Ethnography

The candle workshop of the Valaam monastery

It is almost impossible to imagine the Russian Orthodox Church without its simple, uneven candles. In the Church the candle is a voluntary donation a believer makes to the church as well as a symbol of their prayers. For centuries monasteries have kept the secret of how these wax sticks are made. The Valaam Monastery has its own traditions and is one of the most famous monasteries in North-western Russia. For the monks, working in the candlestick workshop represents monastic obedience and obligatory monastic work. Despite the seemingly simple technology used in this process, producing these church candles requires the monks to have a surprising degree of skill and experience.

Director Sergey Ermolenko

Presenter Aleksandr Uvarov

Year 2014

Duration 00:23:35

Director Sergey Ermolenko

Presenter Aleksandr Uvarov

It is almost impossible to imagine the Russian Orthodox Church without its simple, uneven candles. In the Church the candle is a voluntary donation a believer makes to the church as well as a symbol of their prayers. For centuries monasteries have kept the secret of how these wax sticks are made. The Valaam Monastery has its own traditions and is one of the most famous monasteries in North-western Russia. For the monks, working in the candlestick workshop represents monastic obedience and obligatory monastic work. Despite the seemingly simple technology used in this process, producing these church candles requires the monks to have a surprising degree of skill and experience.

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