Roerich Pact

The Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments or Roerich Pact is an inter-American treaty . The MOST significant idea of the Roerich Pact is the legal recognition que la defense of cultural objects is more significant than the use or destruction of That crop for Military Purposes , and the protection of cultural HAS always precedence over Any military necessity .

Nicholas Roerich

Russian painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) [1] initiated the modern movement for the defense of cultural objects, for the idea of ​​”Peace of Civilizations”. Besides the recognition of the greatest Russian painters, Roerich’s most notable achievement during his lifetime was the Roerich Pact signed on April 15, 1935 by the American representatives in the Oval Office of the White House (Washington, DC). It was the first international treaty signed in the Oval Office. [2]

Nicholas Roerich was born on October 9, 1874, in St. Petersburg . His parents encouraged him to study law, but they did not see him for painting, which he did with much success. In 1900, Roerich went to Paris to take lessons from Fernand Cormon , the well-known tutor of Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec . Upon his return to St. Petersburg, he married Helena Shaposhnikova , who later developed the Agni Yoga philosophy. Soon Roerich became quite a successful painter. One of his paintings was bought by Russian Tsar Nicholas IIhimself. Roerich also worked as a stage designer and costume designer for several operas and ballets by Maurice Maeterlinck and Igor Stravinsky , premiered in St. Petersburg.

In 1917 Roerich went to live in a lake in Finland , to strengthen his health. After the frontier between Russia and Finland was closed in 1918, the family traveled to several Scandinavian countries to Great Britain and eventually left for North America in 1920. There, Roerich founded two cultural institutions: “Cor Ardens” (Flaming Heart, a fraternity of artists from several countries) [3] and “The Master Institute of United Arts” (an organization for education, science, and philosophy). [4]

In 1923, the Roerich Museum was founded in New York. In 1929, it moved to a new building. Presently, the Roerich Museum is located in Manhattan , at the corner of 107th Street and Riverside Drive. After leaving America, the Roerichs had settled down in the Kulu Valley at the bottom of the Himalayas where they established the Urusvati Institute. Nicholas Roerich died of a cardiac arrest on December 13, 1947.

Origins of the Roerich Pact

An idea about the protection of cultural monuments by NK Roerich in 1899. During his excavations at St. Petersburg, Roerich began to point to the need for protection of cultural monuments, which reproduce a world-view of ancient people for us. quote needed ]

In 1903, Roerich together with his wife Helena Ivanovna Roerich toured through ancient Russian cities, including Yaroslavl , Kostroma , Kazan , Nizhny Novgorod , Vladimir , Suzdal , Yuriev-Polsky , Smolensk , Vilnius , Izborsk and Pskov . In 1904, proceeding the expedition, NKRoerich has visited Uglich , Kalyazin , Kashin and Tver. During these travels Roerich created a large series of architectural studies, created near 90 paintings of the visited sites. Later many Russian paintings are destroyed and these paintings remain the only documenting images. quote needed ]

Summarizing this travel, the painter admired the beauty of the ancient monuments. Roerich, expressing his feelings for the state of their protection, in his article “Along the old times” (1903): “Last summer I had an opportunity to see our true antique and little love to it”.

In 1904, Roerich gave a report to the Emperor ‘s Russian Archeologist Society about the state of historical monuments and the need for action to protect them.

During the Russian-Japan War (1904-1905), Roerich expressed an idea about the necessity of a special treaty for the protection of institutions and cultural monuments. In the course of 1903-1904, Roerich repeatedly pointed out the state of ancient monuments. He wrote several articles dedicated to the poor state of the churches. In the article “Silent Pogroms” (1911) Roerich wrote about the unskillful restoration of St. John the Forerunner Church at Yaroslavl : “Who would defend a beautiful antique from mad pogroms? It is grievously when the ancient dies. But it is more terrible when the ancient remains disfigured, false, imitation … “.

In 1914, Roerich appealed to the high command of the Russian army, and the governments of the United States and France with the idea of ​​concluding an international agreement on the protection of cultural values ​​during armed conflicts. He created a poster “Enemy of Mankind” denouncing the barbaric destruction of cultural monuments, and picture “Glow” phrase providing a protest contre World War I .

In 1915, Roerich wrote a report for Russian Emperor Nicholas II and Nicholas Nikolayevich’s Great Prince containing an appeal to make real state measures for national protection of cultural values.

In 1929, Roerich, in cooperation with GG Shklyaver, a doctor of international law and political science at Paris University, prepared a project for the protection of cultural values. Simultaneously Roerich proposed a distinctive sign to identify the objects that are in need of protection – the Banner of Peace. It represents a white cloth with a red circle and three red circles inscribed in it.

Regular Committee of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace was found in New York

Roerich was nominated for the Nobel Prize .

The Roerich Pact

In 1929 Roerich in collaboration with Paris University professors GG Shklyaver prepared a draft of an international treaty dedicated to the protection of cultural values. The scheme was a cultural analogue to the Red Cross for medical neutrality.

In 1930, text of draft agreement with accompanying Roerich’s appeal to governments and nations of the world was published in the press and distributed in government, scientific, artistic and educational institutions of the world. As a result, the Pactor has been established in many countries. The draft pact was approved by Committee for the League of Nations and also by the Committee of the Pan-American Union . Ultimately, the Pact was signed by 21 states in the Americas and was ratified by ten of them.

A few years after the Second World War, the Roerich Pact played an important role in the development of international law and the protection of cultural heritage. In 1949, at the fourth session of the General Conference of the United Nations, in the field of cultural heritage.

Ideas of Roerich Pact is not implemented in the international law , especially its principle of the almost unlimited preference of the preservation of cultural values ​​to the military necessity.

The Roerich Pact chronology

Delegates of Second International conference dedicated to the Roerich Pact. Bruges, August 1932.

From the book “Banner of Peace” / Compilers ON Zvonareva, TO Knizhnik, NG Mikhailova. – Second edition, supplemented and revised. – Moscow, ICR, 2005. – (“Large Roerich’s library” series).

1930 – A project together with N. Roerich’s covering appeal to governments and nations of the world, published by the government, scientific, artistic and educational institutions of the world.

– Project of the Pact was represented to the Committee on the League of Nations, and further to the International Committee for Intellectual Cooperation.
– Committees of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace were founded in Paris and Bruges (Belgium)

1931 – An International Union of the Roerich Pact was founded at Bruges under the guidance of a member of Belgium Committee for Monument Protection K. Tyulpink.

– 13-15 of September – first International conference dedicated to the Roerich Pact has been organized at Bruges. Representatives from the group of European countries took part in this conference. A plan for the promotion of the Pact is being developed, and contacts of the International Union of the Roerich Pact.

1932, 7-9 of September – second International conference dedicated to the Roerich Pact had been organized at Bruges. Twenty two countries took part in its work. The Conference has been set up in Bruges for a special institute for the world of implementation of the Roerich Pact ideas in public life. It also took a decision to appeal to all countries to recognize the international treaty.

1933, November 15 – Organizing Committee of Third International Conference dedicated to the Roerich Pact visited the USA President F. Roosevelt.

– 17-18 of November – Third International conference dedicated to the Roerich Pact was carried out in Washington. Thirty five countries have endorsed this conference and recommended the governments of all countries to sign the Pact.
– December – 7th Conference of the Pan-American Union in Montevideo (Uruguay) has passed a resolution which recommends to the governments of American countries to join the Roerich Pact.

1934, April 4 – A report of the special committee of Pan-American union dedicated to Roerich Pact was approved.

– August 11 – USA President F Roosevelt has authorized a minister of agriculture. H. Wolles to sign the Roerich Pact from USA.
– September 2 – A Committee of the Pact and Banner of Peace was formed in Harbin (Manchuria).
– A Committee for the promotion of the Pact was formed at Bulgaria.

1935, April 15 – A Treaty named “international pact for the protection of artistic and scientific institutions, historic monuments, missions and collections” (Roerich Pact) is concluded and signed by representatives of 21 American states at the White House, Washington. A distinctive sign for identification of the protected objects proposed by Roerich was approved in the frameworks of the Pact.

– July 2 – The Pact was ratified by USA Senate.
– July 10 – – The Pact was ratified by USA President.
– August 26 – – The Pact enters into legal force after being ratified by its second state party, Cuba.
– October 25 – – The Pact was promulgated by USA President.

President F. Roosevelt discussed in his radio speech: “Presenting this Pact for Signing by All Countries, We Strive for its World Acceptance of a Vital Principle for the Preservation of Modern Civilization. This agreement has more meaning than the text of this document “[1].

1937, October – First Congress of the Baltic Roerich societies in the Roerich societies.

– First congress of international research (Paris) unanimously accepted a resolution on joining the Roerich Pact.

1938, November 17 – The Banner of Peace was spread out in Karachi (India).

1942 – American-Russian culture association (ARCA) was formed. E. Hemingway, Chaplin Ch, Kent R, Geddes P, Cooper E, Kusevitsky S, Tereschenko V were active contributors. Millikan and Compton.

1946, January 23 – first meeting of resumed New York Committee of the Pact and Banner of Peace has been conducted.

– April 18 – 6th Pan-Indian conference for cultural unity has supported the Pact.

1948, August – Directed by J. Nehru, the government has decided to approve the Roerich Pact.

1948-1949 – Italian association of Roerich Pact at Bologna has organized the work to support the Pact on a broad footing. Committees of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace worked in Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, France, England, Portugal, Brazil, Columbia, Uruguay, Bolivia and Cuba.

1949 – 4th session of general UNESCO conference has taken a decision to begin a work for international-law regulation in the field of cultural values ​​protection during the military actions.

1950 – New York Committee of the Roerich Pact has transferred all the documentation about the Pact to UNESCO. 5th session of the General Conference of the General Conference. Special committee of UNESCO has prepared the draft of international convention in view of given documents.

1954, May 14 -UNO and UNESCO Conference in Hague has accepted the “Convention for the protection of cultural values ​​in the case of armed conflicts” and a protocol accompanying it. The second protocol to the Hague convention was accepted in March 1999 by UNESCO. A text of the Hague Convention is directly related to Hague peace conventions in 1899 and 1907 and also in the Roerich Pact. This Hague Convention was signed by representatives of 37 countries [2].

1970, November 14 – “Convention on Measures Against Prohibition and Prevention of Unlawful Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property Rights” was accepted at the 16th session of the United Nations Conference on Problems of Education, Science and Culture in Paris.

1972, November 23 – “Convention on the protection of the world of culture and natural heritage” was accepted at the 17th session of the United Nations Conference on Problems of Education, Science and Culture in Paris.

1974 – Alpinists from Novosibirsk hoisted the Banner of Peace on the Roerich peak near Belukha Mountain (Altai).

1988, May 6 – Banner of Peace was hoisted at Northern Pole.

1990, February 11 – Soviet cosmonauts A. Balandin and A. Solovyov took the Banner of Peace on the “Mir” orbital station.

1995, June 26 – Banner of Peace was presented to G. fon Moltke, Deputy Head of Secretary for Political Affairs at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

1997 – Banner of Peace was given to the crew of Soviet orbital station “Soyuz-TM” in the frameworks of scientific-enlightener project “Banner of Peace”. It was delivered to orbital station “Mir” and remains in cosmos during two years (August 5, 1997 – August 28, 1999), accompanying the work of international crews.

1998, October 9 – Banner of Peace was hoisted over the Center-Museum after N. Roerich in Moscow.

President Nazarbayev at President Palace (Almaty). Space pilot A. Leonov and Professor S. Kapitsa took part in the ceremony. – March 26 – Second protocol to “Convention for the protection of cultural values ​​in cases of armed conflict” (Hague, 1954) was signed in Hague. The document was written by six languages: English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French.

2000, January 8 – Banner of Peace was established at Southern Pole.

– January 28 – Banner of Peace from the Southern Pole was presented to UNO General Secretary K. Annan as a gift from expedition center “Arctic”, International Center of the Roerichs and the project “Banner of Peace”.

2003, October 17 – The Convention on the Protection of Non-Material Cultural Heritage by the General Conference on Education, Science and Culture.

2004, October 25 – Banner of Peace from the board of cosmic station “Mir” was presented to Speaker of Sri Somnath Chatterji’s Parliament on the occasion of 100th Sviatoslav Roerich’s Anniversary.

Banner of Peace

Roerich’s Pact also Pax Cultura (“Cultural Peace” or “Peace Through Culture”) is the motto of the cultural artifact protection movement by Nicholas Roerich, and is symbolized by a maroon on white emblem consisting of three solid circles in a surrounding circle. On April 15, 1935 the Roerich Pact was signed by the United States and Latin American nations, agreeing that “historic monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions” should be protected both in times of peace and war their flying a distinctive flag, the Banner of Peace , bearing the Pax Cultura emblem.

According to the Roerich Museum, “The Banner of Peace symbol has ancient origins.” that it represents a deep and sophisticated understanding of the triune nature of existence.But for the purposes of the Banner and the Pact, Roerich described the circle as representing the totality of culture, with the three dots being Art, Science, and Religion, three Of the most embracing of the human cultural activities, he also described the circle as representing the eternity of time, embracing the past, present, and future.remain central to the meaning of the Pact and the Banner today. “[1]

The Roerich Pact was superseded by the distinctive marking of cultural property as defined by the Hague Convention of 1954 . However, the emblem of the Roerich Pact is still a valid protective sign in the relations between the ten states which are bound by the Pact.

The Roerich Pact importance for the 21st century

The Roerich Pact is not only a relatively short multilateral treaty: it is a conglomerate of legal ideas about a new state of affairs and the culture closely overlap. A measure of this complexity is the share of state budget on culture, art and education, which in many countries exceeds military expenses.

Important in the framework of the ideas of the Roerich Pact is the recognition that the safety of any of the foreign objects of the territory of a foreign country. it for military purposes.

Nicholas Roerich managed to continue and Develop Into a Profound and feasible doctrine the famous maxim Proclaimed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky , “Beauty will save the World!” Hence starts a Very powerful Russian movement in the development of the concept of Aesthetical statehood. Jacob Burckhardt , who was Swiss historian of art, specializing in Italian Renaissance The concept of the state as a work of art was first suggested in the 19th century, and who gives this name to a chapter of one of his books. The concept itself had not been formulated to a more general purpose than that of a successful candidate, considered to be one of the most important in the unique Italian Renaissance art, literature, philosophy and science. Roerich produced ideas based on the approaches used by Burkhardt and Dostoevsky.

Roerich, considered the care for future generations to be a cornerstone of the existence of the rule of law and the constitutional state. President of the USA, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the speech on the signature of the ‘Roerich Pact’ Treaty: “In opening this Pact to the adherence of the nations of the world, we are endeavoring to make the principles vital to the preservation of modern civilization. This Treaty possesses a spiritual significance far beyond the text of the instrument itself. [5]It is important to realize that the Roerich Pact was only the first step towards the future development of a new legal culture. All written laws must conform to the universal principles of morality, fairness, and justice, equality, autonomy, dignity, and respect that is known as a higher law theory. [6] The concrete conceptual provisions of Roerich’s philosophical and legal concept of the rule of lawThe world of the world is one of the mainstays of the world, and one of the most important elements of the cultural life of the world. At that, the major share of profits should be directed to the development of culture, which, as it was already mentioned, would lead to a further growth of economic prosperity.

According to Roerich’s concept, the state, an instrument for the preservation and development of culture, the instrument defending both domestic and foreign cultural treasures, the instrument maintaining peace and avoiding wars, the instrument building a new civilization, based on the best cultural traditions of today and, therefore, une propos de la questiona de la proviso de los economics de reasonablees de thèse, sur les citations pour les usages. Roerich Pact is still fully implemented in international law. [7] and 21st century may be a good time to resurrect Roerich’s concept of beauty and culture as a path to peace. [8]

World League of Culture and World Day of Culture

In the broad sense the Roerich Pact is understood as not only a legal treaty but also a whole complex of measures for the protection of cultural values ​​suggested by N. Roerich. Consequently, the Roerich Pact has not only legal but also philosophical, enlightening, and evolutional significance since it reflects the idea of ​​cultural protection in its many manifestations.

Characterizing the Roerich Pact, cosmonaut AA Leonov wrote:

“If we are raising a culture and spirituality then it will help us to strengthen an economy, to make the moral policy and to stop the military conflicts. This is a statement of the Roerich Pact today. The more time is passed for the world it becomes. … “

Developing the Pact Ideas by N. Roerich The laws for culture protection in itself will not work if the community will not display an activity and interest to this. Later this thought was supported by DS Likhachev academician . He said:

“… I believe that the best social and creative forms of culture can be created in a creative and constructive way. … “

At the first international conference of Roerich Pact in Brugge (September, 1931), N. Roerich proposed to create a World League of Culture. One of the main goals of the League.

In his article “Bread of the Planet” (1933) N. Roerich wrote: “The call to culture, call about the world, and call about growth and success. Understanding of life as self-improving for the people’s good when the respect of the nature is valid. Therefore, the League of Culture with a view to the nature of a merry work, wisdom wise, continuous cognition and creativity “.

The cultural community highly appreciates N. Roerich’s thoughts on the implementation of World Day of Culture. N. Roerich wrote: “… We are going to hear about the world Day of Culture to understand the world and to understand the world and world cultural treasures …”

See also

  • Rerikhism
  • Protective sign
  • Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project
  • Rechtsstaat
  • European integration
  • List of Articles of War
  • Command responsibility
  • debellatio
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Laws of war
  • lawfare
  • Law of occupation
  • Nuremberg Principles
  • Right of conquest
  • Total war


  1. Jump up^ Leslie Brenner, “Nicholas Roerich, Idealist and Visionary”, Foreign Affairs Journal , April 1990
  2. Jump up^ Elisabeth Stoumatoff,Unfinished FDR’s Portrait: A Memoir, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990,ISBN 0-8229-3659-3
  3. Jump up^ “Scripture Speaks – Savoring the Deep Meaning of the Word of God which unfolds each year in the liturgy, revealing the fundamental mysteries of our faith” . . Retrieved 17 December 2017 .
  4. Jump up^ “Nicholas Roerich biographical outline” . . Retrieved 17 December 2017 .
  5. Jump up^ Barenboim P., Sidiqi N. Brugge, the Bridge between Civilizations: The 75th Anniversary of the Roerich Pact . M., Letny Sad; Grid Belgium, 2010.ISBN 978-5-98856-114-9
  6. Jump up^ Rule of Law Section in the West’s Encyclopedia of American Law
  7. Jump up^ Peter Barenboim, Naeem Sidiqi, op.cit. p. 79
  8. Jump up^ Lewis R. Elbinger, “The Unifying Power of Art”, in Foreign Service Journal, April 1990

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