Archbishop's Visit & Blessing of Bells in Randolph, NJ

On Sunday, October 8th, at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Randolph, NJ, His Eminence Archbishop Michael served a Hierarchical Liturgy and presented Mitred Archpriest George Hasencz with a Gramata for priestly service in anticipation of Fr. George's 60th Anniversary of ordination to the Priesthood on December 8th. Also in attendance was the V. Rev. Samuel Kedala, who once served as Deacon at Holy Trinity Church before serving as Priest-Rector of Holy Spirit Orthodox Church in Wantage (a sister parish established with the support of Holy Trinity Church); the V. Rev. David R. Fox, Rector of Holy Trinity Church; Fr. Dn. Stefan Karglut; Subdeacons Mark Federoff and Zach Parisi; Maximos Fox, who is blessed to serve as Subdeacon at Holy Trinity Church, and altar servers Ezekiel Fox and John Federoff.

After Divine Liturgy, His Eminence, clergy, choir, and parishioners, singing, "O Lord, Save Thy People" processed to the site of the new Bell Tower, where His Eminence, assisted by clergy and servers, led prayers for the Blessing of a New Bell Tower, New Bells and an Icon of the Most Holy Trinity, which adorns the new tower. The new bells were blessed with the name of patron saints of five families of the parish, who provided for these bells in memory of loved ones.

The tower project began over five years ago, as the clergy and laity of Holy Trinity Church sought a tangible way to honor Carol Wetmore for her 50 years of service as Choir Director of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. The Parish Council, led by then-President Eugene Bohensky, joined Fr. David in seeking guidance from Constantine Stade, President of the Church Bell Company, and original plans for the prospective tower morphed into a more extensive plan to build an entirely new bell Tower and add 5 new bells to the existing set of four, and to mount the bells in a fixed position to be rung through an interconnected series of ropes and clappers attached to the bells, following the tradition of bell ringing in the Russian Orthodox Church.

The new plan was supported by the parish and funds were raised to support the more extensive project. Victor O'Malley, of the Holy Trinity community, led the efforts to build the new tower in place of the former one, and he was joined by many members of Holy Trinity Church, representing long-time and more recent Orthodox Christians. Efforts were delayed because of the outbreak of the pandemic and other related challenges, until the completion of the project in 2023. Constantine Stade trained several members of Holy Trinity in the art of Russian Bell Ringing, and provided extensive instructions on how and when to ring the bells.

The new Bell Tower and Bell Ringing offers a beautiful new call to the faithful for services and an extension of the Church's presence into the surrounding community, as well as calling the worshippers to concentrate attention at these particular moments in the worship of the Church. The bells are also used to signal the arrival of our Hierarch.

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