Monasteries Valamo Monastery attracted an exceptional number of monks: “Perhaps the Korona period has increased the longing for community life”

An estimated quarter of the candidates eventually make monastic vows and become monks. The monk is a lifetime, but the monastery has also been told, “There may be love, and it is decided to marry.”

Valamon the monastery has received a rare amount of contacts from people interested in the life of a monk within a year. Monastery leader, archandrite Sergei thinks that the Corona period may have influenced the monastery’s appeal.

“At the turn of the year, we had five new candidates. In a normal year, there may be one or two of them, ”he says.

In addition, the monastery has received a lot of contacts on the subject.

“You can say that exceptionally much. We now have a conversation going on with two young men, one of whom is already a member of the Orthodox Church. ”

According to Father Sergei, the monastery has not actively tried to attract new residents. He ponders that the pandemic may have made people think more about their own lives and spiritual things.

“The corona epidemic may not have been the real cause, but many of the newcomers have lived alone for a long time. Perhaps the isolation of the Corona period has increased the longing for community life, ”he adds.

Finland in another orthodox monastery, the nunnery of Lintula, there has been no similar phenomenon.

“Yes, people are asking, but there hasn’t been such a thing here yet on the same scale [kuin Valamossa], ”Commented the monastery’s igumen Mikaela.

“We don’t take people directly to the monastery, but first we are helpers and we look at how the monastery life is interested.”

“Perhaps the isolation of the Corona era has increased the longing for community life.”

To be a monk adult men belonging to the Orthodox Church can apply. The health and life situation of the aspiring candidate is expected to be on a stable footing and he or she must not have dependent children, for example.

“Sometimes people seem to flee from the reality of their own lives. But if there is a crisis of life going on, then it is not a good situation to come to the monastery, ”says Father Sergei.

Currently, the monastery has seven monk brothers and seven candidates, also called novices or obedience brothers. After the first year, the candidate can be ordained as a cloak bearer who is not yet required to have monastic vows.

“You can get a monk consecration in at least three years if everything goes well.”

Father Sergei estimates that, in general, about a quarter of newcomers end up making monastic promises. Two of the candidates who started this year have already come to the conclusion that the monk’s life was not for them.

According to Father Sergei, those who start it at a young age usually adapt most easily to monastic life.

“For example, if you are over 50 and have lived alone for a long time, it may not be so easy to adapt to a community that has its own rules,” he ponders.

“In addition to worship, everyone also has their own responsibilities, and the days are long. Many may be used to having more free time. ”

To be a monk consecrate permission, inter alia, to spend the rest of his or her life unmarried and without personal property. In practice, however, nothing forces a person to remain in a convent if he comes to other thoughts.

Also during the time of Father Sergei, some monks have left the monastery. The typical starting point is inherently human.

“Even if I have been in the monastery for a long time, one can become in love and decide to get married. We have an open monastery, and about 300 helpers visit here every year. There can be human interaction in it, ”he says.

The starting decision is often painful, but later many former monk brothers have come to visit with their families.

“Maybe one of the children can then start monastic life later,” Father Sergei throws.

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