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VALAAM

Чеснокова Ольга Анатольевна,
учитель английского языка ГБОУ СШ №306
с углубленным изучением английского языка
г.Санкт-Петербурга

There is a special place not far from Saint-Petersburg which seems to show the perfect harmony and purity of the world. It is Valaam, an archipelago in Ladoga Lake with the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour.
The name "Valaam" is translated from Finnish as "the high land", or probably "the land of light". Sometimes the name of the island is attributed to the name of the pagan god Baal (Veles), or the biblical prophet Balaam.
One of Valaam legends says that long time ago, before the finno-ugric and Slavic peoples inhabiting the shores of Ladoga Lake adopted Christianity, the islands used to be a huge site of pagan sacrifices. The first of Christ's disciples, St. Andrew the First-Called went preaching in Scythian and Slavic lands and having visited Novgorod left for Valaam where he destroyed pagan altars and erected a stone cross. St. Andrew predicted the islands' great future. The prediction turned true after the establishing and further flourishing of the monastery which became an indispensable part of Valaam Today monastic vows seem obscure to many people. With their labor monks created an image of Paradise on Earth at this place. But the real cause of a monk is prayer: for those who are close and those who are far away, for those who hate and those who love, for the whole world corrupted by sin, the world which probably is still alive only thanks to the prayers of the righteous men.
Anyone coming here will be greatly impressed by sheer rocks rising from the depths, little birds islands, and bays... Straits and lakes surrounded by granite rocks will reflect everything in their azure, and tall coniferous trees will complete the marvelous magnificent picture.

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