VALAAM

The skete of st. Alexander of the Svir


The Svyatoi Island.

Austere, almost vertical rocky shores of the Svyatoi (Holy) island rise as high as thirty metres at about one kilometre from the North-Western end of Valaam. In late XVIII century it was called 'the Old Valaam'. According to a legend, this was the place where the founders of the cloister lived in their cave, and where the ancient Trinity monastery was located.


Church of st. Alexander of the Svir.
 

In mid-XIX century, on the initiative of Abbot Damaskin and St. Petersburg metropolitan Nikanor, a skete was founded on the island. A granite monument commemorating the visit of the metropolitan still remains. In 1840-1842 a new chapel was built, and in 1855 it was reconstructed into the church of St. Alexander, supposedly designed by A.M. Gornostajev. It is a log building plated with figured boards, with a belfry and one dome. The iconostasis painted by V. Poshehonov, interior decorations of carved cypress, a part of the Saint's tomb, and ten bells are lost. The hexahedral well and the wooden gallery along the northern shore have remained.


Near the cave of St.Alexander of Svir.

There used to live eight monks in the skete. In 1930's, only one monk took care of the buildings and the gardens. The rules of the skete were very strict, monks were not to eat milk products. The service in the church was held on holidays, on working days the Psalter was continuously read there.


 
_______
VALAAM