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":
... 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 ... The Priests and the Levites were in turn served by servants called Nethinim ...
... From the 1890s logging has played an important role at Priest Lake ... were floated 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 ... of natural 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 ...
... 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 ... Upon returning in Georgia, he was ordained as a senior priest at Metekhi Church, Tbilisi, 1629-1632 ...
... 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) ... clergy in voodoo and the only one with authority to ordain other priests ...
Famous quotes containing the word priest:
“The priest is an immense being because he makes the crowd believe astonishing things.”
—Charles Baudelaire (18211867)
“Because the priest must have like every dog his day
Or keep us all awake with baying at the moon,
We and our dolls being but the world were best away.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)
“And because I am happy, & dance & sing,
They think they have done me no injury,
And are gone to praise God & his Priest & King,
Who make up a heaven of our misery.”
—William Blake (17571827)