Over the last 50 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 writing and publishing texts. These include traditional religious texts (from liturgy to history), re-translated and re-contextualised versions of these texts, and completely new texts.
From simple leaflets and books, to sophisticated internet productions including sound and image, these textual practices aim to transmit the religious heritage to a new generation in an increasingly globalised context.
Scholarship has largely ignored these texts, because they are too popular or too modern for scholars of the written religious traditions, and too textual for social scientists working on these transnational communities. However, 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.
The project takes these textual practices as its main source to understand how Oriental Christians inscribe themselves in European societies and so contribute to the transformation of their own transnational churches as well as to that of Orthodoxy worldwide.