A priest or priestess is a person authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or multiple deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.
Priests and priestesses have existed since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies. They exist in all or some branches of Judaism, Christianity, Shintoism, Hinduism and many other religions. They are generally regarded as having positive contact with the deity or deities of the religion to which they subscribe, often interpreting the meaning of events and performing the rituals of the religion. Priests are leaders to whom other believers will often turn for advice on spiritual matters.
In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time position, ruling out any other career. In other cases it is a part-time role. For example in the early history of Iceland the chieftains were titled goði, a word meaning "priest". As seen in the saga of Hrafnkell Freysgoði, however, being a priest consisted merely of offering periodic sacrifices to the Norse gods and goddesses; it was not a full-time role, nor did it involve ordination.
In some religions, being a priest or priestess is by human election or human choice. In Judaism the priesthood is inherited in familial lines.
Other articles related to "priest, priests":
... known in Europe as Niceforo Irbachi, (1585-1658), was a Georgian Orthodox priest, politician and diplomat ... From 1608 to 1614, he served later a priest at the court of Teimuraz I, king of Kakheti, eastern Georgia ... in Georgia, he was ordained as a senior priest at Metekhi Church, Tbilisi, 1629-1632 ...
... From the 1890s logging has played an important role at Priest Lake ... down the lake, and eventually to the outlet where they would travel down the Priest River until they reached the mills on the Pend Oreille River ... resources led to the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, under which the Priest River Forest Reserve was established in 1897 ...
... Priest Lake has a pristine variety of wildlife both in and around the lake ... Priest Lake also has a large population of fish, ranging from small Trout to Mackinaw ... The largest lake Trout caught in the United States was caught at Priest Lake, and weighed 57 lbs ...
... In many religions there are one or more layers of assistant priests ... In ancient Judaism, the Priests (Kohanim) had a whole class of Levites as their assistants in making the sacrifices, in singing psalms and in maintaining the Temple ... The Priests and the Levites were in turn served by servants called Nethinim ...
... Houngan is the term for a male priest in Haitian Vodou (a female priest is known as a mambo) ... There are two ranks of houngan, houngan asogwe (high priest) and houngan sur pwen (junior priest) ... the only one with authority to ordain other priests ...
Famous quotes containing the word priest:
“This is the priest all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn”
—Mother Goose (fl. 17th18th century. The House That Jack Built (l. 3738)
“Embraces are cominglings from the head even to the feet,
And not a pompous high priest entering by a secret place.”
—William Blake (17571827)
“Oh we drunk his Hale in the good red wine
When we last made company,
No capon priest was the Goodly Fere
But a man o men was he.”
—Ezra Pound (18851972)