Siberian Innovation: Computer Generated Church Bells
The Kemerovskaya region located in the southeast of West Siberia is very remote. Known for the beauty of its natural resources, one section of the area, Hilly Shoriya, is called the Siberian Switzerland. Be that as it may, according to news sources, one Russian priest could not find anyone willing to take on the important task of church bell-ringer. Father Vladimir Bratonec put on his thinking cap and decided the solution was to bless his parishioners with a significant dash of computer magic.
In his own words:
“We are all skeptical about innovation, but if it aims to benefit the Church, it helps.”
The use of bells in the Russian Orthodox Church is spiritual as well as practical. Known sometimes as “singing icons,” church bells establish the acoustical space of an Orthodox church just as painted icons define its visual dimensions. Different types of bell ringing are used to mark different occasions and all types of services ranging from morning prayers to holy days. Not only that, bell-ringing fulfills several church functions including: summoning the faithful to services and proclaiming special events.
Modern technology, or specifically Microsoft Windows Software, has finally found its way into one of the most conservative of institutions. But who could blame Father Vladimir who needed a bell-ringer and found one, albeit in an unexpected way? The priest, himself is now ringing the changes with a computer.
The bell-ringer works in the following fashion. A machine is wired up to a computer and, using magnets, it is able to duplicate thousands of melodies. It can be programmed as far as a year in advance to fit all the church's feasts and religious occasions and it is remotely-controlled to boot! According to the proud priest, only a professional bell-ringer would be able to distinguish between the computer and a real person.
Now Father Vladimir has to divide his day a bit differently as he now spends as much time studying his computer manual as he does reading scriptures.
The bells are ringing for Father Vlad and his pals.
Can you hear them?
M Dee Dubroff