Patriarch Kirill on the Preservation of Valaam Monastery

There are places on earth where it seems that you are both on earth and in heaven. You all know well the special state one experiences when visiting the Holy Mountain of Athos. In Russia, such a place is Valaam.
admin | 11 July 2012

PRAVMIR. July 11, 2012. His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia venerated the sacred relics of Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam in the lower church of the Valaam Monastery’s Transfiguration Cathedral on July 10, 2012. The Primate of the Russian Church then addressed the following words to the brethren and pilgrims, reports: 

Your Eminences and Your Graces! Dear Fathers, brothers, and sisters!  

I cordially greet you all and would like to express my feeling of special joy in visiting Valaam Monastery. There are places on earth where it seems that you are both on earth and in heaven. You all know well the special state one experiences when visiting the Holy Mountain of Athos. In Russia, such a place is Valaam. This is a place where heaven unites with earth, where the beauty of the world – of the physical, created world – reveals, as it were, the beauty of the Divine world, to the extent possible within the limited conditions of physical existence.    

It is no accident that we have been granted such places, since we can find spiritual repose here.  Here we can experience the actions of God’s grace in special and manifold ways: through receiving the Holy Mysteries of Christ; through conversation with a spiritual father; through prayer; and through contemplation of the beauty, the earthly beauty, that is a reflection within our own world of the beauty of the eternal and heavenly world. 

Of course, people who live on Valaam get used to all this, which itself happens because of our human nature. But how greatly Valaam affects those who visit it! May God grant that the manifestation of Divine grace and of the beauty of the physical world, which interact so organically, may never cease to affect the human soul! 

We know that in the history of Valaam there have been cases when man’s evil will has separated one person from another. Foreign invaders have seized and destroyed the monastery, cutting short the monastic life. We know that in modern times, through man’s evil will, and without any foreign interference, the spiritual beauty of this place was destroyed. That which has taken place in recent years is a special manifestation of Divine mercy towards us all. Today the preservation of Valaam in its totality – both in the further restoration of the external side of life and in the advancement of the monastery’s spiritual life – is of very great significance for our entire Fatherland, for all of Holy Rus’, and, I would say, for the entire world. This does not mean that people here who are in positions of authority or who live in obedience should become proud; for it is through humility and simplicity of heart that God reveals to us the power of His grace. May the Lord help everyone who lives here to recognize the importance of their presence on the holy ground of Valaam; to build their lives on the monastic laws that help reveal man’s strength; to draw near to God; and, through this nearness to God, to help their neighbors and the pilgrims and visitors who now flock to this holy place in great numbers! 

Through the prayers of the Holy Venerable Fathers Sergius and Herman, may the Lord help you all – and, along with you, all of us who come here for prayer and some spiritual respite – to feel the grace of this holy place; to grow strong in faith; to cleanse our thoughts of all defilement of flesh and spirit; to find rest and, along with rest, right thoughts and right direction of will; and to find the strength to act in accordance with the Divine commandments and God’s providence for us all. May the Lord keep you!

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