Saturday, January 20, 2007

Zeus Revival! Zeus worshippers demand access to temple

We often joke about how worshipping god is like how the ancient Greeks worshipped Zeus, but there seems to be a few folks in the world who actually believe that Greek mythology is real!
ATHENS, Greece - After all these centuries, Zeus may have a few thunderbolts left. A tiny group of worshippers plans a rare ceremony Sunday to honor the ancient Greek gods, at Athens' 1,800-year-old Temple of Olympian Zeus. Greece's Culture Ministry has declared the central Athens site off-limits, but worshippers say they will defy the decision.

"These are our temples and they should be used by followers of our religion," said Doreta Peppa, head of the Athens-based Ellinais, a group campaigning to revive the ancient religion.

"Of course we will go ahead with the event ... we will enter the site legally," said Peppa, who calls herself a high priestess of the revived faith. "We will issue a call for peace, who can be opposed to that?"

Peppa said the ceremony will be held in honor of Zeus, king of the ancient gods, but did not give other details. The daily Ethnos newspaper, citing the group's application to the Culture Ministry to use the site, said the 90-minute event would include hymns, dancers, torchbearers, and worshippers in ancient costumes.

Greece's archaic religion is believed to have several hundred official followers, mainly middle-aged and elderly academics, lawyers and other professionals. They typically share a keen interest in ancient history and a dislike for the Greek Orthodox Church.

Ancient rituals are re-enacted every two years at Olympia, in southern Greece, where the flame lighting ceremony is held for the summer and winter Olympic games. But the event is not regarded as a religious ceremony and actresses are used to pose as high priestesses.

Last year, the Culture Ministry, fearing damage to monuments, blocked an initiative to hold an international track meet at Olympia. A panel of ministry experts ruled against Sunday's ancient ceremony at the ruins of the Temple of Zeus on similar grounds.

"Ancient sites are not available for this kind of event," ministry official Eliza Kyrtsoglou said. It was not clear whether the government had plans to block the worshippers.

Peppa's group, dedicated to reviving worship of the 12 ancient gods, was founded last year and won a court battle for official state recognition of the ancient Greek religion.

Those who seek to revive the ancient Greek religion are split into rival organizations which trade insults over the Internet. Peppa's group is at odds with ultra-nationalists who view a revival as a way to protect Greek identity from foreign influences.

They can't even agree on a name for the religion: One camp calls it Ancient-Religion, another Hellenic Religion.

The worshippers also face another obstacle: Greece's powerful Orthodox Church.

"There should be respect for people who want to express their religious feelings in a different way, that is not the typical Orthodox or Christian way," Peppa said. "We should not be stopped or denied our rights."

What a crazy-ass world we live in!



Andrea said...

That is definitely wacky:)

CyberKitten said...

I heard that there is a growing revival in beliefs in the 'old' Gods all over Europe at the expense of Christianity. I find the whole thing quite funny...

Of course anthropologists and historians know quite a bit about the religions of Classical Rome & Greece - so at least they don't need to make anything (or too much) of it up I guess...

I'm quite partial to the Norse Gods myself... Odin & Thor were my childhood heroes...

Anonymous said...

Can't say I am surprised thst there are groups who want to use the ancient monuments for their own brand of religious worship.

Stonehenge, in England, is regularly used by groups of people who gather there for "religious purposes."

Some claim it is an ancient site for Druids, other for pagans, others for sun worshipping etc etc.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the revival of American Indian religions. We have a group of those people where I live & I've been to their sweat lodges, etc...A lot of it is made up on the spot or at least a 20th century Invention to be able to ingest peyote,magic mushrooms the name of the great spirit.
Right! *snort!*

Even if some of them are sincere, You cant'turn back the clock w/anything including religion.

123 said...

Actually, it's not really that wacky. It's the next logical step after modern atheism (which is more a denial of christian ethics and archetypes rather than denial of god's existence). In my opinion, after one has rejected christianity one of the ways to satisfy their spirituality can be the old/ancient religion of their people - it's only natural.

Stardust said...

123 - Not everyone has the need to "satisfy their spirituality" or whatever you want to call it via god worship or religion. Just being in touch with nature and feeling a connection with planet earth and the universe is enough for me. I don't need to make something more of it that it naturally is.

Stardust said...

It's the next logical step after modern atheism which is more a denial of christian ethics and archetypes rather than denial of god's existence

An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of god. An Atheist believes that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth for all men together to enjoy.

An Atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction, and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and enjoy it.

An Atheist believes that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.

He seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man.