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The Temple of the Holy Trinity in the Village Chereya

The Temple of the Holy Trinity in the Village Chereya


Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

The Temple of the Holy Trinity in the village Chereya of the Chashniki district of the Vitebsk region is an architectural monument designed in early Baroque. It was constructed in XVI century in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, on the bank of Chereyskoye Lake that is popularly called Beloye. Therefore the countrymen gave the temple a new name - The White Temple. Up to the present moment the temple has survived in its original exterior appearance.

Previously the location Chereya was in possession of the Sapiehas. They governed there during almost 250 years. Bogdan Sapieha built on the bank of this lake, on the spot of the future temple a basilica that later was destroyed. After that there was constructed a one-tower temple, but it was burnt. They say that in the crypt of the temple the parents of Lev Sapieha were buried, but there are no proofs of it.

As to the construction of the Temple of the Holy Trinity, the countrymen say that once, after the signature of the cessation of hostilities with Moscow, Ivan the Terrible presented an icon of Archangel Michael to Kazimir Sapieha. He brought it to Chereya and ordered to construct a temple especially for it. With the efforts of the countrymen there was constructed a temple on the bank of the lake: it was consecrated in honor of the Holy Trinity. In the temple there was also kept a copy of the unique icon “Mother of God of the Sign” that was brought there in 1640.

According to the researcher R. Romanov, it is the only early Baroque architectural monument that has survived, however in ruins. The researcher also remarked the unique slimness of its silhouette and delicate ornament.

The distinctive features of temples of that style are spacious halls, visible from away belfries, rich inner decoration.

The wall thickness of the tower is about two meters. Keeping in mind that the temple is situated on the hill and has such thick walls, it can be said that it had not only a religious function but also a defensive one in the most challenging times.

The inner decoration of the temple has not survived. The temple has suffered difficult times. After the establishment of the Soviet authority the building of the temple was used as grain storage, later – as a hall for mountain climbing. It is supposed that at the time the interior was the most affected.

The interior of the temple was rather strict and modest. It still attracts tourists from across Belarus, that are interested in architectural monuments and styles and who investigate poorly understood facts.

Today the temple does not function, but the local residents take care of the surrounding territory, cut the grass, and improve.

The temple in Chereya has been recently included into the State Program on Restoration that provides hope that soon it will gain its original appearance and will be available for divine services and church celebrations. Connoisseurs of architecture, Orthodox culture and traditions should visit this site to touch again the beautiful.


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