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In the Junction between History and Future: A Minor Field Study about Identity and Faith of Armenian Orthodox Youth in a Minority Situation in Jerusalem
University College Stockholm, Stockholm School of Theology. Stockholm School of Theology, Department of Theology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

My first contact with the Armenians of Jerusalem was during a four day Minor Field Study in February 2015.1 Before that I hardly knew anything about the community that has such a long history in the region. Despite their lengthy presence in what is commonly known as the Holy Land, the fact that they are joint custodians of the Christian Holy places and even have a whole quarter named after them in the Old City, they seem to be somewhat of a mystery to most people that visit. They are a minority that hold on to many of their distinct features regarding religion and culture from their homeland, something that is the trademarks of what is commonly known as a diaspora. The importance of culture and faith for the Armenian people seemed to be stressed time after another during my research. Pride was expressed to have endured as a people through many hardships. The Armenian Genocide stands out as the most significant of the many sufferings. Alongside with the traumatic consequences of the genocide is the ongoing struggle fought on many fronts for global recognition of the atrocities committed against their people.The largest group of Armenians in Jerusalem are situated in the Armenian Quarter. At the center of both the territorial and the structural composition of this community lies the convent of Saint James. Not only does the brotherhood of Saint James, consisting of about 30 brothers, and other clergy reside inside the convents premises. The majority consists of lay people. The lay community though has been decreasing for a number of years.2 If the current trend continues it may, according to some predictions, even vanish in the future.3 A gloomy outcome that would radically change the makeup of the Old City of Jerusalem.Therefore, after my first Minor Field Study, I went back four times during the coming year to learn more. I was also granted a scholarship through Stockholm School of Theology to conduct a Minor Field Study among Armenian youth. When first voicing my interest to interview youth and learn more about their identity I was told by a local contact that it would be futile. Because of the pressures of everyday life in Jerusalem few youth would have something relevant to share. They are forced to live day by day due to the ongoing conflicts. A strong statement that cannot be taken as true without evidence. This confirms the importance of conducting a more in depth study concerning how Armenian youth reflect on identity and belonging. The very existence of a future Armenian community in Jerusalem depends on their youths desire and ability to remain in the City.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , p. 27
Keywords [en]
Jerusalem; Armenian; Diaspora; Youth; Identity
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-273OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ths-273DiVA, id: diva2:1340515
Subject / course
Practical Theology including Religious Behavioural Sciences
Educational program
Theological Programme, Minister in The Church of Sweden
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-08-05 Created: 2019-08-05 Last updated: 2019-08-05Bibliographically approved

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