Bologna 2010 speech of Vlassis Rassias (Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes – YSEE)

Dear friends, brothers and sisters, fellow pagans.

I’ m Vlassis Rassias and I represent the Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes (YSEE), the main board of representation for the followers of the ethnic polytheistic Hellenic Religion. Our aim is to defend from verbal and physical abuse all the holy items, symbols and ideas of our Tradition and, of course, to fully restore the Hellenic Religion, against the fact that the Greek state has so far omitted in its legislation the granting of legal personality to religious communities apart the three byzantine religions -Orthodox Christianity, Turkish Sunni Islam and Judaism- which constitute Public Law Legal Entities.

A quite large quantity of our actions is focused on denouncing with all available legal means the blatant lack of equality of rights, of equality before the law as well of equality of speech among the various Religions existing in our country, due to the massive state and financial support and institutional promotion of the Orthodox Church. The later, due to its colossal financial power, is the true authority behind the Greek state, controlling almost all the media and the political parties. It enjoys a scandalous tax exemption, close to 1 billion euros per year, and its bishops simply dictate their desires to the politicians.

Our struggle in this negative for our cause social reality, is not an easy one. Despite the hundreds of public rituals that we have done, despite the hundreds of lectures we have organized, despite the public protests we have organized and despite the 230 press releases and protest letters that we have issued in the 14 years of YSEE’s existence, we still have a long way to go and lots of battles to give. While we daily face the open and secret operations of the hostile orthodox theocrats, our back receives sporadic blows by some tens of self-acclaimed «followers» of our Religion who either openly repudiate all organized schemes, or, with the one way or the other, try to reduce our Religion to barren folklorism, or, even worst, to theatrical representation.

Yes, we still have a long way to go and lots of battles to give. We also want though to see also WCER showing, from now on, a similar active role on the European level. We must at last change from a loose coalition of pagan groups that its representatives meet every one or two years to see how much older we’ve got to a determined entity that will fight via press releases, protest letters and even public protests for the dignity and the legal rights of all ethnic religions, irrelevantly of the better or worst conditions that each certain state maintains for its non christian, non judaic and non muslim citizens. I recently learnt that a pagan worship place in Russia was profaned and its priest was beaten to the point to lose his eye. Such things must not remain in the future without strong protests from our side.

And a final thing worth pointing out: you all probably know that the European Union under Article 17 of the Lisbon Treaty holds annual summit with the leadership of the European Religions, and as a secular political body met on July with 24 bishops, chief rabbis, and muftis as well as leaders from the Hindu and Sikh communities. After that meeting though, and under pressure from Belgium, the European Union announced a mirror – image summit for atheists and Freemasons, scheduled for October 15th.  Why there is no such a summit for us, the ethnic and indigenous Religions of Europe? Simply because we behave like we ourselves are not yet convinced that we have the right to exist in our OWN continent.

On behalf of the Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes, dear brothers and sisters, I consequently call you to continuous claiming action. For the right of the ethnic and indigenous Religions of Europe to exist, to thrive and to prosper.

Thank you for your attention.

May the Gods always shine on you.