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The monastery gardens of Valaam

The Valaam Islands are a picturesque oasis in the choppy waters of Lake Ladoga. Separate from the mainland, these islands have become a home to those seeking communion with God — Orthodox monks. Living here is no easy task and several hundred years ago only true ascetics were allowed to live on the islands. Prayer and hard work helped the monks survive under difficult conditions. According to the regulations none of the monastery’s inhabitants were allowed to be idle and the results of their efforts can still be seen on the island. Much to the surprise of modern scientists and agronomists, the old monastery gardens continue to bloom and flower on Valaam’s rocky ground. Many of the monastery’s structures however have not passed the test of time, falling apart in the 20th century. Nevertheless, the fragile-looking trees survived, reflecting the endurance the monks themselves have continued to show over time.

Director Sergey Ermolenko

Presenter Aleksandr Uvarov

Year 2014

Duration 00:25:36

Director Sergey Ermolenko

Presenter Aleksandr Uvarov

The Valaam Islands are a picturesque oasis in the choppy waters of Lake Ladoga. Separate from the mainland, these islands have become a home to those seeking communion with God — Orthodox monks. Living here is no easy task and several hundred years ago only true ascetics were allowed to live on the islands. Prayer and hard work helped the monks survive under difficult conditions. According to the regulations none of the monastery’s inhabitants were allowed to be idle and the results of their efforts can still be seen on the island. Much to the surprise of modern scientists and agronomists, the old monastery gardens continue to bloom and flower on Valaam’s rocky ground. Many of the monastery’s structures however have not passed the test of time, falling apart in the 20th century. Nevertheless, the fragile-looking trees survived, reflecting the endurance the monks themselves have continued to show over time.

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