On August, 9th 2008 from port of Boston in a direction of Russia the ship onboard which are 17 historical danilov bells has gone. The bell ensemble in gross weight more than 24 tons has been shipped on the ship in two stages. The greatest anxiety of experts was caused with procedure of rise aboard the largest bell, «Big», weight about 12 tons. This complex technical operation has been successfully realized under the careful control of representatives of «The Link of Times» foundation and the invited experts.

Bell lifting

On July, 28th — August, 7th 2008 in Harward on the Lowell House tower the new bells have been lifted and established. From July, 28 till July, 31st bells of the small and average size have been hanged out on perimeter of a tower according to the scheme developed together with the Russian experts. Then on August, 4th the biggest ‘blagovestnik’ by weight in 14 tons has been lifted and established. After, on August, 5–7th, the turn of two other ‘blagovestnik’s, weight of 6 and 3 tons has come. All three ‘blagovestnik’s have been established on the complex damping devices developed by The Fund specially for Harward. From the Russian side representatives of the Society of Church Bell ringers I.Konovalov, K.Mishurovsky, G.Titenkov and the Danilov monastery senior bell ringer hierodeacon Roman took participation in works.

On July, 8th 2008 at the Harward university from the Lowell House tower last bells of ensemble have been removed. Then ceremony of an exchange of ancient «daniel’s» bells on their copies cast at the Voronezh factory «Vera» specially for Harward took place. The tripartite agreement between «The Link of Times» foundation, St. Daniel’s Monastery and the Harward University about an exchange of bells has been signed. It was signed by Vladimir Voronchenko, archimandrite Alexey and the president of Harward madam Drew Faust.

Signing of the tripartite agreement. Archimandrite Alexey, Vladimir Voronchenko, Drew Faust. Harward, on July, 8th 2008.

On the occasion of ceremony near to the Lowell House tower for the first time in history of University took place thankful public prayer on an orthodox ceremony — it was lead by the vicar of St. Daniel’s Monastery Archimandrite Alexey. After ceremony all 17 bells have been sent on a temporary warehouse in Boston. There they will have training preparation for distant voyage to Russia.

June 1–2, 2008. The bell-ringing festival and a symposium devoted to the upcoming exchange of the bell ensembles took place in Harvard University. The trip of Russian delegation was sponsored by “The Link of Times” foundation.  Russian delegation included the vicar of Moscow St. Daniel’s Monastery, archimandrite Alexei and 5 monks from the cloister, Mrs. M. N. Belogubov, head of the department of Plenipotentiary of The President of Russian Federation in Central Federal Region administration, Mr. Konstantine Mishurovsky, specialist from the Church Bell-ringers Society and 11 members of festive choir of Moscow St Daniel’s Monastery. During the festival and on the day of Graduation (June 5th) Danilov bells on Lowell House tower rang for the last time.  The events of June 1–2 have become another stage of the program dedicated to realization of cultural dialogue between the participating organizations engaged in the project.

December, 28, 2007. In frames of the cultural exchange program between Harvard University and Moscow St. Daniel’s Monastery and “The Link of Times” Foundation a group of students bell-ringers from Harvard University arrived in Moscow to study the art of bell-ringing. During 10 days the students studied theory and practice of bell-ringing, visited and took part in the bell-ringings on the bell-towers of Moscow Kremlin and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. 

Presentation  of the diplomas to students  of Harvard University certifying the completion of studying the art of bell-ringing in St. Daniel’s Monastery, Moscow.
(other photo)

As a part of their course, Harvard students were lectured on the history and traditions of bell-ringing in Russia, the peculiarities of architecture, casting and decorating of bells and also about the necessary safety precautions to be considered during bell-ringing. American students will use these skills on Harvard’s belfries.

Replica of the «Centennial»

1 October, 2007 The official presentation of the 2-ton ‘Centennial’ Bell takes place at Harvard Business School. The 'Centennial’ has replaced the 'Weekday’ Bell on Baker Library tower, while the historical St. Daniel’s bell was returned to Moscow. The ceremony was timed to co-inside with the centennial anniversary of the famous Harvard Business School and was held to the festive ringing of the new 'tenant’. It was the first time the new bell’s voice had been officially heard in Harvard.
In commemoration of the anniversary, 'The link of times’ Foundation gave another present to Harvard Business School. It was a specially cast 290kg replica of the ‘Centennial’ Bell, which was placed opposite the grand entrance of Baker Library on a granite pedestal. The ceremonial opening of this monument was held on the day of the presentation.

12 September, 2007 A solemn Welcome Ceremony is held in honour of ‘Weekday’ Bell in St. Daniel Monastery, founded by St. Daniel, Prince of Moscow, on St. Daniel’s Day. ‘Weekday’ Bell is the first returned of the 18 historical bells, which are going back to the monastery. The ceremony was attended by the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Alexey II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the RF Minister of Culture Alexander Sokolov, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the US Ambassador to Russia William Joseph Burns, a Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg and other important personalities.
This two-ton church-going bell was cast in the 18th century and is the fourth heaviest bell of the historical St. Daniel’s bell ensemble.

«Weekday» Bell

8 September, 2007 ‘Weekday’ Bell, the first returned of the 18 St. Daniel’s bells arrives from New York in Moscow by plane.

22 August, 2007 19 bells, cast for Harvard University by Vera Foundry in Voronezh, arrive in New York by ship. 18 bells are replicas of the historical St. Daniel’s bell ensemble, while 19th bell was presented to Harvard University by ‘The link of times’ foundation as a gift. Until the middle of 2008, the bells will be kept in a special storage facility in Boston. By this time all historical St. Daniel’s bells will have been removed from Harvard belfries.

15 August, 2007 A solemn ceremony, which is to start the replacement of the bells, is held at Harvard University. ‘Weekday’ Bell – the first coming back bell of the historical St. Daniel’s set – was taken down from Harvard Business School library tower and replaced by a replica bell cast in Russia especially for that purpose. When both the bells were placed side by side on the truck platform, the parties signed property transfer documents, according to which the Russian Orthodox Church became the owner of ‘Weekday’ Bell and Harvard University received property rights for its exact replica.

7 August, 2007 The first of the 18 bells cast in Russia for Harvard University in return for the historical St. Daniel’s bells arrives in the USA.

24 July, 2007 Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Alexey II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, sanctifies replicas of the historical monastery bells cast in Voronezh for Harvard University. The ceremony was held in St. Daniel Monastery Sobornaya Square. The Patriarch called the new bells a masterpiece of modern church art.

Sanctification of the historical St. Daniel’s bells replicas.

 Moscow. 24 July, 2007

18 July, 2007 St. Daniel Monastery welcomes new replica bells with festive bell ringing. All the 18 bells were brought to the Monastery on a big trailer escorted by a road police vehicle. The bells will remain in the monastery till 25 July and will be then transported to America.

28 May, 2007 — The acceptance committee, which includes representatives of Harvard University headed by Sean Buffington, representatives of the «Link of times» Foundation and Danilov Monastery and independent bell experts I. Konovalov and K. Mishurovsky, accepts the major part of the new set of bells. They test the sound of each bell, evaluate the sound properties of the whole ensemble and examine the quality of the decorative appearance of the bells and their conformity with the task specifications. The commission accepts 17 replacement bells for Lowell House. The design of the 18th bell for the Harvard Business School and of two smaller commemorative bells, which need special consideration, will be accepted later.

30 March, 2007 — A 14-ton giant bell, the largest bell from the set of replacement bells for Harvard University, is cast at Vera Foundry in Voronezh. The bell casting is preceded by a public prayer held by the Superior of Danilov Monastery Archimandrite Alexy and the monastery brethren.

20 March, 2007 — The Parties sign the historical Agreement on the Exchange of Bells and Return of the Original Bells to Danilov Monastery in the Autumn of 2008 in the Residence of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

The historical moment of signing the Agreement on March 20, 2007.

14–21 March — A delegation from Harvard pays an inspection visit to Vera Foundry to check on the progress and quality of work.

February 2007 — A group of Russian experts arrives in Harvard to take the bell measures requested for the casting of replacement bells. The first new bells are cast at Vera Foundry in Voronezh.

January 2007 — The members of the Harvard University delegation take a decision to place the order for the replacement bells with Anisimov’s Vera Foundry in Voronezh. The parties reach an agreement that Danilov bells will be returned to Russia in September 2008.

19–29 August, 2006 — An official delegation from Harvard University headed by its Provost Sean Buffington visits Russia after a long period of preliminary research. The purpose of the visit is to choose a Russian foundry for the casting of the bells which are to replace the original bells.

A visit of a delegation from Harvard University to Russia in August 2006


February 2006 — Harvard University President Lawrence Summers resigns in response to protest actions organised by members of the academic staff. Derek Bok is appointed Interim President of Harvard University again after a long break.

2005 — A study carried out in Danilov monastery with the purpose of checking whether the historical bells could be safely installed in the reconstructed belltower is successfully completed. At the same time, the team of experts completes the examination of the historical Danilov bells on their belltowers in Harvard and gives a favourable opinion with regard to the possibility of their removal and replacement.

August 2004 — The Board of Trustees for the supervision of Danilov Bells Return Project is formed in Moscow. Its two co-chairmen are His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, and the Plenipotentiary Representative of the RF President in the Central Federal District  G. S. Poltavchenko. The members of the Board are Moscow Mayor Yu.M. Luzhkov, RF Minister of Foreign affairs S. V. Lavrov, RF Minister of Culture and Mass Communications  A. S. Sokolov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Renova Group  V. F. Vekselberg, the Moscow Patriarch’s Administrator Metropolitan of Kaluga and Borovsk Kliment, and the Superior of St. Daniel Monastery Archimandrite Alexy.

Viktor Vekselberg


May 2004 — A group of bell-ringing students from Harvard interested in the Russian bell-ringing tradition visits Danilov Monastery. This visit helps to strengthen the relations of mutual trust, which are beginning to form between the University and the Monastery.

2004 — Viktor Vekselberg responds to the Patriarch’s appeal. He confirms his initial promise to provide an overall financial support of the project and offers his assistance in the implementation of technically difficult operations. With the approval of the Board, the «Link of times» Cultural and Historical Foundation, in which Viktor Vekselberg performs the functions of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, joins in the negotiation process.

February 2004 — His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II addresses the countrymen and all the people interested in the cultural revival of Russia with an appeal for help in the realization of the project.

15 December, 2003 — A press conference on the results of the talks is held at Danilov Monastery. 

December 2003 Archimandrite Alexy with the representatives of Harvard University

4–8 December 2003 — The first official talks between the Russian delegation and the University authorities are held at Harvard University. On the completion of the talks, the Parties sign a Joint Statement, which reflects the friendly atmosphere of the talks and demonstrates their mutual goodwill. The document emphasizes that Harvard University acquired Danilov bells in an absolutely legitimate way and that the Russian Party acknowledges the University’s right of ownership.

The University undertakes to carry out an engineering study with a view to determining the possibility of the bells’ removal and replacement and calculating the cost of works. The study is to be done at the expense of the University. The Parties agree to resume the talks if the expert commission presents a favourable report. The Russian Party further declares that if the Parties finally reach the agreement on the return of the bells to Danilov monastery, it will bear all the expenses connected with the removal of the bells from the Lowell House tower, casting of the replacement set and transportation. However, it is still unclear who will help to finance the realization of this expensive project in Russia.

Kliment, Metropolitan of Kaluga and Borovsk

May 2003 — the monastery gets a reply from Lawrence Summers, President of Harvard University. The letter is composed in a friendly and well-intentioned tone. The University is ready to start the dialogue with the monastery.

February 2003 — Father Superior writes an official letter to the President of Harvard University Lawrence Summers. At the meeting of the committee for the organization of the festivities on the occasion of the Holy Prince Daniel’s 700th anniversary, the Patriarch blesses the formation of a «special working group» for the return of the Relic. The Archbishop Kliment of Kaluga is appointed its Chairman. The group includes officials from the staff of the RF President’s Plenipotentiary Representative in the CFD, representatives of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FR Ministry of Culture, RF Ministry of Atomic Energy, Russian Academy of Sciences and the American Orthodox Church.

2002 — In connection with the forthcoming 700th anniversary of St. Prince Daniel and under the blessing of His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia, the Monastery raises the issue of the bells again. In December, the «Moscow Times» publishes an interview with Archimandrite Alexy. The interview is dedicated to the return of the bells to the Monastery. It gets a wide favourable coverage in American press. 

Президент Рейган с братией Данилова монастыря
President Reagan with Danilov monks, 1988

1995 — Father Superior of Danilov Monastery Archimandrite Alexy sends a letter to President of Harvard University Neil Rudenstein. However, there is no official response and the matter does not get any further development. 

Derek Bok, President of Harvard University in 1971–1991.

1988 — During Ronald Reagan’s visit to Danilov Monastery, the American President expresses his approval of the bells return. Danilov Monastery father Superior, Archimandrite Tikhon, takes certain steps aimed at the solution of the issue. A letter on behalf of His Holiness the Patriarch was sent to Harvard University. The father Superior gets a reply, in which the University Administration highlights the problems connected with the realization of the project. Moscow Patriarchate has no means or authority to overcome them.

Archbishop Eulogy, the first Father Superior of the reopened Monastery

1985–86 — American Christians express a wish to help Danilov Monastery. The Parties exchange letters and hold preliminary negotiations to consider the possible ways of returning the relic to the monastery by the date of 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus (1988). President of Harvard University Derek Bok offers to return the 18th bell (131 pood = 2150kg), which is installed separately from the rest of the Danilov bells ensemble. However, at this stage the dialogue between the Moscow Patriarchate and the University is impossible due to the difficult conditions, in which the Church was placed in the USSR.

1985 — Father Superior of St. Daniel Monastery, Archimandrite Evlogy, addresses the US Ambassador in the USSR Mr. Hartman with an verbal request about the bells. The Ambassador, a Harvard graduate, confirms that the bells are well-preserved and makes a supposition that they could be returned to the Monastery.