skip to content
04 Jul 2005
Olympic News , museum-news-articles

A High Priestess in the Temple of Olympism

A High Priestess in the Temple of Olympism
She is as beautiful as an angel, or should we say a High Priestess? Velvet eyes, a soft voice, a haughty bearing, and movements that are both noble and serene. Thalia Prokopiou is an actress, a dancer, and a Greek woman, of course. Since 2000, she has been the Vestal Virgin of Olympia, she who lights the flame on the occasion of the Olympic Games. While she was staying in Lausanne, she was keen to visit the Olympic Museum.
How does one become a High Priestess?
A philosophy student at the University of Athens, she soon became interested in theatre, which was one of the subjects she was studying. She enrolled at the Greek National School of Dramatic Art, and became an actress. There, she met Maria Hors, a talented dance teacher and choreographer, and a specialist in staging lighting ceremonies. One day, she offered her the “role”. Thalia accepted without hesitation. 
A unique role in life
“It was much more than a role for me”, she said, “It was a unique experience! You speak of values, peace and ideals in a world that is suffering. We are united actors working together as volunteers. The rehearsals are sometimes difficult, but we believe in what we do, and are keen to share it.” Thalia has been the High Priestess three times, for the Sydney, Salt Lake City and Athens Games. She admits that last year was even more moving than the other times. 
It all starts in Olympia…
A few months before the start of the Games, a ceremony is organised at the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games: the site of Olympia, Greece. In front of the ruins of the temple of Hera, actresses play the role of priestesses and light the flame according to a procedure that was already known to the ancients: the use of the sun and a parabolic mirror. The rays of the sun, reflected at the centre of the recipient, give off enough heat to light the flame. The High Priestess then passes it to the first torchbearer. The Olympic flame can be lit only in this way. 

She will come back….
She loves the Olympic Museum! Thalia was interested by everything, asking her guide numerous questions. The guide thought that if the Museum had  not closed at 6 p.m., she would still be there! But she has promised to come back…

 Welcome to the Museum

back to top Fr