Valaam as an Oasis of Spirituality and Church Music of Russia Abroad


  • Svetlana Zvereva The State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • George Lapshynov University of Glasgow, United Kingdom


M. M. Osorgin, A. A. Swan, Russian Church music, Valaam Obikhod, Russian diaspora


Тhe topic of the transmission of tradition is understudied in musicology. This article contributes to the field by concentrating on the formation of the singing tradition of the parish of St Sergius in Paris. It studies the genesis of its musical tradition at the hands of Vladyka Benjamin (Fedchenkov) and M. M. Osorgin. Both loved Valaam greatly and found inspiration in Valaam and the Holy Trinity St Sergius Lavra to create a monastic liturgical style in the Parisian church. After comparing several chants, it looks at the musical books used by the choir of St Sergius, the Valaam Obikhod and the Psalmist’s Companion, and the different musical traditions they embody. After a review of the history of music at Valaam and a comparison of primary sources and contemporary analyses, the authors propose a picture of the singing tradition of the Karelian monastery prior to the Revolution. It then looks into historical figures such as A. Swan and M. M. Osorgin who studied and attempted to preserve ancient Russian practices in the diaspora, and how these two figures’ correspondence during the 1930s offers a unique window into their attempts at achieving this goal. The article concludes by reviewing the contemporary practices of the Parisian church, offering the reader a reflection on the survival of the great Russian melodic heritage in the Russia Abroad.

Peer-reviewed Articles



How to Cite

Zvereva, Svetlana, and George Lapshynov. 2022. “Valaam As an Oasis of Spirituality and Church Music of Russia Abroad”. Journal of the International Society for Orthodox Music 6 (1):124-48.