The cemetery of the monastery
The crosses on the graves of the monks buried in the cemetery, as well as the stone plates acquired in the 1960s, tell about the lives of the monks and also the different grades of monasticism.
The Russian text on the stone plates includes the words 'servant of God', the name of the monk, his age at the time of death, and often also the number of years he lived in the monastery. The Russian text also tells if the person resting in the grave was a novice, a rassophore monk, a monk, or a schema monk, hegoumen (abbot) or an archimandrite (a grade of honour that can be given to a very commendable abbot or hieromonk).
Some of the graves also have a wooden monument in the shape of a small log cabin, which is typical for Northern Russia and Carelia. This kind of monuments were built on graves possibly already more than a thousand years ago.
This wooden monument is typically decorated with elaborate wood carvings. In old times the small wooden house on the grave could also act as a protecting construction for the body in the winder until it was possible dig a proper grave. In Finland, this kind of grave monuments, old and new, can be seen in the cemeteries of Ilomantsi, Sevettijärvi, Kuivajärvi and Valamo monastery.
Bishop Mark (1910-1989) was born on the Carelian isthmus, and he was tonsured a monk in the Valamo monastery on Lake Ladgoa in 1938. Among his duties in the monastery was to serve be the personal assistan of Hegoumen Chariton. During the was he served as a military chaplain, and after this as a parish priest in different parts of Finland before moving to San Francisco, in the United States, in 1950s. There he was elected bishop of Ladoga in 1968. After retiring bishop Mark returned to Finland where he also died, and according to his wish he was buried in the monastery cemetery.
Bishop Alexy (1941-1984) was a deeply spiritual bishop who had gathered a lot of wisdom about spiritual life when he as a young man helped the aging brotherhood of the monastery. He was elected bishop of Joensuu in 1980, but died after serious illness only a few years later.
Brother Andrew Peschkoff (1915-1991) was the last member of the Konevitsa brotherhood. He remained a novice until the end of his life and was able to visit hiis former home island, the Konevitsa monastery, in 1991 for the first time after half a century. He died soon after.
The famous poet Pentti Saarikoski (1937-1983) spent a lot of time in Valamo during the last few years of his life but he never ended up joining the Orthodox church. He was buried at the cemetery of the monastery at the wish of his immediate family. The grave of the poet has become a popular visiting spot. While visiting the grave the visitors also get acuainted with the monastery and the life of the Orthodox church.
P. Herman Alaskalaisen tsasouna hautausmaalla