Visions from Sufi Brotherhoods, Whirling Dervishes, and ceremonies from all faiths. Read More
The Whirling Dervishes of Konya Turkey perform at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music.
Epiphany ceremonies in Lalibela.
Friday Prayer, Ethiopia
Friday Prayers at the Sheikh Hussein pilgrimage site.
Sheikh Hussein, Ethiopia
Man calling to prayer during the bi-yearly pilgrimage to Sheikh Hussein, in the Ogaden desert, close to the Somalian border.
Cave Dwelling, Republic of Georgia
And Jesus wept
Saint Joseph Old Cathedral was significantly damaged during the 1995 Oklahoma bombings. The Church has erected a memorial on this site. The statue of Jesus stands on a black granite base. Atop this is a stone base about 8 inches high. A white stone statue of Jesus, with His head bowed, stands with His back to the memorial. The statue was erected by the Church and dedicated on the third anniversary of the bombing. An inscription reads: "And Jesus Wept / John 11 / On April 19, 1995, at 9:02AM, a bomb exploded just a few hundred feet east of here. In that instant and the ensuing calamity, 168 people were known to be killed. Devastation covered this area. The parish house which stood on this corner was demolished and Saint Joseph Old Cathedral was severely damaged." Dedicated April 19, 1998
Procession of the Panagia Vimatarissa at the Holy Mount Athos, Vatopedi monastery, Greece.
Women mourn fallen soldiers in a cemetery in Natanz during Ashura rituals, Iran.
Bible in the Wall
On that day, I had decided to brave the bitter cold of early morning to catch the morning activities around the churches. Just before daybreak, I crossed the river Jordan, a dark snake in the dark, heading towards Bete Giyorgis. It is one of the largest of 13 rock-cut churches which King Lalibela is said to have built as a new Jerusalem after the sack of the original one by Muslims in the late 12th century. I myself preferred the version of many local monks that a winged horse come down from the heavens had set hoof on the earth where Lalibela was to build the churches in honor of the Lord. Bete Giyorgis sat quiet, enveloped in a light mist. At the sound of distant bells and soft chanting, I knew the first monks would soon arrive at the church. I knew better than to enter the sanctuaries: some priests knew me by sight but the Ethiopians are very religious and prefer to worship without outside interference (I saw no more than 5 or 6 tourists a day at that time and none on this early morning). While rounding a corner in the 12ft trench surrounding the church, decidedly walking away from the entrance, I came upon this monk, reading a holy book in a cavity in the wall: the light bathing him was like none I had ever captured on a face. His position grasping for light was divine: a rembrandtesque moment. I tried not to interrupt him but yet showed my wish to photograph him. He acquiesced in silence and continued his lecture. Not once did he stop reading nor lift his eyes from the book.
Megisti Lavra, Greece
Meteora monk, Greece
Prayer, Vincent Doukhan
Riding to Iraq
Dervish riding over the natural border from iran to Iraq.
For Muslims, Sheikh Hussein is the most sacred place in Ethiopia: the tomb of the 13th c. Somali saint who introduced Islam to the Sidamo people and is said to have performed many miracles. Approximately 50,000 pilgrims from Muslim Ethiopia come twice a year during the Muslim months of Hajj and Rabi' al-Awwal. The first pilgrimage is to celebrate his birth, the second his death. They traditionally carry cleft sticks known as "Oulle Sheikh Hussein", which are too small to serve as walking sticks and are not utilized for any practical purpose. Once they arrive at the shrine, the pilgrims take their turns entering the saint's tomb by crawling through a small doorway. This pilgrim hugs a Holy Rock said to have been the place the Saint preached.
Tir zane II
Dervishes slash their tongues with knives to prove God is protecting the faithful. Very little blood is shed as proof of this.
Tir zane I
Dervishes with knives stuck in their skull prove the protection God gives dervishes.
The Dede, head of the Whirling Dervishes, of Konya Turkey, performs at the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music.