GRABARKA: Between Earth and Heaven

Photos by Yurian Quintanas Nobel

He was born in Amsterdam in 1983 but he has been living all his life in Banyoles (Spain). Yurian began studying photography in 2007 at IDEP SCHOOL, Barcelona, where he did a specialization course in photojournalism.
Over the past four years Yurian has won several prizes and has been awarded with scholarships like the “XIII International photojournalism meeting of Gijon”, the Magnum Photo Workshop scholarship with Chien-Chi Chang or the ‘”Descubrimientos Photo España 2011” porfolio review.

GRABARKA: Between Earth and Heaven

Every year, on the 19th of August, thousands of Orthodox Catholics, moved by faith, flock to the holy mountain of Grabarka to celebrate the Transfiguration. Many of them get there on foot, on their knees or carry the traditional orthodox cross for many miles as a sacrifice to God. On their arrival the pilgrims place their crosses into the ground and start to pray. They continue their prayers during the entire night, thus hoping to achieve health for themselves and their kin and salvation for their dead ancestors.

The Holy Mount of Grabarka, also known as ‘The mountain of the 6000 crosses’ is the largest center of worship of the Orthodox community in Poland.

The story goes that in the 18th century a man suffering from cholera, had a dream and put a cross on top of the mountain and miraculously healed.

From that day people have not ceasedto carry crosses to the sanctuary and year after year the mountain has been filled with thousands of them. 

Grabarka is a place full ofmysticism and spirituality; a sacred place that serves its devotees  as a link between the world of the living and the dead.

Death in human society The concept of death as an end or as a transition, the idea of immortality and the belief in an afterlife, appear in one form or another in practically all societies and moments of history.

Death is a daily fact, implicit to life, and is possibly the only certainty that the human being has got. However, the idea of death remains remote and is even eluded by the majority of the people, and just the mention of it is considered taboo. It is basically conceived as a personal failure and this causes that its presence fills us with fear, pain and suffering on not knowing how to treat it and not being prepared to assume it naturally. At this point appear religion, the myths, and the different beliefs which generate hope in the human being when facing this great mystery of life: death.

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