The Parliament was the first major interfaith organization to recognize & invite delegates from Indigenous European religions on an international stage. Let's support the growing interest in this area by Indigenous organizations, academics, and the United Nations.
The Parliament has approved two programs that focus on Indigenous European religions, but more funding is still needed to get the presenters to Toronto in November.
The first program is a panel discussion on “Reclaiming the Indigenous Ethnic Religions of Europe,” and includes Inija Trinkūnienė of Lithuania and Vlassis G. Rassias of Greece – Both are founding members of the European Congress of Ethnic Religions (ECER), as is Parliament trustee and ECER president Andras Corban-Arthen.
The panelists will discuss the survival and preservation of pre-Christian, indigenous spiritual traditions among European peoples: how, in certain parts of Europe, some of these practices have managed to survive unbroken to the present time, while in other places, they are being reclaimed and revived as central to ethnic identities and to the sacred relationship of peoples with their ancestral lands.
The second program, presented by four members of Kulgrinda, the ritual performance group of the Romuva indigenous religion of Lithuania (Inija Trinkūnienė, Žemyna Trinkūnaitė, Rimgailė Sinkevičienė, and Vėtra Trinkūnaitė), will involve a participatory performance of Sutartines – ancient polyphonic songs, predating the Christian era, through which Baltic peoples have passed on their ancestral cultures and religions from one generation to the next.
The themes of these songs include birth and death, seasonal celebrations, spiritual teachings, the relationship of people with the land, etc. This is the kind of sacred music that has never been heard at the Parliament before, and is mostly unknown in the West.
One of the women in the group, Žemyna Trinkūnaitė, is widely acknowledged as the foremost performer on the kankles, a zither-like instrument traditional to the Baltic countries.
A total of $12,000 USD is needed to cover the costs for the 5 participants for the week-long conference. Won’t you please help? Your donations are the only way we can bring these five presenters from Lithuania and Greece, and their unusual and exciting programs, to the Toronto Parliament!