The Petsamo monastery
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The Petsamo monastery
Monastery of Petchenga was founded in 1533 by a monk Trifon in the place where the Petchenga (Peäccam) river flows into the Barents sea. With financial support of the Russian tsar Ivan IV (1547-1584) the monastery strengthened its position and soon became an economic and Orthodox centre of the Kola region. After Trifon's death the monastery was named in his honour. A grave of Trifon was sanctified as a sacred place. The monastery extended its administrative influence and economic power by receiving under its jurisdiction wide territories near Petchenga river, Kola fiord and the inner parts of the Kola peninsula. Russian government supported extending of the monastery's feudal power especially in the 16th and 17th centuries. The monastery had gradually became a powerful feudal in the Kola peninsula and brought into the lives of the local Saami a new formerly unknown element, namely serfdom.
In 1589 the monastery was completely destroyed by the raiding bands lead by the finn Juho Vesainen. The bands invaded the shores of the White Sea in 1589, making great havoc of the economical and spiritual life in the area. The monks of the Petchenga monastery who survived the destruction, chose the Kola fortress (Kuõlnõgklaann') as their new place of settlement. First they built there a few cells, which were attached to the Orthodox church in Kuõlnõgklaann'. In 1591 a new monastery was founded there by a tsar decree near Kola. In 1619 the monastery was burnt down and rebuilt in a new place in Kola. In the 18th century the monastery was gradually falling into decay and was close by a tsar decree in 1764. The economic and spiritual revival of the monastery started in the end of the 19th century. The monastery was resumed in 1888 near the place where the first monastery was built. Many parish school were opened in the Kola region with support of the monastery, which become a stronghold of the Russian political system and Russian culture in the North-Wets of Russian.
With the Tartu peace agreement of 1920 the Petchenga area was given under jurisdiction of Finland. The monastery functioned in some respects up to the year 1944, when it was almost completely destroyed during the military war operations. The monks moved to the Valamo monastery in Heinävesi, Finland. The monastery was rebuilt for the third time in 1997. Nowadays the monastery is well known thanks to its educational and publishing activities and international contact in the Barents region.
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