Today is the first day of the Easter weekend and in a country which has a population of over 7 million Christians (approx 75% population) it is a special time of the year. St Stephen’s Basilica is one of the largest and grandest churches in Budapest and so I spent around 10-15 mins trying to capture the incredible good Friday service. I did not spend long shooting as I felt it was best that I remain as discreet as possible and tried not to be disruptive unlike some fellow visitors who felt the need to ignore the stop signs and silence requests. Hopefully you will get a sense of what a surreal and breath taking atmosphere there was.
I have visited the Basilica twice all ready this trip but this time the atmosphere was even more magical than before. The sounds of Hungarian chanting and singing filled the large ornate room, lit only by candle light, in an hauntingly beautiful manner. Regardless of the obvious language barrier it is easy not to get lost in the moment. The congregation remain deadly silent until they erupt and join in with the incredibly warming harmony of the next hymn. The acoustics of the basilica create a beautiful sound as the chants and hymns echo through the vast height of the building.
Whether you are a Christian or not, it is hard not to be drawn into the spiritual atmosphere as the warm, reverbing sounds engulf you. The intricate golden detailing on the walls and ceilings glimmer in the candle light enhancing their already striking appearance, whilst to the side of the congregation, worshipers light individual candles one by one. I ended up spending longer taking in the atmosphere than I did shooting. Hopefully I will have a chance to return again over the Easter weekend and attempt to photograph some more of the services.