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I’m back from a week-long trip to Germany.  Have no fear, there will be posts on the trip at some point.  It may be next year by the time I get to post them, but so what – there are so many great things to post on.  And yes, Bavaria was beautiful.  But I’ll tell you more about that when we get to that trip.

As for right now, I’m continuing with my trip to Joensuu back in February.  During the trip , we visited Valamo Orthodox monastery.  Today’s post concerns the new church.

Valamo new church, FinlandOne of the neat things about visiting an Orthodox church is the icons.  I was once told that all the icons and pictures of the saints around the church held a special place for worshipers.  The worshiper would come in and visit each one around the church in a similar way that a person visits a family member on a holiday.

Valamo new church, FinlandNew Valamo church is beautiful, as you can see.  Another cool thing about Orthodox churches is this – they are unapologetic.  You have a problem with something they are doing or displaying – too bad for you.  There’s no couching their beliefs for fear of offending someone.  I think the Western church could use a little bit of this every once in a while.

Valamo new church, FinlandThe church is very ornate, as most Orthodox churches are.  You definitely get a feel that you are in a holy place when you enter the sanctuary.

Valamo new church, FinlandAnd all the pictures and relics remind us of the community of saints who have gone before us.  The visual reminder is important.  It’s so interesting that these ancient visual reminders match up with our modern visual age so well.

Valamo new church, FinlandPictured above is the side chapel in the church.  Again, gorgeous and holy all at the same time.