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5396Greek Gods Prepare for Comeback

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  • aggreen1
    May 7, 2006
      Greek gods prepare for comeback

      Helena Smith in Athens
      Friday May 5, 2006


      It has taken almost 2,000 years, but those who worship the 12 gods
      of ancient Greece have finally triumphed. An Athens court has
      ordered that the adulation of Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Athena and co is
      to be unbanned, paving the way for a comeback of pagans on Mount
      Olympus. The followers, who say they "defend the genuine traditions,
      religion and ethos" of the ancients by adhering to a pre-Christian
      polytheistic culture, are poised to take their battle to the temples
      of Greece.

      "What we want, now, is for the government to fully recognise our
      religion," Vasillis Tsantilas told the Guardian. "We will petition
      the Greek parliament, and the EU if that fails, for access to
      worship in places like the Acropolis, for permission to have our own
      cemeteries and, where necessary, to re-bury the [ancient] bones of
      the dead.

      About 98% of Greeks are Orthodox Christian, and all other religions
      except Judaism and Islam had been banned.

      Yet the pagans say as many as 2,000 Greeks have signed up to their
      movement. Mr Tsantilas, 42, a computer scientist who came to
      paganism after toying with Buddhism, Taoism and Islam, said
      worshippers perceived the ancient gods as the "personification of
      the divine".

      But Greece's powerful Orthodox Church takes a less charitable view,
      accusing the worshippers of idolatry and "poisonous New Age

      Father Eustathios Kollas, who presides over the community of Greek
      priests, said: "They are a handful of miserable resuscitators of a
      degenerate dead religion who wish to return to the monstrous dark
      delusions of the past."

      Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006