The Holy Mountain of Grabarka
Grabarka is a mountain located next to a village of the same name in the podlaskie region. It is the most important place of the religious orthodox cult in Poland. At Grabarka you can see a Female Monastery of St. Marta and St. Maria, which was established in 1947, as well as an orthodox cemetery.
A Polish historian named Antoni Mironowicz associates the beginnings of this sanctuary with the cult of the miraculous icon of Christ the Savior, which was especially worshiped back in the 13th century in an Orthodox church in the nearby town of Mielnik. According to local tradition, during the Tatar attacks the monks, who were taking care of the icon, were suposed to be hiding along with the sacred picture in the surounding forests, and eventually reach the Garbarka Mountain.
Each year, the Orthodox population is celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration, which is commonly known in Białystok and its surroundings as Spasa.
Another opinion about the origins of Grabarka comes from historian Józef Maroszek, who said that the first place of cult at Grabarka was supposed to be established in the early 18th century as a greek catholic sanctuary. He believed that the information about the existence of the temple which go back to the middle ages, has more in common with legend than historic facts.
The partitions of Poland relocated the region of Siemiatycz originally in the Prussian annexation, and later, by the power of the Tylża peace in 1807, these areas became part of Russia.
After World War I, the orthodox church in Grabarka was kept in very good conditions, and because there was a cemetery located right next to the church, and funeral devotions were held inside, it wasn’t closed during revendication actions. The Grabark orthodox church didn’t suffer during World War II either.