Icons and the Immigrant Context
Keywords:Icons, diaporic Orthodox Christianity, Macedono-Bulgarian immigration, sacramental space, vernacular religion, implicit religion, cultural branding, diaspora, icons, Orthodox theology, post-communism immigrants, secularization
This study examines the modification in religiosity among one of the Toronto South Slavonic diaspora groups (Macedono-Bulgarian) through their receptivity to icons as a core of Orthodox Christian faith. Comparing and contrasting with the traditional meanings and usage of icons in the motherland, I test my hypothesis that they are valued differently among the After-the-Fall immigrants, a generation that has been detached from religious tradition or practice. Relying on a sample survey approach and interviews, the study finds that the icon-image is enriched with emotions and personal reflections relative to religious adaptation and memory. Appreciated as objects of art or even nostalgia for some, icons function in the immigrant context as an identity marker and cultural branding, a reminder of ethnicity and historical rootedness.
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