Declaration of Byzantine Paganism
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Declaration of basic religious tenets restoring the Classical faiths in Byzantium
I. We affirm that the earthly responsibility of Byzantine Pagan Religion is to preserve the basic ideals of Classical spirituality and civilization, that they may continue to be a positive force in society. We seek to renew the pagan principles, philosophies, history and culture as they remained extant in the Byzantine Empire and make them available to all persons wishing to incorporate them as a modern spiritual path.
II. We hold that a Byzantine Pagan may be defined as a person who participates in Byzantine community and also actively performs rites, rituals, and/or prayers to any or all of the gods and goddesses of ancient Pagan Rome and/or Greece. We acknowledge also that individuals may honor the Classical Gods without considering themselves as Byzantine Pagans.
III. We affirm that Byzantine Pagan Religion embodies the later spiritual beliefs, practices, virtues and philosophies of ancient Pagan Rome and Greece during the time of Christian ascendancy. These constitute and express a clear and separate form of religion and spirituality that is unique and different from all other spiritual paths. We hold that our practices today are the spiritual successor of the ancient ways, reborn anew - that we are both a historical faith of tradition and a living faith of new progress and ideas.
IV. We affirm that the historical basis of our spirituality comes from the Pagan religions of the ancient Roman and Greek Empires as they survived in the Byzantine Empire. This history proceeds from the founding of Constantinople in 330 AD, to and even beyond the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD.
V. We hold that Byzantine Pagan Religion is open to all people, regardless of nationality, race, gender, sexuality, spiritual affiliation or other individual circumstance.
VI. We affirm that Byzantine Pagan Religion belongs to no one race or nationality, but is instead a common founding heritage of all Western civilization. It is further a universal spiritual current which throughout the centuries has influenced all peoples and nations of the world, either directly or by the legacy of its history, philosophies and practices.
VII. We also affirm that the Byzantine Pagan Religion is compatible with, and may be practiced alongside all other forms of religion and spiritual expression, without diluting or diminishing its basic ideals and spiritual identity. In the ancient world Late Classical Religion was practiced alongside Celtic, German, Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and Oriental faiths, to the enhancement of all. This syncretistic approach to other religions remains basic to the Byzantine Pagan spiritual world view.
VIII. We affirm that the Byzantine Pagan Religion itself embodies many forms of public and private rites and worship. These include the ancient religious festivals, the rites of both Roman and Greek state and private religion, cults of the various deities, divination, the ancient Mystery religions, and Pagan philosophy as well as other forms of ancient religious expression.
IX. We further affirm that rites and worship within Byzantine Paganism may be approached in many ways. In this manner the spiritual needs of all practicing individuals may be fulfilled. These various approaches may include group or individual worship, philosophical practice focusing on prayer and contemplation, purely historical reconstruction of ancient ritual form, as well as forms of modern rites and worship that adapt ancient practices and ideals.
X. We affirm that the Byzantine Era was a time of Pagan Heroes worthy of remembrance, including the Emperor Julian, the philosopher Libanius, the Roman senator Symmachus, Hypatia of Alexandria, and the philosopher Gemistis Pletho.
XI. We affirm that Byzantine Magical practices, while not directly a part of religion, were in many cases a link between Classical and later monotheistic spirituality. We understand that they may be considered a part of ancient metaphysical thought and activity which existed in the Byzantine Empire.
XII. We acknowledge that Byzantine Paganism was for the most part a private religion because of cultural circumstance. Yet we do not abandon the ancient dreams of restoring public worship. In addition to purely individual involvement and the organization of autonomous groups, its form may contain the reestablishment of historical religious institutions. These may include established physical temples, mystery schools, priesthoods and religious colleges, and more.
XIII. We affirm that Byzantine Pagan Religion was and is a civilized faith, empowering family, community and state to positive virtue and beneficial effect. The rites, virtues and philosophies of Byzantine Pagan Religion are by nature benign and lawful, serving to facilitate piety toward the gods, the benefit of the nations in which we live, and understanding and cooperation among all people.
XIV. We affirm that world events and history are not a measure or proof of overall divine favor for any religion as all worldly circumstances change over time. Religions go through periods of success and loss as do all things in the physical realm. These periods of change and renewal are a part of all existence.
XV. We affirm that the spiritual duty of the Byzantine Pagan Religion is to restore, maintain and promote the worship of the ancient Greek and Roman Goddesses and Gods. We seek to rebuild their influence in the world, and through piety, positive action and positive example to preserve the sacred link between the ancient deities and humanity.
These religious ideals and tenets are set forth and adopted under the approval of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome, and in remembrance of our ancient Classical Pagan spiritual forebears. Through them we are focused and united. Let them stand as an affirmation of our intent, faith and practice.
© Copyright Byzantium Novum, 2014