Rejoice O Valaam, beloved of St. Herman!

In beautiful Lake Ladoga, the largest in the formerly Finnish territory of Karelia, is the Athos of the North—the Valaam Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior. The precise time of the monastery’s foundation is still unclear, but tradition links its beginnings to Sts. Sergius and Herman, who were among the first missionaries to pagan Novgorod in tenth century. Because of its location in a land continually under dispute, first between Sweden and Russian, and later Finland and Russia, Valaam Monastery experienced various periods of devastation and rebirth. One time of renewal came under Abbot Nazarius, brought from Sarov Monastery to breathe new life into the monastic community. Joining him as a Valaam monk was monk Herman, who hailed from the same region near Sarov as Abbot Nazarius. Monk Herman, now known as St. Herman of Alaska, would later be given the obedience to continue the spirit of monastic mission in the pagan land of the Russian Empire—Alaska. Closed during Soviet period, Valaam Monastery was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1989 when monastic life was again revived. It is once more the jewel of Ladoga—in fact of all Russia.

Old Valaam. Unique archival photographs of Valaam Monastery, late 19th to early 20th centuries

View of the monastery from the monastery harbor

View of the monastery from the monastery harbor

Photo: Valaam.ru

The interior of the upper church of the Transfiguration Cathedral. View from the choir loft.

The interior of the upper church of the Transfiguration Cathedral. View from the choir loft.

Photo: Valaam.ru

The painting within the cupola of the upper church, Transfiguration Cathedral.

The painting within the cupola of the upper church, Transfiguration Cathedral.

Photo: Valaam.ru

Abbot Damascene, reviver of monastic life on Valaam.

Abbot Damascene, reviver of monastic life on Valaam.

Photo: Valaam.ru

The upper orchard.

The upper orchard.

Photo: Valaam.ru

In the iconography workshop.

In the iconography workshop.

Photo: Valaam.ru

In the bookbinding workshop.

In the bookbinding workshop.

Photo: Valaam.ru

The Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

The Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Photo: Valaam.ru

A snapshot.

A snapshot.

Photo: Valaam.ru

The monastery courtyard.

The monastery courtyard.

Photo: Valaam.ru

The reliquary of Holy Wonderworker, Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam.

The reliquary of Holy Wonderworker, Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam.

Photo: Valaam.ru

Cross procession.

Cross procession.

Photo: Valaam.ru

Obedience in the refectory.

Obedience in the refectory.

Photo: Valaam.ru

Obedience in the vegetable garden.

Obedience in the vegetable garden.

Photo: Valaam.ru

Monk.

Monk.

Photo: Valaam.ru

The cell of Hieroschemamonk Ephraim.

The cell of Hieroschemamonk Ephraim.

Photo: Valaam.ru

The interior of the church in the St. Nicholas Skete.

The interior of the church in the St. Nicholas Skete.

Photo: Valaam.ru

Schema-Abbot John.

Schema-Abbot John.

Photo: Valaam.ru

In the Monastery harbor.

In the Monastery harbor.

Photo: Valaam.ru

Monk Moses on a boat.

Monk Moses on a boat.

Photo: Valaam.ru

The chapel of St. Nicholas.

The chapel of St. Nicholas.

Photo: Valaam.ru

Valaam Today

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

St. Vladimir Skete

St. Vladimir Skete

Photo: S.Vlasov / Patriarchia.ru

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

The reliquary of Holy Wonderworker, Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam

The reliquary of Holy Wonderworker, Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

All Saints Skete

All Saints Skete

Photo: S.Vlasov / Patriarchia.ru

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

Photo: S.Vlasov / Patriarchia.ru

Photo: Patriarchia.ru

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