Confirmation candidate, Cologne, 1911

August Sander, Part Two

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Confirmation candidate, 1911 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

August Sander (1876–1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. He has been described as “the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century”.
In 1911, Sander began with the first series of portraits for his work “People of the 20th Century”. In this series, he aims to show a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic. August Sander became renowned for this work in which he put together hundreds of portraits of people from different levels of society and occupational groups in a series of portfolios developed in a project spanning decades. The series is divided into seven sections: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc.). By 1945, Sander’s archive included over 40,000 images.

“The essence of all photography is the documentary manner” August Sander

CONFIRMATION CANDIDATE
In Christianity, Confirmation is seen as the sealing of the covenant created in Holy Baptism. In some denominations, Confirmation also bestows full membership in a local congregation upon the recipient. In others, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Confirmation “renders the bond with the Church more perfect”, because, while a baptized person is already a member, “reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace”.
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and many Anglicans view Confirmation as a sacrament. In the East it is conferred immediately after baptism. In the West, this practice is followed when adults are baptized, but in the case of infants not in danger of death it is administered, ordinarily by a bishop, only when the child reaches the age of reason or early adolescence. Among those Catholics who practice teen-aged Confirmation, the practice may be perceived, secondarily, as a “coming of age” rite.
In Protestant churches, the rite tends to be seen rather as a mature statement of faith by an already baptized person. It is also required by most Protestant denominations for membership in the respective church, in particular for traditional Protestant churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.), in which it is recognized as a coming of age ceremony.
Confirmation is not practiced in Baptist, Anabaptist and other groups that teach believer’s baptism. Thus, the sacrament is administered to converts from non-Christian religions, those aforementioned groups, and nontrinitarian churches.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Wikipedia: Confirmation
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation

See also my other post about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
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Healing ceremony in the Pentecostal Church of God, 1946

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Healing "laying on of hands" ceremony in the Pentecostal Church of God. Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky (Photo: Russell Lee / U.S. National Archives) 1946

Healing “laying on of hands” ceremony in the Pentecostal Church of God. Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky (Photo: Russell Lee / U.S. National Archives) 1946

Faith healing refers to notably overt and ritualistic practices of communal prayer and gestures (such as laying on of hands) that are claimed to solicit divine intervention in initiating spiritual and literal healing. Believers assert that the healing of a person can be brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward healing disease and disability. Belief in divine intervention in illness or healing is related to religious belief. Faith healing is claimed healing through supernatural or spiritual means.
Christian laying on of hands is used in Christianity as both a symbolic and formal method of invoking the Holy Spirit primarily during baptisms and confirmations, healing services, blessings, and ordination of priests, ministers, elders, deacons, and other church officers, along with a variety of other church sacraments and holy ceremonies.

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – Mark 16:16-18

Pentecostalism/Charismatic movement. At the beginning of the 20th century, the new Pentecostal movement drew participants from the Holiness movement and other movements in America that already believed in divine healing. By the 1930s, several faith healers drew large crowds and established worldwide followings.
Pentecostal Christians believe that the laying on of hands can have curative properties, based on biblical precedent set by Jesus, who would walk for days, offering his healing power. Both Christian and non-Christian faith healers will lay hands on people when praying for healing, and often the name of Jesus is invoked as the spiritual agency through which the healing of physical ailments is believed to be obtained.
Sources:
Wikipedia: Faith healing
Wikipedia: Christian laying on of hands
Wikipedia: Laying on of hands

Hands of Healing

Hands of Healing

For more see my other post:
Handling serpents at the Pentecostal Church of God, 1946

 

Handling serpents at the Pentecostal Church of God, 1946

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Handling serpents at the Pentecostal Church of God. Most of the members are coal miners and their families. Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky. (Photo: Russell Lee / U.S. National Archives) 1946

Handling serpents at the Pentecostal Church of God. Most of the members are coal miners and their families. Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky. (Photo: Russell Lee / U.S. National Archives) 1946

In 1946 the Department of Interior and the United Mine Workers agreed to a joint survey of medical, health and housing conditions in coal communities. Survey teams went into mining areas to collect data and photographs on the conditions of these regions, later compiled into a published report. The bulk of the photographs were taken by Russell W. Lee.
Russell Lee
(1903 – 1986) was an American photographer and photojournalist. By the fall of 1936 during the Great Depression, Lee was hired for the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographic documentation project. He joined a team assembled under Roy Stryker, along with Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein and Walker Evans. In 1946 and 1947, he created over 4,000 photographs of miners and their working conditions in coal mines. In 1946, Lee completed a series of photos focused on a Pentecostal Church of God in a Kentucky coal camp.
The Pentecostal Church of God was formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1919. It believes the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the inspired word of God which is the only rule of Christian faith and practice.
Snake handling, also called serpent handling, is a religious ritual in a small number of Pentecostal churches in the U.S., usually characterized as rural and part of the Holiness movement.
The practice began in the early 20th century in Appalachia, and plays only a small part in the church service. Practitioners believe serpent handling dates to antiquity and quote the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke to support the practice:
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:16-18)

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
(Luke 10:19)

George Went Hensley (1880–1955) introduced snake handling practices, founding the Dolly Pond Church of God in Birchwood, Tenn. in 1910. If believers truly had the Holy Spirit within them, Hensley argued, they should be able to handle rattlesnakes and any number of other venomous serpents.
Snake handlers do not worship snakes, instead using the snakes to show non-Christians that God protects them from harm. In church services, when they feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit come upon them, these Christians reach into boxes, pick up venomous snakes and hold them up as they pray, sing, and dance. They should also be able to drink poison and suffer no harm whatsoever.
Snake handling as a test or demonstration of faith became popular wherever Hensley traveled and preached in the small towns of Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana.
In 1955, Hensley died of a snakebite .
Most religious snake handlers are still found in the Appalachian Mountains and other parts of the southeastern United States. In 2001, about 40 small churches practiced snake handling, most of them considered to be holiness-Pentecostals or charismatics.
Although exact records are difficult to substantiate, at least 71 people have been killed by venomous snakebites during religious services in the United States.
All Appalachian states except West Virginia outlawed the snake-handling ritual when it first emerged. Most snake handling, therefore, takes place in the homes of worshipers, which circumvents the process of attempting to obtain a government permit for the practice. Law enforcement usually ignores it unless and until they are specifically called in, which does not usually happen unless a death has resulted.

Jamie Coots, who was featured in a National Geographic Channel program, “Snake Salvation“, was cited in 2013 for illegal possession and transportation of venomous snakes. Coots died from a snake bite on February 15, 2014, after refusing medical treatment.
Kristen Wiley, curator of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo said that the risk of fatal bites is significantly reduced by the familiarity of the snakes with humans, and by the poor health of snakes that are insufficiently fed and watered and kept in crowded areas. Deaths related to snake-handling are more likely to occur when someone is bitten while handling a newly captive snake, still in relatively good health, and then refuses medical treatment. Snakes living in the captivity of snake handlers live an average of 3 to 4 months, compared to a well-cared for snake in captivity which can live 10–20 years.

More to read:
1. Take Away the Serpents from Us: The Sign of Serpent Handling and the Development of Southern Pentecostalism
2. Snake Salvation: One Way to Pray in Appalachia

Ο Ράσσελ Λη (1903 – 1986) ήταν ένας Αμερικανός φωτογράφος και φωτορεπόρτερ. Το 1936, ήταν μέλος της ομάδας φωτογράφων της Διοίκησης Αγροτικής Ασφάλειας (Farm Security Administration) που τεκμηρίωσαν τις συνθήκες ζωής στις Νοτιοδυτικές Πολιτείες κατά τη διάρκεια της Μεγάλης Ύφεσης, μαζί με τη Δωροθέα Λάνγκε, τον Τζακ Ντελάνο κ.α.
Το 1946 και το 1947, τράβηξε πάνω από 4000 φωτογραφίες, στα πλαίσια ενός προγράμματος του Υπουργείου Εσωτερικών και της Ένωσης Ανθρακωρύχων σχετικά τις συνθήκες διαβίωσης των ανθρακωρύχων στα Απαλλάχια Όρη.
Μια σειρά φωτογραφιών του, αφορούσε αποκλειστικά τις θρησκευτικές συνήθειες των μελών – ανθρακωρύχων με τις οικογένειες τους – της “Πεντηκοστιανής Εκκλησίας του Θεού” στο Λετζουνιόρ, στην κομητεία Χάρλαν του Κεντάκυ.
Η Πεντηκοστιανή Εκκλησία του Θεού σχηματίστηκε στο Σικάγο του Ιλινόις το 1919. Πιστεύει ότι η Παλαιά και η Καινή Διαθήκη είναι ο εμπνευσμένος Λόγος του Θεού, και είναι ο μόνος κανόνας της χριστιανικής πίστης και πρακτικής. Μέρος του τελετουργικού της εμπνέεται από τα αποσπάσματα των Ευαγγελίων Μάρκου και Λουκά:

“Να και τα θαύματα που θα κάνουν όποιοι πιστέψουν: Με την επίκληση του ονόματός Μου θα διώχνουν δαιμόνια, θα μιλούν νέες γλώσσες, κι αν παίρνουν φίδια στα χέρια τους ή πίνουν κάτι δηλητηριώδες δε θα παθαίνουν τίποτε· θα βάζουν τα χέρια τους πάνω σε αρρώστους και θα τους θεραπεύουν.” (Κατά Μάρκο 16:17-18)

“Σας δίνω εξουσία να πατάτε πάνω σε φίδια και σκορπιούς, και να κυριαρχείτε πάνω σ’ όλη τη δύναμη του εχθρού· τίποτε δε θα σας βλάψει.” (Κατά Λουκά 10:19)

Σύμφωνα με τον εμπνευστή του τελετουργικού, Τζώρτζ Γουέντ Χένσλεϋ (1880–1955), αν οι πιστοί έχουν πραγματικά το Άγιο Πνεύμα μέσα τους, τότε θα μπορούν να κρατούν κροταλίες και δηλητηριώδη φίδια χωρίς αυτά να τους δαγκώνουν. Θα μπορούν ακόμα και να πιούν και στρυχνίνη χωρίς να πάθουν τίποτα. Ο Χένσλεϋ, κατάφερε με το κήρυγμα του να κάνει ιδιαίτερα δημοφιλή αυτή την πρακτική σε αρκετές περιοχές του Νοτιοανατολικών Πολιτειών της Αμερικής. Ωστόσο το 1955 τον δάγκωσε ένα φίδι στην εκκλησία και πέθανε.
Υπολογίζεται ότι πάνω από 71 άνθρωποι έχουν πεθάνει κατά τη διάρκεια του τελετουργικού με τα φίδια. Και ενώ έχει απαγορευτεί επίσημα σε όλες τις Πολιτείες στα Απαλλάχια Όρη, (εκτός από τη Δυτική Βιρτζίνια) υπάρχουν περίπου 40 μικρές εκκλησίες που συνεχίζεται ακόμα με την ανοχή της τοπικής αστυνομίας.
Οι κήρυκες ξεστομίζουν πύρινους λόγους ώσπου να τους κυριεύσει το Άγιο Πνεύμα, βγάζουν τα δηλητηριώδη φίδια από τα κουτιά τους, τα κρατάνε στα χέρια και προσεύχονται, τραγουδάνε και χορεύουν μαζί με το ποίμνιο τους σε θρησκευτική έκσταση, σε μια ομαδική επίδειξη πίστης.
Ωστόσο, σύμφωνα με την επιμελήτρια του Ζωολογικού Κήπου του Κεντάκυ, τα δηλητηριώδη φίδια δεν είναι τόσο επικίνδυνα όσο φαίνεται. Συνήθως είναι αφυδατωμένα, υποσιτισμένα και αρκετά εξοικειωμένα με την ανθρώπινη παρουσία. Επιβιώνουν μόνο μερικούς μήνες αντί για 10-20 χρόνια σε συνθήκες αιχμαλωσίας. Τα περιστατικά θανάτων από δάγκωμα, απλά προέρχονται από νεοφερμένα φίδια που δεν έχουν εξαντληθεί και όταν το θύμα αρνείται ιατρική περίθαλψη.

Three Hidden Women

Three Hidden Women