Behind the Lens: Worshipers in Rome

As a photographer, I’ve traveled to numerous cities and countries and always come back with photos of people and places that I’m excited to share. This last trip to Rome was no exception. It didn’t disappoint.

Rome was way more than what I expected in terms of history, culture and things to photograph. The whole city seemed like an archeological site. I could easily imagine what life in the ancient world was like walking through the cobblestone streets in the Roman Forum.

I came back with many photos of the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Square, Renaissance art and many of the numerous architectural sites Rome had to offer.

While these historic places were amazing, it’s the photos of people living their normal lives and practicing their religion that caught my eye. The sincerity and devotion in their form of worship was so apparent as I photographed them.

Inside the Pantheon were many tourists all busy taking pictures and admiring the architecture. This man came straight in, got on his knees, prayed and left. To him, it was a spiritual place to worship and pray to his god.

The Pantheon is considered the temple of all the gods. As I watched the man, I wondered which god he prayed to.

It also reminded me to be grateful that I know, am loved by and get to love the One True God.

Later, inside the beautiful St. Agnese Church, an elderly lady knelt, meditated, read a booklet and prayed for over 30 minutes.

As beautiful as this church was, I couldn’t help feeling empty and distant in spite of her solemn act of worship, as numerous tourists walked by snapping pictures.

When I visited the Scala Sancta, I really felt like I was walking through Bible history. Scala Sancta in Italian means “Holy Stairs.” It is a popular pilgrimage site for Christians as these set of stairs are believed to be the very ones Jesus climbed on His way to trial before Pontius Pilate and later brought to Rome in the fourth century.

Out of reverence and devotion, people climb it only on their knees and in silence.

It was raining when I arrived at St. Peter’s Basilica. The crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. This lady held her phone in two hands to record the Pope giving the Christmas message on Christmas Day.

I have photographed people of different religions — Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians — in all their devout forms of worship. As genuine and sincere a form of worship may be, I am reminded that without the right relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, it may be a “sacrifice” that God rejects.

“…You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings…” (Hebrews 10:8)

People around the world are devout in their religion. Pray that they may find the One True God and their worship and devotion may be a pleasing aroma to Him. Your praying, giving, going and sending helps share the truth to those searching for answers in false world religions.