greek religions

Randomly (or by providence?) two stories in the NyTimes today on Greek religion.  One ancient, one contemporary.

First–scientists have discovered an altar to a pre-Zeus god in Arcadia.  Included in the remains were animal sacrifice.

Fragments of a coarse, undecorated pottery in the debris indicated that the sacrifices might have been made as early as 3000 B.C., the archaeologists concluded. That was about 900 years before Greek-speaking people arrived, probably from the north in the Balkans, and brought their religion with them.

Since this god pre-dates the arrival of the Hellenes, one theory, an interesting one, is that given this god was worshiped on a Mount, that he (whoever this god was), set a pattern for Zeus worship.  Zeus may have been fit to this god’s pattern–or alternatively Zeus was already similar enough as a god that the fit was natural:

“You have some god being worshiped on a mountaintop, and the arriving Greeks have translated the god as ‘Zeus,’ their god of the sky, lightning, weather and so on,” Dr. Dowden said. “It’s going to be pretty close to what they found there, and given the site, it makes very good sense.”

Very cool.

And in “Who/What have the Greeks been worshiping in the last 2,000 years” Dept., the Greek Orthodox Church has named its new successor, the Metropolitan Ieronymos of Thebes.  His predecessor the charismatic and controversial Christodolous died recently.

He’s older (70) and perhaps is a don’t rock the boat let’s calm things down figure.

The unusually brief conclave seemed to suggest that Ieronymos was a popular choice among the 74 clerics. They were said to be seeking a man who shared Christodoulos’s forward-thinking views but who supported closer ties with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox church.

Published in: on February 8, 2008 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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