HBS marked a unique occasion today – the installation of its “Centennial Bell” in the cupola of the School’s Baker Library. The bell replaces one of eighteen bells made in Russia before the Russian Revolution and owned by Harvard University for more than 75 years. In the course of the next year or so, all of them will be returned to Russia’s St. Danilov Monastery in an exchange that will restore the originals to the monastery, considered the spiritual home of Russian Orthodoxy.

The new bell, made of copper with a small amount of zinc, was cast by the Vera forgery in the Voronezh region of southwestern Russia. Weighing 4,409 pounds, it was specifically crafted to celebrate HBS’s 100th anniversary, which will be observed throughout 2008.

The new bell bears the inscription “Harvard Business School, 1908-2008,” and the words “Leadership-Excellence-Integrity,” concepts at the core of the School’s mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world. It also features images of Baker Library, the St. Danilov Monastery, and a Faberg‚ egg nestled in decorative ivy. Before shipment to the Harvard Business School campus, the bell was consecrated on July 24 by Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow and All Russia.

“It is a great honor to receive this exquisite new bell from the St. Danilov Monastery on the eve of the School’s centennial anniversary,” said Professor John Quelch, Senior Associate Dean and Faculty Chair for Centennial Planning. “Atop the iconic Baker Library, it will become part of the tradition and life of the School for hundreds of years to come. Its Russian heritage reminds us of the global nature of this institution, with students, faculty, staff, and alumni coming from around the world. We are grateful to the members of the St. Danilov Monastery and all the craftspeople who have helped make this day possible.”

The original eighteen St. Danilov Monastery bells came to Harvard University as a gift from Charles R. Crane, a U.S. industrialist and diplomat, who had purchased them in 1930 to prevent them from being melted down for ammunition by the Soviet government in an anti-religion drive that included the destruction of churches and monasteries throughout Russia as well as the execution of thousands of monks. The Danilov bells were one of a very few set of bells that survived the Stalinist era.

One bell was hung at Baker Library, while the other seventeen were sent to Lowell House, a dormitory for Harvard College undergraduates.

The costs associated with the bell exchange are being funded by the Link of Times Foundation. Cast in the 18th and 19th centuries, the original bells are considered to be among the best pre-Russian Revolution bell sets, or ensembles, in existence.

The original bell will arrive in Moscow on September 12, 2007. The seventeen Lowell House bells will be exchanged in the summer of 2008 and returned to the monastery that autumn.

Facts and Figures:

-The original HBS bell was not included in the Lowell House ensemble because it was regarded as too close in tone to one of the larger Lowell House bells.

-The old bell weighs 4,731 pounds and is 59 inches in diameter.

-The new bell weighs 4,409 pounds, is 57 inches in diameter and 61 inches in height.

-Bells in the Russian Orthodox faith are considered “singing icons” that act as a spiritual intermediary between God and the faithful.

-The bells do not swing but hang in a static position. They are rung with clappers.

-New bell is adorned with the Harvard University and Harvard Business School seals, the Baker Library facade, an image of the Danilov Monastery, a Faberge egg, English Ivy, the foundry mark and the words “Leadership – Excellence – Integrity,” and “Harvard Business School, 1908 – 2008.”