Today’s supplementary issue of kathimerini in honor of the Greek Orthodox Easter has a theme which discuss Sacrifice. Unfortunately the material is only in Greek but I will do a free translation of few important – in my view – parts from the six in number articles.

Kostes Giourgos starts the discussion by mentioning the crucifixion of Christ as the main deliverance message of the Christian religious dogma. The crucifixion is been portraited as the final and perfect sacrifice – an ‘unmarked’ blood sacrifice for the divine. It is a sacrifice, the last one, which re-establishes the connection of the human with the God-father by cleansing the mortals from all their sins. According to the New Testament, the base of the Christian dogma, sacrifices were temporary and by the Son’s sacrifice was enough for cleansing and salvation.

Research gave us the opportunity to run-backwards and find the initial reasons of that religious praxis. Initially, Mr. Giourgos continues, there was a simplistic explanation as ‘a gift to Gods’. Much later the concept of sacrifice was originated in the primordial hunting-collecting customs of offerings to mythological beings that offered the victuals. In the nomadic-shepherd era the offerings have been replaced with animal sacrifices or the first products by the flock. In the first agricultural community offerings included the first fruits to the spirits of earth. That action – a liturgical praxis of a sacrifice – generates the ‘life-giving’ Natures’ force and therefore bestows what received.

Σε κάθε περίπτωση, η θυσία ενεργοποιεί τη «ζωτική» δύναμη της φύσης για να δώσει πίσω αυτό που της δίνεται, δηλαδή δύναμη.

Later the principle of sacrifice was connected with socio-political dimensions: the community sacrifices the totemic animal which was considered to be the divine representation and ‘parent’ of the community and feasts communally with its body believing that this action will “grand them power from the spring”. This was the base of the Freudist’s concept “for the primordial father’s murder” as the religion’s initial established act.

In the historical era of the great civilizations sacrifice kept its early characteristics, however now was connected with powerful priesthoods and organize political structure. The retreat of the sacrificial custom, materialism, towards the spiritual offering was ignited in the early years of the first millennium a.d. with the Zoroastrian teaching and the religious practice. At the same period the Buddish doctrine teaches the sacrifice’s discard and offers the asceticism.

The Jewish religious praxis was based on the sacrifice as the neighbor Semitic religions. However an alteration occurred gradually by the early ninth century and ended with the distraction of the second Jerusalem’s temple.

View it in Greek here.

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