Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Church Bells Ring Blessings through Neighborhood

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Church Bells Ring Blessings through Neighborhood

Article excerpt

Byline: JEANINE DEBOER

For 10 years there was silence.

Now each day at noon and every Sunday, the sound of bells brightens the days of many who live off Bowden Road.

It's coming from the bell tower recently added to St. George's Orthodox Church.

The carillon bell system inside the tower has more than 250 tunes programmed and is topped with a dome and a cross. It took 10 months to construct the $200,000 tower.

About 300 people recently gathered at the church for a dedication ceremony to introduce the finished tower and the sound of the bells to the community.

Although the sound of the aluminum bell can be appreciated throughout the neighborhood, the dome atop the tower is what those inside the church have been longing for for a decade.

"The church was not complete," said the Rev. Kamal Al-Rahil.

"We were very unhappy because we did not have the dome - an Orthodox church without a dome is not an Orthodox church," he said.

When the church was built in 1998, funding was unavailable for a dome on the outside of the structure, but a half-dome was erected above the altar inside.

He said the ideas were given to contractor Ray Freiha, a parishioner of the church, and architect Ted Pappas of PBV Architects, who attends sister church St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church.

"This was our wish," Al-Rahil said.

He explained that Orthodox priests must be educated in Byzantine art and how it pertains to churches, and he recognized the need for a dome to be built. Al-Rahil said Freiha was chosen because he is familiar with this, being Orthodox himself, and has worked on other churches in the past.

The plan was proposed to the parishioners and the project was approved.

In addition to a building fund generated by fellow parishioners, Sara Demetree and her children contributed considerably to the funding of the tower in memory of her late husband, William C. …

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