Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Raca-monastery

Raca-monastery - the beauty of the building and the miracle of the faith and maintain.

Raca-monastery is located among the spurs of the Tara-mountain, near mountain river, "decorated with pines and marble".
This medieval monastery was built up by the king Dragutin (1273-1275),and it is dedicated to the Ascension. Thanks to it the influence of the king Dragutin became stronger and the Orthodoxy was deeply rooted in this part of Serbian Empire. Inspired by the vivid tradition and christian spirituality, monks of the Raca-monastery had been working on the strenghtening of the national identity; they had been copying religion books in the style of medieval illuminated scriptures. When the dramatic times begun, monastery shared the destiny of the people. Many times it was devastated and reconstructed. When conflicts between two empires- Turkey and Austria- begun, at the end of the 17-th century, Serbian people saw its historic chance to free itself under Turkish slavery. National uprisings begun in order to help Austrian christian army on it's victorious way. At the time, Uzice and Sokol were liberated .
Many destroyings and migrations of the Serbian nation were caused by the Austrian withdrawal from Serbia in 1688. With the patriarch Arsenie III Carnojevic at the head , monks from Raca-monastery ran away, carrying sacred things from monastery. Then Raca "was burnt in the fire". One century passed until monastery resurrected again.After his visit to Jerusalem, to Jesus grave, prior Milentije Stefanovic succeeded to get the licence from sultan Selim III in Constantinopole to restore the Raca-monastery. The restoration begun in 1795 by prior Milentije Stefanovic and it was finished in 1799, the 8-th of September. According to some notes, new building resembled previous one.Spiritual and national rising of Hadzi Milentije during the First Serbian National Uprising was , actually, facing with new sufferings. During the fall of Karadjorde's Serbia (1813), Turks crossed river Drina in Raca, near Pleskovo (Bajina Basta) and started destroying, killing people, taking slaves.
Again, rivers of refugees from this area moved to the north , and many voivodes went with them. Hadzi Melentije escaped to Austria. These were hard times for Raca-monastery. In their victorious delirium Turks devastated and burnt down church, turning it into ruin and ashes. Suffering of the people and monks, while defending monastery, had remained in people's memory. In the restored Serbia, the present building was built up from bricks in style of well known 'raska school' (1826).
Impressive and harmonic building has a rectangle base with twofolded roof , small windows and emphasized cupola. Modest iconostasis was painted by Georgie Bakalopic (1840); walls were painted by famous painter Dimitrie Posinkovic (1854), who inspirely, warmly and vividly transposed legend about Jesus Christ's life. Unfortunatelly, legend about maintain of the monastery and the nation , about faith and sufferings continued in our time, in this century, in World War I. Then, monastery and people from this area had been tortured by severe Bulgarian occupants.

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