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    Patriarch Alexis II consecrates church bell

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    VALAAM (Karelia), August 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexis II consecrated a church bell for a newly restored belfry at the Valaam monastery, in northwestern Russia, Thursday.

    The 16-ton bell, the Apostle Andrew, donated by the St. Andrew Endowment, will be the largest of the thirteen bells in Valaam's Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior. It is a replica of the original bell, destroyed by an artillery shell during World War II.

    "This bell will adorn the belfry of the Savior's Transfiguration Cathedral, calling for prayer and testifying to the spiritual revival of the Valaam cloister after the decades of hardship that it went through during war and postwar years," Alexis said.

    After the ceremony, the patriarch rang the bell to hear what it sounded like.

    The Valaam monastery was founded in the first half of the 10th century by Greek missionaries Sergius and Germanus.

    Monastic life, subdued throughout the communist era, saw revival in the cloister in the late 1980s, and the renovation of Valaam's 72-meter-tall belfry then got underway.

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