New Valamo or New Valaam (Finnish: Valamon luostari, or more informally, esp. in the postal address: Uusi-Valamo) is an Orthodox monastery in Heinävesi, Finland. The monastery was established in its present location in 1940.
In 1939, during the Winter War, some 190 monks from theValamo 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. Having received evacuees from the Konevsky (Konevitsa) and Pechenga (Petsamo) monasteries, it is now the only monastery for men of the Finnish Orthodox Church.
Archimandrite Sergei is discharged and reinstated as head of the monastery
Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland discharged Igumen Sergei from the position of the leader of the monastery in November 2011. The background of this action was the long-standing disagreements of Fr. Sergei and the financial director of the monastery, Mr. Veikko Halonen. These two men had been said to have been in a “collision course.” At the time of these events, the monastery was 800,000 Euros in debt, and the economy had shown losses for the past several years.
Archbishop Leo had told the igumen that the monastery should continue in dual leadership, but Fr. Sergei did not agree to this and fired Mr. Halonen. After this the archbishop made his own decision and fired Fr. Sergei and reinstated Mr. Halonen. Bishop Arseni of Joensuu was appointed as temporary head of the monastery.
According to Arseni, this arrangement was to be a temporary one, and in time there would have been a vote of the leader within the brotherhood. However, it would have taken months or even years before this would have happen.
There are various opinions about these developments, and especially in the internet. Soon after Igumen Sergei was discharged, four members of the brethren announced in the monastery website that they back the decisions of Archbishop Leo. A dissenting voice was made public by a certain member of the board of Friends of Valamo, who founded an internet address in support of the reinstating of Fr. Sergei. With the instructions of the board of the monastery, Bishop Arseni let this person know that she is not welcome to the monastery for the next three years. It is said that even within the monastery there are dissenting views about these events.
In late November 2012 Archbishop Leo reinstated Archimandrite Sergei as the head of the monastery. This happened because the Finnish Assistant Chancellor of Justice had cautioned the Archbishop, saying that the latter had committed a misconduct in his office when he discharged Archimandrite Sergei from his position. According to the law on the Orthodox Church in Finland and according to the administrative orders of the church it is not possible to discharge the head of a monastery. According to the Archbishop, the church will now take action in order to resolve the inconsistencies between the law on the Orthodox Church and the administrative principles of the monasteries. The synod of the church is contemplating a change in the law, which would allow for a head of a monastery to be discharged. The synod is now waiting for comments on all parties that would be affected by the new law.
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. The furnaces of the building has been in poor condition, and their use had been prohibited. 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. The charges will be prosecuted during the autumn of 2012 in the local district court.
Other Orthodox monastic communities in Finland