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.
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