Zalmoxianism

Zalmoxianism or Zamolxianism[1] is a Neopagan movement in Romania which promotes the rebuilding of an ethnic religion and spirituality of the Romanians through a process of reconnection to their ancient Dacian and Thracian roots.[2] The religion takes its name from Zalmoxis or Zamolxe, at the same time the name of the primordial god and the archetype of the enlightened man in Paleo-Balkan mythology. Scholars Bakó and Hubbes (2011) have defined Zalmoxianism, like the other ethnic religious revivals of Europe, as a reconstructionist ethno-paganism.[3]

Origins

The reconstruction of ancient Dacian and Thracian religion and mythology has been strictly connected with the field of dacology.[4] Amongst contemporary supporters of Zalmoxianism, the emigrant dacologist Octavian Sărbătoare even proposed to make it the official religion of Romania.[5]

Organisations

Gebeleizis Association

The "Gebeleizis Association" (Romanian: Societatea Gebeleizis), though far from being the only Zalmoxian group in Romania, has been the most studied formation.[6] It has 500 members split into 15 branches.[7] The core values of the organisation are expressed by its motto "One Family, One Nation, One Territory" (Romanian: O Familie, Un Neam, Un Teritoriu);[8] for the ideas promoted, the Gebeleizis Association has been subject of media scandal, and accused of extremism.[9] "Gebeleizis" was the same as Zalmoxis among the Thracians.

Zamolxe group

Another group is the Zamolxe, based in Bucharest, whose high priest is Alexandru Mihail. They worship the old Thraco-Dacian pantheon of gods, and claim that the name "Zalmoxis" comes from zamol, meaning "earth".[10]

Symbol of Zamolxiana NRM

Symbol of Zamolxiana New Religious Movement.

Dacian Sacred Fire ceremony year 2013

Dacian Sacred Fire ceremony at Detunata temple during 2013 in Romania.

Foc sacru Costesti

The Dacian Sacred Fire at Costesti, Romania, in 2012.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, pp. 139-140
  2. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, p. 129
  3. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, p. 131
  4. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, p. 137
  5. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, p. 140
  6. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, p. 136
  7. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, p. 149: quoting Margareta Lupu
  8. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, p. 143
  9. ^ Bakó-Hubbes, 2011, p. 142
  10. ^ Maras Loks: Zamolxe

Bibliography

  • László-Attila Hubbes. Romanian Ethno-Paganism: Discourses of Nationalistic Religion in Virtual Space. In Native Faith and Neo-Pagan Movements in Central and Eastern Europe. Kaarina Aitamurto, Scott Simpson. Acumen Publishing, 2013. ISBN 1844656624
  • Rozália Klára Bakó, László-Attila Hubbes. Religious Minorities' Web Rhetoric: Romanian and Hungarian Ethno-Pagan Organizations. Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 10, issue 30, Winter 2011: 127-158. ISSN 1583-0039

External links

List of Neopagan movements

Modern paganism, also known a "contemporary" or "neopagan", encompasses a wide range of religious groups and individuals. These may include old occult groups, those that follow a New Age approach, those that try to reconstruct old ethnic religions, and followers of the pagan religion of Wicca.

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."

A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

Merry Cemetery

The Merry Cemetery (Romanian: Cimitirul Vesel pronounced [t͡ʃimiˈtirul ˈvesel]) is a cemetery in the village of Săpânța, Maramureş county, Romania. It is famous for its colourful tombstones with naïve paintings describing, in an original and poetic manner, the people who are buried there as well as scenes from their lives. The Merry Cemetery became an open-air museum and a national tourist attraction.

The unusual feature of this cemetery is that it diverges from the prevalent belief, culturally shared within European societies – a belief that views death as something indelibly solemn. Connections with the local Dacian culture have been made, a culture whose philosophical tenets presumably vouched for the immortality of the soul and the belief that death was a moment filled with joy and anticipation for a better life (see also Zalmoxianism).

A collection of the epitaphs from the Merry Cemetery exist in a 2017 volume called Crucile de la Săpânța, compiled by author Roxana Mihalcea [1].

Neopaganism in Latin Europe

Italy, Spain, and Portugal are traditionally Roman Catholic and according to the 2005 Eurobarometer Poll retain an above-average belief in God. France is traditionally Roman Catholic as well and has an above-average fraction of atheists. Romania and Moldova are Eastern Orthodox countries and both are very religious.

The Neopagan movements found in Latin Europe can be divided into New Age spirituality inspired by Celtic, Norse or Megalithic templates on one hand (Neodruidism, Neoshamanism), polytheistic reconstructionism, either focusing on the ancient Roman religion or other native religions of Latin Europe (such as those of pre-Roman Iberia, Italy, and Romania), and political Neopaganism as part of Alain de Benoist's far-right ideology of the Nouvelle Droite on the other.

Polytheistic reconstructionism

Polytheistic reconstructionism (or simply Reconstructionism) is an approach to modern paganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, which gathered momentum starting in the 1990s. Reconstructionism attempts to re-establish historical polytheistic religions in the modern world, in contrast with neopagan syncretic movements like Wicca, and "channeled" movements like Germanic mysticism or Theosophy.

While the emphasis on historical accuracy may imply historical reenactment, the desire for continuity in ritual traditions (orthopraxy) is a common characteristic of religion in general, as seen in Anglican ritualism, or in much Christian liturgy.

Reconstructionism

Reconstructionism may refer to:

Christian Reconstructionism, a Calvinistic theological-political movement

Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism, a revival of ancient Greek religion

Polytheistic reconstructionism, an approach to Neopaganism

Progressive Reconstructionism, an interfaith community

Reconstructionist Judaism, a modern American-based Jewish movement

Zalmoxianism, a rebirth of ancient Dacian religion

Religion in Romania

Romania is a secular state, and it has no state religion. Romania is one of the most religious countries in the European Union and a majority of the country's citizens are Christian. The Romanian state officially recognizes 18 religions and denominations. 81.04% of the country's stable population identified as part of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 2011 census (see also: History of Christianity in Romania). Other Christian denominations include the Catholic Church (both Latin Catholicism (4.33%) and Greek Catholicism (0.75%–3.3%)), Calvinism (2.99%), and Pentecostal denominations (1.80%). This amounts to approximately 92% of the population identifying as Christian. Romania also has a small but historically significant Muslim minority, concentrated in Northern Dobruja, who are mostly of Crimean Tatar and Turkish ethnicity and number around 44,000 people. According to the 2011 census data, there are also approximately 3,500 Jews, around 21,000 atheists and about 19,000 people not identifying with any religion. The 2011 census numbers are based on a stable population of 20,121,641 people and exclude a portion of about 6% due to unavailable data.

Slavic Native Faith

The Slavic Native Faith, also known as Rodnovery, is a modern Pagan religion. Classified as a new religious movement, its practitioners harken back to the historical belief systems of the Slavic peoples of Central and Eastern Europe. "Rodnovery" is a widely accepted self-descriptor within the community, although there are Rodnover organisations which further characterise the religion as Orthodoxy, Old Belief and Vedism.

Rodnovers typically regard their religion as a faithful continuation of ancient beliefs that survived as folk religion or as conscious "double belief" following the Christianisation of the Slavs in the Middle Ages. Rodnovery draws upon surviving historical and archaeological sources, folk religion and even non-Slavic sources such as Hinduism. Rodnover theology and cosmology may be described as pantheism and polytheism—worship of the supreme God of the universe and of the multiple gods, ancestors and spirits of nature identified through Slavic culture. Adherents usually meet together in groups to conduct religious ceremonies. These typically entail the invocation of gods, sacrifices and the pouring of libations, dances and a communal meal.

Rodnover ethical thinking emphasises the good of the collective over the rights of the individual. The religion is patriarchal, and attitudes towards sex and gender are generally conservative. Rodnovery has developed distinctive strains of political and identitary philosophy. Rodnover organisations often characterise themselves as ethnic religions, emphasising that the religion is bound to Slavic ethnicity. This often manifests as ethnic nationalism, opposition to miscegenation and the belief in the fundamental difference of racial groups. Rodnovers often glorify Slavic history, criticising the impact of Christianity in Slavic countries and arguing that these nations will play a central role in the world's future. Rodnovers share a strong feeling that their religion represents a paradigmatic shift which will overcome the mental constraints imposed through feudalism and the continuation of what they call "mono-ideologies".

The contemporary organised Rodnovery movement arose from a multiplicity of sources and charismatic leaders just at the brink of the collapse of the Soviet Union and spread rapidly by the mid-1990s and the 2000s. Antecedents are to be found in late 18th- and 19th-century Slavic Romanticism, which glorified the pre-Christian beliefs of Slavic societies. Active religious practitioners devoted to establishing Slavic Native Faith appeared in Poland and Ukraine in the 1930s and 1940s. Following the Second World War and the establishment of communist states throughout the Eastern Bloc, new variants were established by Slavic emigrants living in Western countries, being later introduced in Central and Eastern European countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent times, the movement has been increasingly studied in academic scholarship.

Uralic neopaganism

Uralic neopaganism encompasses contemporary movements which have been reviving or revitalising the ethnic religions of the Uralic peoples. The rebirth has taken place since the 1980s and 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and alongside the ethnonational and cultural reawakening of the Uralic peoples of Russia, the Estonians and the Finns. In fact, Neopagan movements in Finland and Estonia have much older roots, dating from the early 20th century.

Among the Uralic peoples of the Volga Federal District of Russia (the Volga Finns and Udmurts), scholar Victor Schnirelmann has observed two cooperating patterns of development of Neopaganism: the reactivation of authentic rituals and worship ceremonies in the countrysides, and the development of systematised doctrines amongst the urban intelligentsia rejecting Russian Orthodoxy as a foreign religion. The Uralic Communion, founded in 2001, is an organisation for the cooperation of different institutions promoting Uralic indigenous religions.

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Principal religions of Romania
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