The worship of gods of the ancients is returning as groups that espouse adoration for the mythological figures have sprung up in modern-day Greece.
Several areas dedicated to the worship of Greek gods have been established. At the same time, followers view Christianity as a religion that has replaced the old religious practices of ancient Greeks, often by violent means.
One such group is the Supreme Council of Ethnic Hellenes, which was founded in 1997. Another is the Labrys religious community.
Yet, many of the so-called worshippers of old gods are mainly modern-day Greeks who envision reviving the Hellenic spirit of ancient times.
The Prometheia festival is a good example. It is an annual event “highlighting the ancient Greek spirit.” Inspired and realized by Professor of Philosophy, Dr. Tryphon Olympios, it has now become something of a pan-Hellenic institution, entering the 21st year of continuous presence.
Taking place at the foot of Mount Olympus — “home” of the 12 gods of ancient Greece — it is more of an event, taking Greeks “back to their roots” as Olympios has said. And this is the purpose of similar movements.
Yet, there are aspects of these movements that are not as peaceful. For instance, an Orthodox church on the island of Crete was vandalized by “followers of Zeus.” The perpetrators smeared all 13 icons of the church with feces.
“This one’s courtesy of Zeus,” the message said, written in charcoal. Other messages that spoke against Christians were also written on the icons.
Similar incidents have taken place in Christian churches across Greece, since it was customary for the first Greek Christians to build their churches on sites of temples of worship of gods of the ancients.