Hellenion was founded mostly by people first brought together by the Hellenic Pagan list at OneList, started in 1998 by Kyrene Ariadne. The list attracted many bright, accomplished people such as lawyers and holders of classics degrees. A nucleus of these first members had been in ADF (A Druid Fellowship) together and felt drawn to each other at physical gatherings. However, for the most part, list members lived in very different areas of the country and some even in other countries. The Hellenic Pagan list continues to this day.
Soon thereafter, a group of list members began to meet in person in Massachusetts. The term “Demos” instead of “coven” was selected to describe such a ritual group, as many followers of the Greek pantheon were not practicing magic or witchcraft and felt the Wiccan word was misleading. This first Demos, located in Boston, was called Demos Oreiadon.
The idea of a reconstructionist organization akin to ADF or Imbas but for followers of the Greek pantheon was raised in 1999, and the name “Hellenion” was chosen, being the Ancient Greek word meaning a Hellenic temple built in a foreign land. Hellenion was officially founded on April 24, 1999 and incorporated as a religious non-profit in California in May 2001. The decision to apply for charitable status arose in large part from the desire to have federally-recognized clergy, and Hellenion obtained federal 501(c)3 status in September 2002. The first clergy member, called a Theoros, was Drew Campbell, followed later by Dennis Dutton. The Hellenion members-only Yahoo list was established in 2000 and the web site hellenion.org was launched on May 31, 2001.
Hellenion voted in 2018 to add the anniversary of the foundation of Hellenion to our official calendar.