Moscow, June 30, 2017
Valaam Monastery in the Russian north is now busy raising and breeding peacocks, according to the monastery’s page on the social network Vkontakte.
“There are already 20 birds, the majority of which were born on Valaam,” the message reads. “If, being on Valaam, at St. Nicholas Skete,” it continues, “you hear strange wails wafting over from the neighboring island, don’t be surprised—it’s Fr. Methodios’ peacocks.”
Igumen Methodios (Petrov) is a native of Macedonia who has been living in monasticism at Valaam since 1993. He is the initiator of many charity projects for local residents, and has played a part in the monastery’s revival of pilgrimage and tourism on the archipelago.
Quadrupeds and birds, including exotic ones, are beginning to appear more often in Orthodox monasteries in Russia, becoming the companions of the monastics and the favorites of the pilgrims. Peacocks are being raised in the Entrance of the Theotokos Monastery in Serpukhov, near Moscow, and have even begun to appear in Siberia. For example, St. Michael the Archangel Monastery in the village of Kozikha, Novosibirsk Region, now has a peacock, two ducks, and even young deer.
It was also recently reported that the brotherhood has begun to grow greenhouse pineapples, in addition to the more typical vegetables and herbs: cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, dill, and onions. The brothers also harvest grain, make their own cheeses, and raise trout.