilov monastery with the building
of a small church in 1282. (Harvard Crimson)
MOSCOW At the top of the bell tower of Danilov Monastery, fruit
flies buzz around the dark metal bells and a cool breeze sweeps off
the nearby Moscow river.... (Harvard Crimson)
Lowell House attempted to share their coveted bells in spirit
if not in kind with their original owner in a noontime ceremony
yesterday. (Harvard Crimson)
To the editors: As many Crimson readers know, the Patriarch of the Russian Church has appealed to have the Lowell House Bells returned to the Motherland. We regret to inform the Patriarch... [Actually this article ends up surprisingly sympathetic. See the following opinion piece for context.] (Harvard Crimson)
MOSCOW - Every Sunday, at the Lowell House dormitory on Harvard University's Cambridge, Massachusetts campus, a klappermeister climbs to the top of a red brick tower and creates a sound that has become almost as central to dorm life there as all-night study sessions or fast food. (St Petersburg Times)
The Russians are mad at Harvard again. But this time, instead of faculty
bungling their economy, its an alum pilfering their bells. In
1930, Charles Crane bought 18 bells from the St. Danilov Monastery to
save them from the Soviet authorities, who wanted to melt them down,
and donated them to Harvard. But now the rebuilt monastery wants them
back by March 2003. (Harvard Crimson)
The Lowell House bells, whose tones resound for a quarter-hour each Sunday morning, may be claimed by an echo of their Russian past. (Harvard Crimson)
Translated from the website of the organizing committee of the monastery's 700th jubilee.
Including a bell page where you can click and ring the Harvard-Danilov bells.
Mostly in Russian, but some English.