Becoming. The Old Believers of the Danube Delta.

In this wildlife sanctuary that is the Romanian Danube Delta, where tens of thousands of tourists flock in annually, life between the marshes takes a different toll. The Lipovan village of Sfistofca is part of the wild delta, where one can hear the jackals screaming after sunset and walk the roads at night in complete darkness, among feral animals. The nearby water channel, due to the formation of alga and vegetation, will become in five to six years, according to the locals, impossible to navigate. With an average age of over 70 and just 40 inhabitants left who live mostly off their pensions, in a few decades there will be little evidence that these places were once the homelands of a centuries old community.

The settlement of the Lipovan population in the area is tied to the schism of the Orthodox Russian Church – otherwise known as “Raskol” – which took place in the 17th century during the reforms of Patriarch Nikon. I started documenting the Old Believers of Sfiștofca in 2016 and it’s an ongoing project which explores the becoming of an ethnic minority, tucked away in a remote nook of the delta.

Contact: patricia.g.iftene@gmail.com