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Welcome to the website dedicated to old Slavic religion, mithology, tradition and history. We are sorry, translation of all texts are not finished. We suggest you to see texts about Perun, Belobog, Devana, Lada, Ala, Crnobog, German, Horz, Indra, Babicas, Calendar, Dazbog, Old Slavic Dieties, Gerovit, Koledo, Folk Poems Exemplifying the Multiple Layers of Pagan Belief, Rusalka, Stribog, Corrleations of Slavic Dieties,Rod, Fairy (Vila),Slavic festivalsKrishnji, Kupalo, Lela,Lesnik, Mati Syra Zemia (Mother Earth), Milosnicas, Mokos, Mora, Morana,Multi-Headed Slavic Deities , Podaga, Ritual summer songs, Some less Familiar Deities of the Old Slavs, Vampire, Dragon.

About Old Slavs

Since we are concerned here with the religion and beliefs of the Old Slavs, we should first explain the term “Old Slavs”. Peoples and tribes of the Slavs before converting to Christianity and at the early stages of Christianization are called the Old Slavs. The Slavs belong to the Indo-European group of peoples, which some also call Aryan. The group was named Indo-European because their original homeland was the territory of today’s India, the region of Arya (hence the name Aryan peoples). There are many theories about Slavic migrations, ranging from the unbelievable ones, saying that the Slavs are actually Hyperboreans, whose primeval homeland had been at the North Pole, whence they moved to India and after that to Europe, and from whom the Greeks took over the knowledge about gods and astronomy, to those more likely, saying that the Slavs simply moved from India, over Persia, to EuropeWhere Slavs lived . In Europe, the Slavs originally lived in the areas surrounding the Dnjepr River, the Black and Baltic Seas. From this homeland, due to many wars and invasions of other tribes from Asia, they started moving southwards and westwards. Most of the records in which the Slavs were mentioned for the first time were made by Byzantine scholars and missionaries, since a large number of territories that the Slavs had inhabited were parts of the Byzantine Empire. Other written recordings date from the time when the Slavs first organized their own states, and were mostly made by Arabian merchants and Franciscan priests (Sam Empire, Great Morava, Kiev Russia, Czech, Polab, Baltic, Vislan, and Croatian principalities, the Bulgarian Empire). These records were generally written in quite a subjective way, since priests saw everything in the light of their canons and dogmas, and did not strive to understand Slavic culture in its full extent. Thus in these records we can find many comparisons of Slavic gods and mythical creatures with Lucifer and other demons. Since Christian priests had already been present in the areas where the Slavs lived, there was an attempt to Christianize them. In the Europe of that time Christianity was turned into a tool of power. A pope and a patriarch could send a crown to a Slavic prince and proclaim him a king, thus enhancing his reputation. Namely, the Slavs converted to Christianity “top-down”. Since the rulers craved for more power, many succumbed and were converted to Christianity willingly or in exchange for a promised crown. By doing that, they also ensured good relations with their Christian neighbours, whom the Church wooed to attack the non-Christianized Slavs. The rest of the people were forced, by the joint powers of the rulers and the clergy, into accepting Christianity. However, this process was also much resisted and many Christian missionaries lost their lives,Pohansko vilage - Great Morava empire but also many villages that did not give in to Christianity were burned down and the villagers murdered. Statues of the old gods were pulled down and burned. Every record concerning the old faith was destroyed. This led to the skepticism of some experts who call into question the fact that the Slavs had their own alphabet before Christianization. There is a document written by “Black Cassock the Brave”, who describes the dashes and notches the Slavs had been using. Polab and Baltic Slavs were the only ones who heavily defended their faith until the very end. The Slavs had no expression to denote their faith. They simply lived in a manner recommended by that faith. Its root is the same as that of the faith of other Indo-European tribes, like Hindu, Celtic, Persian, or Greek. Their religion was based on the forces of nature, not in their primary shape however, but rather personified through various deities and creatures. They thought of themselves as the descendants of the gods. Despite the great respect they had for their gods, the Slavs addressed them as their equals. Since there were no temples, forests and groves were the holy places reserved for prayers to the gods. As it is the case with all other religions, the Slavs too made offerings to their gods to make them benevolent. However, examples of human sacrifice are extremely rare, which is not the case with the great majority of other tribes. Many reminders of Slavic gods and lifestyle survived in customs, but these customs are disguised by the cloak of Christianity, although they are not related to it. Many Christian saints assumed the characteristics of the gods, and festivities dedicated to a god were turned into celebrations of a saint’s day. This proves how strong the faith of the Old Slavs was. Christianity could infiltrate and become acceptable only if the customs were kept, as well as gods – at least some of their features. This phenomenon is characteristic of no other people apart from the Slavs.

by Nikola Milošević

translation by Snježana Todorović

Updated 18.7.2009.