Oops I missed a day yesterday in the haiku Heights challenge as I had a dreadful migraine and could not face the computer. However all well today so am sneaking both in together!
In Ladoga Sea
Russia’s rejected lived, on
Old Valaam Island
I visited Russian Karelia and Finland in 2001 on a tour of Monasteries and Orthodox Churches when I was studying Icons. It was a totally wonderul trip and I saw some magnificent sights. We stayed at the new Valaam monastery where there is a brilliant iconographer. I learned a lot from him. We also visited the Old Valaam Monastery which is on an island in lake Ladoga. In 2001 the island was a sad and menacing place. The monastery and cathedral were badly damage; with lots of deliberate damage from its troubled past and natural damage from the severe weather. In times past Russia’s disabled soldiers and rejected people, many suffering awful physical and mental problems were sent to this island. They were virtually abandoned there, isolated from the rest of the world and had to fend for themselves as best they could. They had no love for the buildings or the faith of the few monks left there and lived in abject poverty and squalor.
I am thrilled to say that the monastic community is now thriving and the buildings are restored. The website http://valaam.ru is just wonderful and will tell you all about the history of this special ancient place. There is also a wonderful picture gallery so do look at it if you have time.
As I mentioned I am very interested in Icons and I loved to travel and take photographs or collect pictures of old icons. My favourites are the Marian or Theotokos (Bearer of God) ones, and I have a collection from all over the world. It fascinates me that every culture has their own take on the Mother of God and I have black ones, Chinese ones, and even an Indian squaw one from a reservation in NW Canada. There seems to be a deep need in every culture to revere a mother figure so that is what my next Haiku reflects:~
She lights up my life
My icon, my rock.