Romuva originates from the Baltic religious tradition which is comprised of the religious heritage of Lithuanians, Latvians and Prussians. The formation of this common Baltic spiritual heritage began in the very distant Indo-European past. Baltic, or Aestian, culture appeared as distinct in the second millennium BCE. The common Baltic religious centre Romuva with its leading cleric titled Krivis was founded in Rickoyott in 521. Later other important regional Baltic religious centres called Romuvas emerged in different Baltic lands, including Lithuania. One of the most important centres of the Baltic faith was flourishing since time immemorial in the valley of Šventaragis (Holy-horn) in Vilnius. Since 1250, this centre was reformed by the will of Grand Duke Šventaragis and it became the central Baltic sanctuary in Lithuania. As the religious institutions of the Baltic faith in Lithuania started to be destroyed as part of the Christian efforts, the religious practice less and less influenced by Vaidilas was gradually focused on communal and individual cults and it was nourished up to the 20th century by means of ethnic traditions passed from generation to generation in this form.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the significant value of Romuva and the Baltic faith was recognised in the works by Vydūnas. In the light of the ideas of J. Basanavičius, J. G. Beržauskis-Klausutis and others, the institutions of the Baltic faith were re-established in the pre-war independent Lithuania: the community of Romuva (public-spirited persons) was formed in 1930 and it was active until 1940, while the community of Ramuva was founded in 1967 and it was only in 1992 that Romuva was officially registered as a Baltic faith community for the first time. Romuva communities are active in the USA and Canada. At the end of 2001, three communities of the ancient Baltic faith from Vilnius, Kaunas and Molėtai officially merged into the Community of the Ancient Baltic Religion, though, in fact, these communities have been working in cooperation for ten years prior to that.
All leading Krivis and Vaidilas who participated noticeably in the spiritual unification of the Baltic peoples on the religious basis and in nourishing the ancient Baltic faith are recognised as spiritual leaders of the Community of the Ancient Baltic Religion.
Krivis of the Community Jonas Trinkūnas served as the spiritual leader of the Romuva religious community since 1967.
In 2014, Inija Trinkūnienė was elected as the female Krivis of Romuva.
Over the ages, various attempts were made to suppress the ancient Baltic faith and to terminate its practices. During the pre-war period of the Republic of Lithuania, the recognition of Romuva as an institution was halted by the Catholic Church, which had a considerable influence on both the political life and the government at that time. During the Soviet period, Romuva had to conceal its religious aspirations. Still, active Romuvians were repressed. It is only in the independent Lithuania that the communities of Romuva gained official recognition as religious communities. However, the union of the communities of Romuva, i.e. the Community of the Ancient Baltic Religion formed on 11 November 2001, is not fully recognised even today.
The spiritual needs of people of our faith are met in neither secondary schools nor the Lithuanian army.
The Ancient Baltic religion is a living unity of spiritual experiences and knowledge which satisfies the relevant needs of members of the community. It is a shifting and adaptive combination. The main historical shifts in the religious doctrine of the Baltic faith are covered most comprehensively in “Religious Reforms of the Balts” by G. Beresnevičius (1995) and “The Worldview of the Ancient Balts” by N. Vėlius (1983). The fostering of doctrines of the faith is currently in the hands of the Circle of Vaidilas and Krivulė.