What do the Kremlin’s new religious laws mean for Russian Pagans?

The Kremlin has brought in a raft of laws on religion that Russian Pagans fear could impact their community. The legislation, which came into force July 20, was rushed through parliament under the banner of combating religious extremism. According to Russian Pagan and activist Gwiddon, the move is “a package of changes to deal with several different laws which are anti-terrorism measures.” He added: “It increases penalties for terrorist action, it puts responsibility on friends and family to report terrorist action, otherwise there is a criminal sentence.”

The laws include making social media and mobile phone companies store all communications for six months, and a summary of each communication for three years. As this is the first move of its kind, it is unknown whether or not it is actually possible to store such a massive amount of data. The legislation also requires religious groups to register with the Ministry of Justice and to inform the government of the nature of their group, their leaders and members, including civil names and addresses, and where rituals are performed.

Pagan Community Notes: Doreen Valiente Foundation, Michigan Pagans Adopt-a-Family, AAR 2014 and much more!

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. Our hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! On Thursday, Nov.

Jonas Trinkūnas 1939 – 2014

On Monday, Lithuanian news outlets reported that Jonas Trinkūnas, the krivis (supreme priest) and founder of Romuva, the revived ethnic Pagan religion of Lithuania, was transported to the hospital and died. He was 76 years old. On hearing the news, Andras Corban Arthen, the founder and spiritual director of the EarthSpirit Community, posted a heartfelt tribute to his friend and colleague. “My heart is broken — my dear friend Jonas Trinkunas, head of Romuva (the traditional pagan religion of Lithuania) died earlier today. I knew Jonas for twenty years; he was a great man, who kept true to his beliefs despite all manner of struggles and religious persecution.

Jonas Trinkūnas, founder of Romuva, receives award from Lithuanian President

[The following is a guest post from Andras Corban Arthen. Andras Corban Arthenis the founder and spiritual director of the EarthSpirit Community, an international religious and educational organization, established in 1977, which is dedicated to the preservation and development of Earth-centered spirituality, culture and community with a special focus on the indigenous European pagan traditions. He currently serves on the executive committee of the board of trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the oldest and largest interfaith organization.]

EarthSpirit recently sponsored a series of performances in Massachusetts and Vermont by Kulgrinda – the ritual performance group of Romuva, which is the name given in modern times to the revived ethnic pagan religion of Lithuania. Jonas Trinkūnas, the krivis (supreme priest) and founder of Romuva – who took part in those performances – is an old friend, someone I’ve known and respected very highly for some twenty years. Jonas attended Rites of Spring back in the nineties, and I have visited him, his family, and his community in Lithuania. In 2008, when the Parliament of the World’s Religions put me in charge of finding representatives of the indigenous spiritual traditions of Europe to attend the upcoming Parliament in Melbourne, Jonas’ name was the first on my list. A few days ago, on 6 July, Jonas had the distinction of receiving the prestigious Order of the Grand Duke Gediminas, one of Lithuania’s top civilian honors.