Valaam monastery at the end of XIX - beginning XX century. The new Cathedral
Hegumen lonafan (Dmitriev), former metalworker
from St. Petersburg, father Damaskin's disciple and deputy, accomplished the
project planned by his teacher, the construction of a new cathedral. The project
was designed by the eparchial architects G.I. Karpov and A.N. Silin, and it was finished
by a young architect of the Synod, academician N.D. Prokofiev The construction work
was started on June 30, 1887. The cathedral was built of local materials: old bricks
from the previous cathedral taken to pieces by the Abbot and the brethren, and the
new ones made at two Valaam brick factories. Carved and gilded iconostasises, gilded
copper crosses and candle-sticks, and almost all of the thirteen bells (except the
1,000-pood or 16,000-kg Andreevsky bell from St. Petersburg) were made by the Valaam
brethren. The high-quality grey granite was taken from the island of St. Sergius
(Puutsari), and red and black granite - from the island of St. German (Sysk(salmi).
The two-storey forty-three metre high cathedral with a seventy-two metre belfry on
the west side, resembles Byzantine cathedrals, as if reminding of the Eastern origins
of the founders of the cloister. But the traditional five helm-shaped domes, hipped
roof of the belfry, brick designs on the walls resembling folk embroidery and combined
with white-colour details, all that remind of the architecture of old Russia. Today,
after years of Soviet rule, when most of the murals are perished and only two icons
are left in the iconostasis, it is hard to imagine the former beauty of the cathedral.
The marals were made in the short period of 1891-1892 season by father Luka (Bogdanov),
who headed the monastery school of drawing and painting, together with forty monks
and novices. Icon-painting was supervised by father Alipy (Kon-stantinov) who had
been granted the blessing of the Abbot to study in St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.
The construction of the cathedral was the last accomplishment of father lonafan.
The old Brotherhood cemetery.
Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich participated
both in the laying of the foundations and in the consecration of the two churches
of the cathedral: the lower church of St. Sergius and St. German (1892), and the
upper church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour (1896). To commemorate his visit,
a chapel honouring the icon of the Holy Virgin 'The Joy of All the Sorrowful'
was built of Valaam bricks by the pier in 1896, in the time of Abbot Gavriil.