31 Days of Devotion, day 14

Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?

The short answer to this question has to be, “Yes.” There is no god who is worshipped the same way now as eighteen hundred years ago, including Jesus and his Father. Religious traditions change, even when they are unbroken and have living worshippers conserving them, as in India or Japan.

Antinous nowadays has no temples or other trappings of public, institutionalized religion, only shrines in homes, at festivals, and virtually, online. Devotees celebrate the Megala Antinoeia with artistic contests rather than large-scale athletic competitions. No doubt animal sacrifices were made to him, serving as communal meals for the god and his people to enjoy together; nowadays smaller food offerings, works of art, songs, dances, and creative writing are more usual, along with candles and incense, gemstones and jewelry, flowers, wine, and even plain water.

Many devotees of the god worship him in solitary rites, being geographically distant from other devotees, which was probably not the norm in ancient times. Not only are we lacking public temples, we don’t live in households that all worship together. We do have the virtual fellowship of the Internet to console us; without it, I personally would not know my fellow Antinoans at all, nor even know that Antinous had a living cultus.

It’s not our goal simply to revive or reconstruct the worship of the god in the same form that it was once carried on. It is our goal to be as authentic as we can in our forms and spirit while building something that will go forward into the future.

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