Late at night, between the 7th and 8th of December, 1999, the church building in the Skete of Saint Alexander of Svir, in the Valaam archipelago, burnt to ashes in a fire. This small wooden church was built there more than 150 years ago by the brethren themselves. After the recent period of devastation, the church building remained intact, but in very poor condition with many glaring defects and signs of violation.
In 1994 the brethren of the renewed monastery at Valaam began the restoration of the remote Skete of Saint Alexander of Svir. It took us five years of hard labour by monks, novices and pilgrims, as well as many donations to almost completely renovate the skete. Thus far, we managed to restore the church building and bell tower, and to erect cells for the skete dwellers and establish the necessary economic framework. The cycle of divine services was established in the skete church according to a special monastic order.
The night fire ended the pious life of monks on Holy Island and destroyed the main sanctuary of the skete - it church. The brethren of the monastery, however, are categorically decisive as to the soonest possible reconstruction of the lost sanctum.
By this letter we appeal to all Orthodox believers, both in Russia and abroad, especially to those who value Russian achievements in monasticism, and who remember the name of one of the greatest Russian monk saints, Saint Alexander of Svir, who took his monastic vows on Holy Island, and once had the Holy Trinity appear to him and instruct him about his future deeds. We request you to render all possible finance support to the monastery of Valaam so that we might again have a church dedicated to the holy monk Alexander of Svir on Holy Island in the Valaam archipelago on that particular place where it had stood, before the disastrous event of the fire.
Asking for the blessing of the all-merciful God upon all who are ready to donate for the reconstruction of this monastery, we remain yours, faithful in praying for all of you from our beloved Valaam.
Archimandrite Pankraty with Brethren.