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    PATRIARCH ALEXIS II APPEALS FOR RETURN OF OLD BELLS FROM USA TO RUSSIA

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 9, (RIA NOVOSTI Correspondent Olga Lipich) - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II has appealed to compatriots in Russia and abroad to render assistance in returning St.Daniel Monastery bells from the Harvard University, USA, to Moscow.

    The patriarch reported about talks held between a Russian Orthodox Church delegation and the management of the Harvard University, whereby the latter has agreed to return the bells in exchange for their newly-cast copies.

    "This will be a costly project involving the lifting of the old bells from the chapel of the Harvard University hostels, the manufacture of a new set for their replacement and transportation," said Alexis II.

    "The Russian Orthodox Church is calling upon compatriots in Russia and those residing abroad by will of God, all who cherish the cultural and historical legacy of Russia, to donate what they can," says the patriarch's plea.

    The 18 bells of the St.Daniel monastery constitutes a uniquely-sounding ensemble which had been shaping up for 200 years. For Russia, these bells are a spiritual and cultural value, he said.

    After the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, these bells avoided re-casting by a miracle and were sold by the Soviet government to Harvard in 1930.

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