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Title: Boundaries and borders : choreographies among the Rum Orthodox of Old City Jerusalem
Author: Tsourous, Georgios
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 5253
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores lived Christianity as witnessed through long-term anthropological fieldwork in Jerusalem's Old City and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (also known as the Church of the Anastasis), the place that hosts the sites of the Crucifixion and burial of Jesus of Nazareth, among other shrines. The study focuses on how people within the Rum Orthodox community, both clerical and lay, navigate intra-communal networks, as well as those linking them with members of other Christian communities. Within the Church of the Anastasis, fragile legal agreements between different Churches, and the intersection of ethnicity and theology, create a complex reality of overlapping borders and a fragile coexistence among the resident communities. In order to unpack this, the thesis explores the Anastasis shared sacred space and the ways denominational boundaries as well as spatial borders are formed and maintained by the Greek custodian group. The thesis employs a materialist view arguing that any examination of the ways borders have been shaped in the Anastasis will benefit from considering the material aspects of religious practices - as they are followed both within and outside the Anastasis Church - as these shed light onto how people perceive similarities and differences across boundaries and borders. In contrast to the Anastasis context, lay Christians in the vicinity of the Old City interact in ways that push beyond denominational boundaries by crossing spatial borders attending each other's services and engaging in what this thesis calls 'border- crossing practices'. These are devotional practices that local (Palestinian) Orthodox follow that often diverge from the Orthodox Church's approved practice (orthopraxis). The study discusses the distinctive border-crossing attitudes, of local (Palestinian) Orthodox, who often perceive the Church's borders as problematic. By exploring how Jerusalem's Christians negotiate boundaries and borders, this thesis makes a novel contribution to discussions of contemporary shared sacred spaces as well as to debates in anthropology of Christianity and its material culture.
Supervisor: Bowman, Glenn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral