|Why do we not ring the handbells during the consecration of gifts?|
Dear Fr. Chris, why do we not ring the handbells during the consecration of the gifts?
The handbells were an extremely late addition to the liturgy during the reign of Queen Mary of the Habsburg Dynasty. It was at her insistence that all bells be rung during the consecration of the gifts, so she would know which churches were at what point during the service, whether Roman Catholic or Serbian Orthodox. The handbells themselves were used as a signal for the larger bells to be rung, as the bell ringers could not see the consecration of the gifts, due to the closed curtain. This was also a signal to the people to respond with “Amen” as they would not know when the consecration happened. There is no theological significance to this bell ringing. Thus, since the curtain and doors are open during the consecration, there is no need to ring the bells to let people know.