St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America
Nanticoke, Pennsylvania
Home > St. John's Heavenly Bells
A Call to Worship

Three beautiful and richly robust bronze bells ring out across Hanover Section to glorify God and call the people to worship. Each day, a peal can be heard at noon and 6:00pm announcing the time of day. The three ring in unison on Sunday mornings as well to welcome the Blessed Kingdom of God into which we enter in the Divine Liturgy, and a single, slow and solemn requiem toll accompanies funeral and memorial services for the dead.

These impressive bronze beauties were cast for St. John's nearly 100 years ago in 1912 at McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, Maryland. McShane began producing church bells in 1856 and has not made any significant changes to their casting method since they began. They claim to have over 300,000 of their bells still pealing today all over the world and were recently featured on the Discovery Channel's 'Dirty Jobs' television program.
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The view as seen from inside the belfry looking through the louvred window to the street below. Though this does not appear especially high up when seen from the street, this vantage point offers a dizzying perch to anyone trying to balance on 100 year old joists in close quarters with three imense bells.
Below is both the inside and the outside of our large Blue cupola which crowns our belfry and is the highest point on our temple. This radiant blue beacon can be seen from the town of Nanticoke proper as one is headed into the Hanover section by way of Prospect Street, however the best place to see it is at the end of Market Street, one block over.
This is the littlest bell beneath our lovely large cupola over the entrance to our temple. The inscription on it reads;


"Given by John Boback, Peter Wanchisen, John 'Fenvo' (?) St. John the Baptist"

The Boback's and Wanchisen's are old, long standing founding families of St. John's and have been a part of this parish for nearly 100 years. They are in fact related to one another and have produced a number of priests to serve the Orthodox Church in America, including Fr. Daniel Hubiak, Fr. Theodore Boback, and Fr. Michael Kovach (by marriage).
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Whenever Fr. Adam is asked "What kind of Russian are you", his reply is usually "Irish Catholic Russian". This is the one and only disclaimer offered for his poor translation of the inscriptions on our bells. This is our medium sized bell. The inscription reads;

"Gift of 'Bratstva, Cheslo soed 166' Rhone, PA svyati Spasa"

.....Or something like that. It seems to be a gift from a local club in Rhone, the old name of Nanticoke's Hanover section where we are located. We will update this when we find a suitable translator!
Better luck with this one, perhaps! This is our largest and most robust sounding bell and its size makes one wonder how it was ever hefted so high above the street. The inscription reads;

"Gift of 'Virnikov', Church of St. John the Baptist, Rhone, PA, Peter and Paul"

Perhaps a gift of someone on the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul? We will know for sure someday when a more qualified translator is willing to ascend the rickety ladder to read them or to at least have a look at this website and take a crack at it.