My way to Valaam 26.12.2019-07.01.2020

Trip to Valaam.

Мой путь на Валаам. Pavel Rudomanov Photographer

  The beginning of my journey to the island of Valaam begins today. Most likely this will be the first and last trip in my life to the monks! Relax your body and soul from the world, gather your thoughts and spend the new year and Christmas surrounded by spiritual people. Meet the Christmas holidays without fireworks and feasts, enrich your inner world and capture these moments in photos.

 The crossing from the mainland to the island was not very calm. Since tourist transport does not run since September, we got to the island on a cargo ship. There was a light storm and the small cargo ship was rocking harder and harder. The farther they sailed from the shore, the more waves flooded the deck. The strong wind turned the deck into an ice rink. Standing at the wheelhouse of the ship, I met Viktor, the commandant of the resurrection skete, who has been working on the island for many years.

 On the first day of my stay on the island, I immediately started with a tour of the surrounding area. The scale of the island was unexpected for me. I couldn't imagine how big it was. First of all, I was impressed by the nature and atmosphere of this place. The monastery where I was housed was located in the middle of the island. But in addition to this monastery on the slopes adjacent to the island, there are still temples. The closest location was the «Nikolsky» skete, around which the shore was made of huge boulders. These boulders were washed by lake Ladoga, creating such unusual silhouettes of icy grass.

Fresh air, no hustle and bustle, the tranquility in the soul. I haven't had a break from the city or the world yet. But you can feel the power of this island. when you stay here, you understand that this is not just an island, but every corner, every island, is a Holy land. In addition to the natural beauty comes peace of mind. Services are Held in churches every day. There are answers to questions that I didn't find an answer to before, and a deeper understanding of what I didn't understand before.

New year 2020 

 December 31 is considered a normal working day in the monastery. It begins as all weekdays from 5.00 am with worship In the temple, presence at prayer is mandatory. After that, there is free time to sleep or drink tea, and perhaps take a walk around the island, but no one does this, since it is dawn at 10 am, and the nights are so dark that you can't see much of anything. The island is very huge 10 km by 9 km, in the end 90 square kilometers and it is very easy to get lost. Also, the service in the temple occurs several times during the day, and there is a lot of time to bring your inner world in order…

I knew that there would be no new year's celebration, so I prepared my camera and tripod again for this occasion. Since the night was clear and many stars were visible, I went to the forest for a memorable shot of how I met this year.

The Sketes Of Valaam

  Spaso-Preobrazhensky monastery  

 The first will be the Valaam Transfiguration monastery — a Stavropol monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church located on the Islands of the Valaam archipelago in Karelia. According to legend, at the time of the spread of Christianity, the Apostle Andrew moved North, preaching the gospel. After passing the Dnieper and Volkhov, the disciple of Christ entered the «turbulent and rotating waters of lake Nevo» and installed a stone cross on the «mountains of Valaam».

Мой путь на Валаам. Pavel Rudomanov Photographer

The relatively reliable documentary history of the Valaam monastery begins in the 14th century. The Valaam monastery is mentioned in the life of savvatiy Solovetsky. In the «Legend of the Valaam monastery», the year of Foundation is 1407. By the beginning of the XVI century, about 600 monks lived in the archipelago, but repeated attacks by the Swedes led to the desolation of the island of grace

Konevsky skit

 The Konevsky skete is the smallest of all the skits of the Valaam monastery. The history of the Konev monastery on Valaam began with hegumen Damaskin, who, as a simple monk, worked for several years in a hermit's cell on the shore of the Abbot's lake and became the Abbot of the monastery, blessed to build a monastery with a Church in honor of the Konev icon of the mother of God on the site of his monastic exploits.

Hidden from human eyes, located in a picturesque place on the shore of the Abbot's lake, surrounded by ancient fir trees, Konevsky skete is always open to pious pilgrims and tourists.

    The Gethsemane skete 

   Gethsemane skete (yellow skete) of the Valaam monastery-consecrated in 1911, includes the Church of the assumption of the blessed virgin Mary, the ascension chapel on mount Olivet, the house for the brethren, the chapel «Prayer for the Cup». In the 1930s, Finnish gunners were stationed in the skete. The Church was consecrated again on September 12, 1998. restoration work is Underway. A carved cypress iconostasis was recreated, and five bells were cast.

    Nearby is a wooden chapel with the icon «Prayer for the Cup» (in memory of the Lord's prayer in the garden of Gethsemane before the Cross Sufferings). Behind the Church, between the firs, there are two cell buildings for the brethren. Here lived 8-10 people, including, in the early 1920s, the Confessor of the» old style " hieromonk Timon (Pitkevich), in the schema Mikhail (1877-1962); the elder died in the Pskov-Pechersk monastery. Fir a small alley leads to the Small Nikon Bay, the most tranquil on the island. Here, under the Abbot of Mauritius in 1910, a venerable cross of gray granite with symbols of the Savior's Cross Sufferings was installed.     

Resurrection skit

 The history of the resurrection monastery began at the end of the XIX century-with a visit to the shrines of Jerusalem, the future Abbot of the Valaam monastery, father Maurice, who later wished to arrange North Jerusalem on the island. The center of this Valaam Palestine was the resurrection skete of the Transfiguration monastery.

 The entire area along the road from the Central monastic estate to the resurrection monastery bears the names of the Holy places of Jerusalem-mount Zion, the Kedron channel, Gethsemane, the mount of olives, and the Jordan river. The construction of the resurrection skete was supported by the famous Siberian philanthropist Innokenty Sibiryakov. (Died at the age of 14.) In 1901, the Foundation of the temple was laid, and five years later it appeared in all its splendor.

From the very beginning, the temple was conceived on the principle of contrast: the upper temple, in the name of the Resurrection of Christ-solemn, bright, full of joy, gives hope; the lower temple, dedicated to the Apostle Andrew — mournful and sad, calls for repentance and purification. The lower Church was consecrated in honor of St. Andrew the first-called. According to the monastic tradition, it was at this place that the Holy Apostle erected a cross, consecrating the rocky Ladoga banks and predicting the great future of Valaam, which came with the Foundation and flourishing of the monastic monastery.

  The interior of the lower temple follows the structure Of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. (Resurrection skete) when You enter the temple, you see a marble canopy over the anointing stone, and in it the Holy Shroud rests. The Balaam anointing stone is similar to the one in Jerusalem, where the righteous Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus anointed the most Holy body of the Lord Jesus Christ with incense and wrapped it in a shroud, preparing it for burial.

    Smolensk skit 

   Smolensk skete. In the last time in the Valaam monastery lived the only inhabitant — hieroshimonk Ephraim (Hrobostov) 1871-1947. At 12 years old, secretly from his parents, he came to Valaam and begged the Abbot to leave him among the brethren. After 12 years of obedience, he takes the tonsure and after 4 years-Holy orders. During his service at the Moscow compound, he was invited as a Confessor to the commander-in-Chief of the Russian army, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich. At the end of June 1914, the Grand Duke and his family accompanied by FR. George visited Valaam during the arrival of Archbishop, later Patriarch Sergius, and expressed a desire to arrange a skit on the Smolensk isthmus of the Skit island.

The construction of the Church was carried out in 1915-17. according to the project of the Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich in the style of ancient Pskov and Novgorod churches. The strict temple was crowned by two helmet-shaped heads. On June 24, 1917, Archbishop Sergius consecrated it in the name of the Smolensk icon of the mother of God (a nearby wooden chapel was also consecrated), since the Valaam icon was not universally glorified. 

  Skit Of All Saints  

  The skete of All Saints Was founded at the end of the XVIII century, in 1789-1793, by the Abbot of the Valaam monastery, Nazarius, and finally arranged by the Abbot of Damascus. The skete was surrounded by a spruce forest, and was located 2 versts to the North-West of the monastery. There were eight separate fraternal buildings in the monastery, as well as a two — story stone temple: the «lower» one on the first floor was consecrated in honor of all Saints, and the «upper» one on the second-in honor of Disembodied Forces.

  On the Eastern side of the monastery was a chapel in honor of the cross sufferings of the Lord with an iconostasis of red and black granite. 

 The Church Of Alexander Nevsky 

The Church of Alexander Nevsky in the Vladimir skete of the Valaam monastery. Construction of the temple on Valaam began in 2007, and in 2015, work on its decoration was completed. On July 10, 2015, during the Primate's visit, his Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia performed the minor consecration of the Church. Addressing the audience, His Holiness said: «the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky became famous for his exploits in the North-West of Russia, and therefore it is very correct that the new Church on Valaam was consecrated in honor of his Holy name. Through his prayers, may the Lord preserve our Fatherland and the Holy Valaam monastery.»

St. Vladimir's skete

   St. Vladimir's skete is a skete of the Valaam monastery, built on Valaam in 2007. On July 1, 2002, a Foundation stone was consecrated by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow at the site of the skete's Foundation. On July 10, 2006, the ceremony of consecrating the Foundation stone of the temple complex was completed and construction began, and on July 10, 2007, domed crosses were consecrated and installed for the erected temple. In the same year, General construction works were completed, external and internal engineering networks were laid, a sewage treatment plant, a diesel power plant and a boiler house were built. The complex, stylized as Pskov-Novgorod architecture, was built according to the project of the Honored architect of Russia, head of the author's team A. A. Anisimov (architects T. I. Efimov and N. Y. Blednova; design engineer V. S. Rayberg; artists A.V. Brusov and A.V. Verdi (carvings, paintings and mosaics)). In 2008, a unique white-stone carved iconostasis with mosaic inserts and white-stone altar decoration were built by the architect Andrey Anisimov (Andrey Anisimov's Workshops). On the facades appeared the Image of the non-man-made Saviour, carved white stone pediments and ceramic (majolica) decor.

On September 21, 2008, Patriarch Alexy II consecrated a Church in the skete in honor of the Holy Prince Vladimir, who had a baptismal chapel and a chapel in honor of the Martyr Lyudmila of the Czech Republic, as well as a chapel in honor of All Saints. The skete has an icon painting workshop and an extensive library. The residence of the Patriarch is built in the monastery, and there is a cell building for the brethren.

On July 10, 2009, in the presence of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the Museum named after Patriarch Alexy II was opened in the skete, located in the basement of the temple complex and dedicated to the history of the monastery from antiquity to the present. On July 7, 2011, the painting of the temple was completed.

St. Nicholas monastery

Nikolsky skit is a skit of the Valaam monastery located on the Nikolsky island of the Valaam archipelago on the left side of the Monastery Bay. Before the stone Church in the name of St. Nicholas was built on the island, it was called the Cross. A merchant from St. Petersburg, Nikolai Solodovnikov, donated 50 thousand silver rubles for the construction of a temple on the island, and in 1853 (according to other sources — in 1833, on July 23, a stone Church was built on the island. However, the chapel in the name of the Saint stood on the island before: it had Windows pointing in all directions, and on dark nights it could be used as a lighthouse. In the Church, under a canopy, there was a gilded icon of St. Nicholas in the Episcopal vestments, presumably previously located in the chapel that stood on the island. In 1858, a two-story house with cells for the Abbot and the brethren was built on the island according to the plan of the architect Alexey Gornostaev, in which the house Church in honor of St. John of Damascus was consecrated in 1865.

In the Nicholas Church, the Psalter and names of the monastery's benefactors were read daily, as well as those who had registered themselves for eternal remembrance by the monks. On the island, the monks set up an orchard. In addition, it was the inhabitants of the Nikolsky skete who carried «customs» obedience on the island, since the monastic Charter strictly prohibited the monks of Valaam from drinking alcohol. A granite cross depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was placed next to the customs office.

By 1935, the only resident on the island was the monk Milius. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, on August 18, 1999, the Church of St. Nicholas was consecrated as a Bishop by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and all Russia. On December 17, 2005, skitonachal hieromonk Gideon (Boyko) consecrated the house Church of St. John of Damascus.

  Abbot's cemetery 

  The hegumen cemetery appeared where hegumen Nazariy lived in seclusion after completing his Abbot's work (1782-1801) One of the most beautiful roads on Valaam leads from the main monastery estate to the Abbot's cemetery. A fir alley opens the way, as if it represents the earthly life of a person. Branching trees make it dense, thorny and even gloomy, as well as our way of life is not devoid of anxiety, despair and delusions. The second part of the alley is larch. It represents spiritual life, life after death, and the sun itself highlights the emerald green of tall, slender trees. Not far from the entrance to the Abbot's cemetery, there is a granite cross of worship reminding that there was a desert of Abbot Nazar, the remarkable organizer of the Valaam monastery. The Lord has performed a miracle here. On an oak tree growing near the cross, a twig bounced off (according to rumors, this happened during a thunderstorm, and lightning struck the oak) and in that place opened an uncreated portrait of father Nazar (left photo 2020, right 2001). Later, the famous Valaam Abbot Damaskin, who did a lot for the monastery, decided to build a monastery cemetery here. This place was very suitable for burials. 

At the altar of the cemetery Church rests the Abbot of the monastery, it so happened that the first in this cemetery was buried himself the great Abbot of Damascus, who passed to the Lord in 1881 at the 87th year of life. The old man died in the winter, so only in the spring he was reburied in the new cemetery. At the time of reburial, the brothers noted that there was no smell of decay coming from the coffin, but on the contrary, a pleasant fragrance spread around. On the coffin stood a memorial service with lighted candles that miraculously did not go out during strong gusts of North wind. On the very day of Damaskin's death, two of his brothers saw him in a dream and were healed. Most of all, the Abbot was revered by the next Abbot after him, father Jonathan, who was destined to lead the monastery for the next 10 years.

 He went very Sato to the grave of Damaskin and asked for his help. And today, pilgrims who come to Valaam necessarily come to this grave to worship the great elder and stand for a long time with their heads bowed, asking and praying. Perhaps one day the Lord will glorify the patron Saint of Valaam and the prayer book of the Abbot of Damascus among the host of saints. 

Мой путь на Валаам. Pavel Rudomanov Photographer

The cemetery Church has a very rare name «In the name of the venerable fathers in fasting and the feat of shining», in honor of the monks of Holy life, it celebrates its throne on Shrovetide, on the Saturday of cheese week. Traditionally, they like to serve here on Saturdays, since Saturday is the day of remembrance of the dead. The Church, consecrated by Abbot Damaskin in 1876, has been preserved as it was before. it is made of red Valaam brick and is decorated with a semicircular granite porch and large double arched Windows. Inside the temple, there are wall paintings that read almost 10 centuries of the monastery's history. Here is the image of the Apostle Andrew the first-called who came to Balaam and installed an Orthodox cross on the site of the pagan temple. The founders of the monastery are Reverend Sergius and Herman. Nearby are the saints who worked on Valaam and became the founders of other monasteries and monasteries: avraamiy of Rostov, Arseny Konevsky, Alexander Svirsky. Among the icons in the temple there are two images of the Savior and the Mother of God that exactly repeat the personal icons of the Abbot of Damascus that were given to him once and given to them in the temple.

 Blown up Finnish intelligence school 

Blown up Finnish intelligence school. At the beginning of 1940, Valaam was repeatedly bombed by Soviet troops. before that, it belonged to Finland. The ruins of a four-story building, the largest of the Finnish buildings on the island, have been preserved. This building housed the intelligence school. When the archipelago again went to the USSR, the building was decided to blow up. But the Finns built for centuries: our building was blown up three times, and it is still standing. Interestingly, the Finns began building their military fortifications in 1919. It was only a year ago that a country that never existed found itself at the hands of Lenin. Gained independence and… immediately began to point guns at Russia. Then they built a large naval garrison here. 200-millimeter guns were installed on the Cape itself. A 200 mm caliber is very serious! These guns were equipped with FORTS in Kronstadt. And they were able to resist battleships. The Finns not only built a military base on Valaam, but also tried hard to «finlandize» the local Russian population. Gently at first, then harder. Russian Russian school was closed, and Russian children were forced to study in Finnish. The World war passed, the USSR collapsed. And exactly the same we see today in our other «former brothers». But, the guns were useless and today we can see only ruins from the garrison.

  Rocky shore  

The road to the Rocky shore was literally cut through the rocks by the Finnish military in the thirties of the last century. Rocky coast-the meaning is clear here is really a very spectacular rock group. But this Cape is also called Cape Red, although this is incorrect. The official name is Nikonovsky Cape. On one side it is skirted by The red Bay, and on the other by the Cross Bay. Because of the name of the Bay and the Cape, the name «Red» was stuck to it, and also because when the ships leave Valaam, at sunset the rocks become really red. Unfortunately, we could not see such a sunset.

The end of the trip

  So my stay on the island came to an end. Day after day passed very quickly, and everything seemed ordinary. But it was only on the last day before departure that I felt an inexplicable heaviness or sadness, as if I were leaving a part of myself and taking another part with me.

When we sailed, I was very surprised, because on arrival we were not greeted like this on the island, but when we sailed, we were escorted like brothers and sisters by people I didn't even know. People's emotions: smiles, a happy look, someone's sad. Someone will have to wait for the meeting again with those with whom he met. After all, meeting people there occur of different ages, and it is unknown how soon you will meet again, or maybe this will be the only and last time you will meet…

Мой путь на Валаам. Pavel Rudomanov Photographer

 Nikolai-Arrived in 2001 on the island of Valaam as a tourist, then went for a long time as a volunteer. In 2016, I switched from volunteers to workers, and I still do not part with Valaam. Here, over time, I found like-minded people, brothers and sisters in our Orthodox faith. Skit of all Saints

Мой путь на Валаам. Pavel Rudomanov Photographer

Maxim Came to Balaam to his Spiritual father, Abbot Seraphim skete of All Saints. Exactly 10 years ago, my foot set on the island of Valaam and my father accepted me into spiritual children, I found an Orthodox family.

Мой путь на Валаам. Pavel Rudomanov Photographer

Victor got a job as a commandant at the skete, and has not parted with the island for three years. A broad-hearted man, I was glad to meet you.

Traveling in Russia