French Wikipedia is misrepresenting Hellenismos

September 28, 2021

It has been repeatedly shown that Wikipedia is spreading false information about Hellenismos. Both the English entry on Hellenismos and the German one on Neopaganism are characterised by the lack of unbiased evaluation, lack of respectable sources, and pagan propaganda. But the French version took the cake.

In their entry «Hellénisme (religion),» they claim that Hellenismos is the «revival of ancient Greek religion» («résurgence contemporaine de la religion grecque»), which, of course, is wrong, since Hellenismos is not the «revival» of some undefined «ancient religion,» but the Hellenic ethnic identity and culture, including our ethos, language, history, alphabet, music, dances, customs and, yes, religion.Then they claim that Hellenismos is part of the neopagan movement («Il s’intègre dans la mouvance du néopaganisme»)! Again, they claim that Hellenismos, the indigenous Hellenic culture, language and religion, is part of the neopagan movement. Well noticed: we are talking about a movement that engages in cultural appropriation and counter-enlightenment at the expense of ethnic religions, and whose AngloAmerican branch is infamous for its anti-Hellenism. There’s not much more to say about the quality of this entry.

The authors even go as far as to claim that our divination system includes the tarot and that there are groups that «try to reconstruct the mystery cults» («Quelques individus ou groupes s’essaient à reconstruire les cultes à mystères [Mystères d’Éleusis…]»). But there is no such attempt, as it would go against the Hellenic tradition to copy or imitate the Mysteries of Eleusis. And as if that was not enough, we «borrow [elements] from the Rosicrucian cult, Freemasonry and the Golden Dawn or the Ordo Templi Orientis» to fill the gap left by the fragmentary documentation of the mysteries («Mais la faiblesse de la documentation fiable rend l’entreprise hasardeuse et souvent on emprunte plus au culte Rose-Croix, à la franc-maçonnerie et à la Golden Dawn ou à l’Ordo Templi Orientis, qu’à la Grèce proprement dite»). Are you serious? This is nuts. Sorry but there is no other word to describe it. It’s just nuts.

The authors divide the Hellenic community into factions: a) Reconstructionists («attached to the recreation of ancient rites and practices») b) Hellenic Wiccans («who work with Greek deities and who follow some Hellenic customs») and c) Modernists («worship the Greek gods according to their inspiration … They can occasionally borrow rites and practices from other traditions»). This means that our community is composed of factions of whom most Hellenes have never heard of. And to cap it all, they claim that most «Neo-Hellenists (outside of Greece)» («néohellénistes») «are liberals in the American sense or even libertarians (libéraux au sens américain du terme voire des libertaires),» while the majority of their «Greek co-religionists» are rather socialists or nationalists or both («Cela les différencie profondément de leurs coreligionnaires grecs, plutôt proches soit du socialisme, soit du nationalisme, soit des deux»). Assuming this is not a propaganda campaign, it must be one of the silliest texts ever written about Hellenismos. The authors are obviously not even aware of the difference between Hellenists and Hellenes, which are disregarded in the entry as «Greek co-religionists.» Hellenists are people of no Greek origin but Greek in language, culture and religion. Hellenes are an ethnocultural group of people with common ethos. Pagans, Wiccans, occultists are not and cannot be Hellenists, they participate in a different culture, follow a different path, have a different mindset and value system. The whole entry is a disaster. But given the general quality of the text, we should consider ourselves lucky that they did not incorporate a passage on UFO cult or satanism into it.

Now, I cannot speak on behalf of the Hellenists, but Hellenes are neither socialists nor nationalists. To put it mildly, we have not the warmest feelings for political monotheism (conservatism, liberalism, nationalism, internationalism). The late Vlassis G. Rassias, co-founder and General Secretary of the Supreme Council of ethnic Hellenes (YSEE), wrote the first Hellenic book against nationalism in 1996*, where he also documented the usurpation of the term «ethnos» by nationalism and explained the difference between the real ethnos (that is based on a common ethos) and the «pseudo-ethnos» of nationalism, the real ethnic identity (based on common ethos, language, religion) and the one constructed by nationalism in order to homogenize the populations within the boundaries of the then newly founded «nation states.» There are plenty Hellenic articles against nationalism free available on the internet that paint a completely different picture than you have here.**

Greek-speaking nationalism is historically interwoven with orthodox Christianity. The regimes of Metaxas (1936-1941) and Papadopoulos (1967-1974) were radical Orthodox, both regimes had publicly burned Hellenic books, such as «Antigone» by Sophocles and «Epitaph» by Pericles.*** The fascist parties LA.O.S. and Chrysi Avgi shared the same ideology with the regimes of Metaxas and Papadopoulos, and also promoted the so-called «Hellenic-Christian ideals» and the nationalist narrative of «Hellenic-Christian civilization.»**** Greek-speaking nationalists and nazis consider orthodox Christianity the core of Hellenic identity or rather what they consider «Hellenic identity.» They don’t even recognize the Hellenic cultural genocide. On the contrary, they claim that Hellenes are «instruments of the New world order,» aiming to destroy «Hellenic identity.» It’s the familiar story of orthodox Christianity: we are the continuation of Hellenism (by this they actually mean Romiosyni), they are miserable idolaters. Their credo is simple: if it is not Christian, it is not Hellenic.***** Therefore, calling us nationalists is ignorant. The Kolonaki Press described YSEE even as «anti-fascist.» But that is not quite correct, YSEE is simply anti-totalitarian.

What about socialism? Hellenism might appear «socialist» to outsiders, but it is not. Hellenism is a collectivistic culture. Today, many people confuse collectivism with socialism or communism, therefore we should clarify this point, so let us take a look at the meaning of this term. Collectivism describes a «social organization in which the individual is seen as being subordinate to a social collectivity» (Encyclopedia Britannica: Collectivism). The whole Hellenic ethos is centered around the Polis (state, polity), which represents civilization per se. All essential terms regarding polity originate from «Polis»: polites (citizen, «the one who engages in public affairs»), politismos (administration), politike (politics, «dealing with the public affairs») and many more. The Polis is the embodiment of civilization, autonomy and thus freedom. The community is superordinate to the individual Hellene, who is not a «person,» but a social entity defined by his relations with others, primarily his family, clan and tribe. As a result, Hellenismos may appear as «socialist» — if perceived through the lens of the modern ideologies of the Western world. Obviously we are not interested in the various derivations of political monotheism and the associated artificial divisions such as right / left, market / state, patriotism / globalism, and so on and so forth. We have our very own political imagination and categories, and would be very grateful if people could stop projecting their culturally conditioned perspective and cherished stereotypes onto us.

Last but not least, we would be also very grateful if people read one or two articles about Hellenic culture, short: spent considerable time researching and learning before writing entries. Notice: do your homework before you write something, evaluate before you publish it. Learn your subject before unleashing such embarrassing texts on the world.

Wikipedia: «Hellénisme (religion)»: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell%C3%A9nisme_(religion)

* Ethnos, Ethnism, Nation state, Nationalism [Έθνος, Εθνισμός, Εθνοκράτος, Εθνικισμός], 2nd ed., Athens 2006 [org. 1996], ISBN 960-7748-37-9

** Ελληνική απάντηση στον εθνικισμό [Hellenic response to nationalism]: https://hellenismos.org/2013/04/22/elliniki-apantisi-ethnikismo/

*** https://metaxas-project.com/book-burnings-under-metaxas-rule/

**** http://diipetes.ysee.gr/html/dx_30.html [Greek]

***** https://www.impantokratoros.gr/3ACAF97B.en.aspx