The Modern Greeks Who Still Worship Zeus

By Morris M. on Wednesday, November 5, 2014
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“As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or do not exist. For many are the obstacles that impede knowledge, both the obscurity of the question and the shortness of human life.” —Protagoras

In A Nutshell

Sixteen centuries ago, Christianity finally came to Greece, sweeping away the old religions. Today, around 98 percent of Greeks identify themselves as Orthodox Christians, with the remaining 2 percent mostly made up of Muslims and a handful of Jews. Yet there’s a growing number of Greeks who oppose the Abrahamic religions—not in favor of Hinduism, Buddhism, or even atheism, but in favor of Zeus.

The Whole Bushel

In 2007, former advertising executive Doreta Peppa managed to do something no one had done for 1,600 years. Dressed in flowing white robes and carrying a couple of white doves, she performed a pagan ceremony at the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus. As a representative of Ellinais—an organization dedicated to reviving ancient Greek forms of worship—she became the first priestess to hold such a ceremony since the days of the Christian Roman Empire. The effect was apocalyptic.

Outraged at this flagrant breach of Greek law, the Orthodox Church went into propaganda overdrive. Peppa and the other pagans were denounced in sermons and press releases. The media went on the attack. The Greek state even sent riot police down to the ceremony, although they did not intervene. For many, Peppa’s prayers and ritualistic singing were nothing more than a shameless publicity stunt for a tiny organization that refused to drag its belief system out of the past.

In the seven years since Peppa’s illegal ceremony, opinion has shifted dramatically. Today, hundreds of thousands of Greeks from all walks of life openly worship the old Gods. Leftist academics, right wing Greek nationalists, new age types, and environmentalists all gather under the Hellenistic banner. Across the country, the group holds ceremonies and organizes all-night revelries to the glory of Zeus. They even consider Greece to be under Christian occupation and champion a return to the ancient traditions.

Many academics, however, have claimed the new Hellenics are interpreting the ancients too liberally. For starters, they don’t participate in animal sacrifice; a core component of the old Olympian ceremonies. Then there’s the fact that the philosophies and tenets of these ancient religions are pretty much incompatible with modern life. But for all it may be contradictory, pre-Christian worship is growing in Greece at a phenomenal rate. Its leaders are even hoping for legal recognition in the next few years. For the Greek state and Orthodox Church, that may yet prove a liberty too far.

Show Me The Proof

BBC News: The Greeks who worship the ancient gods
The Guardian: By Zeus!
National Geographic: Pagans Honor Zeus at Ancient Athens Temple

  • Hillyard

    The only thing wrong here is that it isn’t legal for them to worship as they see fit. Perhaps the local witch doctors are afraid of the competition. This makes as much sense as worshipping a dead Jewish guy who BTW, isn’t making a comeback regardless of what the local preacher would have you believe.

    • oouchan

      I have a friend who calls him a dead jew on a stick….I try not to laugh at that. It’s so bad, but I fail utterly in trying to supress the laugh.

      • http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/m.html The Illuminati

        Jesus!

  • oouchan

    If I had to pick a religion, I would pick the Greek one. I like Zues and all the other gods/goddesses. They were fun..and they let the rest of us have fun, too. The religions today are kinda lame in comparison.

    Interesting.

    • Nathaniel A.

      I’d have to go with Islam, they have really swell music. Though if I had to pick a life philosophy, Buddhism is pretty attractive.

      • oouchan

        Islam is kinda cool…if you are male. Not so nice if you are female. At least with the Greek mythology I’d have a sporting chance. Just as long as Zues doesn’t take a romantic liking to me. 😀

    • http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/m.html The Illuminati

      Higherformoflife mentioned Bokononism yesterday, which I had forgotten about. That one sounds pretty good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokononism

      • lonelydisco

        I love that idea, it’s hilarious.

        • http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/m.html The Illuminati

          The book was really good. The last one I read by him was Galapagos. That one was also hilarious.

          • lonelydisco

            I read it, and yes, I agree. Now, I have an idea for my funeral!

        • Theofanis Lantzakis

          True. Maybe you see it through your Dionisian eyes. Good for you 🙂

  • Jimmy

    Do you know who else proposed a move away from Christianity and back towards paganism? You won’t be surprised to know it was Hitler. Godwin’s Law aside and in all seriousness, it’s fun to laugh at the Christians and have a giggle with Zeus but this return originated from the rise in nationalism in Greece after their emasculation by Germany. I think that before you start the anti-Jesus circlejerk, you should bear in mind that a common visitor to these quasi-Olympian services is the Golden Dawn.

    • Theofanis Lantzakis

      Not anti-Jesus. Anti-suppression, anti-sexism anti-homophobia, anti-imposed-religion and above all anti you telling me how to think.

      • Jimmy

        Anti-Jesus was referring to the comments dipshit. Still I shouldn’t expect much better from someone who believes this bollocks unironically.

        • Theofanis Lantzakis

          Have the decency to reply without personal insults. But I believe that you threw a boomerang.

          • Jimmy

            You replied to a year old comment to talk shit. I’ll speak to you the way you deserve.

          • Theofanis Lantzakis

            If I talk s–t, then feel free o criticise my s–t, but you have no right to insult me.

  • Nathaniel A.

    “Then there’s the fact that the philosophies and tenets of these ancient religions are pretty much incompatible with modern life.”

    A state of affairs the Hellenics by no means have a monopoly on.

    • Theofanis Lantzakis

      Perhaps modern Western Life is incompatible with the Nature of Mankind, the major religion of which is capitalism and it’s major god is the holy trinity of google, facebook and the smartphone.

  • Paul Hanson

    In reference to the last paragraph, who says that Hellenic beliefs and practices can’t be adapted to modern day standards? After all, Jews and many Hindu sects no longer sacrifice animals to their deities anymore. There’s this whole branch of religion called reconstructionist which are people trying to restore religions of the pre-Christian European past like the Greeks or Celts, and adapting them to fit modern day standards, which is honestly something lots of more “established” religious have avoided doing.

    • Theofanis Lantzakis

      The author mixes fact with opinion and does not state his/her underlying philosophical bias. My opinion therefore is that the text is mere pretentious sofostry. ie. Do not pass off your opinion as fact mister M.

  • Earthstar

    Isn’t Discordianism a resurrection of at least one lady from this pantheon?

    • Theofanis Lantzakis

      Our paths do meet, so don’t put up fences. 😉

  • Theofanis Lantzakis

    My Gods and Goddesses are not jealous. My Gods and Goddesses are not prohibitive. My Gods and Goddesses are not marble statues, nor are they an external force, for they reside in my heart and in my soul. My Gods have rescued me from Death by Hunger and Disease. My Gods demand that I obey the Kanon, punish me ten-fold when I break it and smile upon my fate when I adhere to it. I was born Greek; my gods are Greek!

  • Jason Cutshaw

    CHRISTIANITY has stolen GLORY away from ZEUS and the power of Gods,I suffer under a religion that I know deep down is wrong and am surrounded by BRAINWASHED people.. POWER UNTO ZEUS!!