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Greek Cult Holds Forbidden Ceremony

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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Greek Cult Holds Forbidden Ceremony
    Posted: 30-Jan-2007 at 15:38
Athens.- By John Hadoulis, AFP
Centuries after it crumbled into disuse, the Roman-era Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens Sunday resounded again with ancient Greek chants as a group of tunic-clad worshipers gathered to pray for a peaceful hosting of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Flouting a ban from the Greek culture ministry - which forbids ceremonies of any sort at archaeological sites - some 30 worshipers chanted odes to Zeus, Aphrodite, and other ancient Greek gods with dozens of startled tourists watching, and a small number of police stationed nearby.

O Athena, may the next Olympics be held as they should be, as the gods desire, chanted a tall, long-haired man in a grey cape and sunglasses, holding a double snake-headed scepter aloft.

The group said that it had initially secured permission to hold the ceremony, which attracted around 300 spectators, but the culture ministry subsequently changed its mind.

Accompanied by a lawyer, the practitioners had to negotiate with site guards for an hour before being allowed to bring their gear inside.

A senior ministry official said that the authorities were prepared to allow them access to the temple without ancient garb and would allow them to chant as long as there were no instruments involved.

We do not intend to repress free speech but archaeological sites are nobodys private theater, said archaeologist Nikoletta Valakou, head of the culture ministry department supervising the site.

The worshipers belong to The Holy Association of Greek Ancient Religion Believers (Ellinais), one of several small groups who closely study and adopt aspects of ancient Greek religion and culture.

Their activities are nearly unnoticed by most other Greeks.

In a ceremony reminiscent of the lighting of the Olympic flame held every two years in Olympia, southwestern Greece, the group released two white doves to fly above the second-century AD temple, poured water on the ground as an offering to the gods, and held a ritual wedding between two participants.

This is a universal wish for the peaceful hosting of the Olympics, chanted group leader Doreta Peppa, dressed as a red-robed priestess. We worship nature and honor the ancient Greek gods, she later told reporters. Some 3 percent of Greeks share our views, but theyre afraid to speak out.

The Ellinais group follows a calendar marking time from the first ancient Olympics of 776 BC.

It also wants to rebuild all ancient temples and make ancient Greek the official language of the country.

We want to be able to hold ceremonies at ancient temples This obsession of treating them as mere monuments must stop, Peppa said. The Greek parliament is also a monument, but it continues to function. So should this temple.

The group had brought security of their own, of sorts - a handful of men in archaic armor stood to attention around the participants.

We belong to an honor guard that assists all such ceremonies, wherever we are needed, said Thanassis Agiassas, a 45-year-old fitness instructor from northern Greece. We make this armor on our own, using film props from France and India Its a matter of culture for me, I want to keep this contact with our ancestors, he added.

These are not serious people theyre not so different from fanatical Orthodox Christians, said Valakou, the ministry archaeologist.

In a statement issued after the ceremony, the culture ministry said that members of the group attacked and threatened Valakou and the guards on their way out of the temple.

Steps would be taken to prevent similar illegal events in future, it added.

Modern Greece has strong links with its classical heritage, but the countrys Orthodox Christian faith is equally powerful, and the influential Greek Orthodox Church treats ancient religious practices as pagan.

Ellinais is a legally-recognized association, but the state has yet to recognize its right to hold religious practices, Peppa said.

One of Athens most imposing archaeological monuments, the Temple of Zeus was completed on the orders of Roman emperor Hadrian, and once housed a colossal gold-and-ivory statue honoring the ancient Greek pantheons leading deity.


http://www.greeknewsonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6203

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  Quote Adalwolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2007 at 18:55
Hey that's awesome! Hopefully this will help revive the old religion!
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  Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2007 at 20:38

Hey that's awesome! Hopefully this will help revive the old religion!


Erhm...and what pray tell makes the "old religions" any better than say the "new religions".

In my opinion many followers of this type of religion, are just out to make a scene. Not all, there are those that are quite serious about their faith. I see this situation no different from the druids who go to stonehenge. Should the Greek government allow them to worship at the ancient sites. I don't think so, there are many old churches such as the Hagia Sophia that no longer serve their religious role. Therefore if they want to worship in a temple to Zeus they should build a temple to Zeus and if they want to learn more about their ancient brethren then they should visit the Temples as tourists.

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  Quote Adalwolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2007 at 22:45
What makes them better? Couldn't tell you, I just find the older pagan relgions more attractive than the new abrahamic ones. It be great to see a mass revival of Paganism, at least I think so.
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  Quote Neoptolemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2007 at 23:12
Originally posted by Adalwolf

Hey that's awesome! Hopefully this will help revive the old religion!
Yes, I would also like that!

Originally posted by JanusRook

Erhm...and what pray tell makes the "old religions" any better than say the "new religions".
It doesn't make them any better, just another religion.

In my opinion many followers of this type of religion, are just out to make a scene. Not all, there are those that are quite serious about their faith.
I agree
Should the Greek government allow them to worship at the ancient sites. I don't think so,
Hmm I think they could/should be allowed to worship in some ancient sites, provided they get a permission in advance and don't cause any damages. I would even like to attend such a ceremony, if they let me of course. I mean a serious ceremony and not a bunch of guys going there and doing whatever.

there are many old churches such as the Hagia Sophia that no longer serve their religious role.
Would you like them to serve their religious role from time to time? I would. Besides, the Agia Sophia case is more complicated. It was a Church, converted into a Mosque and is located in a predominantly Muslim country. Here we speak about ancient Hellenic temples, located in Hellas.Wink


Edited by Neoptolemos - 30-Jan-2007 at 23:14
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  Quote Dan Carkner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 00:11
I find it somewhat laughable (admittedly I am a pretty arrogant atheist sometimes!) but still, in a way-- I would rather people revive the pagan traditions of their own country than adopt what their conception is of native american spirituality or buddhist or whatever, something that has zero connection to their life aside from its exoticism...
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  Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 00:41
Would you like them to serve their religious role from time to time? I would. Besides, the Agia Sophia case is more complicated. It was a Church, converted into a Mosque and is located in a predominantly Muslim country. Here we speak about ancient Hellenic temples, located in Hellas.Wink

As opposed to a temple, converted into a Church* and located in a predominantly Christian country

*maybe it didn't happen, but the conversion is rather irrelevent
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  Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 07:56

I find it somewhat laughable (admittedly I am a pretty arrogant atheist sometimes!) but still, in a way-- I would rather people revive the pagan traditions of their own country than adopt what their conception is of native american spirituality or buddhist or whatever, something that has zero connection to their life aside from its exoticism...


I don't know if I'd prefer people choose their own pagan past over another nations pagan past. To me ancient paganism (outisde of a few examples - i.e. the Hellenic world) seemed to be utterly lacking in a coherent set of ceromony and ritual. AFAIK, for most of pre-christian europe, the religious mindset was more or less that of agnostism with a strong sense of superstition and folklore. Kind of like modern europe I guess? So I don't really see the point in returning to your roots when you have the same "modern" alternative.


As opposed to a temple, converted into a Church* and located in a predominantly Christian country


Whoa, whoa, before this gets out of hand I used the Hagia Sophia because it was the most famous example of a "refurbished" temple. These things happen all the time to Christian churches, the community loses funding and the buildings are closed and sold (I'm sure this happens with mosques as well).

The thing is is that the former religious don't ask to use someone's warehouse to perform mass, they build a new church and attend services there. Which is what these people should do, since I'm sure their lease is quite up on the property.

Oh and yes Omar, many ancient greco-roman temples were converted into churches after the empire went Christian. I don't believe that the major greek temples became churches though (most had gone into disrepair IIRC).


Edited by JanusRook - 31-Jan-2007 at 07:58
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  Quote Leonidas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 08:18
I have a soft spot for the pagans in general.  But of most of them (including these guys) aren't a continuity of the old religion, just a revived shell of the religion.

The mysteries of Samothraki or even in Athens (eulisian sp?) is no more, so I assume these guys are simply exotoric ritual makers as the link is long broken. The last pagans in Greece lived around  the 14th or so century around Mani, well thats what ive read.

They are most welcome to use any of the temples.Smile



Edited by Leonidas - 31-Jan-2007 at 08:19
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  Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 08:27
I believe that everyone has the right to believe whatever he/she wants to, even if it is utter cow-manure as in this case. But I agree with Janus. If they want a temple, they can built one. Just because they personally believe they are continuing the same faith doesn't give them any automatic rights to do so on other people's property.
 
If it turned out there used to be a temple or shrine in my backyard and a couple of strangers in robes turned up at my door, I'd not let them in either.Wink

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  Quote xristar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 10:56

I think these people are plain idiot. There is actually nothing spiritual in what they do. They actually are just brainwashed greeks to hold anything ancient greek as almost divine (something very common to modern Greece), and in this context, being even less thinking than the others, they try to relive the ancient religion because somehow they think it is more original, more 'greek' etc etc and other BS. There is a base in that (as christianism is filled with jewish histroy, contradicting greek history) but I think it's stupid to regard the greek orthodox christian religion in any way non greek. For in the end, we are modern greeks, not ancient greeks, and culturally we are SOOO much closer to medieval christianity than to ancient paganism.

And as said, they should be allowed to do thier rituals -because Greece is a democracy, but not in ancient sites. If they want, they must build a temple of their own.

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 11:31
Originally posted by Dan Carkner

I find it somewhat laughable (admittedly I am a pretty arrogant atheist sometimes!) but still, in a way-- I would rather people revive the pagan traditions of their own country than adopt what their conception is of native american spirituality or buddhist or whatever, something that has zero connection to their life aside from its exoticism...
 
Native American spirituality?
 
Could you tell me why do you thing there is "zero connection" to our life, at least her in the Americas? Why could a simulation of ancient Greek theatre be more authentic?
 
Yes, I understand that some recent immigrants still don't discover the Americas, they live in here like they were still in Europe, but that is not excuse to say Native American spirituality, religion and phylosophy lack roots in its own land!
 
Gee!
 
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  Quote Neoptolemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2007 at 23:45
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim


As opposed to a temple, converted into a Church* and located in a predominantly Christian country
Predominantly Christian country, yes. However, the qualitative difference here is that this temple was used as a place of worship from the ancestors of those people who are Christian today (i.e. Greeks/Hellens).

*maybe it didn't happen, but the conversion is rather irrelevent
No, the conversion is relevant. If the temple was converted into a Church and for this reason it means something special for christians today, then Christians (the Church) would oppose pagans holding ceremonies there. If no conversion took place, then the Church doesn't have much of a say in the matter. It's up to the government.
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  Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 00:41

then the Church doesn't have much of a say in the matter. It's up to the government.


Of course church and government aren't necessarily too far separated from one another.....
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  Quote nikodemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 18:19
Originally posted by JanusRook

. I don't believe that the major greek temples became churches though (most had gone into disrepair IIRC).


Parthenon was a church in the Middle Ages.It was converted to a church of Virgin Mary as far as i know.


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  Quote Neoptolemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2007 at 19:29
Originally posted by JanusRook

Of course church and government aren't necessarily too far separated from one another.....
They're not so close as some people want to believe either. It also depends on which party is in power.

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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Feb-2007 at 18:33
Originally posted by Leonidas

I have a soft spot for the pagans in general.  But of most of them (including these guys) aren't a continuity of the old religion, just a revived shell of the religion.
Good point.  And here in the USA, many groups are not even historically accurate shells. 
 
The last practicing Pagan nation in Europe was Lithuania.  (Sa'ami might be an exception).  If I were looking for the shells of Pagan religions, I would not look in Greece, but rather rural Eastern Europe like Ukraine,  and Russia.   
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  Quote nikodemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Feb-2007 at 19:10
The last pagans in Greece were in Sparta  and they were converted to christianity during the reign of Basil II in the 10th century as far as i remember
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Feb-2007 at 21:52
Originally posted by nikodemos

The last pagans in Greece were in Sparta  and they were converted to christianity during the reign of Basil II in the 10th century as far as i remember
 
Wow, I am surprised that paganism lasted that long in Greece.  I imagined that it would have faded by 600 A.D. .   
 
Lithuania remained a pagan nation until 1200 AD.  With the possible exception of some Sa'ami and Karelian Shamanistic believers, I dont think there were any pagans left in Europe after that. (Not counting folk beliefs etc)
 
Anybody know of any pagan hold outs after that? 


Edited by Cryptic - 05-Feb-2007 at 21:56
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  Quote Leonidas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2007 at 03:22
Originally posted by nikodemos

The last pagans in Greece were in Sparta  and they were converted to christianity during the reign of Basil II in the 10th century as far as i remember
i read the maniotis held out for a little longer. Many of the Slavs that migrated there also were pagan, but i dont know when to, maybe we are talking about the same people.

Originally posted by Cryptic

[QUOTE=nikodemos]
Lithuania remained a pagan nation until 1200 AD.  With the possible exception of some Sa'ami and Karelian Shamanistic believers, I dont think there were any pagans left in Europe after that. (Not counting folk beliefs etc)
 
Anybody know of any pagan hold outs after that? 
i always considered the Baltic people the last pagans of Europe myself.


Edited by Leonidas - 06-Feb-2007 at 03:37
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