On the occasion of the National Day of CULTURE on April 15th, 2009 LITHUANIA activated the “BANNER of PEACE” in a solemn and exceptional atmosphere.
Every year this solemn act repeatedly: (Activating the "BANNER of PEACE" >>)
Lithuania (once large and powerful and nowadays a geographically small country with a population just under 3.4 million) gained its extraordinary energies necessary for the survival of though and stormy times from its spiritual and in everyday life practiced cultural understanding. A similar basic attitude can be found among the other Baltic small states, as well as among other European countries. The “big players” on the continent had the reoccurring ambitions for expansion and hunger for imperiousness, driven by different motives, which lead in the history of civilization to warfare against weaker states – not a glorious chapter of history for the Great Powers at all. Instead of these longings of the greater powers, the smaller states should principally be protected and supported by them since the interest of a community in harmony and peace is strengthened in this way enormously.
In 1935 and 1936 approximately 50 states are signing the “PAX CULTURA” - the “PEACE-through-CULTURE-Pact”
In order to avoid global disasters triggered by an act of war (with cultural and civilizing impact like – amongst other historical events – before and after the 1st and 2nd World War), the Russian “citizen of the world” (cosmopolitan) NICHOLAS K. ROERICH (often pronounced “RERICH” in Russian language) drafted an ethical concept or code of behaviour for the political domain as well as the area of the terms of civilization in the 30’s of the last century, which he introduced and represented to the most important cultural and political leaders and leading institutions like the Vatican, elite universities of the most important states, etc., during his numerous travels around the world, including America, Europe and Asia. As consequence the PAX CULTURA was signed in the year 1935 on the occasion of a conference of all American states in Washington and in the presence of the U.S. president F.D. Roosevelt! Nicholas K. Roerich created the “BANNER of PEACE” for this important event. In an event of war this banner should mark and protect all cultural buildings (churches, palaces, museums, universities, schools, etc.) similar to the flag of the Red Cross regarding hospitals, etc. Despite the fact that about 50 nations had acknowledged the PANNER of PEACE till the beginning of the 2nd World War, the great political and military powers did not align with this cultural-ethical marking or commitment and left literally everything in ruins.
2009 - LITHUANIA activates the BANNER of PEACE
In the conjunction with the responsibility towards the Lithuanian cultural communities, the government of Lithuania was already setting the first step in 2008 by declaring the 15th of April in principle as a state holiday – the National Day of CULTURE. In celebration of this day the government and the communal authorities are performing and promoting cultural events of diverse nature throughout the whole country. VILNIUS – officially belonging to the cultural heritage of mankind (UNESCO) and as the capital of Lithuania – was pointing the way in 2008 with a remarkable sign. In collaboration with a delegation of the European section of the International Association PEACE through CULTURE (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), the government could be convinced to reactivate a parliamentary decision from the year 1936 to solemnly honour Roerich’s BANNER of PEACE and to share with the world a special sign of Lithuania’s political and social desire for peace! In this sense the conference of 2008 was a great success, which was achieved together with culturally strong associations in Lithuania and which was the enabler of this year’s cumulation.
The necessary structural and architectural work needed for this was already carried out by a spiritual-cultural elite in the years after the 1st World War in Lithuania, which identified itself with the ideas and peace conceptions of the cosmopolitan Nicholas K. Roerich. Thanks to this generation, today’s Lithuanian politicians show – among other things – an unusual understanding for the ethical-social necessities of the new age - to which we all have to answer.
15th April - Day of CULTURE - Day of the BANNER of PEACE!
The 15th of April was opened - among others - also on part of the government (defence and cultural ministry) by a guard of honour consisting of representatives of the army and naval forces, speeches of ministers and other government officials, with running up the national flag together with the (Roerich-) BANNER of PEACE on the parade ground of the ministry of defence, solemnly framed by the national anthem.
It was a unique moment as the BANNER of PEACE was definitely wind up – embedded in the salutation of the present ministers and bordered by the salute of the military parade.
This unusual public state ceremony, carried out surely for the first time in this kind in Europe and by which a state officially acknowledges in words and symbolism the principles of the “PAX CULTURA”, joyfully shows that there are indeed countries where politics is beginning to gradually move towards CULTURE. The latter can also be noticed with the local confessions (religions). They are obviously committed to social community programs on the basis of ETHICS, HORMONY, EQUIVALENCE and EQUALITY; because before GOD – the laws of the UNIVERSE – ALL humans are equal!
In the parliament of Lithuania - XV. ETHICAL FORUM: „Today’s culture in view of the challenges of the present“
The most important forerunning event leading to the actual unique gathering was a conference in 1999. This internal conference, under the working title “The Importance of Spiritual Culture for the Future of Mankind”, took place on a highly representative level in Vilnius. It was that conference giving birth to the idea of an “Ethical Forum” under the patronage of Lithuania’s cultural associations and representatives from politics and public life reflecting about highly topical issues. Since that time the forum is at least held once per year.
This international conference was especially influenced by delegations of the International Association PEACE through CULTURE and the International Ethical Association “WORLD-SPIRAL” lead by their presidents W. Augustat and R.M. Stangl. It was particularly pleasing that the parliament and the government of Lithuania have accepted this proposal, so that now the XV. ETHICAL FORUM with the title “Today’s culture in view of the challenges of the present” took already place under active participation of the government represented by ministers and high representatives of the parliament (the forum took also place on the 15th of April right after the parade of honour at the ministry of defence). Since the XIV. Ethical Forum in the year 2008 had obviously created the preconditions for such an intensification of actions and celebrations from the perspective of those cultural and political responsible, there were no obstacles for the government to identify officially with the “BANNER of PEACE”.
There is obviously a worldwide storm brewing then reading the signs of the presence! This is one more reason for this world – ultimately for all folks – to seek spiritual sanctuary under the BANNER of PEACE through ethics and community in humility and harmony, to find and unite ourselves under the banner and to trust the own spiritual nature in readiness.
The Lithuanian Cultural Fund, which - amongst others - the Vydunas- and Roerich-Associations belong to, essentially contributed to the forum’s topic with their high representatives; likewise the delegates from India (the Indian ambassador of Poland and Lithuania), from Norway, Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the International Associations “WORLD-SPIRAL” and “PEACE through CULTURE” Europe). The following, strongly reduced excerpts from the lectures of our international delegation are illustrating the messages which there declaimed on the subject of culture.
May the BANNER of PEACE shine for all - the world and mankind!