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NORDSCI Conference proceedings 2023, Book 1, Volume 6



Dr. Vasiliki Rouska


Xenophobia is a strong feeling of dislike or fear of people from other countries [1] and not only that but also the fear of people that are different from our reality. Philoxenia (=hospitality) is the willingness, the friendly disposition to welcome and above all to provide free shelter, food, and care to one or more persons during their temporary stay in a foreign home [2]. The term of philoxenia is ancient Greek and it means the love (φιλῶ=ἀγαπῶ) for the xenos (=stranger). The term of philoxenia used by holy fathers in Christianity to speak about the embrace of the other, unconditionally. Saint John the Chrysostom spoke about the importance of hospitality and gave the paradigm to be followed by the believers for a better society. Christ himself lived as a hunted, as an immigrant, And as a refugee. As a baby, Jesus was persecuted by Herod [3]. The Godman, an unfamiliar, a foreign person, stepped into the world to save it from its destructive self, to demolish every certainty it had built in order to show it a different, transformative and soteriological path [4]. Fazal Sheikh (1965) is an American photographer who engaged in documentary photography by focusing on refugees and the socially marginalized people. His portraits find the face of the other when suffering. He tries to capture the glance of the foreign face and create a social comment, a social statement for the refugees that could possibly awaken the masses around the world (Afghanistan, India, Africa, South America, Middle East, Southwest United States and Mexico). This paper examines the two terms of xenophobia and philoxenia from the field of Orthodox theology and more specific from dogmatic theology and aesthetics. Aesthetics is understood as that creative way that expresses doctrine without altering or mitigating it. The methodology that is followed is the comparative study of patristic and biblical sources and the Fazal Sheikh’s photography and theoretical work as a dialogue that can depict the gap of the two terms and the overpass of it to the great jump for humanity, because “humanity remains on the move” [5].


foreigner, Christianity, hospitality, photography, portrait


NORDSCI Conference proceedings 2023, Book 1, Volume 6, ISSN 2603-4107, ISBN 978-619-7495-33-1, DOI 10.32008/NORDSCI2023/B1/V6/26,289 - 297 pp

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