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Rejoice O Valaam, beloved of St. Herman!

In beautiful Lake Ladoga, the largest in the formerly Finnish territory of Karelia, is the Athos of the North—the Valaam Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior. The precise time of the monastery’s foundation is still unclear, but tradition links its beginnings to Sts. Sergius and Herman, who were among the first missionaries to pagan Novgorod in tenth century. Because of its location in a land continually under dispute, first between Sweden and Russian, and later Finland and Russia, Valaam Monastery experienced various periods of devastation and rebirth. One time of renewal came under Abbot Nazarius, brought from Sarov Monastery to breathe new life into the monastic community. Joining him as a Valaam monk was monk Herman, who hailed from the same region near Sarov as Abbot Nazarius. Monk Herman, now known as St. Herman of Alaska, would later be given the obedience to continue the spirit of monastic mission in the pagan land of the Russian Empire—Alaska.
Closed during Soviet period, Valaam Monastery was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1989 when monastic life was again revived. It is once more the jewel of Ladoga—in fact of all Russia.

Old Valaam. Unique archival photographs of Valaam Monastery, late 19th to early 20th centuries

Valaam Today

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