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“The Oldest In Russia”—Ideas About The Monastery’s Origins

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on 'scholarly' side of the foundation debate, using the opportunity to shortly introduce the medieval and pre-modern source materials that form the basis for the discussion and in some cases are also used as primary sources for the purpose of this chapter. The venerable fathers are referred to in a polemical text called Valaamskaia beseda. It was written to argue against monastic land ownership, thus taking a stand on one of the most pressing and complicated questions in the religious-political sphere of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. While the scholarly discussion has suggested several possible foundation dates between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, numerous popular accounts produced during the nineteenth century, have presented an impressive claim of the existence of a monastery on the island of Valaam as early as the tenth century.

Keywords: monastery; Russia; Valaam



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