Romania's Gravediggers Are the One Link Between the Country's Many Religions

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Romania's Gravediggers Are the One Link Between the Country's Many Religions

Romania has 18 religions, none of which have very much in common with each whatsoever—bar the fact all believers are buried by the same men.
June 9, 2015, 1:45pm

This article appeared on VICE Romania.

Romania has 18 official religions, none of which have very much in common, bar tax exemption rights and a set of followers with an absolutely astonishing sense of imagination. Their churches are different, their priests are different, and, of course, they have different resting places for their dead.

One thing that does remain the same across the groups, however, is the grave diggers. Remus Țiplea, a 42-year-old Romanian photographer, spent 2011 documenting the lives of the followers of the six most prominent religious denominations in his local region of Negresti. It was back then he noticed that it was the exact same gravediggers servicing all of the funerals; besides heaven and hell, these men seemed to be the only thing these religions had in common.

Fascinated, Remus spent some years following and documenting them. According to the photographer, the gravediggers are humble, impoverished people, often from the periphery of society. They're employed by the different religious communities to perform a job like any other, regardless of their own religious beliefs.

- Mircea Topoleanu