Author Topic: Pagans Invade Greece  (Read 4607 times)

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Offline Psalti Boy

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Pagans Invade Greece
« on: July 02, 2006, 08:30:11 PM »
Pagans have their rites, too

Helena Smith
Sunday July 2, 2006
The Observer


Does dancing in a circle, decked out in ancient garb, in the dead of night, while banging a tambourine, constitute a crime? This is the question many of the big-beards in the Greek Orthodox Church have been forced to ask as the realisation has dawned that Apollo-loving pagans are among us again.
If the black-shrouded paragons of resolutely Christian Greece thought they could keep the believers of ancient polytheism at bay, they have had to think again. Last week, like a thunderbolt from Zeus himself, an unexpectedly large horde of pre-Christian devotees descended on Mount Olympus for the annual Prometheus festival. Many wore white robes although a minority, it is true, came wearing little more than their love for the 12 ancient gods. But a bit of near-nudity notwithstanding, their arrival might have gone unnoticed had it not been for the fact that there were 4,000 of them dancing in the wood-encircled meadow halfway up the mountainside.

Even worse, for Greeks who take their church and nationalism very seriously, a large number came from distinctly foreign fields. And as the pagans from Canada, the UK and Europe heartily sang ancient Orphic hymns, dedicated to the glorification of the summer solstice, the sound rippled all the way to pagan-hating Athens.

Greek identity is very much part and parcel of Greek Orthodoxy, and few things get under the pillar hat of a Greek Orthodox priest more than these sort of heretics. They take threats to their religion very seriously. Since the Byzantine empire, priests have reserved especial scorn for those who want to resuscitate the idols of a degenerate dead religion. Apollo, Zeus, Hermes and Athena might add to Greece's allure for tourists but, so the logic goes, when taken more seriously than their plaster models they are positively dangerous.

'What their worshippers symbolise, and clearly want, is a return to the monstrous dark delusions of the past,' hissed Father Eustathios Kollas who presides over the community of Greek priests. 'They should be stopped.' But that may be easier said than done. There could be as many as 60,000 practising pagans in a country that still imprisons those who proselytise.

This year, despite fierce protests from the Orthodox Church, pagans were allowed to set up a cultural association. Now they want to take their battle to the ancient temples of Greece in the hopes of one day having the religion officially recognised.

'We want to conduct our rituals there,' says James O'Dell who flew in from Croydon, south London, for the Olympian festival. 'Our religion may sound strange but we're actually quite boring and normal, apart from this.'

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1810722,00.html


Offline Fr. George

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2006, 08:45:19 PM »
Well, I think their scorn for paganism is well-founded; Paganism was out of Greek culture for 1700 years, yet people still think of Olympus when they think of Greece today.
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Offline Psalti Boy

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2006, 08:56:58 PM »
Well, I think their scorn for paganism is well-founded; Paganism was out of Greek culture for 1700 years, yet people still think of Olympus when they think of Greece today.

I won't say where it was but in our travels my wife I went to a distant Greek church on Palm Sunday.  We were invited by the priest to come back Easter Sunday.  He said 'We roast a lamb outside, and you can watch everyone dance around the lamb like pagans.  Unfortunately we missed the show . . . we had to leave Holy Tuesday.

Offline observer

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2006, 11:01:55 AM »
Sounds like reporting by an apostate Orthodox - Helena? Smith.  The priest 'hissed' etc..an anti-Christian article if ever there was one. If they can allow wicca chaplains in the armed forces and jails, then why not openly in ancient places....
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2006, 11:23:29 AM »
If Greeks can't allow for religious freedom in Greece, they have no right to it in Turkey...

Offline Psalti Boy

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2006, 12:33:49 PM »
[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9410.msg126495#msg126495 date=1151940209]
If Greeks can't allow for religious freedom in Greece, they have no right to it in Turkey...
[/quote]

Interesting point.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2006, 05:32:19 PM »
[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9410.msg126495#msg126495 date=1151940209]
If Greeks can't allow for religious freedom in Greece, they have no right to it in Turkey...
[/quote]

Whether or not there is religious freedom is moot - they're obviously allowed to do their thing there on Mt. Olympus.  But don't tell the Orthodox priests that they have to like it!
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Offline Dismus

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2006, 06:36:46 PM »
Funny the authour says "takes threats to their religion seriously....."
Come on now- who would think this is any threat? It's more of a spectacle than anything else. They won't get many converts there!
I have never seen such a disrespectful piece of "journalism" - how dare they refer to the priests this way! Such a shame and so sad all at once.
Let's pray really hard for this "Helena" to have a less bitter attitude about Orthodoxy.

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2006, 02:51:42 AM »
[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9410.msg126495#msg126495 date=1151940209]
If Greeks can't allow for religious freedom in Greece, they have no right to it in Turkey...
[/quote]

No, the Church, being the truth, plays by different rules than heretics. There was no "religious freedom" in Byzantium, you either got with the Councils or suffered the consequences. Changing that to appease the Turks and these pagans and allowing them to go about their own beliefs is a disgusting notion.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2006, 10:11:46 AM »
Let's see...first it was women on the Holy Mountain, now pagans in Greece. Such is life in the 'new world order' (a phrase I detest).

Greeks still to this day see no difference in being Hellenic and being Orthodox. I'm sure this junk will blow over; what happened to all those evangelicals going to 'convert' - subvert - the Greeks during the Olympics, anyway? Nada, probably.
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2006, 10:22:33 AM »
No, the Church, being the truth, plays by different rules than heretics. There was no "religious freedom" in Byzantium, you either got with the Councils or suffered the consequences. Changing that to appease the Turks and these pagans and allowing them to go about their own beliefs is a disgusting notion.

We don't live in the 14th century anymore.  We played that way since we were in charge. Now we're not, so we either get with the program and play fairly or we don't get our rights recognized elsewhere. This fits perfectly in line with St Paul saying we have liberty in Christ but we must voluntarily give it up to not scandalize the brother. In this case, our brother is the suffering Christian in non-Christian lands.  We have a necessity to play by international rules (even if they are of man) if it will keep it fair for our bretheren.

I doubt that anyone was converted by the armies of Byzantium anyway--look at the Syrian Non-Chalcedonians, when Emperor Justinian (who I am not trying to disparage by any means!) sent armies against them, while he had the right to do so from our perspective, did not succeed in stamping them out, but instead produced the very conditions that allowed their Church to grow and spread. The only way to convert heretics or schismatics or pagans is by treating them as humans--not as a cancer--and converting them by love and firmness in the faith.

I find the idea of pagans dancing around temples to be disturbing certainly and hope that there are restrictions in place, but Greece already allows people to have sex when they aren't married, 90% of people don't go to Divine Liturgy, abortion is I believe legal there, etc etc etc.  So come on, this seems to be a much lesser issue than any of the above, yet all of the above are allowed.

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Offline TomS

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2006, 11:02:24 AM »
As a nation state, Greece must let all religions practice their faith. Personally I don't see anything wrong the ancient Greek pagans.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2006, 11:55:40 AM »
Personally I don't see anything wrong the ancient Greek pagans.

Strangely, this doesn't surprise me  :D
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Offline Dismus

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2006, 06:15:11 PM »
As a nation state, Greece must let all religions practice their faith. Personally I don't see anything wrong the ancient Greek pagans.

You mean the individuals as people, or the faith?
 ???

Offline TomS

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2006, 09:47:44 PM »
You mean the individuals as people, or the faith?
 ???

Both. Rather them be pagans than *$&&% Muslims. Pagans are far more tolerant of another's beliefs.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2006, 09:49:20 PM by TomS »

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2006, 11:18:36 PM »
If there were actually inidgenous Greek pagans that had survived practing paganism since the classical period, I would respect that (although of course work for their conversion). But what's up with this neo-paganism nonsense?  Funny thing is I found a website of a Greek pagan that did real paganism--including augery with animal sacrifice--and he was making fun of the people who think paganism is a fun religion with lots of loose morality.  He basically said paganism is hard work and not for the faddish and trendies.

As far as Tom's comments concerning Muslims--for me it depends on what type of Muslim we are talking about. If it's Sufis, Indian Muslims, or certain types of Shiites (not the Iran president type) they can be real cool--nice musical and artistic culture, mysticism etc.  But Wahabbists and the like? Then I start to agree with Tom.

Of course above I am talking about respecting someone's religion and culture, not agreeing with it.  All Muslims need to come to know God via his Holy and Divine Son Jesus Christ.

This talk about Muslims reminds me of the time that one poster ACTUALLY accused ME of hating Muslims and being "afraid of brown people." I still get confused over that one, considering how many here would consider me too liberal towards Muslims.  I especially loved how I was accused of being afraid of brown people as if disdaining a non-Christian religion is the same thing as hating a race.  Of course, I think that poster was scared off when I mentioned that my ex-fiancee (before Orthodox days) was a Muslim Indian and then I posted that pic of me in a turban in an Indian village ;)  I don't know why I feel like bringing that up but I am sure some of the old timers here remember that episode. Ah, reminiscing.... :)

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Offline Sloga

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2006, 11:22:00 PM »
I posted that pic of me in a turban in an Indian village ;)ÂÂ  I don't know why I feel like bringing that up but I am sure some of the old timers here remember that episode. Ah, reminiscing.... :)

And there is NO way we could ever have you post it again...?  ;D ;D
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2006, 12:06:03 AM »
I'd love to see that picture too!     :)

Offline GiC

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2006, 12:29:54 AM »
As a nation state, Greece must let all religions practice their faith. Personally I don't see anything wrong the ancient Greek pagans.

The ancient pagans were great, they gave us art, culture, law, polity, technology, philosophy, etc. Then we Christians got a hold of it and screwed the entire western world up for a thousand years until the enlightenment. There's a reason Plotinus and Proclus never converted to Christianity, because it was a backwards religious sect that threatened to overthrow several centuries of philosophical progress.

(In the end it, fortunately, didn't and adopted the philosophy of the neo-platonists and integrated it into Christian philosophy and thought; while, at the same time, eliminating the actual neo-platonists...but at least thanks to the Cappadocians and Alexandrians (esp. Sts. Athanasios and Gregory of Nyssa) Plotinus survived and thanks to Pseudo-Dionysus Proclus survived essentially in his entirety (with God taking the place of The One and Angels taking the place of the gods))

Of course these neo-pagans have nothing to do with ancient pagans, and the rural practitioners of paganism around the world, even if it is unbroken from ancient times, has nothing in common with the Paganism of Plato, Plotinus, and Proclus, their's is an intellectual tradition that was directly opposed to the superstitions of less educated people. An animal sacrifice was as absurd to the above mentioned philosophers as it is to us today (perhaps more so to some).

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2006, 09:29:40 AM »
Ok, here it is: proof that I am NOT afraid of brown people! ;)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2006, 09:30:17 AM by Anastasios »
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Offline DavidH

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2006, 02:01:31 PM »
Both. Rather them be pagans than *$&&% Muslims. Pagans are far more tolerant of another's beliefs.

Yes, as long as you offer a pinch of incense to the Emperor you could be at least as safe with the pagans as you could with the Muslims (as long as you paid the special Dhimmi tax).

Offline Salpy

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2006, 06:03:54 PM »
Cool picture, Anastasios.    :)

Offline GiC

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2006, 11:24:16 PM »
Yes, as long as you offer a pinch of incense to the Emperor you could be at least as safe with the pagans as you could with the Muslims (as long as you paid the special Dhimmi tax).

Even after the Christanization of the Empire, we never did stop offering incense to the Emperor.

Offline DavidH

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2006, 01:45:28 PM »
Even after the Christanization of the Empire, we never did stop offering incense to the Emperor.

  I believe the incense was offered to God on behalf of the Emperor as the head of the Christian State was it not? Incense given to pagan emperors was direct homage as to a god. Some outward similarities but with a great difference in intent. Or did you have some other rite/ idea in mind?

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Offline DavidH

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Re: Pagans Invade Greece
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2006, 01:48:52 PM »
Anastasios-

    Do you have the link for the pagan's site you referred to? My sister is a neo-pagan and I think it would be interesting to show her the "real deal."