VALAAM

Path to revival


Christmas.

On September 18,1989, the Council of Ministers of Karelia decided to grant Leningrad eparchy the right of using the cathedral with the inner square of buildings and the nearest sketes, except for Resurrection and Geth-semane sketes. It was done thanks to and on the initiative of the Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow and All Russia, blessed Abbot of the Valaam monastery, who had made a pilgrimage to the Old Valaam in his childhood together with his parents. Archimandrite Viktor (Pjank-ov), currently the bishop of Podolsk, was appointed as prior. The first six monks headed by hieromonk Varson-ofy (Kapralov) arrived on October 14,1989, and settled in a tiny ward in the Invalids' home. Most of them came from the Svyato-Danilov Monastery. Soon, the services were resumed in the lower church of Sts. Sergius and German which had been used as a food warehouse. In April, 1990 and in a year, in 1991, the Supreme Soviet of Karelia decided to return all clerical and administrative buildings to the monastery. On June 11-12, 1992, the day of memory of Sts. Sergius and German, Russian president B. Yeltsin visited the cloister as a guest of the Patriarch, and here he signed a decree granting Valaam a special status. The cathedrals and churches are the property of the monastery.


The procession.
 

However, as father Pankraty said, the main 'monastic task is not the restoration of the cloister walls and not the gold of iconostasises, but rising a man in Christ's spirit, living in patience, humility, and obedience to God, keeping clear conscience'. From the very start, long strictly-regulated services became traditional at Valaam. The major care of the prior is 'keeping peace, love and unanimity in the community', without which even the strictest observing of rules becomes senseless. During the Lent in 1994, the first monastic vows were taken at the cloister. There are already hermits and pastors among the brethren. Services are held in the cathedral of Peter and Paul and the cathedral of Assumption (consecrated in 1994). The monastery possesses such sacred things as the relics of St. Antipa Moldavsky, and a copy, of the Valaam icon of Our Lady.


The Sunday school.

'Let God give y,ou what y,ou are seeking here!', said once schemamonk Sisoy, to I.S. Shmelev in the Konevsky, skete. Today, thousands of people come to Valaam every, day, among them tourists, admirers of nature, artists, restorers, and pilgrims seeking the communion with the beautiful source of Orthodox Faith. Among the latter there are those who want to start monastic life. The sky, seems closer to a hermit standing on Valaam hills. As father Ignaty, (Bryanchaninov) wrote, 'Valaam with its granite ledges and high mountains will become for y,ou a step to heaven, a spiritual height from where y,ou can pass to paradise'. Contemporary history of Valaam is not very rich in events, its spiritual wealth lies hidden yet, untill its time comes. But the harmony of Valaam, the harmony of prayer and nature transformed by the monks' hands, is evident to everyone who sees God's design in it, the design leading to the purification and salvation of the soul.


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VALAAM