Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Case for Clergy in Hellenism

Sometimes, Hellenism is thought of, and promoted as, a priest-free religion. While it's true that we do not have clergy in the Christian sense, it's simply historically untrue to say that the religion or religions had no leadership, priests and priestesses. There were people who led prophecy, public rites, and priests of temples and sacred areas. If someone built a temple, they were also considered the clergy of that establishment. But instead of citing history in this post, I want to make the case for why clergy is so important for Hellenism today.

As priests and priestesses, while we are not dictators of worshipers, or intercessors for Gods, we are still students of the religion and keepers and protectors of knowledge. Let's then consider the fact that Hellenism today is a very small religion. We have little to no resources, support or counseling. Without dedicated leaders such as clergy willing to take the reins and help people understand the religion, spirituality and history, Hellenists, especially new ones, would have nowhere to turn. I can't tell you how many times people have messaged me with questions, asking for counsel, or about the Gods in their everyday lives, and how much of a great help I have been to them.

Secondly, let's face it, we priests and priestesses are also the most likely to build and open temples and sanctuaries, host public rites, and provide services. I have had my own temple, as well as my own public sanctuary to Artemis, for years. I've led public rites as well for years, and as the Oracle of my temple, my wife (the priestess) has always given expert and concrete counsel to people seeking advice through divination. She's a very experienced, careful and elaborate reader and seer, and rarely ever charges money.

Thirdly, people today still want marriage, blessings and burial rites to name a few common services. Clergy provides this on a legal and religious basis. If a Hellene or a Greek Pagan wants a priest or minister of their religion for these purposes, they must have someone to turn to. It's not right to tell them to just go to the courthouse or call a Universal minister who may not even understand their religious beliefs or practices.

In our attempt to get away from the Christian establishment, we need to also make sure we don't destroy our own structure just because Christians may have it too. Clergy and the duties of their offices are not inherently Christian concepts.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris.

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