Sakha, or Yakutia is a republic of the Russian Federation in far eastern Siberia, covering an area just smaller than India, with a population of fewer than one million—mainly native Yakuts, and Russians. The towns of Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon are in the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere, with temperatures that have reached as low as −71.2 °C (−96.2 °F).
The main religion in Yakutia is Orthodox Christianity, and the feasts of Christmas—the Nativity of Christ, and Theophany, when the Lord’s Baptism is celebrated, are very special in this land that boasts some of the coldest waters in the world.
Photographer Marina Yurchenko captured the special mood of Orthodox Yakutia’s winter feasts in 2010.
|Marina Yurchenko |
Marina Yurchenko was born in Moscow. She received a diploma in Journalism from Moscow State University. She worked as photo editor and correspondent from 1975 to 1999, and from 1984, she participated in many photo exhibitions both in the USSR and abroad. At the invitation of American publishers, she has photographed for the books: “A Day in the Life of the USSR” (1987), “Changing Reality. Recent Soviet Photography” (1991), “The Circle of Life. Rituals from the Human Family Album” (1991), “More Reflections of the Meaning of Life” (1992), “A Day in the Life of Israel” (1994), and “Jerusalem. In the Shadow of Heaven” (1996). Many of her photographs were published in Time and Life magazines, on Orthodox Christian themes (1987, 1991, 1996).
In 2000, Marina Yurchenko’s personal photo exhibition, “Let my prayer arise” was shown with great acclaim at several exhibition centers in Russia. In 2001, her exhibition was shown in New Valaam Monastery in Finland. From 2001 she returned to the theme of pilgrimage that she had begun in 1994. In 2002, her personal exhibition, “The Holy Land”, was shown in the New Jerusalem museum near Moscow; part of that exhibition is still there today. From 2007–2010, Marina spent time in Yakutia, where at the blessing of Bishop Zosima of Yakutsk and Lensk, she participated in a missionary trip down the Lena River, photographing the life of Orthodox parishes in Yakutia, and the great feasts of Christmas, Theophany, and the Transfiguration.