Article 1: Purposes
Article 2: Categories of Membership
Article 3: The Voting Members
Article 4: Local Congregations
Article 5: The Boule
Article 6: The Prutaneis
Article 7: Officers
Article 8: Priesthood and Clergy
Article 9: Discrimination
Article 10: Nonprofit Nature of the Corporation
Article 11: Other Procedural Notes
Article 12: Amendment and Replacement of Bylaws
Article 13: Calendar
Article 14: Offices
Article 15: The Annual Meeting
Article 16: Special Meetings & Referenda
Article 17: Open Records
Hellenion is a polytheistic reconstructionist organization with the intent of reconstructing the ancient ways for practice in the present based on academic research.
Said Corporation is organized exclusively for religious purposes as per the following:
- The advancement of the public and private worship of the ancient Hellenic deities in the modern world, inspired by the forms and ways practiced by the ancient Greeks in ancient Greece and its states, territories, and colonies as historically defined; as reconstructed through research and study; and as subject to relevant local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations.
- Advancement of ancient Hellenic polytheism through manifesting the work, in the modern world, of the ancient Greek deities as known by the ancient Greeks in ancient Greece and its states, territories, and colonies as historically defined; and as referenced in the art, literature, architecture, and history of the ancient Greeks.
- The training, consecration, and certification of clergy and various other ecclesiastical personnel in the rites, liturgies, rules, and ways of ancient Hellenic polytheism.
- The facilitation of communications among, and support of, local subsidiary groups and individual practitioners involved in ancient Hellenic polytheism.
- Hellenion is a nonprofit religious corporation organized to practice the full range of legal activities practiced by any religious organization.
- Hellenion strives to offer maximum local autonomy consistent with the survival, identity, and wel-being of Hellenion as a whole.
- Each Demos (local subsidiary group) may choose any Hellenic focus, pantheon, and liturgical language of interest to the majority of its members. Non-Hellenic ethnic focuses, pantheons, and liturgical languages are not appropriate to official Hellenion activities.
- Annual Dues
Annual dues policies for all categories of membership will be set by the Prutaneis.
- Regular Members
Regular members are those individuals paying the full annual amount. Regular membership is required for candidates and holders of elected offices within Hellenion and of clergy. All such candidates and office holders must be at least 18 years of age.
- Lifetime Members
Lifetime members are those individuals making large donations of money or service to Hellenion, as shall be determined by the Prutaneis. They are entitled to receive all materials and privileges of regular members and shall be considered current with their dues for the rest of their lives. All instances in these bylaws which refer to regular members also refer to lifetime members. A person must have been a regular member for a minimum of five consecutive years before being granted or accepted for lifetime membership.
- Minor Member
Minor members are those individuals paying a lesser amount than regular annual dues. Minor membership is open to individuals under the age of majority. This membership requires proof of parental/guardian consent or consent of the court. Minor members are able to participate in Hellenion, but do not have voting powers at the national level. Voting powers at the local level are left to the discretion of each Demos. Upon proof of attaining majority, the minor membership will automatically be updated to a regular membership with all of the rights implied.
At the time of applying for membership, individuals must provide their current residence, full legal name, and any other name(s) they are typically known by within the pagan community. A member’s legal name and residence shall not normally be published outside of Hellenion if notification of such desire is given to the Prutaneis and any local group the member may belong to. The legal names of members of the Prutaneis and Boule, officers of Hellenion (including officers of Demoi), clergy, and clergy candidates shall be available and published according to policies determined by the Prutaneis.
- Age Requirements
Children under the age of 18 must have the signed and notarized permission of at least one parent or legal guardian in order to become a member of Hellenion, unless the Prutaneis shall rule otherwise. Individuals from all of the membership categories are entitled to vote within Hellenion, provided they are at least 18 years of age.
- Suspension, Expulsion, and Resignation of Members
- The Prutaneis may, by a two-thirds vote, initiate an investigation into a member’s conduct after either that member has confessed to, or been found guilty of, committing felony crimes-with-victims, as defined by civil law and current criminological opinion, or after having been presented with documented evidence of disruptive or abusive conduct which works directly against the aims, activities, or welfare of Hellenion or its members. The member will be immediately sent a written notice by registered mail to their last known address informing the member of the investigation, the accusations, the accusers, and any evidence pertaining to the investigation. The member will be given 30 days to respond in their own defense. After considering the member’s response, if any, the Prutaneis may, by a two-thirds vote, suspend or expel the member.
- “Disruptive or abusive conduct” does not include: the temperate expression of disagreement, such as public or private written or verbal criticism of Hellenion or its leadership; vigorous debate over matters of scholarship, art, spirituality, or politics; the circulation of petitions to the Prutaneis or Boule; the organizing of other members into voting blocks; nor mere rudeness, thoughtlessness, or lack of social skills.
- Disruptive or abusive conduct does include: the spreading of slander or libel against Hellenion or its leadership; bigoted communication or behavior as described elsewhere in these by-laws; or active efforts to persuade members to quit or to dissuade nonmembers from joining.
- In the case of a person who was declared temporarily or permanently incapacitated at the time of their resignation or removal from a position of responsibility, the Prutaneis shall require a reevaluation of said member’s competency similar to the process which had declared incapacity, before that member may seek election or appointment.
- Members may resign from membership at any time for personal reasons, and will then be eligible to rejoin Hellenion at a later date. Any member whose membership dues lapse for a period of three months or more shall be deemed to have resigned.
- Suspended, expelled or resigned members may not hold office or act in any way as representatives of Hellenion. Expelled or resigned members have no right to receive Hellenion publications, and may not continue to participate in study programs administered by Hellenion.
Members who have been suspended or expelled may, at the discretion of the Prutaneis, be banned temporarily or permanently from attending Hellenion activities, including public worship. Such bans shall be published immediately in Hellenion publications and venues. They may be published elsewhere in the case of very serious crimes.
- Members of Record
“Voting” members, also known as “members of record,” are those members of Hellenion who: (a) belong to one of the dues-paying categories listed in the preceding sections; (b) are up to date with their Hellenion membership dues; (c) are at least 18 years of age; and (d) have not resigned from Hellenion nor been expelled.
Except as otherwise mentioned in these bylaws, a quorum for voting purposes shall consist of those voting members representing twenty-five percent of the total membership.
- Proxy votes
Proxy votes may be assigned to voting members who are present at an annual or special meeting through the signing of proxy statements issued by the Prutaneis, or reasonable equivalent, and are only valid for the annual or special meeting marked thereon.
If election or referendum choices are combined with a proxy statement, the person receiving the proxy must cast those votes given to them according to any electoral choices marked on the combined ballot/proxy statement. If a given member sending in such a proxy has not made any electoral choices, the person receiving the proxy may cast those votes according to the proxy’s best judgment.
- Electronic communications
Voting members may attend annual or special meetings via electronic communications devices if such are available.
- Demoi Charters
Local groups which are open for public worship shall be known as Demoi. The Prutaneis shall act in a timely fashion upon all requests to grant a charter recognizing a Demos as an official subsidiary group of Hellenion. Once chartered, each Demos shall identify itself as “________ Demos, Hellenion” or “Demos of ________, Hellenion” or the equivalent in a language other than English, in all public communications. The Prutaneis shall issue appropriate regulations as needed for their proper functioning. The Prutaneis may authorize an individual or a pair of members of Hellenion to start local Proto-Demos. The Prutaneis shall issue policies to implement this, and to move such local Proto-Demoi from Proto-Demoi to chartered Demoi.
- Demoi Composition
A Demos is defined as three (3) or more members of Hellenion, not all of whom belong to a single household, who worship together regularly in a Hellenion style. Each Demos may reject applications for membership in accordance with national and local bylaws and policy. All members of a Demos are by definition members of Hellenion and must pay appropriate national dues. Only those persons who would qualify as voting members of Hellenion, as described in Article 3, Section 1, may vote in official local Demos elections, be officers of a local Demos, or be counted as official Demos members for chartering purposes.
All Demoi shall comply with all relevant federal, state/provincial, and local laws regarding the operation of branch congregations of larger religious organizations, unless specifically authorized by the Prutaneis to test a law in the courts.
- Demoi Governance
All Demoi of Hellenion are entitled to the maximum amount of autonomy consistent with the survival, identity, and well-being of Hellenion as a whole. The Demarkhos, Grammateus, and Tamias, as well as any other local officers who will exercise any legal responsibilities for the Demos, must have passed their 18th birthday.
Each Demos may choose any Hellenic focus, pantheon, and liturgical language of interest to the majority of its members. Non-Hellenic ethnic focuses, pantheons, and liturgical languages are not appropriate to official Hellenion activities.
Demoi shall always be allowed to select their own clergy that have been ordained by Hellenion, or to choose to have no ordained clergy in their Demos. Any member of Hellenion may perform any ritual role both they and the local Demos feel the person is competent to handle.
- Demoi Meetings
A Demos shall be considered to be meeting regularly if it meets at least six (6) times a year. A majority of the meetings of a Demos shall be open to the general public.
- Demoi Responsibilities
Each Demos must file an annual report to the Prutaneis by 1 month prior to the annual meeting in accordance with policies set by the Prutaneis.
- Disciplinary Action/Disenfranchisement of Demoi
The Prutaneis may suspend the charter of any Demos if the group shows a prevailing pattern of rejecting membership to Hellenion members without sufficient cause. Demoi may be suspended for disciplinary reasons by the Prutaneis. A vote on revocation of the Demos charter shall be held after a minimum waiting period of three months after suspension. The vote to revoke a charter shall be held at a Prutaneis meeting of which the full Hellenion voting membership has been invited and informed of the agenda. Failure by the Prutaneis to revoke a Demos’ charter results in immediate reactivation of the Demos.
- 1. Boule Composition
- The Boule shall consist of one Bouleutes elected at-large for every 25 members of Hellenion, rounded up, as of 3 months prior to the annual election of Bouleutai except as detailed in section 1C of this article.
- Each member of Hellenion, except as detailed in section 1C of this article, shall cast one vote per candidate for as many individual candidates as there are open positions on the Boule.
- Each Demos of 25 or more Hellenion members shall appoint one Bouleutes for each complete multiple of 25 Hellenion members belonging to that Demos. All members of a Demos that appoints one or more Bouleutai shall not vote in the at-large election for Bouleutai, nor shall any such members be counted in the membership census for the number of Bouleutai to be elected. An individual maybe belong to more than one Demos, but shall only be counted for voting and chartering purposes as belonging to one specific Demos.
- Duties of the Boule
Duties of the Boule shall include determining the date, location, and hosts of the Hellenion Annual Meeting in accordance with policies set forth by the Prutaneis, and advising and at times mandating the Prutaneis to vote on issues of governance (as per section 5.7).
- Meetings of the Boule
The Boule shall hold one meeting per year that is open to all Hellenion members to attend, with sufficient notice given to the membership of Hellenion. If circumstances allow, this meeting is to be held at the Hellenion Annual Meeting.
- Chair of the Boule
As the final agenda item of the annual open meeting, the Boule shall elect a Proedros to be chairperson for the coming year.
- Voting by Bouleutai
Each Bouleutes shall have only one (1) vote regardless of the number of Demoi they may belong to. However, a Bouleutes may still vote the proxies of other Bouleutai.
- Prutaneis Votes on the Boule
Members of the Prutaneis, excepting the Epistates, may be elected as Bouleutai and vote in such capacity. The Epistates or a chosen proxy not currently serving as a Bouleutes may vote in the Boule in case of a tie vote.
- Advising the Prutaneis
The Boule may vote to require the Prutaneis to take a vote on a particular matter of Hellenion governance. The Prutaneis must vote on this matter at their earliest convenience and notify the membership of Hellenion of the results of that vote.
- Removal of a Prutanis
The Boule may call for a vote of the established membership of the Hellenion to vote to remove any Prutanis (member of the Prutaneis) from office. The initial vote to remove a Prutanis must be carried by seventy-five percent (75%) of the seats on the Boule, even if there are any temporary vacancies. Members of Hellenion who are paid members at the time of the vote, and were paid members during the year prior to the vote, may then vote to remove the Prutanis. The vote of the established paid membership must be carried by seventy-five percent (75%) of the total eligible voters.
- Quorum Requirements for the Boule
A quorum for any official Boule meeting shall consist of at least the Epistates or designated proxy, and fifty-one percent (51%) of the Bouleutai either in person or by mail, telephone, email, or proxy; including the Proedros or designated proxy. All meetings of the Boule shall be open to the membership.
Except as otherwise stated in these bylaws, a simple majority shall carry all motions.
- Hellenion Governance
Hellenion shall be governed by a Board of Directors known as the Prutaneis comprised of nine (9) voting members, individually known as Prutanis.
The Prutaneis is the supreme authority in the Corporation and may, if necessary, overrule the decisions, policies, and practices of all other groups within Hellenion, including guilds, councils, special interest groups, committees, and local Demoi, except specific powers designated to the Boule or membership in these bylaws. In order to facilitate creativity, communication, and spiritual growth for all members, however, said authority is to be used lightly and rarely.
- Prutanis Terms
Each Prutanis shall be elected to three (3) year staggered terms. Regular elections will be scheduled as the final agenda item of the annual meeting.
- Special Elections
Special elections to fill vacant posts may be held at other times as needed. A Prutanis elected by special election shall hold that seat for the remainder of the three (3) year term since the last scheduled regular election for that seat.
- Duties of the Prutaneis
The Prutaneis shall exercise all the powers that may be exercised or performed by the Corporation under the statutes, the Articles of Incorporation, and the bylaws. The members of the Prutaneis may exercise all the duties, responsibilities, and privileges normally held by the Directors of other nonprofit religious corporations.
- Calling of Prutaneis Meetings
The Prutaneis shall hold regular meetings at least once in the months of Hekatombaion, Boedromion, Maimakterion, Gamelion, Elaphebolion, and Thargelion at the offices of the Corporation in California, or at such times and places as they shall appoint. Special meetings may be called by the Epistates or by a majority of the Prutaneis by giving one day’s notice to each Prutanis. The Prutaneis shall hold an open meeting if sufficient Prutaneis are present at the Annual Meeting.
Regular or special meetings of the Prutaneis or any committee may be held in person, via electronic communications devices, or through the mails. These may include: telephone conference calls, a telephone or postal polling of Prutaneis by the President (Chairman of the Board) or another officer at the President (Chairman of the Board)’s request, the use of a Internet videoconferencing services, etc.
5A. Open Meetings
On those occasions when the Prutaneis is meeting with a majority of the Directors physically present in one location, such meetings shall be open to attendance by any voting members who may happen to be in the vicinity, unless matters of extreme delicacy or personal privacy may be involved.
5B. Open Records of Meetings
The Grammateus shall maintain records of decisions made, and items under consideration, by the Prutaneis. The Grammateus shall also periodically distribute summaries of these records to the membership of Hellenion through various media, including, but not limited to, relevant Hellenion electronic forums. Any member of Hellenion may request these summaries at any time, paying for copying and mailing expenses if applicable.
- Eligibility for the Prutaneis
Anyone who has been a member in good standing of Hellenion for a total of three (3) years of consecutive membership immediately prior to the election date, and is currently a regular paid member or life member, is eligible to be elected to the Prutaneis. Membership must be maintained throughout the term of office, or the seat shall be considered vacated. A Prutanis whose term is ending is eligible for reelection that year. Any eligible member may be nominated by a regular member, or may self-nominate. Nominations are made by issuing a statement of intent during the nomination period.
- Member Access
Any member of Hellenion may, through the Grammateus, request a position on the agenda of a Prutaneis meeting, for the discussion of matters of concern. If the member is an electronic guest or a physical visitor to a Prutaneis meeting, the Prutaneis may vote to allow said member to then address the Directors on the issues involved.
- Quorum Requirements for the Prutaneis
A Quorum for any official Prutaneis meeting shall consist of at least five (5) Prutaneis, including the Epistates, or their proxies.
Except as otherwise stated in these bylaws, a simple majority (of filled seats) shall carry all motions.
Any Prutanis may pass their proxy on to another for a particular meeting for one or more particular issues (but not a general proxy), verifying such in writing to the Gramateus within three weeks following the meeting.
The Prutaneis shall appoint, by simple majority vote, the following officers: Epistates (President or Chair of the Board), Grammateus (Secretary), Tamias (Treasurer). The Prutaneis may recall said officers by simple majority vote. Additional offices of a lesser nature may be created by the Prutaneis at their discretion. Lesser officers who are not Prutaneis need not be over 18 years of age if they will have no legal responsibility for Hellenion. If under 18, they must have the signed and notarized permission of at least one parent or legal guardian.
Hellenion may convey legal ordination to individuals as Theoroi. Theoroi may perform legally binding rituals. Theoroi are obliged to act publicly in the best interests of Hellenion.
Membership in Hellenion and attendance at public and semi-public Hellenion activities shall not be denied to any person on the basis of race, ancestry, color, physical disability (except as mentioned elsewhere in this article), age, gender, or affection orientation, but may be denied to individuals practicing creeds inimical to Neopagan Hellenic Reconstructionism.
- Prutaneis, Boule, Officers, and Clergy
Membership within the Prutaneis, Boule, the clergy, and other such positions of responsibility and trust as the Prutaneis may determine, shall be granted only to practicing Neopagans who are not simultaneously practicing a creed inimical to the beliefs to which Hellenion are dedicated.
- Inimical Creeds
As used herein, “inimical creeds” shall include varieties of conservative monotheism, atheism, demonism, racialism, or other such faiths and practices as shall be determined by the Prutaneis.
- Unacceptable Behavior
Proven communications or behavior of virulently racist, sexist, discriminatory based on sexual orientation, anti-Semitic, or otherwise bigoted character shall be grounds for expulsion from Hellenion, as described elsewhere in these bylaws. This does not include strong verbal statements about the theology, history, or psychological characteristics of other religions.
All organizers of public and semi-public Hellenion activities shall make strenuous efforts to facilitate the participation of differently-abled individuals. Nonetheless, such activities as the Prutaneis or local Demoi may designate may be held in places naturally inaccessible to some. Nonetheless, all aspirants to any given position must be able to meet all the relevant qualifications previously determined for said position, unless the Prutaneis shall rule otherwise in a particular instance.
- Religious Purpose
Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation is organized exclusively for one or more of the purposes, as specified in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws, and shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by (a) a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, director, officers, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distribution in furtherance of its purposes as set forth in these bylaws.
- Political Participation
No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided by Internal Revenue Code Section 501(h)), and the corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publication or distributions of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate, or participating in, or intervening in (including the publication or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
In the event of dissolution, all of the remaining assets and property of the corporation shall after necessary expenses thereof be distributed to another organization exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent Federal tax laws, or to the Federal government, or state or local government for a public purpose upon approval of a court of competent jurisdiction.
In any taxable year in which the corporation is a private foundation as described in Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, the corporation shall distribute its income for said period at such time and in such manner as not to subject it to tax under Section 4942 of the Code; and the corporation shall not (a) engage in any act of self-dealing as defined in Section 4941(d) of the Code; (b) retain any excess business holdings as defined in Section 4943(c) of the Code; (c) make any investments in such manner as to subject the corporation to tax under Section 4944 of the Code; or (d) make any taxable expenditures as defined in Section 4945(d) of the Code or corresponding provisions of any subsequent Federal tax laws.
- Glossary of Classical Terms Used
- Boule: Council.
- Bouleutes (pl. Bouleutai):Councilor.
- Demarkhos (pl. Demarkhoi): Contact/president of a Demos.
- Demos (pl. Demoi): Local open public congregation.
- Demotes (pl. Demotai): Member of a Demos.
- Epistates: President of the Prutaneis.
- Grammateus (pl. Grammateis): Secretary.
- Prutaneis: Board of Directors.
- Prutanis (pl. Prutaneis): Member of the Prutaneis.
- Proedros (pl. Proedroi): Chairperson of the Boule.
- Tamias (pl. Tamiai): Treasurer.
- Theoros (pl. Theoroi): Divine envoy, clergy ordained by the Boule.
- Tabling of Agenda Items
Any agenda items that have not been addressed must be re-introduced at the next business meeting rather than being tabled.
- Reporting Requirements
All annual reports and statements required to be provided to Hellenion must be delivered in writing to the Epistates or a designated alternate on the Prutaneis.
The Prutaneis may vote a change to the by-laws by a two-thirds majority vote. Such changes to these bylaws must then be approved by a vote of the Boule. The Boule must approve such changes by seventy-five percent (75%) of the seats on the Boule. After the Boule has approved such changes to these bylaws, the changes must then be approved by two-thirds of the membership casting votes in a bylaws referendum.
- Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the Corporation shall begin on the first day of January and end on the thirty-first day of December in each civil year.
- Location of Office
The principal office of the Corporation shall be located in the City of ______, County of _____, in the State of California, USA. The Corporation may have other such offices, either within or without the State of California, as the Directors may designate or the business of the Corporation may require from time to time.
- Changing Location of Office
The Prutaneis may change the principle office of the Corporation, and the appropriate section of the bylaws, by simple majority vote without the need for Boule or membership approval of a bylaws change.
- The time and location of the annual meeting of the voting members of Hellenion shall be determined by the Boule in accordance with policies set forth by the Prutaneis, and may be by electronic means.
- There shall be conveyed to each voting member at least six weeks prior to the annual meeting, a notice setting out the time and place of the annual meeting, and including a combined proxy statement and ballot for those voting members so desiring. Said notice and proxy/ballot may be incorporated into a Hellenion newsletter published at the appropriate time.
- A quorum for the annual meeting shall be votes representing fifteen per cent of the total voting membership.
- In case a quorum is not present in body or proxy at the annual meeting, those present may adjourn to such a day and time as a majority shall agree upon. If said day and time is prior to the end of the event which is hosting the annual meeting, verbal notice to those voting members present at the annual meeting shall suffice, and the necessary quorum shall drop to ten percent of the total membership vote. Otherwise, notice of such adjournment shall be mailed to each voting member of Hellenion at least 21 days before said date.
- Alternatively, if a quorum is not present at the annual meeting, those present may decide by majority vote to hold the annual meeting without binding votes upon any subject.
- If a quorum is present, elections for all Directorships (Prutaneis) open shall be held as described elsewhere in these bylaws.
- For consideration by all voting members, a meeting agenda will be published in advance of the annual business meeting. This agenda shall be composed of the compiled items and proposals submitted by the current legally voting membership. Late items may be added prior to or at the meeting as time permits.
- A special meeting or referendum of the voting members of Hellenion may be called by the request of a majority of the Prutaneis, by a majority of the Boule, or by a petition representing one-third of the membership votes. Such a special meeting shall be held sixty to ninety days after the Board meeting at which such request or petition is received, at a location to be selected by the Prutaneis or by electronic means. Notice of such a special meeting, stating its particular purpose, shall be sent to the voting members as with the annual meeting, including the provision of proxy statements.
- The Prutaneis may decide to hold a referendum through electronic means or through the mails at any time, and such a referendum may be instead of a special meeting, should the topics under consideration lend themselves to such treatment.
- For consideration by all voting members, a meeting agenda will be published in advance of the annual business meeting. This agenda shall be composed of the compiled items and proposals submitted by the current legally voting membership. Late items may be added prior to or at the meeting as time permits.
All members of Hellenion are entitled to see the accounting records. The Tamias shall make these available at a nominal fee for reproduction and mailing. Balance sheets and other similar summary reports shall be regularly published by Hellenion.
Tamiai in local Demoi shall make quarterly financial reports to the Prutaneis, accounting for all income and expenses, and shall make these reports available to local Demos members in a similar fashion.
Latest amendments to the bylaws approved by the membership, AGM March, 2020.
A motion in favor of amending to make the language gender-inclusive was also carried at AGM, March 2020; work is in progress.