Saints, Legends and Forgeries. The Formation of the by Kati Parppei

By Kati Parppei

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57 Amongst the popular notions concerning Valaam there are references to Greek connections, both on the concrete and symbolic levels. Valaam is told to have been founded by Sergei and German, who have often been presented as Greek monks58. 59 There are also many saintly figures that have been said to have lived in Valaam in medieval and pre-modern times, including Avraam Rostovskii, Kornilii Paleostrovskii, Arsenii Konevskii, Savvati Solovetskii, Gennadii Novgorodskii, Aleksandr Svirskii, Afanasii Siandemskii, Adrian Ondrusovskii and Efrosin Sinoezerskii60 The aforementioned claims and ideas are the main themes that form the core and composition of this study.

There were princes who built monastic monuments for themselves and their families or looked forward to taking monastic vows before their death. Some monasteries were established as centers for missionary activities in pagan areas, whereas others were founded for the memory of some significant event, such as a victorious battle or the emergence of a wonder working icon. 107 Despite the diversity of background, the foundation had to be properly blessed by ecclesiastic organs. 108 Therefore, there were several issues affecting the naming process: motives and preferences of the founder, the initial reason for the foundation, and sometimes a distinguished geographic location, as in the case of Valaam and various other island monasteries109.

Ia. Mordvinov (1777), and the second one by an academician N. Ia. Ozeretskovskii (1792). As rare examples of 18th century narratives concerning Valaam, these travel accounts – reflecting the contemporary trend of producing geographical information of the area of Russia – are valuable source material for this study. Following the way paved by Mordvinov and Ozeretskovskii at the end of the th 18 century, Valaam was mentioned in numerous travel accounts. The genre of travel writing was growing in popularity during the first half of the 19th century along with the emergence of mass tourism and pleasure travelling.

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