I have recently found out via Baring the Aegis, about a video on YouTube called “I Still Worship Zeus – Documentary on Modern Hellenic Polytheism”. This is a documentary made in 2004 because of the Olympic Games in Athens. It is also available on DVD, but the DVD is rather hard to get your hands on from what I’ve heard.
The documentary is basically a set of interviews with modern Hellenic Polytheists in Greece, talking about how they came to their ancestral religion, and the problems they face in Greece, which is still mainly Greek-Orthodox and where the Greek-Orthodox Church has a well-nigh theocratic power over society. The documentary also shows interviews with modern scholars on ancient Greece, and even a Greek-Orthodox priest. I’m sure I don’t have to paint a picture of what the priest has to say about us… The scholars also sometimes say things that are incorrect – one of them notes that the Hellenic religion was mainly a state religion that without the backing of any state would have collapsed and disappeared completely. This is a wrong assertion as the core and main bulk of the Hellenic religion was and is the household religion, the state religion being no more then an extension thereof. It is also sometimes made to look as if Christianisation was a mostly peaceful proces.
I will now give you the video itself, embedded in this post:
Thousands of years ago, the Ancient Greeks honored and worshipped the twelve gods of Greece. Today, ninety-eight percent of the population in Greece is Christian Orthodox. However, some natives of Greece–ranging from successful doctors and lawyers to university professors and artists–believe that the ancient Greek religion never died. Many of these believers continue the traditions of their great-great grandfathers and beyond who worshipped the twelve gods. And many try to emulate the values of the gods and, during some rituals, even dress like them. There are several organizations of these people in Greece, and their membership is estimated to be in the thousands (including some in the countryside who are supposedly too afraid to admit their beliefs). All of them are united in their plea to the Greek government to recognize their faith as an official religion. For 10 years, however, these requests have been ignored, in violation of European Union human rights laws.
This documentary focuses on individual case studies of believers, as well as the private rituals and large ceremonies they perform–such as the yearly honoring of Zeus at Mount Olympus, which attracts followers from all over the world. Also featured is a multi-step Apollo oracle performed in Delphi at the temples of Athena and Apollo. The film acknowledges the skeptics, including an ancient Greek scholar, a political scientist, a psychologist, priests, journalists, and the general public. These skeptics examine, re-evaluate and challenge the validity, philosophy and politics of the twelve gods believers. The film provides insight into the devout citizens who adore ancient Greek history and seek to express their religious beliefs in whatever way they see fit, even the right to build temples to Zeus.