VOYTENKO A.A. Parish or Synaxaria? To the Basic Elements of Religious Self-Identity of Ethno-Confessional Communities of the Christian Orient

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.21

Anton A. Voytenko

Doctor of Sciences (History), Leading Researcher,

Center for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Leninsky, 29, Bld. 8, 119071 Moscow, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The article focuses on the issues of the basic elements of keeping ethno-religious identity in the communities of the Christian Orient, which found themselves either as a minority under the dominance of another religious tradition, or within the almost complete external isolation suggesting a significant reduction of the former religious tradition and / or excluding its reactivation. The actual basis for the analysis is the history of the Coptic Church (from the period of the late Antiquity / early Byzantium to the modern period), as well as the history of the Alans / Ossetians from the 13th – 14th to the mid 18th centuries.

Methods. The system analysis is used as the main research approach. Religious communities of the Christian Orient are regarded as closed, self-replicating systems. The paper aims to identify inside these systems the elements that make up the “content” or “superstructure” (preserved and translated to prevent assimilation with the dominant religious tradition and loss of their former identities), and basic elements that provide essential conditions for their successful survival.

Analysis and Results. Studies of the cultural and religious rise of the Coptic community in the Middle Ages and New Times manifest that the basic elements of its identity preservation and transmission in the new conditions may be found in the transformation of churches / parishes and monasteries into a communicative space and area of religious socialization. The study of the religious situation of Alans / Ossetians in the conditions of almost complete external isolation and reduction of the Orthodox tradition to “popular Christianity” suggests that the sacred space of Christian churches becomes (already as an archetypical model) a point of the syncretic “content” formation, which has a certain strength and defines the cultural and religious identity of the Ossetians for a long time.

Key words: Christian Orient, ethno-confessional identity, history of the Coptic Church, history of Christianity in the North Caucasus, history of the Alans.

Citation. Voytenko A.A. Parish or Synaxaria? To the Basic Elements of Religious Self-Identity of EthnoConfessional Communities of the Christian Orient. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 272-283. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.21.

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Parish or Synaxaria? To the Basic Elements of Religious Self-Identity of Ethno-Confessional Communities of the Christian Orient by Voytenko A.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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