Latvian Pagan Uġis Nastevičs, a resident of Riga, was elected president of the European Congress of Ethnic Regions at a meeting in that city earlier this month. He works there as a translator and guide.
The group defines “ethnic religion” as “religion, spirituality, and cosmology that is firmly grounded in a particular people’s traditions. In our view, this does not include modern occult or ariosophic theories/ideologies, nor syncretic neo-religions.
Delegates from seventeen countries also passed what is called the “Riga Delaration,” which begins with these statements:
We, the undersigned, represent religious communities upholding the traditional, ethnic religions of diverse peoples of Europe. We hold deep reverence for our ancestors, the Gods and Goddesses they worshiped and the worldview and values that they bequeathed to us. Our spiritual traditions are inseparable from our traditional culture, and both require support and protection.
We call on all the governments of the nations of Europe and the European Union to grant our religions the same respect and privileges that are accorded to other religions in European societies and legal systems. We ask for the following specific measures:
Of the items listed, Nastevi?s said that his personal priority was ” to contribute to securing the status and protection of holy places, many of which are getting already vandalized and desecrated.