The Church of St. Matthew in Raubichy

Though being a country small in size, Belarus actively promotes a healthy lifestyle. Here there are many places for recreation and sport activities. For example, one of the most popular winter resorts is considered to be the Republican Center of Olympic training "Raubichy". However, this place is famous for not only the opportunity to relax with family or friends and enjoy skiing or snowboarding, Raubichy may also be of interest to tourists as a place, which preserved the historical and architectural heritage of the country.

The Church of St. Matthew is the most memorable attraction of this area. For several centuries the temple gone through a lot of troubles and hardships, but now this building became a unique museum of Belarusian culture.

The history of the church began not quite normal, like the one of many other Belarusian shrines. In the 17th century one of the locals had a dream about the icon of the Mother of God, and he immediately told his neighbors about it. After some discussion, believers decided not to transfer already existed at that town icon fr om the prior place, and to build a small chapel on its place, consisting of eight corners. Here the icon of the Mother of God was disposed. Frequent parishioners of the chapel were the owners of the land - Volotkovich Kristof and his wife, and then Gabriel Halyava together with his family. In a few years near the chapel a village called Halyavschina was formed.

The chapel as well as the village flourished and enlarged until the middle of the 18th century, until one night the thieves broke into the temple and stole a divine icon. After some time, there occurred a fire that wiped out a chapel from the face of the earth. But, fortunately, the thieves that stole the icon confessed to their crime and returned the icon of the Mother of God to its place. Then the new chapel building was constructed.

In 1806, a bishop Jakub Teterka ordered about the construction of a new wooden building of the church. There also some outbuildings were constructed: stables, shed, barn and a storehouse. After half a century, a priest Zarzhetsky, who was highly respected by the locals, became the owner of the chapel. He was compassionate and stood up for the development of education and art. The priest trained twenty-five orphans grammar, writing, and even music with his own funds. Unfortunately, very soon Zarzhetsky died and did not live until the construction of a stone church in 1862.

Due to the fact that in 1863 for many people the church served as a symbol of the rebel, the authorities decided to transfer the temple to Orthodox believers. Soviet period was unfortunate to the shrine: the icon was stolen again, the churchyard, wh ere the local nobles and priests were buried, was demolished. The church itself was planned to be demolished, but due to the start of the building of the sports complex in Raubichy, it didn’t occur. An architect of the sport complex, Aladov personally asked Peter Masherov not to demolish the church and restore it. The authorities met his halfway. So, in 1976, a religious institution was restored and converted into a folk art museum.

Now it retains for visitors unique collections from already closed churches: national clothes of different Belarusian towns, sculptures of saints and many other interesting echoes of modern Belarusian history.