Every year on the 19th of August, thousands of Orthodox Catholics moved by faith flock to the holy mountain of Grabarka in Poland to celebrate the Transfiguration. Many of them go by foot or on their knees, many 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 throughout the entire night, 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 for the Orthodox community in Poland. The story goes that in the 18th century, a man suffering from cholera had a dream, put a cross on top of the mountain and miraculously healed. From that day people have carried crosses to the sanctuary, and year after year the mountain has been filled with thousands of pilgrims. Grabarka is a place full of mysticism and spirituality; a sacred place that serves its devotees as a link between the world of the living and the dead.
The concept of death as an end or 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 one of the only certainties of humanity. However, the idea of death remains remote and elusive to the majority of people; just the mention of it is considered taboo. It is basically conceived as a personal failure, causing its presence to fill us with fear. We feel pain and suffering because we don’t know how to deal with it, and aren’t prepared to accept its imminence. There arrives religion- the myths, and the different beliefs which generate hope in the human being when facing this great mystery of life: death.
Yurian Quintanas Nobel was born in Amsterdam in 1983, but has lived all his life in Banyoles (Spain). He studied photography in 2007 at IDEP SCHOOL, Barcelona. Yurian has worked on his own projects, which are still in their formative stages. Gradually he is becoming more interested in stories away from the daily news and more related to his own life experience. Over the past four years, Yurian has won several prizes and was awarded scholarships to “XIII International photojournalism meeting of Gijon” and the Magnum Photo Workshop scholarship with Chien-Chi Chang.