The pattern for ringing the Angelus
  • henry
    Posts: 212
    Does the Church have a specific instruction regarding the manner of ringing the Angelus? A company has given us the following options to choose from: 3-3-3-9 strikes; 3-3-3-18 strikes; 3-3-3-one minute strike; 3-3-3-one minute peal. Couldn't find anything regarding the proper pattern on the Net. Thanks.
  • Paul_D
    Posts: 133

    With regard to the manner of ringing the Angelus it seems sufficient to note that the triple stroke repeated three times with a pause between seems to have been adopted from the very beginning. In the fifteenth-century constitutions of Syon monastery it is directed that the lay brother "shall toll the Ave bell nine strokes at three times, keeping the space of one Pater and Ave between each three tollings". Again a fifteenth century bell at Erfert bears the words Cum ter reboo, pie Christiferam ter aveto (When I ring thrice, thrice devoutly greet the Mother of Christ). Still earlier, the statutes of Wells Cathedral, in 1331, direct that "three strokes should be struck at three several times upon the great bell in quick succession", and this shortly before curfew. Similarly, at Lérida in Spain, in 1308, the bishop directs that "after Complin and as the shades of night are falling" the bell is to be pealed three times with intervals between (Villanueva, Viage, XVI, 323), while the faithful are directed on hearing the bell to fall on their knees and recite the Ave Maria.

    Some further information from “The Externals of the Catholic Church”, John F. Sullivan (, p 288:

    In those days the concluding prayer was not in use; but when it began to be recited, the further ringing of the bell came into vogue, as we have it at the present day.

    The De Profundis Bell. In some places, it is the custom to toll the bell an hour after the evening Angelus. This is called the De profundis bell. It is a reminder to the people to pray for the souls departed. An indulgence of three years is granted to those who devoutly recite the 129th Psalm, De profundis, or who say the Our Father, Hail Mary and the versicle: Eternal rest, etc., in supplication for the faithful departed. (Pius XI, 1933)

    Thanked by 1canadash
  • The pattern I've been familiar with is 3-3-3-9. Usually the last 9 are on a different bell; a lower one, I think. But I have no idea if there's an official pattern or rule about this.

    The bell that woke me up during university days did 3-3-3-one minute strike. All others I've heard use 3-3-3-9. I think Irish television's 6 p.m. Angelus does, too.
  • The 3-3-3 with a 1 minute ring of the smallest bell is most common, although some parishes request a peal, which I discourage. If they don't have swinging automation but do have tolling automation, 3-3-3-9.

    I hope we're talking about real bells, as the devices I lovingly refer to as "Clangatrons" or "Bongatrons" are forbidden in the Catholic Church.

    The Church gives no direction as to how to ring The Angelus.
  • WiesOrganista is right "The Church gives no direction as to how to ring The Angelus"

  • I hope we're talking about real bells, as the devices I lovingly refer to as "Clangatrons" or "Bongatrons" are forbidden in the Catholic Church.

    Can I assume you are referring to the 1958 Instruction of the Sacred Congregation for Rites De musica sacra et sacra liturgia? Does anyone know if there has been any further instruction on the matter?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,335
    Does anyone know if there has been any further instruction on the matter?

    Is any needed?

    If the 1958 rules were good enough for Jesus...
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    This web site says that the rule was reaffirmed in 1967, but doesn't give a citation.
  • I saw the reference to 1967, but there is no mention of bells in Musicam sacram. So the bishops have just been tolerating an abuse, eh? I guess I had better plug my ears when the old Schulmerich G4 goes off.
  • There is no further instruction. The 1958 document is still in force. It also "tolerates" electronic substitutes for pipe organs until a real pipe organ, no matter how modest, can be installed.

    Yep. Thank the bishops. Perhaps they chose the right battles, perhaps not.

    What's really sad, is that modern society makes no distinction between real bells and amplified recordings. And they have no idea why they ring.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,494
    Sometimes God makes the best decision. Our tower bells are real, because the insurance company refused to insure digitals. The tower is the highest point in the neighborhood, and they rightly feared lightning strikes.
  • At the risk of self-promotion: anyone wishing to singthe Angelus can find a musical setting at canticaNOVA press.


  • "anyone wishing to sing the Angelus..." what about also the Ave antiphon on p. 1861 of the 1962 Liber U., found elswhere on this site? What about for the Pater N.: as at Mass? I'm a newbie to this as an Anglican, but that Ave antiphon in particular seems to me to be meant for this. What is the chant tradition here?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,172
    I vote for 3 3 3 9