Europe is a continent that for centuries has given birth to many notable cultures, ethnic traditions and civilizations, the common characteristics of whom were the dignity and self-determination of the human being, the quest for virtue and for the truth, reverence for the sacred, respect towards nature, the lifelong affirmation one’s personal worth and the esteem that comes with it, as well as the ideal of freedom.
Unfortunately, this tapestry of diverse yet similar and complementary polytheistic cultures, ethnic traditions and civilizations, ceased to exist when an eastern, strange, expansive and intolerant religion moved in forcefully and demanded the total disappearance of everything that people knew, held as sacred and preserved as social and spiritual values. What followed this unprecedented invasion in Europe, is more or less well known. Absolute cultural and cognitive collapse, barbarity, monotheism, superstition, hatred for everything that existed previously, political autocracy and an insane, all invasive theocracy, moral decline, abasement, genocide and ethnocide, and of course the flames. Flames that sprang and consumed unlucky human beings, masterpieces of art and literature, everything that was directly or indirectly representing the old “pagan” world that the new rulers craved to exterminate.
The worst consequence of all these calamities was the destruction of the self-awareness of the polytheistic “ethne” of Europe and the gradual erasure of their ethnic memory. Numerous generations of unlucky people spent all their lives with no real notion of identity, or who their ancestors were and how they viewed themselves, unaware of the history of the land they occupied. They had even forgotten the term “patris” (patria, fatherland), and for many centuries, the continent witnessed her children living completely alienated from her soul, made to believe that they had been “civilized” due to the bloody swords of Constantine, Charlemagne and other monotheist slaughterers, and praising the darkness as light. They even went as far as to export their barbarity and intolerance, first in the form of bloodthirsty crusades towards the East, and, later, in the form of bloodthirsty “explorations” to the, according to their own vocabulary, “new worlds”.
Glimpses of the lost light of the pre-Christian times, came back to our beloved Europe only in the last centuries, and only through a long and painful sequence of reinstatements, revivals, revolutions, movements of enlightenment and, of course, through the gradual re-acquirement of the abandoned genuine identities by some intellectual vanguards of the various European “ethne”. Since the 19th century of the chronology of the arrogant religion who dared to bisect the human History itself, most of the people of Europe are aware that they are not a rootless and amorphous human mass under the Cross or the Koran, but the descendants of historically existent and, most of them, glorious and advanced ancient “ethne”.
Some of these Europeans though, including us, have developed a deeper insight on the subject. All who perceive the flow of the time as circular and not linear, know quite well that History has no final destination but it simply follows the trends and tensions created inside her by the historical subjects at every single turn of the wheel of Eternity. And they also do know, quite well, that for someone to win the title of the “historical subject”, they must be able to have their proposals and ideas alive and attractive on the table, each time humanity is called to choose its next course inside the infinite fractal of History.
For us, each single actuality is a link. Every single moment revives the entire past and comprises the dynamics of the entire future. Seeing things in such a way, we, the representatives of the native, ethnic, indigenous, ancient but still alive Traditions and Religions of Europe, work hard to turn the issue of our complementary collective identities from a spiritual privilege of an enlightened vanguard, into a proud awareness and identification of all the Europeans, in front of this admirable mosaic of the genuine cultures, ethnic traditions and civilizations of their ancestors. We reclaim the European identity. We reclaim our true value systems and our true ways. Our purpose is clear, to restore the once defeated but not extinct, cultures of joy, freedom, polytheism, dignity, piety and uprightness, and, being a Hellene, please let me ad, of reason, humanism, eunomia and polyarchy.
May God Apollo’s light always shine on you.
This was a speech delivered at the 2014 European Congress of Ethnic Religions (ECER), at the Lithuanian Parliament (Lietuvos Respublikos Seimas), in Vilnius, Lithuania on 9 July 2014.
Vlassis Rassias has given nearly 100 lectures, in Greece and abroad, on the Hellenic religion, philosophy and ethos. In the summer solstice of 1998 he took part in the founding of The World Congress of Ethnic Religions (WCER) in Vilnius, Lithuania. He has written 18 books (16 of them on Ancient Greece) and 2 poetry collections.