This Policy brief summarizes the results from the research project Integration and Tradition: The Making of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Sweden. It exemplifies processes of integration within newly established religious communities in Sweden and show how these can affect the integration of immigrants.

  • Congregations are in need of support both from the diocese and the Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities (SST) to make the necessary adjustments. Examples of these are: clerical education, language teaching of the liturgical language for both children and adults as well as education for board members on, among other things, how to ensure that the church is in compliance with laws, regulations, and financially viable.
  • Teens and young adults are viewed by the church as groups that are difficult to reach and retain. There are certain adjustments made to cater to these groups, but within the church there is a frustration that it is not sufficient. Targeted efforts with the support of, for example, SST could also be of assistance here. One suggestion is to offer courses for child- and youth leaders, which could equate the courses currently given by SST to women with leadership positions in religious communities.
  • The work of congregations is at a local level, but the support offered to religious communities are primarily on a national level, creating a disparity between the need of religious communities and the support offered. Targeted efforts to educate civil servants and politicians at a municipal level on religious communities and their work could be a way to allow for municipalities to support religious communities in their role of aiding integration of immigrants.

About the author

Magdalena Nordin is an associate professor in the sociology of religion and a university lecturer at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion at the University of Gothenburg.

The Policy Brief  was published 2 November 2023 and is only available in Swedish. For questions concering the content or the results, please contact the authors diretcly or the Delmi secretariat

Photo: Abgarus, Wikipedia