The Odinist Fellowship threatens to continue protests until demands are met
Ralph Harrison, Director of Odinist Fellowship and leader of British pagans, had sent a letter to Justin Welby , Archbishop of Canterbury, demanding they 'return' two church buildings. Harrison claims the properties were stolen from pagans about 1,300 years back. Over 1,000 pagans are members of the Fellowship.
The Fellowship began in 1988. It is registered as a religious charity. It was set up to promote the original indigenous faith once practiced by the English. The same faith was practiced by Jutes, Angles and Saxons. The pagans are polytheistic where Gods are not viewed as masters but as powerful allies and as excellent friends.
The letter, which was subsequently released to the media, said in order to re-establish a better relationship between the Odinist Fellowship and English Christian churches, and to compensate for past wrongs made, the majority of Odinists hold the view the English church must issue a proper public apology for its crimes done in its history against Odinists. The church, in response, has sent responses. As per Harrison, although the responses were polite, they are not substantial. He said the objective of the pagans is to get the acknowledgment of the church for the latter's shameful history of persecution. He added the church must take stock of what it had done. The Christian church cannot airbrush these bad events out of history.
The Odinist Fellowship wants two churches- one from Canterbury and the other from York's provinces – to compensate for the temple grounds which it claims were taken away by Christian missionaries like St. Augustine. As per Harrison, snatching of pagan property equals ‘spiritual genocide.’ He claimed huge swathes of stolen property are under control of Church of England.
England begun to be Christianized from seventh century onwards. A number of pagan temple grounds were snatched by the early church leaders. The already constructed structures were converted into churches. Harrison sent a separate letter to Archbishops of York and Canterbury in 2016. He said, "If such satisfaction is not offered, albeit that your church possesses a superfluity of ecclesiastical properties, then we most respectfully assure you, that we will persist ever more vocally in our just demands until at last they are met."
Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, responded to the pagan claims by writing back that he remains uncertain concerning evidence for the strength of the Odinist faith in modern day Britain.
Pagans demand return of church buildings 'stolen' 1,300 years ago.
Should they be given back their land?
— Anjum Anwar (@AuntyG) August 28, 2017