Ukrainian Pagan Temple Attacked and other Pagan News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 5, 2011 — 18 Comments

Top Story: A Pagan temple under construction in Poltava, Ukraine, was vandalized, and its keeper hospitalized, at the end of September, sparking waves of sadness and outrage among the global Pagan movement. M. Horatius Piscinus at the Patheos blog Religio et Pietas had the first report on October 1st, identifying it as a Nova Roma temple dedicated to Jupiter Perennus.

A message of "Die Heathens" left at the site.

A message of "Die Heathens" left at the site.

“The Kalends of September proved long and full, and now another Kalends comes upon us.  The Ides (13 Sept) celebrates the anniversary of the dedication of the Temple of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva atop the Capitoline Hill of Rome. It is therefore especially sad to learn that the Temple of Jupiter Perennus that is being built for our community in Poltava, Ukraine, was attacked last Monday night by a group of Orthodox Christians. Our chief priest of Jupiter, the Flamen Dialis Marcus Corvus was injured while defending the altar of Jupiter and has been hospitalized. This comes after news that another Christian band attacked a Romuva sanctuary in Lithuania. Even here in Ohio, some years ago, Christians attacked a sanctuary that was erected by a CUUPS group on the grounds of a Unitarian church in Fairlawn, a suburb of Akron.   While sad to hear such events continue today, it is no shock to learn of them. Not when ministers like John Hagey preach that “Tolerance is a sin,” when Pat Robertson, among others, blamed the 9/11 attacks on pagans, or when Rev. Billingsly, the former minister of the Akron Baptist Temple, once preached from the pulpit to his congregation that they ought to burn pagans at the stake.  Such is the face of the “New Christianity” that we are met with each day, and now it has touched my friend Corvus and his family.”

The next day, the Cultus Deorum Romanorum blog posted photos of the desecration, and Kenaz Filan pointed out that this isn’t an isolated incident in the Ukraine.

“Despicable as this crime is, it’s not the first such attack in Poltava.  On April 13, 2002, some 50 young men leaving a soccer game attacked a nearby synagogue:  hurling stones and yelling “Kill the Jews,” they broke some twenty windows and beat up two people, one the son of Kiev’s chief rabbi. In July 2008 a Holocaust memorial was smeared with paint and anti-Semitic graffiti.   And in October 2001 a Roma family’s house was set afire: five people died in the conflagration, including a six-year old girl and three-year old boy.  The Poltava police showed little interest in finding the responsible parties, which is unsurprising since a Poltava police officer allegedly led the assailants.”

Filan also points out that Pagan groups in the Ukraine aren’t completely blameless, and that some nationalistic strains of Paganism in that country have engaged in attacks on Orthodox churches. Still, the deeds of some Pagan groups in the Ukraine do not excuse violence towards any or all Pagans by Orthodox Christian mobs. At his personal blog, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus said he was “horrified”, but not surprised at this incident.

“With the way worldwide Christianity is progressing at present, particularly in some areas that don’t have the same views on religious liberty that the U.S. supposedly enshrines in its highest laws of the land, insecure Christians with something to prove (mostly to themselves, which is truly sad) feel the need to lash out at others. May their vandalism and intolerance be met with redoubled efforts on the part of the Flamen and his associates to honor their gods in the face of adversity, and may all of the gods of healing (perhaps including Ares) assist him in his recovery.”

You can find more commentary from a variety of Pagans and polytheists at Sannion’s blog as well. For those wanting to donate toward the rebuilding of what was destroyed, you can donate here.

In Other News:

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Tara

    This is terrible.

  • I first learned of Project Conversion from the Wild Hunt when you wrote about it in February. I have followed Andrew’s writings with great interest since then, and with great anticipation for October.

  • The “information” provided by Kenaz Filan, and passed along approvingely by Jason, supposedly demonstrating that “Pagan groups in the Ukraine aren’t completely blameless” is crap. It consists of (1) a 1998 article that begins with the declaration that “Russian Neo-paganism is one branch of contemporary Russian nationalism that emerged and developed in the 1970s–1990s.” & (2) a link to a 2007 article that anyone can easily see is very untrustworthy, providing that one actually bothers to read the article, which I obvsiouly neither Kenaz nor Jason did.

    • In your world people who note that many American Neo-Nazis and white supremacists have co-opted Nordic imagery, runes, etc. are “untrustworthy” and have an axe to grind. Those who note the influence of Evola, Streicher etc. on many strains of European paganism — an influence comparable to that of Starhawk and the No Nukes/Environmentalist movement on many American Neopagans — are lying liars who are in the pay of the Christian Conspiracy (or is it the Zionists, I forget which).

      In my world the sky is blue, the grass is green, and stupidity and bad political choices are not confined to the other guys’ religion. And attacking the messenger rather than the message — i.e. addressing the numerous uses of Neopagan imagery and ideas by Slavic fascists instead of nit-picking about awkward word choices by someone writing in their third or fourth language — is a sign of intellectual dishonesty.

      • Kenaz, the 2007 article that I labeled as “untrustworthy” says nothing about Julius Evola, white supremacy, or any of the other random words you are throwing around. Instead it speaks of “pagan fire worshippers” who can be recognized by their “embroidered clothes”. In fact, the allegation that Pagans were involved in the violence is based solely on a press release issued by the press service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Which you would know if you had actually read the article.

        The only two organizations specifically mentioned as involved in the 2007 attack on the Orthodox church in Kiev are (1) a political nationalist group that has no religious affiliation at all (All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda”), and (2) a rival Christian group (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church).

        • Given that the 1998 article mentions at least one group of nationalist Slavic pagans who identify as “Zoroastrians” the 2007 statement about fire-worshipping fascists is not entirely unbelievable. (And given that said article was written by a Russian Jew and published on a website hosted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I doubt that he was in the pay of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church).

          However, I’m inclined to concede the 2007 article just because the Russian and Ukrainian news media have such … interesting… standards. (I ran into that when I was doing research on drug use in Russia). I will talk to some Russian/Ukrainian speakers of my acquaintance and see what else I can find.

          I’m not inclined to concede the fact that there are a fair number of fascists and nationalists among European Pagans. Neither am I inclined to minimize the influence of Nordic Paganism on American white supremacist movements. Your posting history shows that you have a great interest in minimizing these influences and in attacking anyone who wishes to discuss them. The Roman Catholic Church took a similar tack against people who spoke out against pedophiles in their midst; we all know how well that worked out for them.

          • Adrian Ivakhiv: In Search of Deeper Identities. Neopaganism and “Native Faith”
            in Contemporary Ukraine
            (pdf) states:

            As argued by Liudmila Dymerskaya-Tsigelman and Leonid Finberg
            and by Victor A. Shnirelman, the “Jewish question” hovers over much of
            the Ukrainian Neopagan and Native Faith milieu. Most Ukrainian
            Neopagan publications make at least occasional derogatory references
            to Christianity as a foreign and “Jewish” religion, and frequently castigate
            it as a tool of “internationalism and cosmopolitanism,” terms recognized
            by Jewish scholars as code words for an imagined conspiracy of
            “international Jewry.” Perhaps most disturbingly, although there is
            otherwise hardly a word about Jews in Halyna Lozko’s Neopagan prayer
            manual Pravoslov, the final page features ten “Pagan commandments,”
            among them “Don’t fear!” “Don’t be lazy!” and “Don’t lie!” with the last
            of them being “Don’t get involved with Jews!”

          • p.s.: the same is of course true for the far higher number of most ukrainian nationalists, who consider themselves christian (either orthodox or uniate catholic)

            I don’t think anyone would dispute that the majority of Ukrainian fascists identify as at least nominally Christian. The question is “how much has ‘Ukrainian Paganism’ been co-opted into the service of far-right nationalist movements and how many Ukrainian Pagans are also actively anti-Semitic, anti-Chechen, anti-African, anti-Roma, etc.?”

          • @Kenan:

            as far as I know, Ukranian nationalist organisations are generally pro-Chechen because they regard Chechens as “enemies of Russia”

          • Kenaz, I am starting to think that as hard as Ap works to show his belief in the lack of fascists in European and Nordic paganisms, you are working just as hard to push that there are more fascists in the above Paganisms. I know AP can be annoying, but rarely does he not do his research. Occasionally he is wrong, but most of the time he does well and he is often over eager to show his sources. If he says that your articles are questionable, I am inclined to give him a nod.

            You are free to believe what you like. And you can think that those that do not share your views are fascists, or evil, or what have you. but that, is like, your opinion, man, to quote The Dude.

          • Given your history of virulent Islamophobia and apologetics for white racism, I’m not surprised that you have a hard time seeing fascists where other people have no difficulty spotting them.

          • virulent Islamophobia? Is that what they call it when you speak out against a monotheistic religion with a history of intolerance, gender discrimination against women and homosexuals, of gross human rights violations, destruction of religious icons and holy places of competing religions, and the tendency to kill any and all non-believers, apostates, and reformers?

            Huh, wonder when you’re gonna start calling those here who speak out against the NAR and other Christian organizations Christophobes?

            As for my “apologetics” for white racism, that has no basis in fact. What I do admit to, is being unfairly called a racist, seeing those who also state they are not racists be called racists, and not being willing to jump on a bandwagon of believing certain groups or individuals are racist simply because you or someone like you says so.

            I have no problem spotting the racists in the world, regardless of the color of their skin or who they are racist towards. I doubt the same can be said of you, Kenaz. So get your knickers out of a twist just because someone called your sources unreliable and stop claiming everyone who disagrees with you is ignorant, racist, or both.

  • Liofrun

    Absolutely vile. And Christians feel entitled to unquestioning respect.

  • @Entdinglichung: thanks for the correction. I am fascinated by the Slavic world but, alas, guiltless of knowledge of any Slavic language. Any further information on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

    While I can see the Ukrainian nationalists

    @Norse Alchemist: given your April 4, 2011 post wherein you speculated about Obama’s closet Muslim sympathies, I see no reason to reconsider my original comments about your virulent Islamophobia, or to treat you any more seriously than I might treat Orly Taitz or anyone else beating the “Barack Hussein Obama the Kenyan Muslim” drum.

    • So I’m not allowed to notice a pattern in things? Speculation is just that. Speculation. I wasn’t saying it was proof of anything. I was just noticing that the President, for some reason, has no problem messing with certain Arab nations and not others, and that it tended to follow a pattern of how Islamic that nation was. Now, if you wanna go making a big deal about it, fine. I wasn’t, and I fail to see how positing a speculation, no matter how off the wall some might consider it, is anything but a speculation.

      Now, maybe speculation means something different to you.

      I notice you are not responding to my statements about my opposition to Islam being based on it supremacist nature, violation of human rights, and other such things I was under the impression that society considered bad. No, apparently all that matters is skin color, both mine and theirs.

      I would speculate upon that too, and why you feel that way, and what the logical conclusion would be in regards to that.

      But hey, you know, maybe i am virulently islamophobic. In which case, I fail to see how that is really a bad mark against me. After all, I was under the impression that in this world that respect for human rights, gay rights, women’s rights, freedom of speech and religion, freedom from religious tyranny, and so forth were good and noble concepts that one was to stand by, and that one was to stand against those that stood for supremacy, intolerance, homophobia, and so forth. And since I consider myself a person of liberal enough thoughts to stand for the rights and freedoms of others to live as they choose, so long as they respect my right to live as i choose, and i have studied Islam in enough detail to realize that certain growing and powerful movements hold to the tyrannical and oppressive form of that religion that has been handed down through the generations of that religion…

      But having written all of this, I have come to realize what you are attempting. You are attempting to muddy the waters of intellectual discussion by dragging Islam and Racism into it, so you don’t have to face the fact that your sources have been called into question and proven invalidated by someone that many in the community consider one of the most knowledgeable members of the Pagan News Community.

      Clever boy, but not clever enough. XD

      • I know lots of Christians who aren’t Dominionists. I know lots of Hindus who don’t believe widows should be immolated on their husband’s funeral pyre. I even know a few well-spoken moderate Muslims who find value in the Q’uran while conceding that one cannot create a 21st century society based solely on 6th century sources. It’s generally accepted that one may practice a spiritual tradition without buying into its more distasteful elements or supporting its historical excesses.

        On the other hand, I also know a few bigots who cherry-pick sources in an effort to tar every believer with the same brush. And when it comes to Islam at least, you happen to be one of those bigots. (And the fact that you refer to yourself as “Norse Alchemist” only adds to the irony, seeing as how “Al-Khymia” begins with them primitive suicide-bombing Muslim fanatics).

        As far as sources go: I’ve already conceded that the 2007 report may be dubious, given the execrable standards of Ukrainian and Russian journalism. I’ve not yet heard any convincing argument why the Schnirelman article should be discredited, save for some semantic straw-grasping on the part of Apelius. Nor have I heard a coherent rebuttal to Entdinglichung’s informed commentary on the subject.

        insfoar as your assertion that Apelius is “one of the most knowledgeable members of the Pagan News Community,” I can only note that you also consider Glenn Beck a reliable source of news.

        • And I have never stated that the individual people in Islam are all fanatics. All I have stated is that the religion itself is highly flawed, as is some of its practices.

          Also, you really need to work on your history there. Alchemy did not begin with the Islamic Arabs, or with the Pre-Islamic Arabs. The word Alchemy does derive from Arabic, but means From Khem, or From Egypt. Alchemy began during the pagan ages of Egypt and Greece, then moved both Westward and Eastward, returning to the areas from which they originated.

          And it is not my assertion that Apelius is “one of the most knowledgeable members of the pagan news community.” That is something others have said. Personally, I’ve had my issues with the man, but i respect the effort he puts into his work, even if i don’t always agree with his views. As for Glenn Beck, yes I have considered his show a reliable source of news. The man has his oppressions, but the parts I generally considered reliable was the fact that he posted quotes and video clips about what he was talking about. As a rule, I tended to look past his opinion and focus on his source material, and draw my own conclusions. Having watched a lot of opinion based news casting from across the political board, I can say that he did a better job “citing sources” than the vast majority of anyone.

          • The above should read: “As for Glenn Beck, yes I have considered his show a reliable source of news. The man has his opinions.” Apologies, but I have been running on less sleep than normal the last few days.