Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery

Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery
This is how the Transfiguration Cathedral looks from a bird’s eye view

Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery

Dozens of motor ships almost every day take a course to the island of Valaam. The Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery can definitely be called one of the most popular Orthodox shrines in Russia.
Since the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery is located on the island. To the mainland-40 kilometers. But almost every day here go the motor ships “Vodohod”. Balaam, perhaps, can not be fully explored in one day.


The Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery has been mentioned in the chronicles since 1407. Although, perhaps, the monastic brotherhood appeared on Balaam several hundred years earlier. According to one version, the very first monastery in the Ladoga region was founded in the 9th century by two monks Sergius and Herman from Greece.

Since the 16th century, after the constant raids of the Swedes and the plague epidemic, the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery has practically ceased to exist. The surviving monks went to the forests of the island and founded several monasteries there.

In the stone of the Transfiguration of the Saviour Valaam Monastery began to be built in 1785. 30 years earlier, during a fire that broke out right during the Easter service, all the existing buildings burned down.

By the beginning of the 20th century, about a thousand people already lived on Valaam. The quiet monastic life was interrupted by the revolution. The island after it became Finnish, services in the monastery were conducted only in Finnish. In the forties, Valaam was transferred several times between states, until it finally became Soviet.

Tourism on the island was restored in the 1960s, and a museum-reserve was opened 20 years later. But monastic life began to revive in 1989.

Valaam Monastery
The Valaam shores rise above the water of Lake Ladoga

Interesting facts

In 1999, the icon of the Venerable Sergius and Herman in the Transfiguration Cathedral was consecrated. Hundreds of pilgrims saw this miracle, which occurred in the year of the decade of the resumption of monastic life on the island, with their own eyes.
On December 13, 2005, a unique bell tolled over Valaam. The bell weighing 12 tons — the evangelist “Andrew the First-Called” – took its place. This is the largest evangelical bell on the belfry, one of the largest in Russia, an exact copy of the former one, lost during the war.

Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery
Apple trees grow on the territory of the Valaam monastery
Sights of the monastery

Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral. The main temple of the island, which can be seen from almost anywhere on it.

Church of the Assumption of the Most Holy Theotokos. It was once built as a refectory. In Soviet times, a grocery store was set up here. The uniqueness of this church is that there are eleven ancient icons for the iconostasis. In the years of the struggle with the churches, they were simply painted over with a layer of oil paint. The image was completely cleared during the restoration.
St. Nicholas Skete. The temple in the pre-Soviet era played a double role, here services were performed, and it was also a lighthouse for ships.

Mount Tabor. Motor ships approach it, and the monastery itself is located on the top. Tabor is surrounded on three sides by monastic gardens.

The Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam Monastery has its own museum. It was created in 1992. The main collection contains more than five thousand exhibits. Among them are icons, ancient books and manuscripts, clothing and household items, photographs, paintings.