Amadeusz Świerk

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Last Georgian Doukhobors

The Georgian Doukhobors inhabit the steppes of southern Georgia. At the end of the 19th century, they were forcibly resettled there from Russia by tzar Nicholas 1, as a result of their refusal to perform military service. The Doukhobors are a small faction of the Orthodox Church that holds pacifist views and rejects the symbol of the cross and icons, as well as all sacraments. Their colorfully decorated houses of worship look completely secular, while their distinctive feature to this day is their traditional, richly decorated garb.

Most of the Georgian Doukhobors emigrated to Canada or returned to Russia after the fall of the USSR. Their numbers have been dwindling year by year, currently standing at around 100 people.

This series shows a small slice of community life in the village of Gorelovka. It was the summer of 2018, just when two Doukhobor women from Russia came to visit. Not much earlier, a group, including the community chairman, had left the village for Russia for good.

© 2024 Amadeusz Świerk