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Orthodox Identities in Western Europe: Migration, Settlement and Innovation


Orthodox Identities in Western Europe: Migration, Settlement and Innovation Edited by Maria Hämmerli and Jean-François Mayer Ashgate, 2014

The Orthodox migration in the West matters, despite its unobtrusive presence. And it matters in a way that has not yet been explored in social and religious studies: in terms of size, geographical scope, theological input and social impact. This book explores the adjustment of Orthodox migrants and their churches to Western social and religious contexts in different scenarios. This variety is consistent with Orthodox internal diversity regarding ethnicity, migration circumstances, Church-State relations and in line with the specificities of the receiving country in terms of religious landscape, degree of secularisation, legal treatment of immigrant religious institutions or socio-economic configurations. Exploring how Orthodox identities develop when displaced from traditional ground where they are socially and culturally embedded, this book offers fresh insights into Orthodox identities in secular, religiously pluralistic social contexts.


Introduction, Maria Hämmerli and Jean-François Mayer

Part I Migration and Settlement

Romanian Orthodox churches in Italy: the construction of the Romanian-Italian transnational Orthodox space, Suna Gülfer Ihlamur-Öner

The myth of an ideal leader: the case of the Syriac Orthodox community in Europe, Naures Atto

The transformation of social capital among Assyrians in the migration context, Soner Onder Barthoma

Orthodox churches in Germany: from migrant groups to permanent homeland, Reinhard Thöle

The ambivalent ecumenical relations among Russian Orthodox faithful in Germany, Sebastian Rimestad and Ernest Kadotschnikow

How do Orthodox integrate in their host countries? Examples from Switzerland, Maria Hämmerli

The Orthodox churches in the United Kingdom, Hugh Wybrew

Population movements and Orthodox Christianity in Finland: dislocations, resettlements, migrations and identities, Tuomas Martikainen and Teuvo Laitila

Orthodox parishes in Strasbourg: between migration and integration, Guillaume Keller

Orthodox priests in Norway: serving or ruling?, Berit Thorbjørnsrud

Part II Innovation

Not just caviar and balalaikas: unity and division in Russian Orthodox congregations in Denmark, Annika Hvithamar

Mediating Orthodoxy: convert agency and discursive autochthonism in Ireland, James A. Kapaló

The Great Athonite tradition in France: circulation of Athonite imaginaries and the emergence of a French style of Orthodoxy, Laurent Denizeau

‘We are Westerners and must remain Westerners’: Orthodoxy and Western rites in Western Europe, Jean-François Mayer

Innovation in the Russian Orthodox Church: the crisis in the diocese of Sourozh in Britain, Maria Hämmerli and Edmund Mucha


About the Editors

Maria Hämmerli is a sociologist of religion and currently researches Orthodox Churches and their migration to traditionally non-Orthodox countries.

Jean-François Mayer is Director of the Institute Religioscope. He is the author of ten books and numerous articles on contemporary religion.


‘With representative essays covering the majority of Western European cases, the volume offers rich ethnographic, historical and social-scientific material that enables and invites comparisons with other regions and countries. For the first time ever in contemporary literature, readers have the opportunity to gain valuable information about the presence of various Eastern Orthodox migrant groups in a multitude of countries. Thanks to this volume, researchers and scholars gain a better understanding of the condition of Eastern Christianity outside of its original heartlands.’ Victor Roudometof, University of Cyprus, Cyprus

‘Christian East meets the Post-Christian West in this book, revealing an exciting mosaic of Christian Orthodox presence in Europe: from the history of multilayer diaspora formation to the issues of accommodation, transnationalism, religious innovations and, most importantly, negotiation of new identities. Contrary to the swiftly rising interest to Muslim communities in Europe, the presence of rich and various Eastern Christians traditions have been clearly understudied, and this volume helps to fill the gap.’ Alexander Agadjanian, Russian State University for Humanities in Moscow, Russia

‘Given the growing importance of Orthodox Christians in Western Europe today, this volume is particularly welcome and fills a real gap. It is broad in scope, rich in material and theoretically challenging. It is thus indispensable not only for those interested in the modern expansion of Orthodox Christianity beyond its historical heartlands and the numerous consequences thereof, but also for those working in the areas of religion, migration, identity formation and transnationalism.’
Vasilios N. Makrides, University of Erfurt, Germany _______________________________________________