Martyrdom of Hypatia ritual

After closing your eyes for a moment and centering yourself, step forward to the altar.

Barley Offering

Sprinkle barley on the altar, SAYING:

“To the givers of life, Life.”

Purify the Circle

walk around the ritual space with the khernips bowl, sprinkling the water around the perimeter. Say:

You are pure! You are pure! By this holy water, this ground is made pure. In the name of Apollo the Purifier this place is cleansed, and is now a holy sanctuary.

Walk in another circle, taking the bowl to each of the worshipers, so they can wash their face and hands. As they are doing so, say:

By this holy water, you are made pure. In the name the Apollo the Purifier, you are holy and fit to enter the Temple.

Intro (priest/ess):

Today we gather to celebrate the life of Hypatia of Alexandria, one of the Sancti of this Temple, on the the anniversary of her death, nearly 1600 years ago. Although we remember the manner of her death, we celebrate her life and the teachings that she stood for. By honoring Hypatia we take a stand against all forms of religious intolerance. Hypatia accepted Pagans, Jews and Christians into her circle, and two of her students even became bishops. Neither she nor her students ever took part in the religious riots of the time, and in her classroom all were equal. We stand also for learning in all forms and against the tide of anti-intellectualism. We follow the words of Hypatia herself: “Reserve the right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.

Hymn to Hypatia (read by one of the worshipers):

O Hypatia, daughter of Theon the astronomer

Greatly do we praise your name!

In the footsteps of Apollo, the philosopher’s God, you followed

Becoming one of Alexandria’s great teachers

Gentle, wise Hypatia, you for religious cooperation,

And against the encroaching tyranny of Cyril the Patriarch

For which you paid with your life.

You shone as a bright star of learning

Lady of Mathematics, librarian of the great Alexandrian library

We praise your bright mind today

And ask that you open our minds to receive your wisdom

We ask also that you stand with us

And with anyone who faces intolerance in any form, but especially the religious kind

Stand with the American Muslim Community

As they fight against the zealots that would steal the soul of their religion

Stand with the indigenous peoples of the world,

As they resist colonization and struggle to preserve their cultures

Stand with every modern Pagan, living in a Christian world

Help us all to find peaceful solutions

To build bridges of understanding between warring foes

That one day we might all be free from persecution

No matter what religion we are, or if we are none.

ALL: Hail Hypatia!


Hymn to Apollo (read by another of the worshipers):

Tonight we honor also Apollo, inspirer of philosophy

For His part in Hypatia’s life

O leader of the Muses we pray to You tonight

And ask that you fill us with Your wisdom

As we have been given eyes to see and ears to hear

Let us use the brain inside our heads, our Gods-given reason and intellect

Fiery, luminous Son of Zeus Who sits at Delphi

Teach us the secrets of the Good Life

Show us the way to lasting happiness

That we may share it with our brothers and sisters

Let peace and civil discourse reign between opposing viewpoints

Great Apollo, we praise you.

ALL: Hail Apollo!



We burn incense to the sacred names of Hypatia and Apollo, as the ancients did. May the smell of it be pleasing to You. Hypatia, we offer also this libation of milk mixed with honey, the traditional heroic offering. Accept it, and stand with us in adversity and in peace. Now we feast! Go if you wish, but you are always welcome to join us in this Temple.

  4 comments for “Martyrdom of Hypatia ritual

  1. March 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    A beautiful ritual; thank you for posting this. Rituals like these are things I’ve seldom seen, and to celebrate a great life hers even less so.

    • March 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you. I like to share my rituals in the hopes that someone will get something useful out of it for their own practice.

  2. March 29, 2011 at 2:49 am

    A beautiful and touching ritual. Thank you for sharing it, and thank you even more for performing it. I am sure that Hypatia was very pleased by it. 🙂

    (One small and insignificant correction: Hypatia’s father was godly, not beastly.)

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