Travel

Photos of Romanians Having Their Homes Blessed by Priests

Pay the priest what you'd like, and he'll ward off any evil spirits haunting your abode.

by Remus Țiplea
Jan 5 2017, 4:12pm

Remus Țiplea

Top image: The photographer's mother-in-law and priest Felix during a blessing ceremony.

This article originally appeared on VICE Romania.

Every year close to the Christmas holidays, my grandmother would call the priest to her home, so he could bless it in time for the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus. She would call him again every time she redecorated for additional blessings. The priest would usually come with an assistant and walk around the house waving incense and splashing drops of holy water all over the place using dried basil twigs. At the end, we would all line up and kiss his cross, and then he'd leave the house smelling like he had just torched the place.

House blessing or house cleansing isn't just something my Romanian grandmother did—it's something people in many different religions and spiritual practices do. But photographer Remus Țiplea decided to focus on the ritual as it's performed in Romania, by following a Catholic and an Orthodox Christian priest around western Romania, back in 2013.

"In a Romanian village, when you tag along with a priest or the mayor, all doors are open to you," Țiplea explained to me. "But my role was just to document the ritual." Home owners request the blessing for many reasons—from warding off evil spirits to ending family fights in their homes. The priest doesn't ask for a fixed fee, you can pay what you like. The only rule is that you clean your house before his visit.

Scroll down for Țiplea's series on Romanian house blessings.

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