We, the delegates of the World Congress of Ethnic Religions, held in Vilnius, Lithuania, from 20 to 24 June 1998, have gathered to express our solidarity for the ethnic, indigenous, native and/or traditional religions of Europe and the other regions ofthe world.
All cultures as well as native religions and faiths should be equally valued and respected Each region and each people have their distinctive local traditions (native faith, world outlook, mythology, folklore etc.) which articulate their love of their land and history, and cultivate a regard for the sacredness of all life and the divinity of Nature. Just as Nature survives through a wite variety of species, so can hurnanity be allowed to develop freely and without interference along a wide variety of cultural expressions.
According to our ancient traditional ethics, the Earth and all creation must be valued and protected. We as human beings must find our place within the web of all life, not outside or separate from the whole of creation.
We share a common understanding of our position in the world, based upon our common historical experience of oppression and intolerance. Ethnic and/or “Pagan” religions have suffered great injury and destruction in the past from religions claimmg they possess the only truth. It is our sincere wish to live in peace and harmony, and to strive for cooperation with the followers of all other religions, faiths and beliefs.
We believe that the dawn of a new era of individual and intellectual freedom and global exchange of views and information gives us an apportunity to start again to return to our own native spiritual roots in order to re-claim our religious heritage. We are worshippers of Nature just as most of mankind has been for the greater part of human history.
True indigenous religions should give us love and respect for all that we see and feel around, to acccpt all forms of worship which emphasize sincere hearts, pure thoughts and noble conduct at every moment of our life, towards all that exists.
Let us be proud of our reborn ethnic religions. Our new Universalism induces people not to remain closed within walls of hatred and jealousy against those who are not inside our walls. Let us break these walls and expand the horizan and vision ofthe whole humanity.
We established the “World Congress of Ethnic Religions” (WCER) to help all ethnic religions groups survive and cooperate with each other. Our motto is “Unity in Diversity.
“Oyvind SILJEHOLM ARNESEN (Norway), Hans BERGHMANS (Belgium), Janis BRIKMANIS (Latvia), Denis DORNOY (France), Audrius DUNDZILA (USA), Arwind GHOSH flndia), Morten GROLSTED (Denmark), Surinder Paul ATTRI (India), Vadim KAZAKOV (Russia), Stefan KLUGE (Germany), Todor KASHKUREVICH (Belarus), Koenraad LOGGHE (Belgium), Giuseppe MAlELLO (Czech), Halina LOZKO (Ukraine), Geza von NEMENYI (Germany), Stashko POTRSHEBOVSKI (Poland), Vlasis RASSIAS (Greece), Rajinder SINGH (India), Nikolaj SPERANSKIJ (Russia), Michael Strmiska (USA), Jonas TRINKUNAS (Lithuania), Lila WIBERG (Sweden), Catrin WILDGRUBE (Germany)
Vilnius, Lithuania, 23rd June l998
2nd Declaration (25th October 1998)
The WCER is primarily concerned with the protection and development of ethnic Cultures and Identities. We understand the term “Ethnic” as referring to religions and cultures that are related to a particular people’s cosmology as it is expressed in cultural and social terms as well as ancestral. We recognize that many factors makes up people’s identity.
Historically those of other ethnic backgrounds have been adopted into new ones if they took on the beliefs and mores that are a larger part of the identity of that people. Although we are convinced that every human being has the best possibilities within his/her own culture to re-establish the harmony with the divine aspect, it does not, however, exclude anyone from participation in their activities.
The WCER is therefore categorically opposed to discrimination, suppresion or persecution based on race, color, social class, religion or national origin.
Λεξικό – Προβολή λεπτομερούς λεξικού
Read the Declaration translated in the following languages
Declaration (Czech) / Declaration (Danish) / Declaration (Dutch) / Declaration (France) / Declaration (Greek) / Declaration (Italian) / Declaration (Latvian) / Declaration (Lithuanian) / Declaration (Russian) / DEKLARATION (German)
3nd Declaration (9th July 2014)
We, the delegates from twelve different countries convened at the European Congress of Ethnic Religions in Vilnius, Lithuania, on this 9th day of July 2014, join our voices together to make the following declaration:
We are members of diverse European indigenous ethnic cultures who seek to revitalize and reclaim our ancestral religious and spiritual traditions. We honor those who went before us, who gave us our life and our heritage. We are bound to the lands of our ancestors, to the soil that holds their bones, to the waters from which they drank, to the roads that they once walked. And we seek to pass that heritage to those who come after us, whose ancestors we are in the process of becoming – our children, our grandchildren, and the many generations yet to be born. We send solidarity and support to those other indigenous nations, races and religions who are also engaged in the struggle to preserve their own ancestral heritages.
Our ethnic religions are the product of the history of this continent; they are the living expressions, in the present, of our most ancient traditions and identities. At a time when the world is precariously balanced on the edge of environmental and economic upheaval, largely as the result of imbalanced individualism and rampant greed, our religions promote very different models of spiritual and social values: living in harmony, balance and moderation with the Earth; the importance of family and cooperative community; and respect and honor for all forms of life.
Yet, in many countries of Europe, the practice of our religions is impeded, restricted, and sometimes forbidden. We urge all European governments to fully comply with, and actively enforce, the provisions guaranteeing freedom of religion to all citizens as stipulated in the Treaties of the European Union, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention of Human Rights, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other similar conventions and agreements, and to refrain from granting preferential treatment to some religions over others. We also ask that this equality of religious preference be reflected in the European educational systems.
We urge all our governments to actively engage in the preservation and protection of European indigenous sacred sites – be they human-made structures or natural settings. We further ask that free and open access to those sites be given to ethnic European religions which seek to use them for the purposes of worship and spiritual celebration.
We do not seek ownership or exclusive rights to those sites – the land does not belong to us, we belong to the land.
We object to the use of the term “pagan” by extremist political groups of any kind, as it reflects negatively on our reputation.
Finally, we urge all peoples and all nations to place the well-being of the Earth – who is, literally, our Living Mother – above any and all other priorities.
We send this message in kinship, love, and respect.
Andras Corban Arthen (President), Anamanta, Spain/U.S.A.
Ramanė Roma Barauskienė, Lietuva
Martin Brustad, Norway
Nina Bukala, Werkgroep Hagal, Netherlands
Alexander Demoor, Werkgroep Hagal, Belgium
Valentinas Dilginas, Kuzšei Žemaicĭai, Lithuania
Sören Fisker, Forn Siđr, Danmark
Federico Fregni (Board Member), Societas Hesperiana, Italia
Marianna Gorronova, Czech Republic
Lars Irenessøn (Board Member), Forn Siđr, Danmark
Irena Jankutė-Balkūnė (Board Member), Romuva, Lithuania
Runar Kartsen, Forn Sed, Norway
Daniele Liotta (Board Member), Movimento Tradizionale Romano, Italia
Silvano Lorenzoni, Federazione Pagana Italiana, Italia
Anna Lucarelli, Movimento Tradizionale Romano, Italia
Sachin Nandha, United Kingdom
Zdenek Ordelt, Czech Republic
Elisabeth Overgaauw, Werkgroep Hagal, Netherlands
Eugenijus Paliokas, Šventaragis Romuva, Lithuania
Staško Potrzebowski, Rodzima Wiara, Polska
Prudence Priest, Romuva, U.S.A.
Marina Psaraki, Y.S.E.E., Greece
Vlassis G. Rassias, Y.S.E.E., Greece
Valdas Rutkūnas, Romuva, Lithuania
Ignas Šatkauskas (Board Member), Romuva, Lithuania
Øyvind Siljeholm, Forn Sed, Norway
Dovile Sirusaitė, Lithuania
Eleonora Stella, Societas Hesperiana, Italia
Inija Trinkūnienė, Romuva, Lithuania
Ram Vaidya, United Kingdom
Darius Ramancionis, Latvia
Valdis Celms – president of Latvijas Dievturu Sadraudze, Latvia
Andrejs Broks – chairman of board of Latvijas Dievturu Sadraudze, Latvia
Gunta (Saule) Dombrovska– member of board of Latvijas Dievturu Sadraudze, Latvia
4th Declaration (2023)
We, the delegates from 17 different countries convened at the European Congress of Ethnic Religions in Rīga, Latvia, on June 30, 2023, join our voices together to make the following declaration:
We, the undersigned, represent religious communities upholding the traditional, ethnic religions of diverse peoples of Europe. We hold deep reverence for our ancestors, the Gods and Goddesses they worshiped and the worldview and values that they bequeathed to us. Our spiritual traditions are inseparable from our traditional culture, and both require support and protection.
We call on all the governments of the nations of Europe and the European Union to grant our religions the same respect and privileges that are accorded to other religions in European societies and legal systems. We ask for the following specific measures:
1. Special governmental protection and support as a part of indigenous culture, that is humanity’s cultural heritage;
2. A legal status protected by the state (including determining it by a special law) which is not evaluated and compared according to the criteria of other religions;
3. Perform ceremonies at, and use the ancient sacred sites, for example, if there is no church built on it, while respecting the rules of protection for the archaeological sites;
Life cycle rites must be accessible according to our traditions and protected;
4. Perform wedding ceremonies with legal authority in countries where the governing law recognizes these ceremonies done by recognized religions;
5. Practices towards the end of life, including but not limited to, visiting the ill and spiritual care, cooperation with hospitals, cemeteries and funerary rituals according to our traditions must be protected;
6. Our festival and celebration dates enshrined in law and shown in calendar;
7. When there is religious education in public schools, guarantee the freedom of choice to either abstain from, or participate in the religious studies depending on the cultural heritage of the country;
8. Chaplaincy — right to appoint the chaplains;
9. Broadcast time slot in public media;
10. Tax relief or exemption for our religious organization;
11. Safeguarding us from the influence of globalization consequences, persecution, and discrimination by other religious organizations due to their cosmopolitan status;
12. Institutions must respect the local sacred languages and traditions, taking us into account as the local identity of the indigenous European people;
13. Safeguarding the nature around the sacred places;
14. The sacred natural sites must be a category of protection on its own — combining both natural sites and archaeologic sites — this allows using such places for the practice of traditional religions and protecting them from harmful human activity;
15. Respect of sacred land, and protection from mining companies, resource and land expropriation;
16. Igniting, maintaining, observing and using sacred fires and bonfires in open-air setting during our ceremonies must be permitted and protected as part of our tradition and religious freedom in harmony with nature’s needs;
17. When there is evidence of discrimination, or institutional silence towards requests of recognition of ethnic religions, we as the ECER, will encourage the local government in writing from the Presidency of the Congress, calling upon their willingness to protect and respect the rights of everyone by responding to the request.
It is essential that our governments and the European Union guarantee certain rights and protection for religions based on ethnic cultures within their homelands. By doing so, they can ensure the preservation and continuity of our ancestral traditions. We believe that the recognition and protection of our ancient religions will contribute to the preservation of our unique identities and the cultivation of a more inclusive society. Together, let us strive for the acknowledgment and safeguarding of our ancient religions, rooted in our ancestral cultures, so that they may thrive for generations to come.
We send this message in kinship, love, and respect.
Member organizations (represented by):
Latvijas Dievturu sadraudze, Latvia (Andrejs Broks, Ansis Bērziņš, Uģis Nastevičs)
Associazione Tradizionale Pietas — Pietas Comunità Gentile, Italy (Giuseppe Barbera, Florian Ransford, Lorenzo Facciuoli, Varveri Basilio Salvo, Yuri Gavriliouk)
Groupe Druidique des Gaules, France (Manquat Jean Lionel)
Об`єднання рідновірів України, Ukraine (Галина Лозко, Ганна Андрощук)
Związek Wyznaniowy Rodzima Wiara, Poland (Judyta Król, Piotr Brzeziński)
Senovės baltų religinė bendrija Romuva, Lithuania (Inija Trinkūnienė, Benas Barzdžius)
Sjamanistisk Forbund, Norway (Kyrre Gram Franck, Kjell Henrik Gove, Knut Fuglesteg)
Slovanský kruh, Czech Republic (Lukáš Pajer, Marianna Gorroňová, Jakub Krejčíř)
Societas Hesperiana Pro Cultu Deorum, Italy (Federico Fregni, Giuliano Gregorio)
Werkgroep Traditie Vzw, Flanders (Belgium) and The Netherlands (Brenda Lioris, Elisabeth Overgaauw, Heide-Marie Piette, Luc Janssens, Nina Bukala, Thomas Slembrouck, Jorres De Vriendt)
Ύπατο Συμβούλιο των Ελλήνων Εθνικών, Greece (Ιωάννης Μπαντέκας)
Observer organizations (represented by):
Arktisk Sjamansirkel, Norway (Øyvind Siljeholm)
Česká pohanská společnost, Czech Republic (Giuseppe Maiello)
International Center for Cultural Studies, United Kingdom (Jacob Moss)
Latvju dievturu sadraudze, United States (Andris Rūtiņš)
Lietuvių etninės kultūros draugija, Lithuania (Virginijus Kašinskas)
Mythology Corner, United States (Ghanasyam Akella)
Slované, Czech Republic (Nami Maria Lada, Svatava Kollmannová)
Väkikunta, Finland (Patrick O’Rourke)
Ύπατο Συμβούλιο Ελλήνων Εθνικών Ρόδου – “Τελχινίς”, Rhodes, Greece (Βαγγέλης Αλεξανδρής, Ιωάννης Μπαχάς, Φοιβαίος Εμμανουήλ Αθανασούλας)
This Declaration is also supported by individuals:
Michael Strmiska, Ph.D., SUNY-Orange, USA, scholar
Prudence Priest, Romuva Ambassadress to the USA
後藤正英, Ph.D., Japan, schola
The new board of the ECER elected on Jun 30, 2023 in Rīga, Latvia:
Kyrre Gram Franck
Running for president:
The elected president: