New Valamo

New Valamo or New Valaam (Finnish: Valamon luostari, or more informally, especially in the postal address: Uusi-Valamo, Swedish: Valamo nya kloster, Russian: Ново-Валаамский) is an Orthodox monastery in Heinävesi, Finland. The monastery was established in its present location in 1940. However, the tradition of the Valamo monastery dates back to 1717. The monastery was then originally established on Valaam (also known historically by the Finnish name Valamo) which is an archipelago in the northern portion of Lake Ladoga, lying within the Republic of Karelia in the Russian Federation.

New Valamo monastery today.
Inside the main church at New Valamo.

The New Valamo Monastery is now an active centre of the Orthodox religious life and culture in Finland and welcomes visitors throughout the year.


The relocation of the monasteryEdit

In 1939, during the Winter War, some 190 monks from the Valamo Monastery in Karelia were evacuated from their old abode on a group of islands in Lake Ladoga in the Viipuri Province to present Eastern Finland. The old Valamo Monastery was occupied by the armed forces of the Soviet Union quite soon after the outbreak of the Winter War.

After a temporary dwelling place the monks decided to settle down in Heinävesi in Eastern Finland. The choice fell on a mansion in Papinniemi, Heinävesi, after the monks had found there, quite surprisingly, an icon of St. Sergius and St. Herman of Valaam, the founders of the monastery in the 12th century. The monks considered this to be a sign from God.[1][2] Having received evacuees from the Konevsky (Konevitsa) and Pechenga (Petsamo) monasteries, it is now the only monastery for men of the Finnish Orthodox Church.[3]

2012 FireEdit

Deanery after the fire

In March 2012, there was a fire in the old main building of Papinniemi estate, which also served as the first main building of the monastery. The building had been built in 1840. The attic of the building was destroyed in the fire. It had been used as a storage space, and there were no valuables in it. All the valuable artefacts from the lower floors had been successfully removed during the fire, with the exception of the furniture.[4] The furnaces of the building has been in poor condition, and their use had been prohibited for several years. However, one of the furnaces had been used for heating, and in a police investigation it was found that the fire had started from the cracks of the chimney. A couple of foreign extraction, who had been living in the building, were prosecuted in the Southern Savo Local Court. The court did not find sufficient evidence to back the claim that the furnace had been used for heating. The case was tried in December 2012.

The damages of the monastery amounted up to 1,6 million Euros. The State of Finland was ordered to pay some of the expenses of the man who had been accused of causing the fire.[5][6]

The miracle-working icons of ValamoEdit

The best-known miracle-working icons at Valamo are those of the Mother of God of Konevitsa and the Mother of God of Valamo, both located in the main church.[citation needed]

Monastery activities and economyEdit


The monks of the New Valamo Monastery live a communal life of spirituality founded in the Ascetic tradition of the Orthodox Church. According to the ancient tradition, the monastery should support itself fully. At present, the main source of livelihood for the New Valamo Monastery is tourism: over 160,000 people visit the monastery each year, and all of the revenue goes directly to wards the maintenance and development of the premises.

As a result of the financial crises 2008 the monastery too has had to face some financial challenges. This has led to for example co-determination procedures. During 2003-2013 the financial reports of the monastery have shown a surplus in two years. 2012 the result was positive mainly because 2012 the monastery received insurance reimbursements due to the fire incident in its main building.[7]

2013 the monastery had debts of one million euros, and annual turnover reaching approximately 2,5m euro. The distillery operations of Valamo have shown healthy results every year, for example 2014 a surplus of 89.000 euros.[8]

Monastery's distilleryEdit

The Christian faith is linked by tradition to wine and other alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverage making skills have been preserved and passed down within monastery wall for centuries. This tradition continues at the New Valamo Monastery.

The annual capacity of the Valamo distillery is 120,000 litres, and it is the biggest distillery in Finland. During 2014 and 2015 the operative distillery company Viiniherman Ltd has made additional investments of 1 million euros into the distillery. Viiniherman Ltd is owned by majority by the monastery and the distillery is located at the monastery's' premises.[9][10]

They built a modern 500 square metre warehouse to Ilomantsi, Finland. So they will ship all of the whisky distillates from Valamo to Ilomantsi warehouse for maturation. Some of their whisky will have a church wine cask maturation, while some will be matured in bourbon casks. Valamo will produce peated and unpeated malt whisky. The capacity of the new warehouse is 450,000 liters and their current pot for whisky making is 1,000 liters, which allows for an annual production of 40,000 liters.[11]

Hegumens of the monasteryEdit

Location of Valamon Monastery in the Heinävesi municipality

The following persons have served as hegumens (father superiors) of the monastery:[12]

  • Yefrem 1758–1781
  • Nazary 1781–1801
  • Innokenty 1801–1823
  • Yonafan I 1823–1830
  • Varlaam 1830–1833
  • Veniamin 1833–1839
  • Damaskin 1839–1881
  • Yonafan II 1881–1891
  • Gabriel 1891–1903
  • Vitaly 1903–1905
  • Pafnuty 1905–1907
  • Mavriky 1907–1918
  • Pavlin 1918–1933
  • Chariton 1933–1947
  • Yeronim 1948–1952
  • Nestor 1952–1967
  • Simforian 1969–1979
  • Panteleimon 1979–1997 (later Metropolitan of Oulu, since 2013 retired)
  • Sergei 1997–2011, 2012–

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ortodoksinen kirkko Suomessa"( The Orthodox Church in Finland) (ed. by Fr. Ambrosius and Markku Haapio) (1979) p. 287
  2. ^ "Orthodoxy in Finland, Past and present (ed. by V. Purmonen)(1984) p.41
  3. ^ "Orthodoxy in Finland, Past and present" (ed. V. Purmonen) (1984) pp. 41–42
  4. ^ "Valamossa satojen tuhansien vahingot — taideaarteet saatiin pelastettua" [Losses worth several thousand Euros in Valamo — valuable works of art were saved.]. YLE uutiset Etelä-Savo. 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  5. ^ "Valamon luostarin tulipalo käräjille" [Valamo monastery fire goes to the local court]. YLE uutiset Etelä-Savo. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  6. ^ Viljakka, Vuokko (2012-12-05). "Syytteet Valamon tulipalosta hylättiin" [Charges dismissed in the case of the Valamo monastery fire]. (Savon Sanomat). Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  7. ^ Saarinen, Juhani (17 Aug 2013). "Valamo elää yli varojensa" [Valamo lives beyond its means]. Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Helsinki: Sanoma. pp. B 6–7.
  8. ^ "Valamon Viiniherman Oy". (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 2016-05-13. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  9. ^ Vuoripuro, Verna (2 July 2014). "Valamon luostarissa aletaan valmistaa viskiä" [Whisky to be produced in the Valamo Monastery]. Helsingin Sanomat. Helsinki: Sanoma. p. A 12.
  10. ^ Lehtiniemi, Keimo (1 July 2014). "Valamo aloittaa viskin valmistuksen – luostariin Suomen suurin tislaamo" [Valamo to begin production of whisky]. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  11. ^ Lindblom, Johannes (12 July 2016). "Valamo Monastery Distillery – Whisky matured in Church Wine casks" [Valamo Monastery Distillery – Whisky matured in Church Wine casks]. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  12. ^ "Igumens of Valamo Monastery 1758–". Archived from the original on 2014-11-28. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  13. ^ "Lintulan Kroniikka" (The Cronicle of Lintula ) edited by Archmandrite Panteleimon (1992) p. 96

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 62°33′47″N 028°47′26″E / 62.56306°N 28.79056°E / 62.56306; 28.79056