The Pact of Nikolai Roerich - Peace through Culture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper provides an insight into the peacemaking initiatives of one of the most influential religious and spiritual movements of the Soviet and post-communist Russia, the Roerich movement, founded by the famous painter and public figure Nikolai Roerich and his wife Elena Roerich in the context of historical and political events of the first half of the XX century. It is based on the teaching of Agni Yoga, which allegedly was imparted to the Roerichs by the great sages and teachers of the humankind “Mahatmas”. Although the teaching of Agni Yoga claims to be an ancient esoteric tradition, it is, in fact, a recently invented construct, which uses the elements of religions and philosophies of the Orient (Hinduism and Buddhism), Occultism, Theosophy, Orthodox Christianity and pre-Christian (pagan) beliefs. The idea to adopt an international treaty on protection of the endangered historical and cultural monuments occurred to Nikolai Roerich in 1903-1904 after his archeological expedition to ancient Russian cities. In 1915, he addressed an appeal to the Russian government and high-ranking politicians of other countries to take actions against the barbaric destruction of cultural monuments. However, the outbreak of World War I interfered with these plans. Not long before the revolution the couple left Russia and since that time lived abroad, staying in Great Britain, the USA and other countries of Europe and Asia. Meanwhile Nikolai Roerich continued his diplomatic activities, which resulted in the treaty generally known as the Roerich Pact of Peace. This pact emphasized the fundamental role of culture and art in the history of humankind and declared the need to protect the cultural values of the world during wars and civil conflicts
Translated title of the contributionПакт Николая Рериха - Мир через Культуру
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110 - 121
JournalAsiatica: труды по философии и культурам Востока
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • cultural values


Dive into the research topics of 'The Pact of Nikolai Roerich - Peace through Culture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this