The Greek gods are back

Or rather, are being worshipped again in Greece:

To the astonishment of onlookers, [Doreta] Peppa also began babbling Orphic hymns, before thrusting her arms upwards into the Attic skies and proceeding, somewhat deliriously, to warble her love for the gods of Mount Olympus. But, then, for the motley group of modern pagans coalesced around the temple’s giant Corinthian columns, this was a special moment. Not since the late fourth century AD, when the newly Christian Roman state outlawed all forms of pagan worship, had a high priestess officiated on the sacred site.

For years, Orthodox clerics believed that they had defeated Greeks wishing to embrace the customs and beliefs of the ancient past. But increasingly the church, a bastion of conservatism and traditionalism, has been confronted by the spectre of polytheists making a comeback in the land of the gods. Last year, Peppa’s group, Ellinais, succeeded in gaining legal recognition as a cultural association in a country where all non-Christian religions, bar Islam and Judaism, are prohibited. As a result of the ruling, which devotees say paves the way for the Greek gods to be worshipped openly, the organisation hopes to win government approval for a temple in Athens where pagan baptisms, marriages and funerals could be performed. Taking the battle to archaeological sites deemed to be “sacred” is also part of an increasingly vociferous campaign.

But Ellinais, whose members range from elderly academics to young professionals, is not the only sect to practise the ethnic Hellenic faith. Those who claim to “defend the genuine traditions, religion and ethos” of pre-Christians say there are at least 2,000 hard-core followers and, nationwide, more than 100,000 sympathisers. Nationalist extremists, attracted by the creed’s emphasis on Hellenic glories, are helping to boost the revival.

More at Guardian Unlimited.

About Jim Lippard
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06394155516712665665 CyberKitten

    Such things are inevitable and predictable with the dying of Christianity in Europe – just as an upsurge of religious practice followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. The future of religion will be a return to the polytheistic past.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03859046131830902921 Mark Plus

    I deny the holy Olympians!

    Seriously, though, to me this looks more like an exercise in Creative Anachronism and social rebellion than a genuine religious movement. It might indicate a better environment for critical thinking if more people employ religious beliefs for entertainment and social bonding than as literal guides to conduct.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07740816003291428890 toomanytribbles

    you said,
    ‘Last year, Peppa’s group, Ellinais, succeeded in gaining legal recognition as a cultural association in a country where all non-Christian religions, bar Islam and Judaism, are prohibited.’

    this is inaccurate. i refer you to article 13 of the constitution of greece: http://tinyurl.com/2hgung

    on the positive side, this group is defying the stronghold the orthodox church has on greek life. on the negative, more religions equal more delusions.

    it’s not just rebellion, i’m afraid. there are many who profess to genuinely believe in the 12 gods of olympus.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05479935991883138999 Jim Lazarus

    …You gotta be kiddin’ me.

    - Jim


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X