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Rubene Evangelic Lutheran Church

The legendary history of the bright Rubene Church dates back to the medieval times.

In 1208, the priest and later author of the Livonian Chronicle, the Henry of Latvia, gathered Latgalians in the ancient Ymera municipality, which is the origin of a Christian congregation traditions in Rubene. Some historians think the gathering place of the community might have been near the nearby Mujāni, on mound Baznīcas in Ķikuti. However, most of the historians share the opinion that the first Latvian congregation gathered at the place where the present church of Rubene is standing.

The church got its present looks in 1739, but it also features the former altar part, which was built already in the 14th century.

The Chronicles of Henry is the eldest chronicle written in the territory of Latvia. It is both a historical primary source on entry of Christianity, personalities, mutual relations and battles between nations, and everyday life in the territories of present Latvia and Estonia from 1180 to 1227. The Henry of Latvia, who had been ordained by the Riga bishop Albert, probably according to the bishop's order wrote the chronicles in the mid-20s of the 13th century.

There are several legends about the origin of the name of Rubene church. One of these tells to protect the church from the devil a man and a woman had been immured in the wall of the church, and the name of the man had been Rubens. The church got its name in honour of him.

Another version tells the name of the church stems from the black grouse (in Latvian – rubenis), which had sat in one of the trees, which was later used in the church construction.

An important part of the church interior is the chandelier with the Russian Empire two-headed eagle and branch ornaments on the ball; the chandelier was given to the church in 1762 by Barbara Helena von Budberg, the heiress of Ķieģeļu manor. There is an inscription in the church (1869), which is devoted to the 50th anniversary after the serfdom was cancelled.

Rubene Lutheran church owns also several valuable and ancient items used during the liturgical ceremonies: the baroque chalice given in 1677, and the cup made in 1849 featuring historical ornaments, and an Oblation box (1755) and a paten (1772).

The priest, who had served in the Rubene congregation the longest, was Christoph Harder (1772 – 1817), who wrote, translated, and published books. In 1795 Christoph Harder published the first cookery book in Latvian. He aimed at teaching Latvian farmers. The popular „Vidzeme calendars“ issued by Harder included male and female names, and among these – names invented by the priest.


Facts and figures

  • The church has undergone many reconstructions, for example, the stone congregation was built in 1739.
  • The Chronicles of Henry were intended for the envoy of the Roman Pope Honorius III – the Modena bishop Guglielmo.
  • Henry of Latvia had described in the chronicles the development of the Rubene congregation in 1208. The priest Alebrand had invited the Latgalians to baptise themselves. The Latgalians had accepted this, since they were of the opinion that this will be a reason, why the Germans will protect them from invasions of Livs and Lithuanians.
  • However, there are different opinions, whether Henry himself was a Latvian, Latgalian, Liv, or originated from Lower Germany. In the chronicles he calls himself the Let priest from Ymera (Henricus, Letthorum minister de Ymera) or the holy Henry originating from the Lets (sacerdos Henricus de Letthis).
  • At the time the floor of the altar part was changed in 2000, an ancient crypt was found. Most probably, the old Baltic family Patkuli was buried here.

Donations are accepted during the visiting of the church

Extra services

  • Guide services are subject to prior announcement at the Valmiera Tourism Information Centre

For your conveniences

  • Free parking


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