Marie Curie Global Fellowship 2019 – Project NEGOTIA
NEGOTIA – Negotiating Religion: Coptic Orthodox diaspora communities. Shifting identities, needs, and relations from Egypt to Europe and back
Researcher: Dr Angela Bernardo
Start date: 1 July 2020
End date: 30 June 2023
Project number: 896918
EU Funding: € 202.749,12
Partner institutions/supervisors. Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, Department of History Anthropology Religions Art Performing Arts (Prof. Alessandro Saggioro); American University in Cairo, Egypt, Public Policy and Administration Department (Prof. Ghada Barsoum Botros); and University of Hamburg, Institute for Missionary, Ecumenical and Religious Studies (Prof. Giovanni Maltese).
Project summary. NEGOTIA aims to analyse the Coptic Orthodox diaspora communities in Europe with specific regard to three key aspects: identities, needs, and relations, in order to reconstruct the theoretical-practical framework of religious mediation.
Its first goal is to examine the origins and the history of these communities, their cultural heritage and the peculiarities of their religion, but above all the dynamics of deconstruction and reconstitution of the material, emotional and relational dimensions experienced by such communities in the pathways from their homeland to abroad and back. Its final goal is to define the research field of religious mediation through an integrated, methodological approach to Copts, who are a peculiar case study to conceptualise this topic, which has never been systematically studied before.
At the core of NEGOTIA stands the Church of S. Giorgio Megalomartire, established in Rome as an independent Diocese in 1996. This community includes, among others: members with a migratory background; youth groups at least partially born in the diaspora; community religious and lay agents. It was a result of the 1960s migratory processes from Egypt and its profile is strongly characterised by continuous exchanges with their homeland. Thus, this Diocese will be analysed in close connection to the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center, established in Cairo in 2008 “to preserve the rich Coptic heritage as an important epoch in Egyptian history and Christian tradition worldwide”, that exemplifies one of the most interesting, contemporary Coptic community centres of Egypt.
Through a transnational comparative perspective, the data arising from the analysis of the Roman Diocese will be merged with the data collected studying the Coptic Church of St. Petrus, der letzte Märtyrer in Hamburg, the last research focus. This Church, founded in the 1970s, is one of the member churches of the North German Communities.