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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Hungarian village of the last bell-ringer

Ilona Petra, is this Hungarian village’s last bell ringer, and questions are now being raised as to who is going to be in-charge after her. Petra’s family has been in charge of the ringing of bells for over a hundred years. The bells in questions are of a 600-year-old Catholic church in the village. But owing to modernity, her two children have left the tiny village to pursue their dreams, leaving the 76-year old the last one in her family tugging the ropes of the three large bells every day. The bells call people for prayers, weddings, funerals, or even to warn villagers of a hailstorm.

The last bell-ringer of a Hungarian village

Credit: Getty Images
The countryside of Hungary is dotted by numerous little villages, but most of the people have left for cities in search of jobs. A few decades ago, Tereny had a population of 900, and the number has now gone down to 320.

The 76-year-old Ilona Petra learnt the art of ringing the bells as a child from her grandfather. The job was passed down to her father, and later her mother. Petra took over the job after the death of her mother in 2015. Additionally, Petra also cleans the church and arranges flowers. Her meticulous care has led to the crops being saved from hailstorm time and again, as she says she cannot remember the crops ever getting destroyed by hail.

With an uncertain future, Ilona Petra is now waiting for a divine intervention to decide the fate of the three large bells of Tereny.

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