Friday, September 12, 2008

Crane's Danilov bells are returned to Russia

Moscow Russia - SEVENTEEN bells from the St Danilov Monastery in Moscow have been returned by Harvard University. The peal or zvon, which is said to be the third finest in Russia, was used to herald the commencement of football matches at Harvard. Russian bells are dead hung with a system of tension ropes used to create the very distinctive Russian bellringing style (see video).

Charles Crane*, was the son and inheritor of the US Crane & Co radiator company, who had government connections and involvement with revolutionary movements in China, Slavic countries and Russian Bolsheviks, from whom he bought the Danilov bells for their scrap value when he heard they were to be demolished in 1930. He moved the bells tothe USA and donated them to Harvard where they were installed in the tower of Lowell House, a student dormitory.

"Monks have tried to recover the bells since the 1980s," Deacon Roman, one of the curators of the project to return the bells to the monastery, told Rossiiskaya Gazeta (Russian Gazette). "Harvard had a request but replied that it would be too difficult to take them down from the tower. Also, the university administration said the bells had become an important part of the campus and that the students had grown to love them. The biggest bell weighs 12 tons and they were worried that the bronze casting could be harmed during shipment." Their reluctance was assuaged with money and an offer by the Russians ti supply replicas. to part with the bells, Harvard was honored to see them returned to the St. Danilov Monastery, one of the cradles of Russian Orthodoxy, and glad to welcome a replica from the Vera factory in Voronezh, via the company known as Blagovest Bells.

* Charles Crane, a democrat and president of Crane & Co 1912-14, made twenty-three visits to Russia between 1890 and 1930. Richard Crane, his son and president of Crane & Co 1915-38, was assistant to Secretary of State Robert Lansing and US ambassador to Czechoslovakia 1918-21. According to the former ambassador to Germany William Dodd, Charles Crane "did much to bring on the Kerensky revolution which gave way to Communism." Crane returned to the United States when the Bolshevik Revolution had been completed and, although a private citizen, was given State Department reports of its progress, eg December 11, 1917 "Copy of report on Maximalist uprising for Mr Crane." which was sent by Maddin Summers, U.S. consul general, Moscow. Charles Crane was a friend and backer of Woodrow Wilson, and traveled to Russia in mid-1917 with the American Communist Lincoln Steffens, who was in touch with both Woodrow Wilson and Leon Trotsky, whose US passport was issued at the orders of Wilson. This suggests a link between Crane and Trotsky. Charles Crane's father Richard Teller Crane founded the firm of Crane & Co brass founders in Chicago in 1855, among whose early products were bells. By 1859 the firm was supplying steam heating valves for prisons and court houses. Crane & Co is still extant with a turnover of $2bn and 12,500 employees.

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Vera LLC, of Voronezh, founded 1989, the first to cast bells after Perestroika

Moscow News - St. Danilov Bells Return

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