"Promise of future glory"

Bishop Norbert Trelle inaugurates six new bells for Hildesheim Cathedral

The consecration of the new bells for the renovated cathedral has taken place. On Wednesday evening the Hildesheim Bishop Norbert Trelle anointed the six bells during a prayer meeting at the cathedral. They were raised into the western tower on Thursday morning.

Bischof Trelle salbt die nach dem Hl. Oliver Plunkett benannte Glocke mit Chrisamöl, rechts daneben Diakon i. R. Günther Nerger

Bishop Trelle anoints the bell named after
St. Oliver Plunkett with chrism, next to him
on the right Deacon Emeritus Günther
Nerger. Foto: bph

Several hundred spectators had gathered in front of the west side of Hildesheim Cathedral to see the new bells for the first time and to be present at their consecration. The evening event was described as a "promise of coming glory" by Bishop Norbert Trelle, referring to August 15th, when the cathedral will be reopened and the church bells heard together for first time. "Through their sound, the bells are to draw attention to a place where the praise of God shall never fall silent," said Trelle, happy about a further step completed along the way to the new cathedral. The six "new" bells will complement the existing six, the oldest of which dates back to the year 1765.

"Bells can serve as an example to us. We too can use our voice to give a sense of God's love, and this can have a far-reaching effect. What we say and how we say it has an impact, and sometimes over time,” Trelle said. He recalled bells in the mountains that can be heard clearly over long distances. "Our lives can be a body of sound, like a melody that lives on in others" said the bishop.

The consecration of a bell is one of a bishop’s original duties. In addition to holy water and incense, chrism oil is also used. After the anointing, each of the bells was sounded three times by their "creator", the bell caster Albert Bachert, using a mallet. They had been cast in the bell foundry Bachert in Karlsruhe in November. The largest bell weighs 850 kg and has a diameter of 110 cm, the smallest weighs 180 kg and measures 64 cm. They bear the names of witnesses of the faith who are particularly venerated in the diocese of Hildesheim: Martin of Tours, Bishop Altfrid, Hedwig of Silesia, Oliver Plunkett, Niels Stensen and Edith Stein.

The financing of the bronze bells took place exclusively through donations, the total cost of the project amounting to 210,000 Euro. The cathedral dean, Hans-Georg Koitz, expressed thanks to all those who contributed to the success, especially the Cathedral Construction Society and the Diocese of Hildesheim fundraising office.

The simultaneous casting of six bells for a single church is an unusual event, stressed Andreas Philipp, the expert responsible. Usually active in the Hanoverian State Church and the Diocese of Erfurt, he supervised the project for more than six years, from the creation of the initial concept through to the hanging of the bells. A particular challenge was to adjust the pitch and tonal character to match Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling’s old bells. "We are very pleased with the result, three of the bells did not even require retuning," said Bachert.

The bodies of sound were lifted into the belfry in the west section of the cathedral on Thursday morning. They will be hung in the belfry in July.

Video of the consecration and transportation to the west section.