A Spiritual Search Takes An Old Twist

BBC Online has a very interesting article about Greeks who worship the dodecatheon  – the Twelve Olympian gods. You can read it here.
The article reports that ‘The Return of the Hellenes’ is,

… a movement trying to bring back the religion, values, philosophy and way of life of ancient Greece, more than 16 centuries after it was replaced by Christianity.

However, this statement is not entirely accurate as the article goes on to state that these devotees of the Olympian gods,

… don’t actually pray to Zeus, Hera and the others. They see them as representations of values such as beauty, health or wisdom.

This disconnection with the past seems to me to be so profound as to make me wonder why they are bothering to use the name of Zeus et al. Having said that, it is good that they at least care enough to try and find answers. For that reason, I would not – like Robert Parker of Oxford University – call them ‘kooky’ or ‘ridiculous’, and certainly not ‘miserable resuscitators’. For one thing, they are not resuscitating anything but re-inventing; for another, that is language unbecoming an official of a Christian Church.
The one aspect of the Hellenes’ beliefs that I really don’t like is their apparent view that they,

… consider Greece to be a country under Christian occupation.

This seems to me to be as unnecessarily insulting towards their fellow Greeks as Parker and the unnamed official are towards them. Christianity may not be the indigenous religion of Greece (are the dodecatheon? No, if only because a political unit called Greece did not exist in antiquity) but after being brought to the poleis it was taken on by Greeks and made their own. The Hellenes, whose country has been under real occupation by a foreign power in the recent past, should be mindful of this.

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