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Home > Reconstructionism > Greek/Hellenic > Greek-English Rite (Beta Code) Search

A Group Offertory Rite
in Greek and English
(Beta Code Version)

by Drew Campbell


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This is an outline for an all-purpose group ritual with text in both Ancient Greek and English. It can (and should!) be adapted to the specific deities being honored, by selecting appropriate hymns, epithets, and offerings. Since the majority of offering rites honor more than one deity, most of the lines addressed to the gods are in the plural. Singular forms are given in the footnotes. The Greek is transliterated using the Beta Code. (If you have the Symbol font, you can also see the rite using that.) Most of the Greek phrases are culled from Simon Pulleyn's excellent study of ritual language and customs, Prayer in Greek Religion (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997).


Song in Procession: Khairomen, o philoi


Priest/ess: e(/kas w)= e(/kas, e)ste/ be/bhloi! Let all profane ones depart!

S/he sprinkles the altar, the offerings, and the people with khernips (lustral water). As the priest/ess sprinkles the water, s/he says:

Priest/ess: w)= qeoi/, ge/noisqe a)po/tropoi kakw=n! [1] O gods, turn away evils!

In small groups, the bowl of khernips may be passed from person to person after the altar and offerings have been asperged. When all are finished, the bowl is set away from the altar, as it now ritually impure. The used water should be poured directly onto the earth outside the temenos after the ritual.


The priest/ess calls for holy silence, invites the gods to listen, and invokes the blessings of the Muses.

Priest/ess: eu)fhmi/a 'stw, eu)fhmi/a 'stw! Let no one speak an ill-omened word!

Worshippers: kai\ to\ me\n eu)/cesqai a)gaqo/v. For it is good to pray.

Priest/ess: u(pakou/sate deca/menate qusi/av kai\ toi=s i(eroi=si xarei=sate. [2] Hear, receiving the sacrifice and rejoicing in the rite. Xai/rete, te/kna Dio/s, do/te d' i(mero/essav a)oidh/n. klei/ete d' a)qana/twn i(ero/v ge/vos ai)e\v e)o/vtwn! Hail children of Zeus! Grant lovely song and celebrate the holy race of the deathless gods who are for ever.

The priest or another participant reads or recites hymns to the god/desses being honored. If the hymns are read in Greek, a translation should also be read. As the hymns are considered an offering, they should be presented as perfectly as possible--read clearly and slowly, to avoid errors.


Priest/ess: a)lla\ qeoi=siv eu)/xesqai xre/wn. eu)fhmei=te. [3] Now we must pray to the gods. Join in the prayer.

Worshippers: a)lla\ to/de pe/r h(mi=v e)pikrh/hnon e)e/ldwp, w)= a)qa/natoi. Come now and grant us this wish, o immortal ones.

Priest/ess: toi=s qeoi=s eu)/xomai pa=si kai\ pa/sais. I pray to all the gods and goddesses.

Worshippers: pa=si kai\ pa/sais. To all the gods and goddesses.

Priest/ess: klu=qi h(mi=v, [w)= Zeu=] vu=v d' eu)xwlh=is a)ganh=|si xai/re. Hear me now [O Zeus] and rejoice in my friendly prayers.

(This last formula is repeated before each prayer, substituting the name of the appropriate deity in the vocative case for "O Zeu.")

Thanksgivings for the gods' blessings and petitions for the needs of individuals and the community are offered.

After all the prayers are said, the priest/ess concludes:

Priest/ess: w)= qeoi/, ge/voito tau=ta vw=|v. O gods, may it be thus for us.

Worshippers: w)= qeoi/, ge/voito tau=ta vw=|v. O gods, may it be thus for us.


Priest/ess: Zeu= ku/diste me/giste, kai\ a)qa/natoi qeoi\ a)/lloiÑe)/lqete kai\ nu=n, w)= qeoi/! [4] Zeus, All-Powerful and Greatest, and the rest of the immortal gods--come now, O gods!

Worshippers: e)/lqete kai\ nu=n, w)= qeoi/! Come now, O gods!

Priest/ess: e)/qete kai\ nu=n, w)= qeoi/, oi(/tives e)ste/! Come now, O gods, whoever you are!

Barley is sprinkled on the altar.

Priest/ess: u(mi=v, o makares, [spondh\n qusi/av te] fe/romev, u(meis de/ (hmi=v qusi/av pagkarpei/as de/casqe plh/rh proxuqei=sav. [5] To you, o blessed ones, we bring [a libation and a sacrifice], accept from us this sacrifice of all kinds of fruits, poured out abundantly.

The offerings are brought forward. Each worshipper making an offering says:

Worshipper: Dwrou/meqa. O(/rate ta/de! [6] We give a gift. See this!

When all the offerings have been placed on the altar, the priest/ess separates a portion of each for the gods with the words:

Priest/ess: eu)/frwn e)lqete, ma/kares, kexapisme/va d' i(era\ de/casqe. [7] Come propitiously, blessed ones, and accept the delightful offerings.

The remaining offerings will be consumed by the worshippers during the feast.

Libations are now made. As each worshippers pours out the drink, s/he calls: spondh/! A drink offering! or e)kke/xutai! It has been poured out! The worshipper then takes a sip of the liquid (if it is a potable one and not oil or honey!) and passes the libation bowl and pitcher to the next person. The remaining contents of the bowl are poured out onto the fire or onto the earth.


Priest/ess: i)h\ paiw\v, i)h\ paiw\v, i)h\ paiw\v! xai/pwmen! Let us rejoice in the company of the gods!

Worshippers: xai/pwmen! Let us rejoice!

Closing song: Ie Paion ("Alalalai")

Texts for Songs

Khairomen, o philoi

xai/pwmen w)= fi/loi
pompeu/w pros bwmo/v

eu)xw/meqa eu)xw/meqa
eu)= ga\p ei)/h qeoi/

Additional verses:

xai/pete w)= qeoi/
pa/ntes te/ kai\ pa=sai

xai/pete w)= qeoi/
o)/ntes a)qa/natoi

xai/pete w)= qeoi/
fe/romen a)/galma

xai/pete w)= qeoi/
h(dei=an qusi/an

xai/pete w)= qeoi/
e)/lqete ma/kares

Final verse (same as the first):

xai/pwmen w)= fi/loi
pompeu/w pros bwmo/v
(repeat chorus to end)


Let us rejoice, o friends
I lead the procession to the altar


Let us pray, let us pray
Let it be well, gods!

Rejoice, o gods!
All gods and goddesses

Rejoice, o gods!
You who are immortal

Rejoice, o gods!
We bear offerings

Rejoice, o gods!
a pleasant sacrifice

Rejoice, o gods!
Come, blessed ones

Let us rejoice, o friends
I lead the procession to the altar
(Repeat chorus to end)

Ie Paion ("Alalalai")

a)lalalai\ i)h\ pai/wn
th/nella kalli/nikos
a)lalalai\ i)h\ pai/wn
th/nella kalli/nikos
w)= daimo/nwn u(pe/rtate
w)= daimo/nwn u(pe/rtate
a)lalalai\ i)h\ pai/wn
th/nella kalli/nikos

(Translation: Alalalai, ie paion /hurrah glorious victor/ o highest of divinities)


[1] Singular masculine: w)= qee/... Singular feminine: w)= qea/
[2] Singular: u(pakou/se deca/menai qusi/av kai\ toi=s i9eroi=si xarei=sai.
[3] Singular masculine: a)lla\ qeow=i| eu)/xesqai xre/wn. Singular feminine: a)lla\ qea=i| eu)/xesqai xre/wn.
[4] If only one deity is being honored, use the name of that god/dess in the vocative case, followed by e)lqe/, w)= qee/ (come, o god) or e)lqe/, w)= qea/ (come, o goddess). Other terms may also be used, e.g., po/tnia lady], a)/nac [lord], te/kos Dio/s [daughter of Zeus], pa/ter [father], mh/thr [mother], fi/le or fi/lh [dear one masc./fem.], mega/loi/ or mega/lai [mighty ones masc./fem.], etc.
[5] Substitute the words for the actual offerings being given, e.g., si=ton for grain or bread, oi)=vov for wine, pe/lavo/v for the mixed offering of meal, honey, and oil, etc.
[6] Singular: O(/ra ta/de!
[7] Singular: eu)/frwn e)lqe/, ma/kar, kexapisme/va d' i(era\ de/cai.

Last updated: August 8, 2001 c.e.

This article originally appeared on Andrew Campbell's Nomos Arkhaios site which is currently on hiatus.
This article is copyright © 2000-2003 by Andrew Campbell and is reprinted here with permission.

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