|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
Slavic neopaganism or the Slavic native faith[note 1], is the contemporary continuation of the ethnic religion of the Slavic peoples (codified in the corpus of Slavic mythology). It is characterised by a pantheist and polytheist theology, a focus on Slavic culture and folklore, and the worship of Slavic deities. In English resources the religion is often called Rodnovery and its followers Rodnovers ( an adaptation of Russian terms Родноверие Rodnoverie, from Russian родная вера rodnaya vera, "native faith" ). The term Ridnoviry, from Ukrainian, is also in use.
- 1 Alternative names
- 2 Places of worship
- 3 History
- 4 Common themes
- 5 By country
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
Etymology of the term "Rodnovery"
Rodnovery comes from Russian and South Slavic languages' compounds adapted to English (from [for example Russian or Serbian] Rodnoverie), made up of родная (rodnaya) or родной (rodnoy), meaning "native", plus вера (vera), meaning "faith" or "truth". Rodnovers generally don't refuse to be categorised as pagans, but virtually none accept the prefix "neo-".
According to Kaarina Aitamurto, "Rodnovery" is the most used and most appropriate term to define the ethnic religion of the Slavs because, aside from its immediate meaning, it has deeper senses related to its Slavic etymology that would be lost through translation. According to this view "Rodnovery" is a word that embodies the central concept of the Slavic native faith.
In some Rodnover groups, Rod is at the same time the primordial and only god, the fountain that begets all the gods and all the things existing, and the kin (root or genus), the lineage or the bond to the ancestors originating itself from the One. Rodna or rodnaya is itself a concept which can denote the "nearest and dearest", and such impersonal community as one's native home or land, but not all groups of Slavic native faith believers agree on such view of Rod.
Names that come from Russian
Other names that are in use in Russia for the religion, although less popular, are "Slavism" or "Slavianism" and "Vedism" or "Vedaism". The first name has been used by a community in Moscow maintaining that the term "Slav" originally means "pious", "worshiper of the gods". The latter term has been employed by Alexander Aratov, editor of the Moscow radical newspaper Russkaia Pravda, identifying traditional knowledge as a scientific truth instead of a belief, claiming that the Slavs "know", "understand", "view" (vedali) rather than "believe" (verali).
Another name is Rodism or Rodianism (Родянство Rodyanstvo), which drops the vera suffix, thus meaning simply "religion of the Rod", "religion of the Root(s)", "religion of the Ancestors".
Names that come from Ukrainian
Places of worship
The basic structure of a temple of the Slavic native faith (капище kapishche, or храм khram) is constituted by a sacred precinct at the centre of which are placed the images of the gods enshrined (kapy). There are many such temples throughout Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. A large, formal one is projected to be built in Khabarovsk.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2014)|
In the 19th century, many Slavic nations experienced a Romantic fascination with an idealised Slavic Arcadia believed to have existed before the advent of Christianity, combining 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 religions, these artistic visions were important in rebuilding interest in the lost Slavic heritage after the unmitigated condemnation of medieval Christian writers. Zorian Dołęga-Chodakowski's 1818 pamphlet O Sławiańszczyżnie przed chrześcijaństwem ("About the Slavs before Christianity") later proved to be an influential proto-neopagan 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.
In addition to new artistic representations, the 19th century 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 literary hoaxes and fakes, such as Kraledvorsky Manuscript, the Prillwitz idols (1795) and the Mikorzyn stones (1855).
As in other European countries, many Slavic nations developed their own Slavic faith movements in the first half of the 20th century (Poland by 1921; Ukraine by 1934). The German and Polish groups were often already referred to as neopagan in press articles before World War II.
Ecology and respect for nature is а prevalent theme. Piotr Wiench has claimed that nationalism is less important than ecology to most groups, describing "a movement inspired by nature-based spirituality". Many groups use extensive symbolism drawn from the natural world (trees, lightning, Sun, and Moon) and many hold their religious ceremonies outdoors in sparsely populated areas. Wiench mentions one group that dances to drums in the forest near Poznań.
Aiatamurto describes a number of common themes, such as nationalism, concern for the environment, warrior themes and indigenous values. Her analysis focuses primarily on Russian groups, which she describes as heterogenous and ranging from pacifism to xenophobia and anti-semitism.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In late 2011, in Bosnia and Herzegovina a rodnovjerje association named Svaroži Krug (Circle of Svarog) formed, as a part of the Panslavic Praskozorje movement. Their aim is the promotion, research, preservation, and revival of the old Slavic tradition in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Rodnover groups in the Czech Republic include Společenství Rodná Víra (the Association of Native Faith) based in Prague.
The most influential Polish leader of Slavic native faith (Polish: Rodzimowierstwo; Rodzima Wiara), Jan Stachniuk (1905–1963) founded the magazine Zadruga (named after the Balkan tribal unit) in 1937. The magazine and its associated group embraced members with a wide variety of viewpoints, ranging from secularly humanistic to religiously Slavic native faith stances. Continuing on from Dołęga-Chodakowski, Stachniuk's own work criticised Catholicism in Poland, adding elements borrowed from Max Weber and Georges Sorel. 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. The Wrocław-based publishing house "Toporzeł" has reissued Stachniuk's works and those of his disciple Antoni Wacyk. Zadruga also inspired the registered religious organisation Zrzeszenie Rodzimej Wiary (now called "Rodzima Wiara", RW, "Native Faith") whose founder Dr. Stanisław Potrzebowski wrote his doctoral thesis on pre-war Zadruga in German (Zadruga - Eine Volische Bewegung in Polen). Another active group that owes a heavy ideological debt to Stachniuk is an "Association for Tradition and Culture 'Niklot'" (founded in 1998), led by far right politician Tomasz Szczepański, who publihes the periodical "Trygław". Niklot promotes an ideology of ethnic nationalism inspired by Jan Stachniuk.
Other Slavic native faith groups, registered with the Polish authorities in 1995, are Rodzimy Kościół Polski (the Native Polish Church) which represents a tradition that goes back to Władysław Kołodziej's 1921 Święte Koło Czcicieli Światowida (Holy Circle of Worshipper of Światowid).
Another form of formal organisation of Polish native faith under polish law is an association. Most of associations founded by those groups have preservation of culture and traditions as their official aims. They also organise religious rites. Moreover, numerous unregistred and less formal groups of Slavic native faith exist in many cities and towns of Poland.
The Russian Rodnover movement is extremely heterogeneous. The first Rodnover association in Russia was registered in 1994. Rodnover groups in the Russian Federation include the Union of Slavic Native Faith Communities based in Kaluga. Russian centers of Rodnovery are situated also in Dolgoprudny, Pskov, and other cities. Moscow has several temples of the Slavic native faith. Most Russian Rodnovers draw their material from some combination of written medieval chronicles, archaeological evidence, 19th and 20th century fakelore, artistic invention, direct "divine revelation" and many variants of the Aryan myth, which place the source of the Slavic civilization and its beliefs as far away as the Etruscans and even Atlantis.
Some strains of Rodnovery in Russia are characterised by racist and antisemitic views. In 1992 a political party ("Russkaya Partiya") associated with Slavic native faith issued a manifesto, calling for declaration of "Christianity (which preaches the idea of God-chosen Jewish people) a Jewish ideology, and a foreign religion that aids the establishment of a Zionist yoke in Russia".
Most, but not all, Rodnovers place a heavy emphasis on some form of nationalism as part of their ideology combined with anti-Christian sentiment (they consider Christianity a Jewish superstition). 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 foreign ethnic groups if they represent a threat to the demographic integrity of the Russian people in the latter's native regions. Dr. Victor Schnirelmann, a Jewish cultural anthropologist at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology in Moscow, has described the religion in purely negative terms, accusing the adherents of supporting ethnic nationalism (the followers of the religion oppose ethnic masochism), xenophobia (the followers are opposed to ethnic replacement policies), racism (the followers oppose laws which can threaten the existence and posteriority of the Russian people), and antisemitism (the supporters see too many Jews like Schnirelmann promoting the ethnic displacement, replacement and eventual demise of the Russian people), and that they base their ideology on the Aryan myth. Schnirelmann also says that the Russian native faith is prevalent among the skinhead groups in Russia.
The Moscow Bureau of the foreign-funded Human Rights Watch notes prevalence of identitarian views among Russian native faith groups. In 2010 there were several incidents of violence by Russian native faith extremists against Orthodox Christians and non-Russians.
Roman Shizhensky, a scholar of Russian Rodnovery, states that it is a manufactured "parareligious" movement based on fabricated mythology. The scholar Victor Schnirelmann expresses a similar opinion. Russian Rodnovery has been described by the culturologist I.B.Mikheyeva as "highly politicized quasireligion" with extremist tendencies. Schnirelmann gives a similar assessment of a "quasireligion" based largely on ideology. His assessment is an interpretation of the statements of Russian Rodnover leaders.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2014)|
The largest Slavic native faith group in Slovakia is Krug Peruna; it actively organizes different ceremonies throughout the country. Moreover, it has members in not only Bratislava (its headquarters) but also other cities such as Martin and Košice.
Another smaller group is Paromova Dúbrava, which draws together Slavic native faith believers from Bratislava and nearby vicinities. The most recent group is Rodolesie from Veľký Krtíš.
The new Rodnover group is Geryon, situated in Bratislava. The Geryon communicate with the other Rodnover sites or groups. The centrum of this guild is in Bratislava, but the members are in both the Slovak and Czech Republics.
Miroslav Švický (also known as ŽiariSlav) published on the subject what was quite well recognized by Slovak ethnologic academia, most notably the book Návrat Slovenov. He meets with group of people around him named Rodný kruh, fostering an unorthodox approach to Rodnovery under the name "Vedism" (Slovak: Vedomectvo). They focus on comprehending Slavic native faith themes that survived in Slovakia to this day, instead of exactly reproducing rituals as they are described in historical literature (often fragmentary and written by foreigners). The aim is to restore harmony with nature by preserving old rituals, crafts and music as well as creating new ones in the same spirit, named novodrevo, novodrevná hudba. Švický is the frontman of musical group, Bytosti, that plays such music.
The informal association, Slovenski staroverci (trans. Slovenian Old-believers), was formed in 2005 when they began actively working on the preservation of Slovenian and Slavic native faith. Old-believers in Slovenia annually celebrate holidays associated with the four seasons: Jarilo (vernal equinox), Mara (autumnal equinox), Kresnik (summer solstice) and Božič Svarožič (winter solstice). In addition to these seasonal holidays, old-believers also commemorate Veles' day and Perun's day. In 2009, Slovenski staroverci sent a public letter to the minister of education and sports, asking him to find a place for Slovenian native faith among other religions taught in public schools. That same year, in the castle Struga, Slovenski staroverci also organized an international conference for Veče rodne vere (trans. gathering of native faith). A year after the conference, a journal was published, titled Triglav: Religious Meaning Among the Slavs. A room in the Struga castle is permanently arranged as an open room dedicated to the Slovenian native faith. The room also serves as a place for exhibitions of Slavic old-belief artwork. In 2012, a statue of the Slavic god Perun was erected in the Šentjur district.
Among the new religious movements in Slovenia, the association Slovenski staroverci is the only one worshiping Slovenian native gods. Their activity can be easily compared to other Rodnover movements.
Slovenia is one of the few countries where organised, ancient, pre-Christian beliefs survived up until at least the 19th century, and in some parts of Slovenia these beliefs survived even up to the first world war due to great secrecy and a strict code of silence.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2014)|
One of the most influential Ukrainian Ridnovir 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 Ridnoviry emphasised the shared roots of Indo-European culture. He was involved in a short-lived Ridnovir 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, Ontario, Canada, in 1987.
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 federation has chapters in Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa, Boryspil, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, Lviv and Yuzhnoukrainsk. "Pravoslavia" publishes a glossy magazine named "Svaroh" after the Slavic deity (Svarog).
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, USA, and opened their first temple in the mother country of Ukraine only 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.
Other Slavic countries
In the ex-Yugoslav area there is a Black Metal and Folk Metal scene with bands promoting the Slavic native faith through their music. Some acts are: The Stone (Serbia), Stribog (Croatia), Svarica (Croatia), Kult Perunov (Croatia), Огњена кочија (Serbia), Samrt (Serbia), Arkonian (Macedonia), Maras (Macedonia), Volos (Macedonia).
- Emic terms in different Slavic languages, most of which are compound words of родная rodnaya or родной rodnoy, meaning "native", "indigenous", "ancestral" (derived from Род Rod, meaning "genus", "generation", "kin", "race"), and вера vera, "faith":
- Belarusian: Родноверие Rodnoverie
- Bulgarian: Родноверие Rоdnoverie
- Macedonian: Родноверие Rodnoverie
- Czech: Rodnověří
- Croatian: Rodnovjerje
- Polish: Rodzimowierstwo; Rodzima Wiara
- Russian: Родноверие Rodnoverie; Родославие Rodoslavie ("ancestral piety")
- Slovak: Rodnoverie
- Slovene: Rodnoverstvo (meaning "Rodnoverism", "Native-faith-ism"); Staroverstvo ("Staroverism", that is "Old-faith-ism")'
- Serbian: Родноверје Rodnoverje
- Ukrainian: Рiдна Вiра Ridna Vira; Рідновірство Ridnovirstvo ("Rodnoverism"); Рідновір'я Ridnovirya
- Andrzej Kokowski, Starożytna Polska. Warszawa 2005. p. 346
- Lech Emfazy Stefański, Wyrocznia Slowiańska. Białystok 2000, pp. 37-43
- Milan Petrović. Qualification of Slavic Rodnovery in Scientific Literature — Neopaganism or Native Religion
- Kaarina Aitamurto. Russian Rodnoverie: Negotiating Individual Traditionalism
- Harle, Peter. "Neo-Pagan Sacred Art and Altars: Making Things Whole", Journal of American Folklore, Volume 117, Number 463, Winter 2004, pp. 104–105
- V.Shnirelman "Неоязычество и национализм", Восточноевропейский ареал // Исследования по прикладной и неотложной этнологии. № 114. ИЭА РАН, 1998 г.; Неоязычество на просторах Евразии. «Библейско-богословский институт св. апостола Андрея», Москва, 2001, pp. 68, 102, 177, 168.
- M.Vasiliev, Review: Неоязычество на просторах Евразии. М., 2001 // Славяноведение. 2002. № 4. С. 102
- "The Return of Ancestral Gods: Modern Ukrainian Paganism as an Alternative Vision for a Nation", vol. 2. McGill-Queen's Studies in the History of Religion, Mariya Lesiv, McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 2013, ISBN 077358966X, 9780773589667
- Krishnji, Stari Sloveni, Staroslovenska mitologija, religija i istorija. www.starisloveni.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Michael Strmiska. "Modern Paganism in World Cultures". Chapter Six: The Revival of Ukrainian Native Faith by Adrian Ivakhiv. pp. 209–239.
- Aitamurto, 2007, ¶4 Neoyazychestvo – or Rodnoverie?.
- Schnirelmann, 2002, pp. 199-200
- Рубрика: Архитектура Конкурсная работа Севастьяна Александра. Многофункциональный комплекс «Капище». Хабаровск, Россия.
- Piotr Wiench (Sep 9, 2007), Neo-Paganism in Central-Eastern Europe (PDF), University of Central Lancashire, retrieved January 3, 2012
- Kaarina Aiatamurto (2011), James R. Lewis, ed., "Modern Pagan Warriors: Violence and Justice in Rodneverie", Violence and New Religious Movements (Oxford University Press): 245, retrieved January 3, 2012
- Aliaksiej Lastoŭski. Russo-centrism as an ideological project of Belarusian identity. In Belarusian Political Scene Review #1, 2011. p. 27 - quote: «[...] Another peculiar place where the ideas of russo-centrism are created and propagated is a series of international scientific and practical conferences held under the supervision of Uladzimir Sacevič. Sacevič himself leads social activities in several directions. He is the chairman of the "Human Ecology” Committee under the Belarusian Social and Ecological Union, a member of the Coordinating Council of the Union of Struggle for People’s Sobriety, and at the same time acts as the organizer of the Rodnovery (Slavic Neo-Pagan) movement in Belarus. Following the conferences’ results, digests under a characteristic name “The Slavic Veche” are published (in total, four such digests had been published by 2009). Selection of materials in these digests is very eclectic. There, one can find manifestos of Rodnovers/Neopagans [...]». Institute of Political Studies Political Sphere, Vytautas Magnus University.
- Svaroži Krug - Udruženje rodnovjernika Bosne i Hercegovine - Novosti. Svarozikrug.weebly.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Simpson, Scott (2000). Native Faith: Polish Neo-Paganism At the Brink of the 21st Century
- James R. Lewis (ed.) "Violence and New Religious Movements", ISBN 0199831319, 2011, p. 233
- . Rodoslav , Smagoslav, et al. Moscow Slavic Pagan Community. Slavic Paganism. 2001-6-22. Accessed 2011-12-27.
- Независимая газета. Religion.ng.ru (2001-01-31). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- . S. Ryazanov. Slavic neo-paganism in the post-Soviet political space. Accessed 2011-12-27.
- "Русские ведомости", 1992, № 5:«Признать христианство, проповедующее идею богоизбранного израильского народа, еврейской идеологией и пришлой религией, способствовавшей установлению сионистского ига в России»
- Б.Опхашкнбяйхи: Менъгшвеяйне Йпшкн Б Псяяйнл Мюжхнмюкхгле. Panorama.ru. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- "Светлые арийцы" и "посланцы темных сил". Sunround.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Культ насилия и его создатели // Виктор Шнирельман. Scepsis.ru. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- [dead link]
- Myths of Modern Racism in Russia. Moscow Bureau for Human Rights. Accessed 2011-12-27.
- Alexei Pimenov. Nazi neo-paganism in Russia - the new growth. Voice of America. 2010-9-6. Accessed 2011-12-27.
- Узок их Круг - Русское неоязычество: вера, ролевая игра или прибежище националиста?
- *Шнирельман, В. Изобретение религии: неоязычество на просторах Евразии// http://www.religio.ru/relisoc/postsovspace/32.html
- И.Б.Михеева "Неоязычество как религиозно-культурный феномен современности: проблема дефиниции" - Публикации - Каталог публикаций - Центр изучения современной религиозности
- Михеева И.Б. Неоязычество как религиозно-культурный феномен современности: проблема дефиниции. // Ценности и смыслы. – 2010. – № 1. – pp.81–90.
- Arena - Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia. Sreda.org
- Olga Filina (Ogonek Magazine). Mapping Russia's Religious Landscape. Russia and India Report. Retrieved 24-09-2012.
- Staroverci. Staroverci.si. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Staroverci. Staroverci.si. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Matjaž Anžur, ur., Triglav: religiozni pomen pri Slovanih: zbornik prispevkov 6. mednarodne konference Slovanska dediščina, na gradu Struga od 8. do 9. avgusta 2009, Jutro, 2010.
- Staroverci. Staroverci.si. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Шиженский Роман Витальевич, Современное славянское язычество (на примере словенской общины "Световид")
- Pavel Medvešček, Rafael Podobnik (1992): Skrivnost in svetost kamna: zgodbe o čarnih predmetih in svetih znamenjih na Primorskem. Založništvo tržaškega tiska, Trst.
- Pavel Medvešček, Rafael Podobnik (2006): Let v lunino senco: pripovedi o starih verovanjih. Taura, Nova Gorica
-  Kumir na Ravništu
- Stari Sloveni, Staroslovenska mitologija, religija i istorija. www.starisloveni.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Drevni Srbi i Sloveni. Istorija, mitovi, obicaji, predanje. Svevlad. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Uut usuühendust juhib ülemvaimulikuna Vene Erakonna Eestis poliitik
- Aitamurto, Kaarina (2007). Neoyazychestvo or rodnoverie? Reflection, ethics and the ideal of religious tolerance in the study of religion, Omsk: Aleksanteri Institute (Finnish Centre for Russian and East European Studies). ISBN 978-5-98867-009-4
- Aitamurto, Kaarina (2011). Paganism, traditionalism, nationalism: Narratives of Russian Rodnoverie. Diss. University of Helsinki. ISBN 978-952-92-9022-2 978-952-92-9022-2 Abstract.
- Aitamurto, Kaarina – Simpson, Scott (2013). Native Faith and Neo-Pagan Movements in Central and Eastern Europe. Durham: Acumen Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84465-662-2
- Ivakhiv, Adrian (2005). In Search of Deeper Identities Neopaganism and Native Faith in Contemporary Ukraine, in Nova Religio.
- Potrzebowski, Stanisław (1982). Eine völkische Bewegung in Polen, in Zadruga, 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, in Acta no. 13, Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
- 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
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Slavic neopaganism.|