The Orthodox Call to Prayer

The Orthodox Call to Prayer





How do monks and nuns know it’s time for service in the church when they are spread throughout the monastery?  They listen for the simandron, or toaca, a wooden board hanging by a chain.  When the simandron is hit with a wooden mallet, the sound can carry for miles.

Some will say that simandrons came into use during periods when the ringing of bells was forbidden.

But tradition tells us that Noah called the animals to the ark by tapping a simandron.  Two by two the animals entered the ark as Noah stood in the doorway tapping away.

The base rhythm resembles the syncopation similar to saying “Come to church. Come to church. Everybody, come to church.”  And what is the Church, but the “Ark of Salvation”?

When sitting in the quiet of a monastery, the round sounds of the mallet on the wood beam are a gentle call to prayer.



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About author

Presvytera Vassi Haros

Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.