THE PRIEST THAT BLESSED THE SLUMS

Father Mikhail officiate at Saint-Jean Cassien Romanian Church near Aix-en-Provence, France. Every beginning of the year is marked by the Theophany that celebrates the baptism of Christ in Jourdain’s waters. The liturgy is followed by the blessing of the believer’s homes. Houses and cars are sprayed with blessed water by the priest, in order to purify them. Despite the upper standards of living in the community, father Mikhail doesn’t bless mansions with pools but little houses haphazardly built here and there. There are dozens of those cabins around the city. Most of them are inhabited by extremely poor people from Romanian orthodox community. The contrast between the blazing cossack of the priest, between the divine presence and the poverty of the Roma population is extremely gripping. We followed father Mikhail in 2015 and 2017 during this celebration. 

© 2015 Nicolas Serve