The founders of the Transfiguration of the Valaam Monastery, the Venerable Sergius and Herman, according to church tradition, were Greek hierophants who came to the possession of Veliky Novgorod in the X century1 together with the first Orthodox missionaries. Historical information about the founders of the Valaam Monastery is scarce. Often during the enemy invasions (XII, XVII centuries), the monastery experienced devastation, monastic service was interrupted here for many decades. During the invasions, church monuments and monastic shrines were destroyed, the richest monastic library and the repository of manuscripts were burned and looted more than once.
The life of St. Sergius and Herman of Valaam has not reached us either. In the XVI century, many historical documents were already lost, as evidenced by the ancient synod of the Valaam Monastery, after the ruin of the monastery in 1611, which was kept in the Old Ladoga Vasilievsky Monastery. This synodic is the only historical document written in Valaam, which reflects the true knowledge about the founders of the monastery. In the synod, the list of hegumens mentions the Venerable Sergius and Herman.
The church tradition and ancient chronicle monuments became evidence of the monastic feat of the monks. The meaning of the monastic life of St. Sergius and Herman was to enlighten the pagan Karelian tribes with the light of Christ's faith, to establish Orthodoxy in the North of Russia, and to found a monastic monastery, which became a stronghold of Orthodoxy in the early centuries of Christian enlightenment. The ancient Novgorod chronicles report the finding of the relics of St. Sergius and Herman and their transfer to Novgorod during the invasion of the Swedes in 1163-64 .
It was then that the local glorification of the founders of the Valaam Monastery took place and the beginning of the church veneration of St. Sergius and Herman within the Novgorod diocese was laid. Evidence of their church veneration is their presence in the Cathedral of the Novgorod saints, mentions in the service "To All Russian Saints", compiled in the XVIII century, as well as a pro-painting and an iconographic original of the XVIII century.
At the beginning of the XVIII century, icons of St. Sergius and Herman were known. A reminder of the lost life of the saints is found in numerous lists of the "Valaam Conversation", a monument of church journalism of the XVI–XVII centuries. The conception of the "Conversation" is undoubtedly an excerpt from the September Mines, which tells about the transfer of the relics of St. Sergius and Herman (Karelian miracle workers) from Novgorod to the monastery of the All-Merciful Savior after the military danger was calmed, apparently in 1182, which is confirmed by the Novgorod chronicle sources. The original place of the exploits of St. Sergius and Herman is indicated on the Holy Island. So says the legend known under Abbot Ephraim in the second half of the XVIII century. This fact is also confirmed by the Swedish atlas, in which the Holy Island is named on the map of Valaam Island as Vanho Valamo – Old Valaam, and a cross is indicated on this island.
The extremely wide distribution of the "Valaam Conversation", known in many lists of the XVI, XVII, XVIII centuries, testifies to the high spiritual authority of the founders of the Valaam monastery, since it was through their spiritual mouths that the position of the non-possessors in the famous church polemics of the XVI century was stated.
In 1611, the monastery was ravaged by the Swedes, and Swedish colonists lived on the island. In 1685, during the reign of Grand Dukes John Alekseevich and Peter Alekseevich, the Swedes wanted to dig up the relics of the saints and abuse them, but the Lord, through the prayers of the saints, soon sent a great illness and relaxation of the members to them, so they were afraid and a chapel was built over their relics.
July 11 – the memory of St. Sergius and Herman, Valaam miracle workers. In 1755, Abbot Ephraim built a new wooden cathedral church, which had a chapel of St. Sergius and Herman. The traveler, Captain Yakov Yakovlevich Mordvinov, describes the monastery itself as follows: "The monastery is built on a stone mountain, the churches, the bell tower and the fence are wooden. And a plan was taken for the entire monastery, and on the plan it is indicated: The Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord, with side chapels in it: on the south side – the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, on the north — the Holy Apostle John the Theologian, on the top from the south of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First–Called, on the north - the holy righteous Zacharias and Elizabeth, on the bottom from the south — Venerable Father Sergius and Herman, the Valaam Wonderworkers, where the relics of St. under a bushel, and crayfish are made on top, and their picturesque images are put on their crayfish."
By June 28, 1789, a new cathedral church of St. Sergius and Herman, Valaam Miracle Workers, was consecrated by treasurer Innokenty and his brethren, where their relics rest under a bushel. In 1817, the Archimandrite of the Konevsky Monastery, Hilarion, composed a service for the Venerable Sergius and Herman, the Valaam wonderworkers, and printed in the Synodal Printing House with an instructive word attached to their memory.
In 1819, on October 20, the Holy Synod prescribed the all–Russian veneration of the Saints of Valaam and determined the days of the church celebration of their memory - June 28/July 11 and September 11/24.
The relics of St. Sergius and Herman still rest under a bushel in the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Valaam Monastery. The evidence of the grace-filled prayerful help of the saints is the numerous miracles revealed by the faith of those who ask and pray.
The founders of the monastery, the Venerable Sergius and Herman, the Valaam wonderworkers, did not leave us their lives, which undoubtedly existed, only brief mentions have been preserved in chronicles and ancient manuscripts. But the Venerable Sergius and Herman never left their brotherhood. They continue to witness their invisible presence for thousands of years, guarding the Valaam monastery with their prayerful intercession.