Father Stephan graciously sent me the final paragraph from his presentation… a little tidbit for you to enjoy:
The bell, the instrument, is suspended between the sky and the earth.
It lives in and between two elements (two worlds) and by its sound, joins them.
As the Russians say:
• “the great bells are thunder;
• the medium bells are the sound of the forest,
• the smallest of bells — birds singing fortissimo.
The elements are speaking!”
This inevitably evokes a particular sensitivity in the bell-ringer just before the peal, and is one of the components of his artistic inspiration. “I always look up, over the earth and into the sky,” said one bell-ringer.
As they approach the bells, the ringers become a part of the elements and begin to live by their laws. They break away from earth not only in their hearts and souls, but also in body, to find themselves in a realm outside time – that of wind, sun, sky and birds.
“The zvon or peal comes from on high,” wrote one Muscovite in his diary, “you cannot see from where… it floats above the city like a cloud of sound – white, weightless, free.
It is always in the heights and from the heights.
It is as “unreachable” as a cloud.
It is above and beyond man.
It is a free cloud floating in an azure sky, in the sun, high and free and beautiful.
What falls from it are sounds, like raindrops,
yet another sign of God’s loving condescension towards us as the Incarnate Word.”