An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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Sanctus Bell

A bell rung by a server during the eucharist to emphasize and call attention to particular moments in the liturgy. The bell may be a small hand bell or set of bells, or a gong rung with a clapper, or the tower bell of the church. The term is based on the practice of ringing the bell three times during the Sanctus. The practice of accompanying the Sanctus with bells dates from the fifteenth century. It is also traditionally rung during the institution narrative when the celebrant elevates the elements of bread and wine, especially in parishes with an Anglo-catholic piety. Since the practice emphasizes certain elements of the eucharistic prayer more than others, some prefer to ring the bell only after the conclusion of the eucharistic prayer, including the great Amen. See Bells and Smells.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.