Valaam monastery - fixture of Orthodoxy in Finland
After the October revolution Finland
gained independence and Valaam became part of its territory which saved the cloister
for some time. The year 1918 was one of the hardest for the monastery because of
hunger and the confiscation of the monastery property by Finnish troops. Thirty monks
died, more than five hundred left the island. In November 1918, the monastery was
taken over by the Finnish Orthodox Church, which had become independent and passed
under control of the Constantinople Church. Under the complex political circumstances,
in order not to seem 'pro-Russian', the Finnish Church urged towards reforms,
accenting its independence. In October, 1921, it adopted the new western(Gregorian)
calendar and Western Eastery and it's not recognized by the Orthodoxy. The demand
to adopt the new calendar style was made in September 1925 when Valaam was visited
by bishop German (Aav), a former Estonian priest, who headed the Finnish Church.
Large part of the brethren, observing the canons, refused to serve with him and the
Greek metropolitan Hermanos. Persecutions followed. Some monks had to return to the
USSR to meet a certain death, some left for Serbia. Later, the banishedmonks brought
the traditions of Valaam to various countries of the world: France, USA, Morocco,
Germany. Father losif, father Mikhail, and father leronim were retired from their
posts and left for further sketes. Monks of old calendar style started to gather
and hold service in a pottery workshop, which became heir Church. The sorrowful separation
of the brethren lasted till 1946.
The Chapel of the Protection.
By 1925 there were about four hundred
people in the cloister, among them seventy hieromonks and forty hierodeacons. There
were about a hundred hired workers to do the forestry work (orthodox Karelians used
to have a tradition of going to Valaam before marriage in order to pray and work
for the benefit of the monastery). Twenty-five women-pilgrims who settled on the
island and formed their own monastic community, worked in the garden and with the
laundry. In Lutheran Finland Valaam remained the light of Orthodoxy.
Every year it held meetings of clergy from the thirty-five Finnish parishes, in 1926
the delegates of Baltic choir communities stayed in the monastery for three days,
the monastery published its magazine 'Daybreak', as well as books. In 1926,
hieromonk Isaaky started holding regular services in Finnish in the cathedral of
Peter and Paul. There was a boarding school for thirty poor boys, and a school for
Karelian boys. In 1930-s, under the supervision of hieromonk Dosifey, the boys participated
in some restoration work as well as in icon-painting. In two churches Psalter was
read continuously with prayers for the dead and the living. In 1920-1930s Valaam
was visited by such writers as B.K. Zaitsev (March, 1935), M.A. Janson, A.V Amfiteatrov,
E.N. Chirikov, A.N. Tolstoi. Prince Aleksey Meschersky took vows here and was later
buried at the Old Brethren cemetery. Valaam remained the centre of Russian diaspora
untill the Russian-Finnish war of 1939-1940 (the Winter war).