HELLENISMOS - ÆLLINISMÓS - ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΣ
THE ANCIENT GREEK RELIGION
Hellenic Gods. org
DEFINITIONS OF ÆLLINISMÓS
Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός, ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΣ) is defined as the ancient Greek religion.
We use this term, but in reality, there was no word in antiquity for the Greek religion until well into the Christian era, and then this word...Ællinismόs
... became a vehicle to distinguish the older, Hellenic, i.e. Greek polytheistic traditions, from the new monotheistic religion.
The Greek-English Lexicon by H.G. Liddell and R. Scott defines Ællinismόs as: "imitation of the Greeks, Hellenism, use of a pure Greek style and idiom."  Therefore, in the broadest meaning of the term, and also its strictest meaning, Ællinismόs is defined as anything Greek, even such things as the Greek Orthodox church, Greek cuisine, or Greek music could be called Ællinismόs.
Nonetheless, in the framework of philosophy and religion, particularly outside of Greece, Ællinismόs is the word that has come to refer to the worship of the traditional Gods of ancient Greece, most notably, the Twelve Olympian Gods. Ællinismόs includes the vast stream of philosophical inquiry and practice, the thread of understanding running from
Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς), the natural philosophers, through Pythagóras (Gr. Πυθαγόρας), Sohkrátis (Socrates; Gr. Σωκράτης), and all the schools of thought that blossomed from these.
So where does the word Ællinismόs actually come from? There is a story which explains. According to the mythology, Promithéfs (Prometheus; Gr. Προμηθεύς), the Titan friend of mankind, had a son by the name of Defkalíohn (Deucalion; Gr. Δευκαλίων).
According to the mythology, Defkalíohn and his wife Pýrra were the only human beings to survive a great deluge produced by Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). The God had made the decision to destroy the corrupt bronze race.  Because of their uprightness and piety, Defkalíohn and Pýrra were spared, but after the flood, they grew despondent and could not endure their loneliness. They prayed to Zefs that he either destroy them or give them the company of other people. In response, they received an oracle in which the God told them to toss the bones of their mother behind them as they walked. After some thought, they understood the oracle to mean that they should throw stones behind them, for stones are the bones of their mother, Earth, and when they did so, the stones (Gr. λᾶος) transformed into people, and from these people, the Earth was repopulated.  This is the mythology.
Defkalíohn and Pýrra also had a son by the name of Ǽllin (Hellen; Gr. Ἕλλην).  The word Ællinismόs is derived from his name. Ǽllin is a man's name not to be confused with the woman's name Ælǽni (Helen, as in Helen of Troy; Gr. Ἑλένη). The Greek people are said to be the descendants of Ǽllin, because each one of Ǽllin's sons founded one of the major peoples of Greece, peoples such as the Ionians, the Dorians, etc.  It is also from his name that we get the word Ǽllinæs (Hellene; Gr. Ἕλληνες), the people of Greek, or Hellenic, heritage, and this is why, when we speak of Ællinismόs, we speak of the Greek tradition, the Greek religion, the Greek philosophies and science.
JULIAN THE PHILOSOPHER-KING
is also associated with the last pagan Roman emperor , Julian (approx. 331 CE to 363), who endeavored to rule as a philosopher-king and attempted to revive the worship of the Gods after Christianity had been established in the empire by his immediate predecessors.
Julian used the word and it is often identified with him because of his noble effort. Many people believe that Julian actually coined the term
, but the word can be found in literature at least as early as the second century BCE, therefore long pre-dating the emperor. 
But the term is connected with Julian, an association that is made not only by scholars, but also by those who admire him in the contemporary community of those who worship the Gods.
It could be said that the use of the term
as specifically designating the Greek religion and philosophies (rather than meaning everything Greek) may be a direct result of the way in which Julian used it.
ÆLLINISMÓS IS THE WORSHIP OF THE ANCIENT GODS OF GREECE
ÆLLINISMÓS IS RELIGION, YET MORE THAN RELIGION
Ællinismόs is both a religion and more than a religion. Ællinismόs is a way of life which utilizes genuine philosophy and which has as its outward expression, thriskeia (Gr. θρησκεία). Thriskeia is the organized worship and ritual of the ancient Hellenic polytheistic tradition, especially the outward expression of belief in the Thæí (Theoi = the Gods; Gr. Θεοί). Thriskeia is translated as "religion" in the English language. When the belief system of Ællinismόs is put into practice and organized into temples and ritual, the outward expression of this is called thriskeia. To say that Ællinismόs is merely thriskeia would be misleading being that Ællinismόs is not merely concerned with outward forms (which should be viewed as superficial), and Ællinismόs is not creedal but philosophical, in the highest sense of the term. In other words, Ællinismόs is based more on the manner in which we live our lives rather than organized outward forms and beliefs. Thriskeia or religion is an aspect of Ællinismόs but is not inclusive of its entire meaning. Religion, with its forms and rituals, is only an outward form; if one's way of life does not reflect into the religion, such thriskeia is an empty shell. You can say this of any religion but it is particularly important to the creator of this website and his teachers in Greece. Ællinismόs is more than thriskeia because it can exist independent of the outward forms; Ællinismόs beats in our heart, our soul. And the Gods exist independent of thriskeia, independent of religion, independent of our worship of them. So we say that Ællinismόs is both a religion and more than a religion because beyond the forms of thriskeia, we put our philosophy into action.
ÆLLINISMÓS IS A UNIVERSAL RELIGIONThe greatest deity of all deities is mighty Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). He is called Ýpatos (Gr. Ὕπατος), the highest. Zefs is not merely the highest divinity of our religion, he is the highest and most supreme divinity in the entire Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος). A similar logic can be applied to the Olympian Gods who hold dominion over the Natural Laws by which the universe functions. Therefore, Ællinismόs must, by definition, be a universal religion, and not merely a religion for ethnic Greeks. This does not mean that the ethnic Greeks are not special to the religion; they occupy a unique and venerable position, for they are the people who first understood religion as we know it and developed its practices and preserved so much of what we retain today. But the Gods do not only dwell in the mountains of Greece; they are the Gods of all people and have dominion over everything. Therefore, Ællinismόs and its practices are applicable to all people, all races, and all ethnicities, and this is one of the reasons for its sublime majesty. In antiquity, Ællinismόs easily spread wherever there was Hellenic influence and this was most obvious in the Hellenistic period after the life of Alǽxandros (Alexander; Gr. Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας) the Great. It manifested in different forms throughout the Roman empire and beyond, adopting itself effortlessly to the religious customs of the areas where it became absorbed, typical of universal religions. And this was easy and uncomplicated in the religious culture of antiquity where all religion was far more tolerant than what we are accustomed to in the 21st century. In particular, the hopeful promise promulgated in the Mysteries had and still has great appeal in a difficult and unstable world, for these teachings taught of the great compassion of Zefs and of how he devised a plan to free us from our sufferings by sending his divine son Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος) to deliver us from our anguish. Nonetheless, after antiquity, the religion was heavily persecuted by the Christians; our temples were destroyed and many who held dear our precious beliefs eventually abandoned them and others were driven underground to great secrecy. But despite the enormous effort to dismantle and exterminate our religion, the mythical stories of our Gods, our philosophies, and even many, many of our religious beliefs persist into the Christian era even to this time, for even the Christians cannot ignore their truth, and knowledge of our religion and its mystical stories has traveled to every place on earth. This could not actually have happened without the universal nature and appeal of our religion. Ællinismόs envelops the world; it permeates everything everywhere in all eras, for the deepest meaning of our religion is truth itself and truth will eventually conquer...brilliantly. But truth is patient for it is confident and needs no support; truth needs nothing and truth does not need anyone to believe in it. Truth is entirely self-sustaining. Ællinismόs is the embodiment of truth and when human beings glimpse its genuine meaning, they are instantly attracted to it and this is why it has universal appeal.
ÆLLINISMÓS IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR SOCIETY
Although the term refers to the Greek tradition, it must be understood that Ællinismόs is the core of the European tradition, having exerted great influence from ancient times to this very day. Consequently, those who wish to foster Ællinismόs in one's own life are encouraged to become cultured and engaged people. In particular, the study of history, from ancient times to the present, is a profitable tool in one's understanding of the action of the Gods in human history. If those who saw to your education left this area lacking, one must make an effort to educate one's self. The Mousai (Muses; Gr. Μοῦσαι) are present in the great works of art, music, dance, theatre, and writing. The bountiful richness of these traditions is permeated with the presence of Gods, regardless of the personal beliefs of those who created them, for the Gods are not one's beliefs or practices; they transcend religion and philosophy.
WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A PRACTITIONER OF
Sociologists say that groups which do not have distinct boundaries do not survive. Indeed, they point out that without some homogeneity, there actually is no group. This understanding is at the heart of a controversy which erupts from time to time in the various groups which practice Ællinismόs, and it is an important consideration since this religion is being introduced into the United States, Canada, South America and elsewhere. As Ællinismόs is introduced or reestablished (such as in Europe), a unique opportunity presents itself only once: we are building the foundation.
The exact meaning of the term Ællinismόs in its contemporary context and what it includes or excludes has become somewhat controversial.
A major concern is the tendency amongst some groups to develop a type of exclusivistic orthodoxy and pigeon-holing, concepts which are alien to the true spirit of
This orthodoxy is usually associated with groups which identify themselves as "reconstructionists," i.e., those who are attempting to recreate the ancient traditions as closely as possible. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who would seem to be importing foreign ideas into the religion, principally from Neo-pagan groups such as Wicca. The issue is important and delicate because, on the one hand, if there is not a clear boundary as to what the religion includes, then, as the sociologists say, there really is no group and survival is impossible. Yet on the other hand, there is a quality of toleration which is well known in our religion which must be preserved.
On this website, the word Ællinismόs is used in a more inclusive spirit, inclusive of Dodækatheists, those who worship the Twelve Olympian Gods, as well as those who only worship parts o
f the Hellenic pantheon. It is exclusive of groups such as Wicca, who may claim cultus to some of our pantheon. Inclusion in our religion is a matter of allegiance, not doctrine. In other words, those who claim allegiance to the Hellenic Gods rather than another pantheon areÆllinismόs,
even though they may not worship the entire pantheon, or though they practice syncretism, or those who incorporate parts of other philosophies with the Greek tradition, or whether they follow ancient practices or have created modern practices. This definition may seem too liberal, but it is not so broad as to be meaningless. Although an individual may have a relationship with a Hellenic deity such asÆkáti (
Hekate; Gr.Ἑκάτη), if their allegiance is to Wicca and its practices or some other tradition, that would not be viewed as Ællinismόs, nor would such a practitioner want to be identified as such. The principle point is to avoid been mean-spirited and divisive while retaining meaning to the word, and to acknowledge the many philosophical and religious viewpoints and practices that have blossomed under the umbrella of Ællinismόs.
Ideally, the entire pantheon of deities should be honored, as it was in ancient times, particularly the Twelve Olympian Gods (Dodækathæism) and ultimately, such worship is the expression of Ællinismόs in its fullness. There are many individuals who have a relationship with one or more deities and ignore the rest. Such an approach has limits and should eventually lead to a relationship with the entire pantheon. Nevertheless, when a person worships in typical Hellenic style, such as offering libation and reading of hymns, and, most importantly, when that person claims allegiance to the Hellenic tradition, this author takes the position that such an individual belongs under the umbrella of Ællinismόs and should not be somehow excluded and be made to feel inadequate.
Then there are those who claim that if one's various practices are not executed in the precise manner that is found in ancient literature, that such people are not truly
It would be a terrible mistake, in this author's opinion, if we develop the type of orthodoxy that, for instance, the early Christian church developed, far before Luther, whereby different beliefs were eventually condemned as heretical, causing immense havoc, even to the extent of being an excuse for religious genocide. This type of argument can go on and on, even to ancient times, dividing various time-periods as to which ones are "more Hellenic" or "less Hellenic." Such pigeon-holing and divisiveness is contrary to the spirit of Ællinismόs.
This would be like saying that all the congregations that developed after Martin Luther are not Christian.
, Hospitality, which is sacred and is protected by ZefsXǽnios
(Zeus Protector of Hospitality; Gr.Ζεύς Ξένιος). The epithet of Zefs, Xǽnios
, comes from the wordxǽnos (Gr. ξένος), which means "stranger," so Zefs is the God who protects strangers. Therefore, even though the practices of others may make them seem as strangers to us, this does not exclude them from Ællinismόs, especially when an individual has loyalty to Ællinismόs; we should treat them with great hospitality, even though we may not agree with their beliefs.
Those individuals who are connected with this website belong to a tradition that is purely Hellenic, taught to us by Greeks. In general, we do not mix different practices and beliefs. Yet we do not sit and point fingers and say who is or who is notÆllinismόs
We simply practice our tradition and attempt to mind our own business....and we try to be welcoming and friendly, to the best of our ability.
It seems to this author that this approach would be the most fruitful to all parties, cultivating growth between people and warmth of heart. We can each have our traditions and philosophies and hold strong to them, while respecting the perceptions and traditions of others.
A great foundation stone ofÆllinismόs
isÆlefthæría (Eleutheria; Gr. Ἐλευθερία): Freedom. There is a famous statement concerning the Gods: All the blessed Gods are free and they desire this freedom for all beings, therefore, they never violate our freedom and they never impose their will. Further, it is said that it is best that we try to imitate the Gods, as Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) suggests:
"Now God ought to be to us the measure of all things, and not man, as men commonly say: the words are far more true of Him. And he who would be dear to God must, as far as is possible, be like Him and such as He is." 
Coupled with Ælefthæría is the mighty Kartæría (Gr. Καρτερία), Tolerance, which is a great hallmark of the genuine Ællinismόs, a quality which enthrones our religion in a haloed grove of which few others dwell. The Hellenic tolerance is a majestic beacon of sanity which has illuminated the world since time immemorial; may no man violate the precious jewel of our ancient traditions with petty and discriminating divisiveness.
So, returning to our original question, what makes someone a practitioner of Ællinismόs? It is very simple: if you worship the ancient Gods and are loyal to the Greek tradition, you are Ællinismόs. Period. There is no "baptism" or initiation. There is no "heresy" in Ællinismόs because we acknowledge that truth is something which is acquired incrementally and that various beliefs are like roads which, after traversed, are often unnecessary and fall away. And there are many ways in which you can practice our religion, some with more depth than others, but the instant that you fall in love with the Gods and commit your allegiance to them, you are Ællinismόs and no-one can take this away from you.
THREE CATEGORIES OF ÆLLINISMÓS
The Outward Form consists of the rituals and superficial interpretation of myth, which is, simply, the adoption of common Hellenic beliefs concerning the Gods and doing rituals and making offerings in traditional ways. This is what is called thriskeia (Gr. θρησκεία) as outlined above; it is the religion, the external expression of Ællinismόs. It entails a type of knowledge: knowledge concerning Gods and their worship, whether that knowledge be rudimentary or extensive. Generally, thriskeia is superficial but inevitable and neither bad nor good.
Ællinismόs is defined as the noble path that promotes the development of personal excellence known as Arætí (arete; Gr.
Finally we come to the third category, the Vast Ællinismόs, an idea which is easily misunderstood. This is the vast Ællinismόs that destroys the artificial boundaries of categorization. The Gods do not actually care what you believe, only insomuch as these beliefs either further or hinder the progress of your soul and the souls of others whom you affect. Beliefs (pístis, belief or faith; Gr. πίστις), in general, are human constructs on the path to knowledge. You see, if Ællinismόs is concerned with truth, and it unquestionably is concerned with truth, and if the understanding of truth is evolutionary, then Ællinismόs is free of doctrine, and is, ultimately, only concerned with Progress. As Plátohn implores in the Myth of Er, giving instruction to the wise on how to choose a life:
In the above section concerning the universal nature of Ællinismόs, we say that Zefs is the highest of all Gods, that he is supreme, but when we practice the Vast Ællinismόs, we acknowledge that Zefs may be known by other names and worshipped as such in other religions. We believe that our religion embodies the truth but that people in other traditions may also possess this truth but in a form we may not find so accessible for ourselves. We are tolerant.
How do we practice Ællinismόs? Please visit this page: Living the Hellenic Tradition.
FAQ concerning the path of Hellenismos:
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.
 Greek-English Lexicon (L&S) by H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, 1843. We are using the 1996 Clarendon Press edition, where this quotation may be found on p. 536, right column, within the entries beginning with Ἕλλην, edited for simplicity.
 Apollóhnios Rhódios (Apollonius Rhodius; Gr. Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος) Argonaftiká (Argonautica; Gr. Ἀργοναυτικά) Book III, 1085-1089, trans. R. C. Seaton, 1912; found here in the 2003 edition, published by Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA and London England), Loeb LCL 1, p. 269.
 Apollodóhros o Athinaios (Apollodorus of Athens; Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος ὁ Ἀθηναῖος) Library Book I.VII.2:
 Hyginus Fabulae 153:
 "That Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and Pronoea, Hesiod states in the first Catalogue, as also that Hellen was the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha."
(Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius Arg. iii. 1086, Hesiod: Catalogues of Women and Eoiae 1.; trans. by Hugh G. Evelyn-White in Hesiod: The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, 1914; found here in the 1936 edition, Harvard (Cambridge, MA)-Heinemann (London, England), pp. 154-155.)
 Apollodóhros o Athinaios Library Book I.VII.2-3:
Also, Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος): Catalogues of Women and Eoiae 3-5, Evelyn-White p. 157.
Ἕλλην, ηνος, ὁ, Hellen, son of Deucalion, Hes.Fr.7.1. II. Ἕλληνες, οἱ, the Thessalian tribe of which Hellen was the reputed chief, Il.2.684. 2. of all Greeks. 3. Gentiles, whether heathens or Christians, opp. Jews. 4. non-Egyptian (incl. Persians, etc.). 5. pagan. III. as Adj.,= Ἑλληνικός. IV. those who spoke or wrote Hellenistic Greek, opp. Ἀττικοί.
 Julian may not have been the last pagan emperor of the (Western) Roman empire; it is quite possible that Anthemius (Procopius Anthemius Augustus), emperor from 467-472 CE, holds this honor. Anthemius studied at the Neoplatonic school of Proklos and was in the company, thereby, of many prominent pagans:
Nonetheless, Anthemius does not appear to have played a public role in promoting the older religion, where Julian obviously did.
 The word can be found: Diog.Bab.Stoic 3:214. (Diogenes of Babylon) This is a Liddell & Scott abbreviation for: Stoicus [Diog.Bab.Stoic.] ii B.C. Ed. H. von Arnim, SVF iii p. 210.
 Ploutarkhos (Plutarch; Gr. Πλούταρχος) Ithiká (Moralia or Morals; Gr. Ἠθικά) Pærí Mousikís (On Music; Gr. Περί Μουσικής) Section 1, trans. Benedict Einarson and Phillip H. De Lacy, 1967. As found in the volume entitled Plutarch's Moralia XIV, LCL 428, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge, MA USA) and William Heinemann (London, England UK), where this quotation may be found on p. 353.
 Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων)
IV, 716, translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1892; found in The Dialogues of Plato Vol.II, Random House edition, 1937, on p. 488.
 Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto the First, LXV.
 Plátohn (Plato; Gr. Πλάτων) Politeia (The Republic; Gr. Πολιτεία), 617, translated by Benjamin Jowett, 1892, volume 1 of the 1937 Random House edition of The Dialogues of Plato, p. 875)
"...it is an age since I had a look at Attica. I have hardly been there since philosophy and argument came into fashion; indeed, with their shouting-matches going on, prayers are quite inaudible. One must sit with one's ears plugged, if one does not want the drums of them cracked; such long vociferous rigmaroles about Incorporeal Things, or something they call Virtue!" Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) to Ærmís (Hermes; Gr. Ἑρμῆς) in Timon the Misanthrope by Loukianós o Samosatéfs (Lucian of Samosata; Gr. Λουκιανὸς ὁ Σαμοσατεύς), translated by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, 1905.
"...Virtue is manifested, of course, in action, in doing what is just and wise and manly; but you--and when I say you, I mean the most advanced philosophers--you do not seek these things and ensue them, but spend the greater part of your life conning over miserable sentences and demonstrations and problems" Loukianós to Ærmótimos (Hermotimos; Gr. Ερμότιμος, a philosopher 6th century BCE) in Ærmótimos or The Rival Philosophies by Loukianós o Samosatéfs (Lucian of Samosata; Gr. Λουκιανὸς ὁ Σαμοσατεύς), translated by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, 1905
There is a common-place book argument,
Therefore I would solicit free discussion
The Sacraments have been reduced to two,
Great Galileo was debarred the Sun,
Pythagoras, Locke, Socrates --- but pages
If such doom waits each intellectual Giant,
(Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).
The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.
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