The story of the monastery farm
Monks' labour which seems unbearable to a layman, is, to the monastic light and joyful, done with prayer, in God's honour. Voluntary labour, is based like all other penance on faith but not compulsion, yielding unparallelled fruit. It is evident even today, after fifty years of devastation and torture.
Having become Abbot, father lonafan built a model mechanized farm with seventy head of cattle, six kilometres to the West of the monastery in 1882. The cow-shed, provided a separate room for each cow, built with regard for facilitating access to the hay-loft.
Archimandrite Afanasy (Nechajev) wrote about labour in Valaam: 'The main principle of penance on Valaam is doing everything by one's own hands. It accouts for the large number of crafts and work-shops: tannery, metal-working, harness-making, sewing, pottery, brick-making, cooperage, carpentry, etc. Some monks work in their cells making boxes decorated with poker-work showing the views of Valaam, paint icons, pictures, cut spoons.