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A semandron is a long bar made of wood or metal which, when struck with a hammer, produces resonant music. It is used in Eastern Christian monasteries and churches to summon the faithful to liturgical services and prayer. The instrument replaced church bells, which were forbidden to Christians living under Muslim rule. Different types of semadra include the talanton, a small wooden hand-held version; an iron semandron, known as "the iron", and large wooden versions called "heavies", which are up to two meters long and suspended from iron bars.[1]

The semandron gained notoriety in Western music in Sir John Tavener's opera Mary of Egypt.


  1. Parry (1999), pp. 439-40


  • Parry, Ken; David Melling (editors) (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Malden, MA.: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23203-6. 

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