Baltic religion – History in brief, by Audrius Dandzila (USA)

From Bulletin Oaks, Issue 1, Summer 1999 – also known as “News WCER”, a preliminary version before the Congress in August 1999, originally entitled “News WCER”

Baltic religion flourished in the Baltic lands until the middle of the Middle Ages, when the Roman Catholic Church has declared a crusade against the Balts for their non-Christian beliefs. Balta centuries to defend their land from the Christian invaders. Prussia and Latvia were defeated. This has led to genocide and assimilation of the Baltic Prussians, whose language had disappeared at the turn of 18 th century. Latvians have fared better, with the exception that foreign domination over them lasted until 1918.

Grand Duke Gediminas (ca. 1275-1341) advocated harmony between religions in Lithuania. He allowed religious freedom, explaining that the Lithuanians and Christian Germans, Poles and Russian worship the same deity, but each in its own way. But his efforts did not stop Christian aggression.

The state of Lithuania, the last in Europe to accept Christianity, formally appealed to the new faith, to put an end to destructive wars. Nevertheless, the Christian church used cultural genocide until the 20 th century to eradicate the Baltic religion. Christianity has slowly evolved among the Balts. The Duchy of Prussia, Lithuania and the Baltic Somogitii religion was the state religion until 1410. Most Balts have continued to profess his own religion.

National Awakening in the 19 century and included a broad interest in religion and folklore of Lithuania. Daukanto (1793-1864) and Jonas Basanvitsius (1851-1927) defended the Lithuanian religion and folklore as a means of self-preservation. Lithuanian religion became popular during the short from the interwar period of independence of Lithuania. First Romuvy congregation was founded in 1929.

During sovetstkoy occupation, underground congregation Romuvy collected in Siberia in the late 40s and early 50s. In 1967 he founded “Vilnius Ethnological Romuva” and was the beginning of the public celebration of Lithuanian religious holidays. The group existed for three years. When the Soviet authorities learned the true nature of the organization, it was disbanded. Other groups and individuals, individuals continued to meet secretly. Romuva was re-established in the late 80s.

Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) recorded a mythological story litvskoy religion in the series of books and articles, and enjoyed great popularity.

After Lithuania regained its independence in 1991, the congregation Romuvy were founded and registered in Vilnius, Kaunas and Madison (sht.Viskonsin, USA).

Followers of Lithuanian Religion chose the name “Romuva” in the 20. The word “Romuva” means a temple or shrine, as well as the abode of inner peace. Prussian main temple called “Romuva” churches with this name have been in other places.