I have been reading about Slavic Native Faith, especially as it is practiced in Ukraine. I am very confused because everyone seems to have a different interpretation of what Native Faith is and how it should be practiced. A quote from a book on Slavic Native Faith by Mariya Lesiv I read recently illustrates this confusion.

In 2007, while conducting fieldwork in L’viv, western Ukraine, I met a young male Pagan, a representative of the Rodove Vohnyshche Ridnoi Pravoslavnoi Viry (“Ancestral Fire of the Native Orthodox Faith”), who was especially enthusiastic about his group’s calendar and life-cycle rituals. Having listened to his description of Pagan marriages, I said that they seemed similar to weddings currently celebrated in many Ukrainian villages by people who identify themselves as Christians. His response was, “Exactly. When you accept Native Faith you don’t really feel like you’ve changed religions. You just begin to look at certain things from a different angle and perceive them on a different level.”

Somewhat similarly, in 2008, I attended services of the Ridna Ukrains’ka Natsional’na Vira RUNVira (Native Ukrainian National Faith RUNVira, or simply RUNVira). My brother accompanied me to take photographs while I videotaped the weekly Sviashchenna Hodyna Samopiznannia (“Holy Hour of Self-Reflection”) of a L’viv-based RUNVira community. After the service, my brother, himself a Christian, confessed that he almost made the sign of the cross several times during the Holy Hour because to him it greatly resembled an Eastern Rite service. My impression was similar. This seemed intriguing and somewhat paradoxical, considering that Ukrainian Pagans, and especially followers of RUNVira, perceive Christianity as one of their major ideological enemies.


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