|(New) Valamo Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ
|Church of Finland
|11th - 13th century
|June 28, July 10, August 6
The Valamo Monastery or the New Valamo Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ is the only monastic community for men under the Diocese of Karelia of the Church of Finland and is located in the district of Heinävesi in the eastern part of Finland. The monastery traces its origins to the Valaam Monastery in Karelia on Valaam Island in Lake Lodaga.
The existence of New Valaam Monastery began with the founding of Valaam Monastery of Valaam Island sometime during the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries. The foundation of the monastery has been attributed to Ss. Sergei and Herman of Valaam. During the years following its founding the monastery experienced periods of tribulation and expansion. Early in the seventeenth century the monastery was destroyed and monastic life ended for about a hundred years. Under a decree by Tsar Peter I the monastery was rebuilt and began an active existence until early twentieth century.
As the monastery was located in the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland, when Finland gained its independence in 1917, during the Russian revolutions, Karelia and Valaam became part of the new nation of Finland. The Orthodox Christians in Karelia then formed the Church of Finland that became autonomous under the Church of Constantinople. Valaam was the most important monastery of the Finnish Orthodox Church. The liturgical language was changed from Church Slavonic to Finnish, and the liturgical calendar from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. These changes led to bitter decade-long disputes in the monastic community, but the monastery prospered. In 1940, life for the monastery on Lake Lodoga changed radically.
During the Winter War with the Soviet Union in 1940, the 200 monks from the monastery on Lake Lodoga were evacuated, in February 1940, to Papinniemi in the municipality of Heinavesi, Finland. With the end of the war the border was moved westward so that all of Lake Ladoga was within the Soviet Union. Thus, returning to Valaam Island was not an option for the Valaam monks. Having lost their former home, the monks who had moved to Finland formed New Valaam (Valamo) Monastery that is the only monastery for men in the Finnish Church.
The choice of Papinniemi as the new home of New Valaam Monastery is rooted in the tradition of the original founding of the monastery by the monks Sergei, of Greek origin, and Herman, born in Karelia. A icon of the two saints was found in the manor house of Yrjo Herman Saastamoinen, a government minister, who had given the estate to the monks. The monks of Valaam interpreted this find as a sign of God that this place should be their new home, having been led there by Ss Sergei and Herman.
During the ensuing decades, as the monastic population aged and declined in numbers, the monastery experienced difficult times. During the 1970s a turn for a more active monastic life began as a new church was built and new novices came to the monastery. The source of livelihood also changed, as the monastery became a destination for tourists and a center for Orthodox culture in Finland.
The monastery is situated on the shores of Lake Joujarvi, with easy access from major highways and an airport. The monastery has facilities available for business and conference visitors as well as private individuals and groups.
The hegumen of the monastery in Archimandrite Sergi. He has led the monastery monks since 1997. An average of ten monks are in residence. The monks live in housing built in 1979 that comprise 16 cells. Each monk occupies an individuals cell, and live an ascetic life of work, prayer, and rest.