One of two bells cast at a Moscow foundry to commemorate the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States was presented to His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on Tuesday April 1, 2003.
One day earlier Archimandrite Zacchaeus, Dean of the Orthodox Church in America’s Representation Church of Saint Catherine in Moscow presented a brief report on the bell to His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman and members of the Holy Synod of Bishops during their Spring Session. The casting of the bells was coordinated by the Orthodox Church in America and its Representation to the Moscow Patriarchate.
The bell, which will eventually hang in the reconstructed Saint Nicholas Church, which was destroyed in the attack on the World Trade Center, was presented to Archbishop Demetrios on behalf of Metropolitan Herman by Archimandrite Zacchaeus. The bell’s twin will be hung in a special memorial tower at the OCA’s Representation Church in Moscow.
Each 70 pound bell is inscribed in English and Russian with the words, “God, have mercy on their souls,” and bears relief icons of the Resurrection, the Mother of God, Saint Nicholas and the Holy Cross.
“According to ancient Russian tradition, it is believed that the chiming of memorial bells uplifts our prayers to the Lord for those who have died,” wrote A. M. Engoyan, General Director of the Litex Bell Casting and Manufacturing Company, Moscow, in a personal message to Archbishop Demetrios. “Prayer is not subject to borders, time or distance. It is not restricted by the tens of thousands of kilometers that separate New York and Moscow, not circumscribed by the days and hours that have passed since the catastrophe. May the chiming of these bells be the bridge that unites the peoples of our lands and those who pray for the souls of the innocent victims of this heinous crime.”
In expressing his deep gratitude to the Orthodox Church in America, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, and the faithful of Saint Catherine Representation Church, Archbishop Demetrios noted that the twin bells indeed will echo one another whenever they were rung. The plans for reconstructing St. Nicholas Church are underway and in the words of Archbishop Demetrios, “will provide an Orthodox witness to those who come to Ground Zero and provide a spiritual refuge for all who want to find the peace of God.”
Present with Archbishop Demetrios and Archimandrite Zacchaeus in the chapel at Archdiocesan headquarters in New York, were Archdiocesan Auxiliary Bishops Dimitrios and Gerasimos; the Very Rev. Alex Karloutsos, member of the Governor’s Board for the reconstruction of Ground Zero and Executive Director of Leadership 100; the Very Rev. Gregory Havrilak, Associate to the General Secretary of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA); and Mr David Wagschal, Secretary for the Department of Interchurch Relations and Ecumenical Witness.