Incense and Holy Bread: Middle Eastern Christians and their ritual encounters with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark

Lise Paulsen Galal, Sara Lei Sparre

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


In Denmark, Christian immigrants from the Middle East encounter a Christian church very different from the churches to which they belong. After the first relief having arrived in a Christian country, Middle Eastern congregations are on a very practical level confronted with their differences vis-à-vis the Danish Church and its congregations, for example, when borrowing the local Church for services or asking for ordination within the Danish Church. The encounters are not only ritually narrated, but do also influence ritual practices, meaning and regulation.
In this paper we want to explore how Middle Eastern Christian congregations negotiate their ritual practices and values in encounters with and dependence on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. Analytically our focus is on constructions of difference and sameness through ritual practices as well as ascription of meaning and ontological value to specific rituals. This paper is based on fieldwork and survey findings from early 2014 and is part of a larger cross-disciplinary study of Christians of Egyptian, Iraqi and Assyrian background in Denmark and their religious identity formation as immigrants.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateAug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Event17th Nordic migration conference: Flows, Places and Boundaries – Migratory Challenges and New Agendas - Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 13 Aug 201415 Aug 2014
Conference number: 17th Migration Research Conference


Conference17th Nordic migration conference
Number17th Migration Research Conference
LocationCopenhagen University
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