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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

For Urfalli Suryanis, an ethno-religious migrant community from Turkish Urfa/Edessa, chant is of paramount importance. Using Syriac, the fugitive Christians who escaped post-WWI persecution continue to practise this ancient oral musical tradition in their new home in Syria. This minority group has a communally agreed conception of identity that should be understood in its proper set of terms. Their conception of Suryaniness may best be seen through particular chants from the Edessan school of Syriac chant they practice in St. George’s Syrian Orthodox Church of Aleppo. Focusing on an example from Great Lent, this chapter traces the local terms of an Urfalli Suryaniness that is believed, lived, constructed, and performed, around a unique blessing. The chapter contextualizes expressions of Suryaniness in the local terms of being and belonging, where the Suryani ideal is manifested in the combination of demographic existence and a performative reconstructive process that relates to faith, place, time, history, memory, and language.

Keywords: Syrian Christianity, West Syriac, Syria, 20th century Middle East, Ethnomusicology and identity, Ethnicity and nationalism, Minorities in Syria, Eastern Christianity‎, Ethnic religiosity, Orthodox Christianity

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