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Encyclopedia > Slavic Neopaganism

Slavic neo-pagans, heathens or reconstructionists are religious groups or individuals who consider themselves to be the legitimate continuation of pre-Christian Slavic religion. Many such groups do not use the term “Neo-Pagan” for themselves, and generally prefer to use terms cognate to “Slavism” (Russian - Slavianstvo) or “Native Faith” (Russian - Rodna Vera, Ukrainian – Ridna Vira, Polish - Rodzima Wiara). The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples in Europe. ... Neopaganism (sometimes Neo-Paganism, meaning New Paganism) is a heterogeneous group of religions which attempt to revive ancient, mainly European pre-Christian religions. ... Romuva Spring JorÄ— festival in Kulionys, Lithuania in 2006. ... Slavic mythology and Slavic paganism evolved over more than 3,000 years. ...

Contents

The rebirth of Pre-Christian Slavic Religion

The pre-Christian religions of the Slavic peoples probably died out slowly in the countryside after the official adoption of Christianity (Moravia in 863, Poland in 966, Russia in 988). Those Pagan religious practices that were not adopted into Christian folk practice were probably stamped out by the 15th century. Some modern Slavic Neo-Paganisms, however, make use of recent (19th century) folk practices that may be altered survivals of the earlier religion. Slavic mythology and Slavic paganism evolved over more than 3,000 years. ...


In the 19th century, many Slavic nations experienced a Romantic fascination with an idealised Slavic Arcadia that was believed to exist before Christianity arrived. This Arcadia combined such notions as the noble savage and Johann Gottfried Herder’s national spirit. In the absence of extensive written or archaeological evidence for the destroyed Slavic religion, these artistic visions were important in rebuilding interest in the lost Slavic heritage after the unmitigated condemnation of medieval Chrisitian writers. Zorian Dołęga-Chodakowski’s 1818 pamphlet “O Sławiańszczyżnie przed chrześcijaństwem” (About the Slavs Before Christianity) would later prove to be an influential proto-Neo-Pagan manifesto with its depiction of “two cultures” in the Slavic lands; one was the original pure Slavic culture of the peasants, the other was the imported foreign culture of the nobility. Unlike earlier authors, Dołęga-Chodakowski identified Christianity as a negative influence on national character. Romantics redirects here. ... Arcadia is a poetical name for fantasy land (having more or less the same notation as Utopia ), named after the Greek land. ... A section of Benjamin Wests The Death of General Wolfe; Wests depiction of this Native American has been considered an idealization in the tradition of the Noble savage (Fryd, 75) In the 18th century culture of Primitivism the noble savage, uncorrupted by the influences of civilization was considered... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


In addition to new artistic representations, the 19th century was a period which rediscovered many authentic fragments of Slavic religion, such as the publication of the Tale of Igor’s Campaign (1800) and the excavation of the Zbruch idol (1848). It was also rife with fakes, such as the Prillwitz idols (1795) and the Mikorzyn stones (1855) which muddied the waters of discovery. The Tale of Igors Campaign (Old East Slavic: Слово о плъку Игоревѣ, Slovo o plÅ­ku IgorevÄ›; Modern Ukrainian: Слово о полку Ігоревім, Slovo o polku Ihorevim; Modern Russian: Слово о полку Игореве, Slovo o polku Igoreve) is an anonymous masterpiece of East Slavic literature written in the Old East Slavic language and tentatively dated to the end of 12th century. ... The anthropomorphic stone stelae found in the Ukrainian steppe, with some finds extending the area to Moldavia, the northern Caucasus (Southern Federal District) and the area north of the Caspian Sea (western Kazakhstan), date from the Copper Age (ca. ...


As in other European countries, many Slavic nations developed autochthonic religious Neo-Paganisms in the first half of the 20th century (Poland by 1921, Ukraine by 1934, compare with neighbours Germany by 1925 and Latvia by 1926). The German and Polish groups were often already referred to as “Neo-Pagan” in press articles before the Second World War. Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Common Themes in Current Groups

Most, but not all, Slavic Neo-Paganisms place a heavy emphasis on some form of Nationalism as part of their ideology. In some cases, this may be limited to a commitment to preserve national tradition and folklore; in other cases, it may include chauvinism directed against other ethnic groups. Dr. Victor Shnirelman, a cultural anthropologist at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology in Moscow, has written that ethnic nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and antisemitism are core values of many Russian Neo-Pagan groups. He has also pointed out that recent translations into Russian of what he calls "racist and antisemitic teachings" by the Italian fascist Julius Evola and the antisemitic Theosophist Alice Bailey are evidence of this interest. The right-wing associations of certain groups have also interested the popular press, which may have caused some distortion of the popular image of Slavic Neo-Paganism. Eugène Delacroixs Liberty Leading the People, symbolising French nationalism during the July Revolution 1830. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Chauvinism (IPA:) is extreme and unreasoning partisanship on behalf of a group to which one belongs, especially when the partisanship includes malice and hatred towards a rival group. ... Cultural anthropology, also called social anthropology or socio-cultural anthropology, is one of four commonly recognized fields of anthropology, the holistic study of humanity. ... Look up xenophobia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Racism is the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior or inferior to members of other races. ... This box:      Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed at Jews. ... Fascism (in Italian, fascismo), capitalized, was the authoritarian political movement which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. ... Julius Evola born Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola, aka Baron Evola (May 19, 1898-June 11, 1974), was an Italian esotericist and occult author, who wrote extensively on Hermeticism, the metaphysics of sex, Tantra, Buddhism, Taoism, mountaineering, the Holy Grail, militarism, aristocracy, on matters political, philosophical, historical, racial, religious, as well... Seal of the Theosophical Society Theosophy is a body of belief which holds that all religions are attempts by man to ascertain the Divine, and as such each religion has a portion of the truth. ... Alice A. Bailey Shown here on the cover of a Danish translation of her autobiography, her work has been translated into over 50 languages. ...


Ecology and respect for nature is another shared theme. Piotr Wiench, who has done the most extensive cross-border study of Slavic Neo-Paganisms so far, has claimed that nationalism is less important than ecology to most groups. Many groups use extensive symbolism drawn from the natural world (trees, lightning, sun, moon) and many hold their religious ceremonies outdoors in sparsely populated areas.


Most Slavic Neo-Paganisms draw their material from some combination of written medieval chronicles, archaeological evidence, 19th century folklore, artistic invention and direct divine revelation. Many Slavic Neo-Paganists in Russia and Ukraine use the controversial Book of Veles as a sacred text. This work is often considered by scholars to be a 20th century forgery and does not enjoy widespread popularity in Neo-Pagan groups in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Revelation of the Last Judgment by Jacob de Backer Revelation is an uncovering or disclosure via communication from the divine of something that has been partially or wholly hidden or unknown, which could not be known apart from the unveiling (Goswiller 1987 p. ... The only known contour copy of a plank; the book is named after this plank, as it begins with To Veles this book we devote. ...


Czech Republic

Neo-Pagan groups in the Czech Republic include Společenství Rodná Víra (the Association of Native Faith) based in Prague.


Poland

The most influential Polish Neo-Pagan ideologue, Jan Stachniuk (1905-1963) founded the magazine "Zadruga" (named after the Balkan tribal unit) in 1937. The magazine and its associated group embraced members of a wide variety of viewpoints, ranging from secularly humanistic to religiously Neo-Pagan stances. Continuing on from Dołęga-Chodakowski, Stachniuk’s own work concentrated on the destructive role of Roman Catholicism on Polish society, adding elements borrowed from Max Weber and Georges Sorel. It is possible that Stachniuk was influenced by Mussolini’s brand of fascism and Jakub Wilhelm Hauer’s 1933 “Deutsche Glaubensbewegung” (German Faith Movement) which Zadruga somewhat resembled. However, there is no evidence for the later communist propaganda that Stachniuk was sympathetic to Hitler or Nazism. Stachniuk fought against the Nazi occupation during the Warsaw Uprising but after the war, following a brief period of toleration, he was jailed by the Communist authorities, ending the first period of Zadruga activity. A zadruga refers to a type of village community common among South Slavs in Yugoslavian history. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the politician, see Max Weber (politician). ... Georges Eugène Sorel (2 November 1847-29 August 1922) was a French philosopher and theorist of revolutionary syndicalism. ... Benito Mussolini created a fascist state through the use of propaganda, total control of the media and disassembly of the working democratic government. ... Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the needs of the state, and seeks to forge a type of national unity, usually based on, but not limited to, ethnic, cultural, or racial attributes. ... Year 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... Nazism, or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the totalitarian ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... For other uses, see Warsaw Uprising (disambiguation). ...


The continuing legacy of Zadruga in Poland may be seen the Wrocław-based publishing house "Toporzel" (which has reissued Stachniuk’s works and those of his disciple Antoni Wacyk). Zadruga has also inspired the registered religious organisation Zrzeszenie Rodzimej Wiary (ZRW, the "Association of Indigenous Faith") whose founder Dr. Stanisław Potrzebowski wrote an influential book on pre-war Zadruga. Another active group which owes a heavy ideological debt to Stachniuk is the periodical “Trygław” (first published in 1997) and its associated study group “Niklot” (founded in 1998). Motto: Miasto spotkaÅ„ (the meeting place) Coordinates: , Country Poland Voivodeship Lower Silesian Powiat city county Gmina WrocÅ‚aw Established 10th century City Rights 1262 Government  - Mayor RafaÅ‚ Dutkiewicz Area  - City 292. ...


A smaller number of Polish Neo-Pagan groups, such as the Rodzimy Kościół Polski (the Native Polish Church) represent a tradition that goes back to Władysław Kołodziej’s 1921 Święte Koło Czcicieli Światowida (Holy Circle of Worshipper of Światowid). The Native Polish Church, along with a third Neo-Pagan organisation, Polski Kościół Słowiański (the Polish Slavic Church) were registered with the Polish authorities in 1995. Most Neo-Pagan groups in Poland, however, are small and informal and do not belong to one of the officially-registered religious organisations. The Native Polish Church (Rodzimy KoÅ›ciół Polski) is a neopagan faith referring to the Slavic pagan beliefs. ... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ...


Russia

Neo-Pagan groups in the Russian Federation include the Slavic Communities Union based in Kaluga.


Slovakia

The largest pagan group in Slovakia is Krug Peruna (http://www.krugperuna.org). This group actively organizes different ceremonies in the whole Slovakia. Moreover it has members not only in Bratislava (headquarters) but in other cities Like Martin, Košice etc.


Another smaller group is Paromova Dúbrava which conjugates pagans from Bratislava and very close vicinities. The most recent group is Rodolesie from Veľký Krtíš.


Ukraine

Further information: Berehynia

One of the most influential Ukrainian Neo-Pagan ideologues was Volodymyr Shaian (1908-1974). In 1934, Shaian, a specialist in Sanskrit at Lviv University, claimed to have a religious experience while observing a folk ritual in the Carpathian mountains. His brand of Neo-Paganism emphasised the shared roots of Indo-European culture. He was involved in a short-lived Neo-Pagan movement in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, before emigrating to London at the end of the Second World War. After the war, he was an outspoken supporter of the authenticity of the Book of Veles and his own 900-page magnum opus on Slavic religion, Vira Predkiv Nashih (The Faith of Our Ancestors), was published posthumously by his supporters in Hamilton, Canada in 1987. Nightview of the column with the monument to Berehynia Goddess, one of protectors of Kiev. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... The building of the University. ... UPA appeal poster. ... The only known contour copy of a plank; the book is named after this plank, as it begins with To Veles this book we devote. ...


The largest group that currently continues Shaian’s legacy is the Obiednannia Ridnoviriv Ukrayiny (Об`єднання Рідновірів України "Native Faith Association of Ukraine"), founded in 1998 by Halyna Lozko, a University lecturer in Kiev. This group is a federation of previously existing smaller groups, including Lozko’s own Pravoslavia, founded in 1993. (The name Pravoslavia is a sort of pun which means both “speaks the truth” and Orthodoxy in the Ukrainian language.) The federation has chapters in Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa, Boryspil, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, Lviv and Yuzhnoukrainsk. "Pravoslavia" publishes a glossy magazine named "Svaroh” after the Slavic deity. “Orthodox” redirects here. ... Ukrainian (украї́нська мо́ва, ukrayinska mova, ) is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. ... Map of Ukraine with Kiev highlighted Coordinates: , Country Ukraine Oblast Kiev City Municipality Raion Municipality Government  - Mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi Elevation 179 m (587 ft) Population (2006)  - City 4,450,968  - Density 3,299/km² (8,544. ... Map of Ukraine with Kharkiv highlighted. ... ODESSA (German: Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen, Organization of Former SS Members) is the name commonly given to an international Nazi network alleged to have been set up towards the end of World War II by a group of SS officers. ... Boryspil’ (Ukrainian Бориспіль) is a city in northern Ukraine, situated in the left-bank part of Kyivska oblast, close to the capital city of Kyiv. ... Location Map of Ukraine with Chernihiv highlighted. ... Location Map of Ukraine with Mykolaiv highlighted. ... “Lvov” redirects here. ... Yuzhnoukrainsk (Ukrainian: ) is a city in Mykolaiv Oblast, Ukraine. ... In Slavic mythology, Svarog (Polish: Swaróg, Cyrillic: Сварог, Sorbian: Schwayxtix) is the Slavic Sun God and spirit of fire; his name means bright and clear. ...


Lev Sylenko (1921- ) was a disciple of Shayan’s before breaking with him in the 1960s and developing an alternative reconstruction of Ukrainian pre-Christian religion. Sylenko’s vision is a monotheism that worships the god Dazhboh. Sylenko founded his RUNVira group in 1966 in Chicago, and only opened their first temple in the mother country of Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The current headquarters of RUNVira is in Spring, Glen New York, USA. His 1,400-page Maha Vira was published in 1979. Smaller groups have broken off from RUNVira and mix Sylenko’s teachings with other sources. For the Celtic Frost album, see Monotheist (album) In theology, monotheism (from Greek one and god) is the belief in the existence of one deity or God, or in the oneness of God. ... Dazbog, Dazhbog or Dazhdbog (South-Slavic Dabog or Dajbog, Czech Dažbog, Polish Dażbóg) was one of major gods of Slavic mythology, most likely a solar deity and possibly a culture hero. ... This is a history of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ...


References

  • Hauer, Wilhelm Jakob, Heim, K. & Adam, K. (1937). Germany’s New Religion. New York NY: Abingdon Press
  • Ivakhiv, Adrian (2005). “In Search of Deeper Identities Neopaganism and ‘Native Faith’ in Contemporary Ukraine”, Nova Religio, March 2005
  • Okraska, Remigiusz (2001). W kręgu Odyna i Trygława. (In the Circle of Odin and Trygław) Biała Podlaska: Rekonkwista
  • Potrzebowski, Stanisław (1982) Zadruga. Eine völkische Bewegung in Polen, Bonn: Institut für Angewandte Sozialgeschichte
  • Shnirelman, Victor (2002). “‘Christians Go Home!’: A Revival of Neo-Paganism Between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia (An Overview)” in Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 17, No.2
  • Shnirelman, Victor (1998). “Russian Neo-pagan Myths and Antisemitism“ Acta no. 13, Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism; The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism; Hebrew University of Jerusalem. [1]
  • Simpson, Scott (2000). Native Faith: Polish Neo-Paganism At the Brink of the 21st Century, ISBN 83-88508-07-5
  • Wiench, Piotr (1997). “Neo-Paganism in Central Eastern European Countries” in New Religious Phenomena in Central and Eastern Europe, ISBN 83-85527-56-7

See also

The Baltic countries were the last part of Europe to be Christianized, and vestiges of paganism blend into a neopaganism movement that is largely independent of Western Asatru. ... Finnish neopaganism is an attempt to revive old Finnish paganism, a pre-Christian religion of Finland. ...

External Links

  • Piotr Wiench "Neo-Paganism in CEE"
  • Rodzimy Kościół Polski
  • Společenství Rodná Víra
  • Toporzel Publishing House

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