“On the Road to Religious Freedom”: A Study of the Nazarene Emigration from Southeastern Europe to the United States

Djurić Milovanović, Aleksandra (Articol)

“Different historical and socio-political circumstances often were the cause of migration, especially in the countries of Southeastern Europe. Migration was also triggered by religious persecution of particular religious minorities by different political systems, one of them being the Nazarenes. The Nazarenes were founded by a former Reformed minister Samuel Fröhlich around 1830 in Switzerland, but they soon expanded to Central and Eastern Europe. Because of their pacifist beliefs and refusal to swear and to take an oath a large number of the Nazarenes were condemned to severe prison sentences. Defending their religious identity and escaping religious persecution, thousands of Nazarenes started to emigrate especially during the First World War and in the interwar period to North America. In North America they joined the Apostolic Christian Church (Nazarene), which was the official name of the Nazarene community in the United States and Canada. The material presented in this paper results from empirical research, conducted in Serbia and the United States, on the history of the Nazarene emigration to North America. The aim of this paper is twofold: to analyze how early migration is remembered by the Nazarenes today and how the Nazarenes, as a religious minority from Southeastern Europe, became a transnational religious community that developed in several branches. The paper shows how religion could be a ‘channel for migration’ and how immigrants used religion in processes of migration.”

Cuvinte cheie: migration, Nazarenes, North America, persecution, religious minorities, and Southeastern Europe

Revista de etnografie și folclor / Journal of Ethnography and Folklore

2017, nr. 1-2, p. 5-27