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Political Lives of SaintsChristian-Muslim Mediation in Egypt$
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Angie Heo

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297975

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297975.001.0001

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Redemption at the Edge

Redemption at the Edge

(p.69) Chapter 2 Redemption at the Edge
Political Lives of Saints

Angie Heo

University of California Press

“Redemption at the Edge” attends to the external dynamics of the Coptic Church, tracing its tactile expansion through pilgrimage and the sympathetic flow of baraka, "holy blessing," across the Christian-Muslim divide. Highlighting the bordering "edge" of relics, it charts the material reproducibility of saintly parts in contexts of dispersion and dispossession, as well as mass-mediated rituals of virtual extension among the diaspora. More historical in its orientation, this chapter also studies how the church's ritual making of Egypt into "Holy Land" intersected with the anticolonial making of the Egyptian nation-state and its territorial borders. It thus ends with the timely coincidence of two anticolonial returns in the spring of 1968: the Roman Catholic Church's return of St. Mark's relics in the wake of Vatican II and the Virgin's apparitions in Zaytun after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. These two imagined returns solidified the hierarchy of Christian-Muslim nationhood over the "ecumenical" ties of Christendom.

Keywords:   relics, pilgrimage, Holy Land, baraka, tactility, war, national unity, Arab nationalism, Catholic

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