Integration and Tradition: the Making of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Sweden

Seminar May 10 2024:

Syrisk-ortodoxa kyrkan i Sverige 50 år

Invitation to book launch: "Syrisk-ortodoxa kyrkan i Sverige - tradition och förändring", 8th of November 2023:

Inbjudan till lansering av boken "Syrisk-ortodoxa kyrkan i Sverige - tradition och förändring", 2023-11-08 (pdf)

The project arranged a closing-of-the-project workshop in Lund the 28-30 of November 2022.

Conference: The Making of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Sweden

Listen to the Conference at "Religion och Teologi Podcast".

Migration influences every country in the contemporary world, not the least since the recent wars in Syria, challenging the very core of the national state and its strive for cohesion. Many of the new immigrants in Sweden are Assyrians/Syriacs or suryoye, making Sweden one of the most important countries for this group in the world. Most of the suryoye belong to the Syriac Orthodox church. Against this background the present project intends to critically examine, by ethnographic case studies, integration processes within three specific Syriac Orthodox congregations in Sweden, with a special focus on organization, leadership, religious ritual and religious education, and how religious traditions are upheld and negotiated in these processes: (i) How have the Syriac Orthodox congregations been integrated into the Swedish society? (ii) How have Syriac Orthodox traditions been negotiated, changed, and upheld in relation to the processes of integration?

Research team: Önver Cetrez, Andreas Westergren, Magdalena Nordin och Henrik Rydell Johnsén.
By bringing together competences in migration studies and church history, and by addressing change in religious organization and individual religious change, not as isolated, but as interrelated processes, and by addressing specifically how religious traditions can both promote and impede integration, this project will contribute considerably to our knowledge of how integration and religious traditions intersect, not just among a large migrant group in Sweden, but also generally; an often missing aspect in previous migration research.


Nordin Magdalena & Henrik Johnsén (Eds.) (2023). Syrisk-ortodoxa kyrkan i Sverige – tradition och förändring / The Syriac Orthodox Church in Sweden - Tradition and Change, Myndigheten för stöd till trossamfund (SST). Syrisk ortodoxa kyrkan_digital version.pdf (

Nordin, Magdalena 2023. Integrationsprocesser och traditionsförhandlingar inom religiösa samfund / Integration processes and tradition negotiations within religious communities, Policy brief, 2023:7, DELMI, Migration, religion och integration - Delmi

Nordin, Magdalena 2023. Family and the transmission of traditions in the Syriac Orthodox Church in Sweden, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, Vol 36, nr 1, pp. 19-32.

Nordin, Magdalena & Andreas Westergren 2023. Veiled Integration: The Use of Headscarves among a Christian Minority in Sweden, International Journal of Religion, Vol 4, Nr 1, pp. 3-18.

Westergren, Andreas 2022. Uppenbara hemligheter. Teologi och tyger i tidigkristen och nutida ortodox praxis, Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift, Vol 98, nr 1, s. 45-60.

Nordin, Magdalena 2021. Institutets tidiga studier av ”religiösa organisationer bland invandrare”, i Religionssociologisk mångfald. Texter till minne av Berndt Gustafsson, grundare av religionssociologi i Sverige, Dahlgren, Curt (red.), Lunds Studies in Sociology of Religion, vol 13, s. 107-126.

Nordin, Magdalena 2020. Forskningsetik i teori och praktik: Erfarenheter från forskningsprojektet Integration och Tradition, Årsbok, Vetenskapssocieteten i Lund, s. 113-123.

Workshops and conferences

Conference: The Making of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Sweden, 28-29 November 2022:

Conference: The Making of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Sweden

Political days at Järvaveckan, Stockholm (Sweden), June 2022:

Political days at Järvaveckan

Workshop the 10th December 2021:

Ritual theory and the practice of divorce in contemporary Syriac Orthodox church

Workshop the 7th April 2021:

How to understand gender in contemporary Syriac Orthodox church in diaspora

Webinar the 14th of January 2021:

Syriac Orthodox Traditions in Contemporary Diaspora

Webinar the 14 of December 2020:

The integration of Syrian Christian Churches in North America and Sweden

In the end of September the project was presented at the panel Migration and diaspora of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches at the international web-conference Global Orthodoxy at Radboud University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The main theme for the conference was how the rise of migrant Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental) communities in Europe, the Americas, Africa and East Asia, has contributed to a new type of Global Orthodoxy.

See more at:

Web-seminar: Syriac Orthodox Traditions – changes and continuities in a globalized world. 19th of August 2020.

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Political week at Almedalen, Gotland (Sweden), July 2019.

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IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion) conference in Malmö the 26-29 of June 2019

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Syrians/Assyrians and the Swedish Society, 23 May 2019, Stockholm University.

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"Ritual Transmission and Transformation in the Syriac Tradition” the 29-30th of November 2018, at Center for Theology and Religious studies, Lund University, Sweden.

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Read more about the project at Lucris, the research portal at Lund University.
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