January 22, 2007—Zeus, king of the ancient Greek gods,
was not known for being a patient deity. But on a cosmic scale maybe
1,600 years isn't a very long time to wait between temple ceremonies.
Yesterday believers gathered near the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus in the heart of Athens, Greece, to honor Zeus's marriage to the goddess Hera—the first such ceremony known to be performed at the site since the Romans outlawed the religion in A.D. 394.
Surrounded by a curious audience, costumed worshipers prayed, chanted, and danced just outside the remains of the 1,800-year-old temple, once the largest of its kind in Greece.
The event held double meaning for the group, since it also celebrated their official recognition as a religion by the Greek government. But the country's Culture Ministry has banned organized events inside the temple, citing concerns over the historic monument's protection.
Now the modern pagans are fighting for permission to practice their faith on what they deem to be sacred ground.
"We are Greeks and we demand from the government the right to use our temples," high priestess Doreta Peppa told the Associated Press.
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