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Hellenic Paganism refers to pagans devoted to the Olympian deities. An ancient tradition, it was originally practiced in classical Greece.
The public practice of the Greek religion was made illegal by the Emperor Theodosius I in the fourth century of the current era, and this was enforced by his successors. The Greek religion, stigmatized as "paganism", the religion of country-folk (pagani) survived only in rural areas as Europe entered into the Dark Ages.
Many adherents of Hellenic paganism, like Panagiotis Marinis from the group Dodecatheon in Greece, claim that the religion of ancient Greece has survived throughout the intervening centuries. Marinis claims he was raised in a family that practiced this religion.
Greek polytheist author Vlassis Rassias has written a popular series of books on "Christian persecutions against the Hellenes," and the "Church of the Hellenes" organization goes so far as to call for the wholesale extermination of Christianity, while the Athens based group Ellinais emphasizes "world peace and "the brotherhood of man."
Modern revivalist movementsEdit
The "Hellenic Paganism" mailing list HellenicPagan which at over 400 members is the largest English-language discussion group for Hellenic polytheists.
Worshippers of Hellenic Paganism can also be found on Facebook.
Beliefs and practicesEdit
Hellenic polytheists worship the ancient Greek Gods, including the Olympians, nature divinities, underworld deities and heroes. Both physical and spiritual ancestors are honored. It is primarily a devotional or votive religion, based on the exchange of gifts (offerings) for the gods' blessings. The ethical convictions of modern Hellenic polytheists are often inspired by ancient Greek virtues such as reciprocity, hospitality, and moderation.
There is no "dogma" or central "ecclesia" (church) nor hierarchal clergy, though some groups are beginning to offer training in that capacity. Individual worshipers are generally expected to perform their own rituals and learn about the religion and the Gods by reference to primary and secondary sources on ancient Greek religion and through personal experience of the Gods. Information gained from such personal experiences is often referred to in Hellenic groups as "UPG" (Unverified Personal Gnosis), a term borrowed from Ásatrú.
Hellenismos has no moral or behavioural imperatives or commandments; there is no single text believed by worshipers to signify the word of the Gods. Instead, theological beliefs and practices are based on multiple sources:
The main value of Hellenism is eusebeia, often translated as piety. This implies a commitment to the worship of the Hellenic Gods and action to back this up. Other core values are hospitality, self-control and moderation.
See also Edit
- Winter, Sarah Kate Istra KHARIS: Hellenic polytheism Explored ISBN 143823192X
- Alexander, Timothy Jay. A Beginner's Guide to Hellenismos 2007. ISBN 1430324562
- Alexander, Timothy Jay. Hellenismos Today. 2007. ISBN 1430314273
- Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion 1987. ISBN 0-674-36281-0
- Nilsson, Martin P. Greek Folk Religion 1998. ISBN 0-8122-1034-4
- Winston, Kimberly. "Some still put faith in gods of the past" Chicago Tribune Aug. 20, 2004
Hellenic polytheist organizationsEdit
- Dodekatheon (available in Greek only)
- Kyklos Apollon
- Societas Hellenica Antiquariorum (English version)
- Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes (YSEE) (English version)
- Thyrsos - Hellenes Ethnikoi (English Version)
- Neos Alexandria (Greco-Egyptian group)
FAQs and articlesEdit
- The Cauldron Hellenic polytheism FAQ by Andrew Campbell
- The Cauldron Hellenic polytheism links and booklist (includes selections from Old Stones, New Temples)
- Hellenismos.us: Hellenic Polytheist Blogs & Forum
- Sannion's Sanctuary (articles and essays on Hellenic polytheism)
- Neokoroi articles and sample rituals
- Kalash: The Lost Tribe of Alexander the Great (possible continuous Hellenic polytheistic tradition)
- The Journal of Hellenic Religion - a peer-reviewed academic Journal by Markoulakis Publications
- Tropaion: researching ancient Greek religion - an academic based weblog studying and researching Hellenic polytheism.
- Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored - a book about Greek reconstructionist paganism.
- Frequently asked questions about the Ethnic Hellenic religion and tradition by YSEE
Hellenic polytheism in the newsEdit
- Pagans fight for divine rights of old Greek gods (Free Republic, September 21, 2003)
- International Religious Freedom Report US State Dept. investigation into religious freedom in Greece (2004)
- International Religious Freedom Report US State Dept. investigation into religious freedom in Greece (2005)
- NPR reports on "Return of the Hellenes" movement (with audio) (August 5, 2004)
- Letter From Greece: The Gods Return to Olympus (Archaeology Magazine, January/February 2005)
- Group tries to restore pagan worship MS-NBC (August 2004, interview with YSEE members during the event of "Olympic" Games in Athens)
- Ancient Greek gods' new believers (BBC)
Hellenic Facebook GroupsEdit
- Hellenic Polytheistic Community (1400+ Members - both English and Greek speakers)