Photo of the Day for February 28, 2013

February 27, 2013 7:00 pm

Vadokhryshcha 2013 (part IV).  Вадохрышча 2013 год (частка IV).

Immersion rite:  Father Ryhor vigorously blesses those who will immerse themselves and, here, onlookers.  Davyd-Haradok.  Давыд-Гарадок.

Photo of the Day for February 27, 2013

February 26, 2013 7:00 pm

Vadokhryshcha 2013 (part III).  Вадохрышча 2013 год (частка ІІІ).

Father Ryhor prepares to bless those who will immerse themselves and the crowd of onlookers, Davyd-Haradok.  Давыд-Гарадок.

Photo of the Day for February 26, 2013

February 25, 2013 7:00 pm

Vadokhryshcha 2013 (part II).  Вадохрышча 2013 год (частка ІІ).

Father Ryhor blesses the waters before the rite of immersion, Davyd-Haradok.  Давыд-Гарадок.

Photo of the Day for February 25, 2013

February 24, 2013 7:00 pm

Vadokhryshcha 2013 (part I).  Вадохрышча 2013 год (частка І).

It is a tradition throughout the Orthodox world to commemorate the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan by immersing oneself in a river or lake.  The commemoration takes place on Orthodox Theophany (equivalent to Western Christian Epiphany), January 19.

In Belarus this tradition is being revived in communities across the country.  Waters are normally ice-bound on January 19 so the local priest organizes the cutting out of a pool, most often cross-shaped.  After the priest blesses the water and the assembled crowd, parishioners take turns entering the water and crossing themselves before each of three immersions.  In the historic central Polesian city of Davyd-Haradok the church chose a spot in the River Haryn’ under the bridge where the ice is reliably thick.

This ancient rite is full of mystery and devotion.  However, just as Father Ryhor strove here in Davyd-Haradok to avoid having the rite lose its sacred function, it was a challenge to chronicle in photographs an occasion that at times risked looking like a spectacle for onlookers.  It would be a worthy goal to photograph this rite in future years at a site where all who are present take part in the immersion, including me.

Davyd-Haradok, January 19, 2013.  Давыд-Гарадок 2013 год.

Photo of the Day for February 24, 2013: Каб вымалаціць з цемрачы праменне

February 23, 2013 4:00 pm

“To thresh a ray of light from the empty darkness”:  A very Happy 78th Birthday and a reverent bow to Belarusian National Poet Ryhor Baradulin, born February 24, 1935.  Many happy returns of the day!

This poem calls one stoically to accept that one is a weak twig in the tree of time, to prepare for death, yet manfully and with creative force to strive to leave a light-filled legacy.

“Каб вымалаціць з цемрачы праменне”:  Віншуем з 78-ым днём народзінаў Народнага паэта Рыгора Барадуліна.  Дзякуй за праменьні Вашых вершаў, спадар Рыгор.  Пашана да Вас!  Яшчэ сто гадоў!

Mjensk 2009.  Менск 2009 год.

Пакуль жывеш, развітвайся з жыццём…

Пакуль жывеш, развітвайся з жыццём
Штогодна, штогадзінна, штохвілінна,
Твой кожны дзень,
Забраны забыццём,
Лічы сваім найбольшым адкрыццём,
Ты — з дрэва часу
Кволая галіна.

Штодня вядзі з самім сабою бой,
Каб клопаты цябе не пахавалі,
Жыві надзеяй,
Мараю слабой,
Што свет трымаецца
Адным табой —
З ракі ўсёзабыцця — намерам хвалі.

Старайся не ў дзяльбе,
А ў малацьбе,
Каб вымалаціць з цемрачы праменне.
Ляж зморшчынкай
Ва ўсмешцы на ілбе,
Каб недзе ўспомніла жыццё цябе,
У незваротнай вечнасці —


Photos of the Day for February 23, 2013

February 22, 2013 7:00 pm

Vadokhryshcha (Orthodox Theophany), Church of the Holy Trinity, Azdamichy 2013.  Вадохрышча, царква Сьвятой Тройцы, Аздамічы  2013 год.

Orthodox churches following the Julian calendar celebrate the Theophany (equivalent of Western Christian Epiphany) on January 19.  Called Vadokhryshcha in Belarus, the feast celebrates the first appearance in our world of the Holy Trinity, at the baptism of Jesus Christ.  In commemoration of Christ’s baptism, at the conclusion of the service the priest blesses water which parishioners will use to protect their homes and their health.

It has been a blessing to attend Vadokhryshcha services in Belarus since 2007.  This was the fourth year in a row I have celebrated the feast in my favorite parish of the Holy Trinity in Azdamichy in the central Pripet area of Polesia.

Here parishioners lay out containers of water for Father Aljaksandr to bless.

Паклон Айцу Аляксандру й прыходу царквы Сьвятой Тройцы ў Аздамічах.

Father Aljaksandr blesses parishioners and their containers of water.  Асьвячэньне вады.

Photo of the Day for February 22, 2013

February 21, 2013 7:00 pm

Paulinka.  Паўлінка.

Paulinka’s granny Eva stopped me as I was photographing my snowbound favorite village of Tsjerablichy and asked whether I would photograph her granddaughter.  I agreed right away and with pleasure — the only proper way to respond to a Belarusian grandmother.   Granny Eva rushed home to get Paulinka dressed, and this photo was the felicitous result.

Tsjerablichy 2013.  Цераблічы 2013 год.

Photo of the Day for February 21, 2013

February 20, 2013 7:00 pm

January 2013 was a very snowy month in Belarus.  At times I felt like this photographer.  Падчас засьнежаных студзеньскіх вандровак па Беларусі адчуваў сябе як гэты фатограф.

Outside Kamarouski Market, Mjensk 2013.  Ля Камароўкі, Менск 2013 год.

Photo of the Day for February 20, 2013

February 19, 2013 7:00 pm

Along the R57 (part VII).  Уздоўж Р57 (частка VII).

Khvojka 2013.  Хвойка 2013 год.

Photo of the Day for February 19, 2013

February 18, 2013 7:00 pm

Along the R57 (part VI).  Уздоўж Р57 (частка VI).

The woods along this stretch of the R57 are inviting in all seasons.

Near Buda 2013.  Ля вёскі Буда (Жыткавіцкі раён) 2013 год.