The Bells are Silent: The monastic wooden clapper the “Crotalus” is calling the Monks to Prayer

Bells play an important role in the monastic life. It is the Church Bells that call the monks to prayer seven times a day. Bells resound joyously to mark each liturgical celebration. After the “Mass of the Lord’s Supper” on Holy Thursday, the bells fall silent and our “Crotalus,” a wooden clapper, is used from then until the Easter Vigil. The profound silence of the bells gives way to the rhythmic strikes of the wooden clapper which makes the mood sombre as the monastic community and faithful begin to contemplate on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Latin term for this monastic wooden clapper is “Crotalus” which originated from the Greek word “krotalon” (κροταλον) meaning “rattle”. One Monk is assigned the task of using the Crotalus to call the community to prayer. Our Bells, Cronan and Ciarán, will lie silent until they swing into life to herald the resurrection of our Saviour.