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Rewriting Global Orthodoxy Oriental Christianity in Europe between 1970 and 2020

Project description

Oriental Orthodox Christianity’s adaptations in Europe

Following their flight from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, Oriental Orthodox Christians have relied in the last 50 years on the reproduction of religious texts and on writing new ones to retain their beliefs and culture, and transmit them to new generations. As important as these publications may be as evidence of their self-understanding, they have been largely ignored by scholars, often because of their popular nature. The GlobalOrthodoxy project examines these written and digital sources to understand the ways Armenians, Copts, Syriacs, Arameans, Ethiopians and Eritreans adapted to Europe, how the texts contributed to formulating an ethnic and religious self-image, and how they contributed to Orthodoxy globally.


Over the last fifty years, Oriental Orthodox Christians (Armenians, Copts, Syriacs/Arameans, Ethiopians and Eritreans) from the Middle East and Africa have settled in Europe, fleeing war-related violence and societal pressures. One of the prominent aspects of religious practice of these transnational Oriental communities is their strong emphasis on the writing and publishing of texts. These include traditional religious texts (from liturgy to history), re-translated and re-contextualized texts, and completely new texts. From simple leaflets and books to sophisticated internet productions where text is persuasively embedded in sound and image, these textual practices aim to transmit the religious heritage to a new generation in an increasingly globalized context.
Scholarship has largely ignored these texts, being too popular or too modern for scholars of the written religious traditions and too textual for social scientists working on these transnational communities, even though they make up a crucial source for the study of these communities’ European integration, especially as to the hybrid character of many of these traditions, among Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Christianities, and among European and global Christianity. Unfortunately, the popular nature of these texts, whether published on paper or digitally, threatens their long-term survival.
The project takes these textual practices as its main source to understand how these Oriental Christians inscribe themselves in European societies and so contribute not only to the transformation of their own transnational churches but also to that of Orthodoxy worldwide. It hypothesizes that diachronic and synchronic comparison among Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches will show that this rewriting includes the actualization of their religious heritage vis-à-vis ethnic and national self-definitions, vis-à-vis European society, and vis-à-vis other churches, particularly Orthodox ones.


Net EU contribution
€ 2 467 260,00
Houtlaan 4
6525 XZ Nijmegen

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Oost-Nederland Gelderland Arnhem/Nijmegen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)