Cult in Rome: testimony of a photographer

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As a photographer, I have traveled to many cities and countries and always come back with photos of people and places that I can’t wait to share. This latest trip to Rome was no exception. It did not disappoint.

Rome was way more than I expected in terms of history, culture and things to photograph. The whole city looked like an archaeological site. I could easily imagine what life was like in the ancient world as I walked the cobbled streets of the Roman Forum.

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

While these historic places are amazing, it was 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 that I photographed them.

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

The man in the photo came straight in, got down on one knee, prayed and left. For him, it was a spiritual place to worship and pray to his god. (Image IMB)

The Pantheon is considered the temple of all the gods. As I looked at the man, I wondered which god he was praying to.

It also reminded me to be grateful to know, to be loved, and 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 is, I couldn’t help but feel empty and distant despite its solemn act of worship as many tourists passed by taking pictures.

When I visited the Scala Sancta, I really felt like I was walking through Bible history. Scala Sancta in Italian means “Holy Staircase”. It is a popular place of pilgrimage for Christians, as these stairs are believed to be the very ones that Jesus climbed on his way to his 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. Crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. This lady held her phone with both hands to record the Pope delivering the Christmas message on Christmas Day.

The stairs were brought to Rome in the 4th century. (Image IMB)

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

“…You have neither desired nor enjoyed sacrifices, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and sin offerings…” (Hebrews 10:8)

People all over the world are devout in their religion. Pray that they may find the One True God and that their worship and devotion will be pleasing to him. Your prayers, donations, travels and sendings help share the truth with those who seek answers in the false religions of the world.


EDITOR’S NOTE — This story as originally written by Luke In and published by the International Mission Board.

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