Monday, October 12, 2009

The call to prayer, on video!

Turkey and Armenia have just signed historic accords aimed to end a century of hostility and mistrust between them.
I wish them luck. Today's post for That's My World Tuesday (Klaus' meme is one year old today!) is dedicated to the people living in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

If you remember an earlier post about the Armenian Orthodox St. James Cathedral, we said that many centuries ago the Ottoman Turks issued an edict forbidding the ringing of church bells in Jerusalem. As a legal loophole, a wooden board or an iron sheet called a simandron (or nakos, in Arabic) cleverly replaced bells to call the monks and the public to prayer.
Ottoman rule ended in 1917 and today Israel has freedom of religious expression. Many church bells ring in the Old City. But in memory of those centuries of Moslem prohibition of the bells, an Armenian monk emerges from the church every weekday and hammers on the simandron just before 3:00 pm vespers.

Try not to be distracted by the two women who cross the church courtyard on their way to buy candles to light during the service. Let's just say that it shows how well "hidden" I was beside a pillar while filming (which is forbidden).
What do you prefer? Did you enjoy the spirited hammering on the simandron, right next to you, or would you rather hear bells up in a tower?

(For more about Armenians in Jerusalem please click on my "Armenians" label below or in the margin.)
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday.)


FA said...

Great post and great video, Dina. Carmelites used to use a "clapper" - a one piece system with two boards tie together that when shaked they would clap against each other and call the community to prayer. Since Vatican Council 2 bells have replaced the clapper - except during Lent (and especially during Holy Week) when we still use it.

Dina said...

FA shalom. Hope you will show us this clapper. Maybe next Lent?

Kay said...

Although I like the bonging sound of bells, this simandron is very interesting. The whole history of this is even more intriguing.

Pietro said...

Great post, Dina. Simandron is interesting and new to me. I always like very much the bells in the towers: in the Liguria region, they play complete songs, with all the right notes! Really thrilling!

Erin said...

i like bells i do believe. this sounds like a woodpecker but, i do understand the history of simandron.
have a lovely week.

Dimple said...

Interesting. I imagine a sheet of iron would have a very different, metallic sound. This one had a warm wood-y quality to it.

Snap said...

Great and interesting post. I quite liked the Simandron, but have a soft place in my heart for bells.

Guy D said...

Great post Dina, thanks so much for sharing.

All the best
Regina In Pictures

eileeninmd said...

Great post and video. I liked the ringing of the bells. I am happy to see they still found a way to ring the bells.

Jack and Joann said...

I prefer bells myself but the history of the simandron is intriguing. Maybe teenagers who groove to rock and step music might prefer the simandron.

I bet you miss your grandson who lives in Australia. And speaking of Australia just discovered a Jewish author in Australia who wrote a thoughtprovoking book about the Holocaust thru the eyes of Germans living near Dachau, Germany. The title is THE BOOK THIEF and the book's narrator is death. It is a book that lingers in your mind after reading it.

J Bar said...

Always interesting.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Sylvia K said...

Really interesting and informative post and, like Snap, I liked the Simandron, but I too have a soft place in my heart for bells. Great video, Dina1


James said...

Very interesting. unfortunately my speakers are not working. :(

Hilda said...

I don't think I'd mind what kind of bells, boards, gongs or whatever I hear, as long as people respond to the call to prayer. The world can use every kind of prayer. Turkey and Armenia too.

Besides, I like all kinds of percussion instruments. ;)

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

That's an interesting piece of history, Dina. I didn't know that.

Calls to prayers are so diverse across religions, times, and traditions.

In Indonesia, in addition to adzan (Moslems' chant-like call to prayers), mosques also used to use "kentongan" (bamboo or wooden "bells") and huge drums to call believers to prayers.

"Kentongan" are also used by the Indonesian Hindus then and up till now to announce something and call villagers to the village's temple.

Many mosques still use "kentongan" and drums to call believer to prayers, although many have also abandoned them after the introduction of loudspeaker.

♥ Łucja-Maria ♥ said...

Shalom Dina!

Beautiful and very interesting post.
U you can always learn interesting information.
I wish you a nice Sunday.
Greetings from Poland.

Tom said...

we should never forget, but should forgive

Patti B said...

It seems that no matter what's going on people still find ways to practice their faith. Thanks for sharing.

Monika B said...

Wonderfull philms.