Photos of the Day for September 30, 2013

September 29, 2013 7:00 pm

Teaching to Pray the Rosary, Replja 2013.  Навучаньне малітвы Ружанца, Рэпля 2013 год.

It is profoundly moving to watch this generation of Belarusian grandparents — many of whom are old enough to have lived through the brutality of Sovietization, all of whom lived through the savagery of the Nazi German occupation and the re-imposition of Soviet atheism — tenderly and patiently pass on their Christian faith to their grandchildren.  While awaiting the start of the annual harvest festival Mass (Dazhynki), this grandmother quietly, matter-of-factly, un-self-consciously and ever-so-properly instructed her granddaughter how to pray the Rosary.

Photo of the Day for September 29, 2013

September 28, 2013 7:00 pm

Churches of Belarus (part XLVI):  Church of the Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Replja 2013.  Касьцёлы Беларусі (частка XLVI):  касьцёл Імя Найсьвяцейшай Панны Мапыі, Рэпля 2013 год.

Here seen as the back-drop to young, heavy-laden apple trees, Replja’s early 20th-century church is a fine example of neo-Gothic  architecture in Belarus.

Photo of the Day for September 28, 2013

September 27, 2013 7:00 pm

After an August Storm, Tsjerablichy 2013.  Пасьля жнівеньскай навальніцы, Цераблічы 2013 год.

Belarus had a halcyon spring and summer, with only rare days of rain, and never on the weekend.  It didn’t rain hard in Tsjerablichy until the end of August, when autumnal weather finally caught up to the autumnal light which had infused the air since early in the month.

Photo of the Day for September 27, 2013

September 26, 2013 7:00 pm

Silver Light in Polesia.  Палескае асьвятленьне.

Late afternoon in August, view across the first bridge over the River Mastva, Tsjerablichy 2013.  Жнівеньскі падвечар, краявід праз першага масту над ракой Маства, Цераблічы 2013 год.

Photo of the Day for September 26, 2013

September 25, 2013 7:00 pm

Silver Light of August, Tsjerablichy 2013.  Жнівеньскае асьвятленьне, Цераблічы 2013 год.

 

Photos of the Day for September 25, 2013

September 24, 2013 7:00 pm

Apple-Blessing Festival/Feast of the Transfiguration (Jablychny Spas), Azdamichy 2013.  Яблычны Спас, Аздамічы 2013 год.

In his third and final circuit of the churchyard, Father Aljaksandr holds out his cross for each parishioner to kiss. As soon as they have kissed the cross, people waste no time in heading to the cemetery to place fruit which has been blessed on the graves of their forefathers.

In the first photo, these girls’ grannies and great-aunts hover alertly but allow the older girl to guide her sister in how to kiss the cross.  In the second photo the younger sister turns to watch and confirm to herself the proper way.

 

Photo of the Day for September 24, 2013

September 23, 2013 7:00 pm

Apple-Blessing Festival/Feast of the Transfiguration (Jablychny Spas), Azdamichy, August 19, 2013.  Яблычны Спас, Аздамічы 2013 год.

After Father Aljaksandr has blessed parishioners’ apples and pears, people carefully wrap up their fruit before Father Aljaksandr makes his third and final circuit, when everyone kisses the cross.  While they wait, many families indulge their children and grandchildren, who have been waiting patiently during the last two hours of the service, by allowing them to sneak a taste of the season’s first apples.  Here the granny in the middle background took her grandson’s apple in mid-bite so that — in her mind — he would appear properly in the photo, but she forgot her granddaughter, who squirreled her latest bite deliciously in her cheek.

 

Photos of the Day for September 23, 2013

September 22, 2013 7:00 pm

Apple-Blessing Feast/Feast of the Transfiguration (Jablychny Spas), Azdamichy, August 19, 2013.  Яблычны Спас, Аздамічы 2013 год.

Falling near the middle of the two-week Dormition great fast, the harvest feast of Jablychny Spas (Apple-Blessing Feast/Feast of the Transfiguration) is celebrated in Orthodox parishes throughout Belarus.

Returning to my friends in the parish of the central Polesian villages of Azdamichy and Tsjerablichy always means coming home; returning each year for Jablychny Spas is always the best homecoming.  This was the seventh year in a row I have celebrated Jablychny Spas in Azdamichy.  While acknowledging that the feast is a major occasion in other parishes, I cannot conceive of missing the celebration in Azdamichy.  It is partly from sharing the joy and relief at the harvest felt by these village’s smallholders — these stalwart, hardworking people who have allowed me to photograph them over the years, whose children and grandchildren I have photographed as they’ve grown up.  It is partly from my reverence for, and sharing of, these people’s steadfast Christian faith and for their commitment to pass on their faith and deep traditions to their children and grandchildren.

At the end of the five-hour service, parishioners circle the church in the churchyard, laying out their early apples and pears for Father Aljaksandr to bless.  In his first circuit, with his youngest son preceding him as cross-bearer, Father Aljaksandr censes the fruit.  In his second circuit, with his middle son joining as water-carrier, Father Aljaksandr blesses the fruit with water.

Photo of the Day for September 22, 2013

September 21, 2013 7:00 pm

Churches of Belarus (part XLV):  Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, Azdamichy 2013.  Цэрквы Беларусі (частка XLV):  царква Сьвятой Тройцы, Аздамічы 2013 год.

Even in mid-August Belarus was bathed in autumnal light.

Photo of the Day for September 21, 2013

September 20, 2013 7:00 pm

Makasichy 2013.  Макасічы 2013 год.