VALAAM, July 17. /TASS/. The Russian and Belarussian Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, have attended a divine service at the Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral, the main church of the Valaam Monastery located on the namesake archipelago in Russia’s northwestern Karelia Region.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the monastery included 14 sketes (monastic communities) located in different parts of Valaam and 21 chapels. To date, most sketes have been rebuilt.
After the church service, the Russian and Belarusian leaders headed to the Skete of All Saints. Afterwards, the two presidents visited the Smolensk Skete, along with the St. Vladimir Skete, the Royal Martyrs Chapel and the Valaam Monastery’s museum.
Putin and Lukashenko are planning to attend a concert of the awe-inspiring Monastic Choir of the Valaam Monastery later in the day, the Kremlin said.
"The meeting with the president of the Republic of Belarus is informal," the Kremlin said. "The next day, Putin and Lukashenko will attend official events: they are scheduled to hold talks and to address the plenary meeting of the sixth forum of Russian and Belarussian regions," the Kremlin said.