Odds and Ends
© Eso A.B.
All comments appearing within brackets [ ] are editorial in origin.
As the Latvians, after gaining independence, attempted to further guess and shape their characteristics, they were as exposed to the unknown as we all are, but since they had been effectively under foreign domination since the 12th century, there was very little direct input about their history from their own. This made history for Latvians the Great Unknown. The Christian Eastern Church claimed influence going back to the 11th century from the ‘Eastern Orthodox Church’, while the ‘Western’ church claimed arrival in the 12th century from
Bishop Albert also managed to soon (1208) wage a Crusade against King Visvaldis of Jersika (possibly a colloquialism for
Due to the political influence of the Lutheran church—which paradoxically based its influence on the dominant position of the Baltic Germans until an agreement between Hitler’s Reich and Stalin’s Soviet Union, caused most of them to leave for Germany—the connection between the Cathar Church in Languedoc (who many say had an affinity with the Bogomils) and the destruction of Jersika, Latvia, was never investigated.
As a consequence, such early Christian influences in proto-Latvia, the ‘new’ Latvians (of the 20th century) chose to believe (in spite of circumscribed and limited evidence to support the theory) that their ancestors had been bound to archaic Gods. Hence, many call themselves ‘pagans’ to this day. This new pseudo-religion of ‘true believers’ (Dievturi), in spite of the group’s small membership, held strong sway over the Latvian community’s subconscious even among the refugees from the Soviet Regime in North America and the renewed Latvian State (1991-…). Again, since the Lutheran church often acted as a center for the community of refugees abroad, the ‘pagan’ element was given leave be, because it provided no competition worth mentioning to the ‘established’ church or faith.
The status quo in Latvian culture remains in place ever since the Herrnhuters were pushed aside by the Lutherans, about the middle of the 19th century to this day. For example, no one wishes to notice that ‘pagan’ is a word that is not a synonym of the word ‘heathen’, but is conjunct of two words, re: ‘pa’ + ‘ian’ or in Latvian pa-Jānis. ‘