The Maetreum of Cybele

A Fight for Equal ReligiousRecognition in New York State


  • Francesca Tronetti Cherry Hill Seminary



tax-exemption, new religious movements, Cybele, freedom of religion, church status, Goddess religion, Paganism


In 2008, a legal case, “The Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, Inc. v. Nancy McCoy [tax assessor)] &c., et al., for recognition of tax-exempt status between the Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater Inc. and the Town of Catskill, New York” began. The court was asked to decide whether the pastoral work of a Pagan church could be viewed in the same way as the clerical work of other accepted religions. The court also needed to determine how much of the landholdings must be dedicated to worship space. The rulings have been cited as precedent in other cases. In addition, they can act as a rallying point for other new religious movements and Pagan groups to fight for equal legal status.

Author Biography

  • Francesca Tronetti, Cherry Hill Seminary

    Francesca Tronetti is a professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Cherry Hill Seminary and teaches courses in the history of religion and American folk magic. She is also the Director of Youth Services at the Multicultural Community Resource Center in Erie, Pa., serving the refugee and immigrant population.


“In the Matter of Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, Inc., Respondent v. Nancy McCoy, &c., et al., Appellants (And Two Other Related Proceedings.), No. 202,” New York Law Journal, 2014.

Pitzl-Waters, Jason. “Maetreum of Cybele Wins Tax Fight,” The Wild Hunt. November 23, 2014, html”

Pitzl-Water, Jason. “Pagan Community Notes: Maetreum of Cybele Loses Case, M. Macha NightMare Leaves Reclaiming, New Alexandrian Library Raises Funds, and Spiral Scouts Step Up.” The Wild Hunt, 7 August 2012,

Reilly, Peter. “Catskill NY Pagan Phryganium Exempt From Real Estate Taxes,” Forbes, 11 December 2013,”

Roberts et al. v. Ravenwood Church of Wicca; and vice versa. Supreme Court of Georgia, 249 Ga. 348 (1982)

Scarboro, Allen, Nancy Campbell, and Shirley Stave. Living Witchcraft: A Contemporary American Coven. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1994.

Volokh, Eugene.“ In the Matter of the Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, Inc,” Washington Post, 21 November 2014.






How to Cite

Tronetti, F. (2024). The Maetreum of Cybele: A Fight for Equal ReligiousRecognition in New York State. Pomegranate, 24(2), 254–270.