Rača Copying School

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Raca MonasteryStarting from Rača Monastery, you can reach Lađevac spring and the remains of Rača copying school at Banja, following a two – kilometer long marked track up the right bank of the river Rača. The first third is macadam which goes past the storehouses and meadows belonging to the monastery and the river itself, to a picnic site where the real hiking track starts.

On both sides of the river there are picnic sites with tables and benches with 70 – 80 seats, the barbecue and drinking fountain in the shape of a wooden statue.

The track continues up the hill to a stream which is just above the river Rača and which is crossed by two wooden bridges, from where it leads further through the beech forest.

After a forty – minute walk you reach the wide cascades of Lađevac spring. Before the track was arranged, it had been visited only by those who knew about the healing properties of its water, good for curing skin deseases. In 17th century the monks of Rača named this place Banja ( Spa ) , because the temperature of its water is 17°C all year long.
Very close to Lađevac there used to be ” Rača copying school ” and a church dedicated to St. George, where ascets lived. Its remains are being explored by archeologists, who have found the foundations of the guest – house, together with the remains of monks’ cells.

The center of „ Rača copying school “ ( which was a kind of a workshop where the old Serbian Orthodox church liturgical books and manuscripts were copied by the monks ) was St. Georg ‘ s Chapel in Banja near the Monastery. In 1630 the Turkish dervish and writer Zulih ( Evlija Čelebija ) wrote that there were 300 self – educated copyists served by 400 shepherds, smiths, farmers and other servants, being guarded by even 200 armed guards!

The oldest work of this School was Kiprian’ s handwritten book of psalms dated from 1642, while the works of a monk called Hristifor Račanin had an outstanding value thanks to its attractive ornaments.

After the Great Migration of the Serbs in 1690, Kiprian collected and completed „ The elementary reading book of Slavic manuscripts ” in Sent Andrea, while Yerotei Račanin wrote „ A journey to Jerusalem ” , surely one of the oldest travel books ever preserved in the Serbian literature.

Kiprian’ s pupil Gavril Stefanović, the greatest Serbian orator and writer from 18th century, entered a monastic order of the Rača fraternity in the Church of St. Luke the Evangelist in Sent Andrea.

About fifteen books from the Rača school are kept and protected as parts of collections in Belgrade, Bologna, Budapest, Prague, Cavtat, Cetinje in Montenegro. . .

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