A Lasting Faith: Orthodoxy in the Holy Land – Dafna Tal, Photographs

Ambassador of Israel to Serbia H E Alona Fisher Kamm opened the the photo exhibition “A Lasting Faith: Orthodoxy in the Holy Land” by Israeli author Dafne Tal in Belgrade gallery “Progress”, after which followed the performance of the choir of the temple of Saint George in Čukarica, conducted by Emilija Milin. The exhibition is the first in a series of events that Israeli embassy this year organises in honour of the 25th anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic relations between Serbia and Israel. Visitors will be able to see the exhibition until 5 February.

The photographic exhibition “A Lasting Faith: Orthodoxy in the Holy Land” that shows once again, how much the Holy Land is the cradle of all monotheistic religions. Dafna Tal captures in her photos not only impressive churches and monasteries but first and most, the soul and the spirit of Orthodoxy, the people who shape it, its traditions, culture and rituals. The photos witness almost 2000 years of constant orthodox presence in the Holy Land- presence that has never been interrupted, even in hard conditions of human or natural catastrophes.


Dafna Tal’s penetration to the heart of Orthodox places in Israel is made with a lot of respect, sensibility and deep understanding. It is not made to intrude intimacy but to reveal and expose the beauty of the Orthodox places, the people and the legacy. Tal exposes in her very personal way the essence of Orthodoxy, giving it her own artistic and intellectual interpretation.

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Dafna Tal lives and works in Jerusalem. She is familiar with every ally of this city, its buildings and the stories behind them. Through her photos, we can cease the images of Jerusalem as well as to smell, touch and even taste this multicultural and multi-religious city that fills us with so much pride and concerns.

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This exhibition means much more than an Israeli artistic event in Serbia. Its content represents another common denominator between our two beloved nations. I am sure that any Serbian will feel close to Israel, its territory and history through these photos that are part of our shared legacy. Orthodox Christianity was born in the Holy Land and the State of Israel makes an important effort to maintain and preserve its legacy, to safeguard pilgrims and guarantee a complete freedom of worship to all religions. Israel attaches special importance to the rights of all religious minorities and nourishes the value of tolerance and coexistence.

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This exhibition is part of the celebrations marking 25 years of renewal of diplomatic relations between Serbia and Israel. But the friendship between us goes much beyond 25 years. I am inviting you all to enjoy the exhibition and to come to Israel to experience this country that I have the honor to represent in Serbia. I am sure you will be able to feel the warm heart and friendship of the Israelis toward Serbia. The tourism exchange between the two countries has been growing dramatically lately. No doubt, this increase reflects that solid and profound feeling of solidarity, friendship and mutual understanding.

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Born in the Holy Land, the cradle of the monotheistic religions, Christianity has maintained a constant presence in the area since the first day of its inception. Twenty centuries later churches, monasteries and convents of all denominations are still part of the natural landscape either in the heart of cities, hilltops or in remote desert regions. The Orthodox Church is fundamental part of this presence on those sacred grounds, where Christianity was born and its institutions, the monks, priests, nuns and pilgrims are integral part of the human landscape of today’s Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Its unwavering faith and the traditional rituals perpetuate the centuries old tradition of Orthodoxy.

Israeli photographer Dafna Tal was fascinated by this presence and was drawn to conduct an indepth documentary project over the past three years. In a series of exceptional photographs she captured with utmost clarity not only the faces of the members of the Orthodox communities but also, through a deep understanding of the essence of Orthodoxy, the spirit of these secluded places seldom accessible to the general public.

In the process, and because of her open and sincere personality, she obtained the trust of the Orthodox Patriarchate and as a result was granted an unprecedented acceptance among all the communities, churches and convents which enabled her to penetrate their sacred and secret world not only visually but also emotionally and engendered images of extraordinary clarity and beauty.

The seemingly unconditional cooperation of the people photographed was supplemented by her deep understanding of these special closed communities.

A virtuoso of lighting and composition, in her photographs, either individual portraits, group photographs or images of atmosphere, Tal succeeded to capture and reflect the quintessence of the sanctity of the two thousand years old and unchanged tradition in its full splendor in inspiring images that convey the depth of the Orthodox faith and devotion.

Thus, Dafna Tal’s unique photographic document sheds a new and contemporary light on the largely inaccessible world of Orthodoxy. While opening a window to this hermetic world, at the same time these photographs pay tribute to the strength of the lasting faith of Orthodoxy in its natural environment: Jerusalem and the Holy Land, the eternal home of Christianity where all begun.

Dr. Nissan N. Perez


Jerusalem, Israel

 Dafna Tal was born in Israel and lives and works in Jerusalem as a professional photographer specialized in creative and documentary projects. She began her professional career following her studies at the School of The International Centre of Photography (ICP) in New York (2006). After her graduation she obtained The European Diploma in Cultural Project Management from the The Association Marcel Hicter in Finland, Cyprus and Greece (2009). The current project A Lasting Faith: Orthodoxy in the Holy Land was conducted in 2013-2015 as a close collaboration between the artist and the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches.

Contact: www.dafnatal.com

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