Damjan S. Božić

The Phenomenon of Diaspora in the Context of Changes and Connections Between Different Cultural Environments

pages: 149-162


This paper intends to present the phenomenon of diaspora in the contemporary context. Orthodox emigration spread Orthodoxy around the world but did not significantly contribute to the Orthodox mission. Even after the third or fourth generation of emigrants, church services are generally held in the language of the countries from which the emigrants come. This applies to the United States and Canada, where the majority of Orthodox emigrants are from Greece, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Lebanon, and Romania. Although emigrants from the mentioned countries were already settled in the USA in the middle of the nineteenth century, Orthodox priests came only at the beginning of the twentieth century. Then began the construction of orthodox churches from Galveston, Texas to Jackson, California. Only in the late twentieth or early twentyfirst century, there is American Orthodox clergy whose mother tongue is English. Therefore, Orthodox Church parish communities were (and still are) ethnic enclaves, apathetic to — or even opposed to — the society, environment, and mission of the Church. There is a tendency for Orthodox Christianity to be understood as a part of ethnic culture, and as such, it cannot be shared with people from other ethnic groups.

What are the experiences of our people in the diaspora in everyday life? What are the challenges in (not) adapting to the new culture? Is there an interaction with the envronment? What articulates harmonization with the new environment, with the new system, mental characteristics, diversity of cities, countries, geographical areas? These are the starting questions of this presentation. This paper is an attempt to analyze the Church’s mission, through parish life and social gatherings. This is an attempt to present the phenomenon of the diaspora in the context of changes and connections between different cultures and the environment.




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