Religioscapes, migration, identity, de - and re-territorialisation, hybridisation, Greek Orthodoxy


This paper aims to introduce an alternative research approach in dealing with migrant communities as religioscapes, from the perspective of religious aesthetic. Namely, it focuses on the Greek and Greek-Cypriot migrant communities in Germany and Great Britain and examines their religiocultural symbolic constellations in the public sphere, particularly, those which illustrate aspects of their self-perception and migration narratives. In both cases churches serve as arks of culture and identity. In the lapse of time, community and church, being closely knit, jointly constructed their migrant narratives of de- and re-territorialisation, cultural adaptation and hybridisation, essentially their own distinct sense of being and belonging. Therefore, one observes the phenomenon of interwoven migrant and church narratives. The particularities of these constantly under construction identities are manifest in the architectural, hagiographical/iconographical themes, aesthetics and concepts of their churches. It is typical, however, of the Byzantine iconographic tradition to include and demonstrate the socio-political conditions of its time and place; and, those visual manifestations, as part of a sociocultural reality, possess a contextual dimension in their symbolic content, while being an act and a medium of communication in their own right. It is therefore feasible to decode their aforementioned content and articulate the narrative therein.


Anthias Floya, Ethnicity, Class, Gender and Migration: Greek-Cypriots in Britain, Ashgate, Aldershot, 1992.

Appadurai Arjun, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation, Public Worlds, Vol.1, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis MN, 1996.

Appadurai Arjun, Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy, Theory Culture Society, Vol. 295, No. 7, 1990.

Assmann Jan and Czaplika John, Collective Memory and Cultural Identity, New German Critique, No. 65, 1995.

Beyer Peter, Religion in the Context of Globalisation: Essays on Concept, Form, and Political Implication, Routledge, London, 2013.

Castoriadis Cornelius, Η Άνοδος της Ασημαντότητας [The Rise of Insignificance], Ypsilon Vivlia, Athens, 2000.

Castoriadis Cornelius, The Imaginary Institution of Society, translated from French by Kathleen Blamey, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1987

Chandler Daniel, Semiotics: the Basics, Routledge, second edition, London, 2007.

Christo Gus G., The Consecration of a Greek-Orthodox Church According to Eastern Orthodox Tradition: A Detailed Account and Explanation of the Ritual, The Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston NY, 2005.

Deleuze Gilles and Guattari Félix, Anti-Oedipus - Capitalism and Schizophrenia, translated from French by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis MN, 1972.

Doxiadis Constantinos A., Building Entopia, Norton, New York NY, 1975.

Ekklesia, Η Ναοδομία: Ιστορική και θεολογική θεώρηση [Church-building: Historical and Theological Theorisation], (accessed 02.05.2019).

Eliade Mircea, The Sacred and the Profane, translated from French by W.R. Trask, Harcourt, Brace & World Inc., New York NY, 1957.

Engler Steven and Grieve Gregory P., “Illuminating the Half-Life of Tradition: Legitimation, Agency, and Counter-Hegemonies”, in: Historicising "Tradition" in the Study of Religion, Engler Steven and Grieve Gregory P. (eds.), Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 2005.

Foucault Michel, “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias”, in: Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory, Leach Neil (ed.), Routledge, London, 1997.

Foucault Michel, Des es¬paces autres, Conférence au Cercle d’é¬tudes ar¬chi¬tec¬turales, 14 mars 1967, Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité, No. 5, 1984.

Gallant Thomas W., From the War of Independence to the Present, Bloomsbury, second edition, London, 2016.

Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, The 90th Anniversary of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, Encyclical of The Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, October 2012, London.

Hämmerli Maria and Mayer Jean-François (eds.), Orthodox Identities in Western Europe: Migration, Settlement and Innovation, Ashgate, Farnahm, 2014.

Habermas Jürgen, Religion in the Public Sphere, European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2006.

Habermas Jürgen, The Postnational Constellation, Political Essays, translated by Max Pensky, The MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2001.

Hayden Robert M. and Walker Timothy D., Intersecting Religioscapes: A Comparative Approach to Trajectories of Change, Scale, and Competitive Sharing of Religious Spaces, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 81, No. 2, 2013, pp. 399-426.

Hirschon Renée, “Indigenous Persons and Imported Individuals: Changing Paradigms of Personal Identity in Contemporary Greece”, in: Eastern Christians in Anthropological Perspective, Hahn Chris and Goltz Hermann (eds.), University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 2010.

Holy and Great Council, Pentecost 2016, The Orthodox Diaspora, (accessed 02.05.2019).

Ioannides Kleitos, The Church of Cyprus: History and Culture of two Millennia, Holy Monastery of Kykkos: Nicosia, 1999.

Joseph Joseph S., Cyprus: Ethnic Conflict and International Politics – From Independence to the Threshold of the European Union, McMillan Press, second edition, London, 1997.

Kilde Jeanne H., Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship, Oxford University Press, New York NY, 2008.

Knott Kim, The Location of Religion: A Spatial Analysis, Routledge, London, 2014

Knott Kim, Spatial Theory and Method for the Study of Religion, The Finnish Society for the Study of Religion Temenos, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2005.

Koliopoulos John S. and Veremis Thanos M., Modern Greece: A History since 1821, Hurst and Co., London, 2010.

Kourelis Kostis and Marinis Vasileios, “An Immigrant Liturgy: Greek Orthodox Worship and Architecture in America”, in: Liturgy in Migration: Cultural Contexts from the Upper Room to Cyberspace, Teresa Berger (ed.), The Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 2012.

Leontis Artemis, Topographies of Hellenism: Mapping the Homeland, Cornell University Press, London, 1995.

Lidov Alexei, Hierotopy. Spatial icons and Image-Paradigms in Byzantine Culture, Design. Information. Cartography, Moscow, 2009.

Makrides, Vasilios N., Hellenic Temples and Christian Churches: A Concise History of the Religious Cultures of Greece from Antiquity to the Present, New York University Press, New York NY, 2009.

Manic Bozidar, Nikovic Ana, Maric Igor, Relationship Between Traditional and Contemporary Elements in the Architecture of Orthodox Churches at the Turn of the Millenium, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2015.

Maguire Henry, The Profane Aesthetic in Byzantine Art and Literature, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 53, 1999.

Mavratsas Caesar V., “Greek-Cypriot National Identity: A Clash between Geography and History”, in: Spatial Conceptions of the Nation: Modernising Geographies in Greece and Turkey, Diamandouros Nikiforos P., Dragonas Thalia and Keyder Ҫağlar (eds.), Tauris Academic Studies, London, 2010.

McAlister Elizabeth, Globalization and the Religious Production of Space, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2005.

McGuckin John A., The Theology of Images and the Legitimation of Power in Eighth-Century Byzantium, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 1, 1993.

McLoughlin Seán, Migration, “Diaspora and Transnationalism: Transformations of Religion and Culture in a Globalising Age”, in: The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religions, Hinnells John R. (ed.), Routledge, London and New York, 2005.

Neğrau Elisabeta, The Ruler’s Portrait in Byzantine Art: a Few Observations Regarding its Functions, European Journal of Science and Theology, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001.

Ousterhout Robert, An Apologia for Byzantine Architecture, Gesta, Vol. 35, No. 1, 1996.

Papastergiadis Nikos, The Turbulence of Migration: Globalization, Deterritorialization and Hybridity, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2000.

Ramfos Stelios, Τριώδιον: Τόπος Υπερουράνιος – Η Παλινωδία του Παπαδιαμάντη – Μελέτη Θανάτου [Triodion: Locus Supernal – The Tergiversation of Papadiamantis – Study of Death], Armos Publications, Athens, 1995.

Roudometof Victor, “The Evolution of Greek Orthodoxy in the Context of World Historical Globalization”, in: Orthodox Christianity in 21st Century Greece: the Role of Religion in Culture, Ethnicity and Politics, Roudometof Victor and Makrides Vasilios N. (eds.), Ashgate, Surrey, 2010.

Roudometof Victor, Greek Orthodoxy, Territoriality, and Globality: Religious Responses and Institutional Disputes, Sociology of Religion, Vol. 69, No. 1, 2008.

Stoeckl Kristina, “Orthodox Churches and Migration”, in: Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, Leustean Lucian N. (ed.), Routledge, London and New York, 2014.

Stoeckl Kristina, “European Integration and Russian Orthodoxy: Two Multiple Modernities Perspectives”, in: Multiple Modernities and Postsecular Societies, Rosati Massimo and Stoeckl Kristina (eds.), Routledge, London, 2012.

Thanasos Georgios M. Archimandrite, Η ακολουθία των Εγκαινίων [The Inauguration Liturgy] Dissertation on Historical Theology, Ιστορικολειτουργική Θεώρηση και Έντυπες Εκδόσεις, Athens, 2016.

Tönnies Ferdinand, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Grundbegriffe der reinen Soziologie, vierte und fünfte Auflage, Karl Curtius, Berlin, 1922.

Trantas Georgios E. and Tseligka Eleni D., Where the Byzantinesque Meets the Urbanesque: Architectural and Hagiographic Elements of Greek Orthodox Urban Reterritorialization in Germany, Zeitschrift für Balkanologie, Vol. 52, No. 2, 2016.

Trantas Georgios E., Being and Belonging: A Comparative Examination of the Greek and Cypriot Orthodox Churches’ Attitudes to ‘Europeanisation’ in Early 21st Century [Erfurter Studien zur Kulturgeschichte des Orthodoxen Christentums, Band 16], Peter Lang, Berlin, 2018.

Tziovas Dimitris, Greek Diaspora and Migration since 1700: Society, Politics and Culture, Farnahm, Ashgate, 2009.

Uehlinger Christoph, Approaches to Visual Culture and Religion: Disciplinary Trajectories, Interdisciplinary Connections, and some Conditions for Further Progress, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, Vol. 27, No. 4-5.

Van Leeuwen Theo, “Semiotics and Iconography”, in: Handbook of Visual Analysis, van Leeuwen Theo and Jewitt Carey (eds.), Sage Publications, London, 2001, pp. 92-118.

Weber Max, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, translated by Talcott Parsons, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, third edition, London, 1950.

Wittig Andreas M., Die Orthodoxe Kirche in Griechenland: Ihre Beziehung zum Staat gemäß der Theorie und der Entwicklung von 1821–1977, Augustinus-Verlag, Würzburg, 1987.




How to Cite