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The importance of the priesthood grew with the extension of the mysteries, which were embodied especially in the Orphic and Eleusinian cults.
Sacrifices were always accompanied with prayers, for which as the expression of their religious sentiments the Greeks showed a special preference.
Modern zealots for Buddhism declare with increasing boldness since Schopenhauer, that what they chiefly desire is a religion without dogma and without an alien redeemer, a service without a priesthood.
It will therefore perhaps appear all the more extraordinary that Buddhism, in consequence of the efforts of the reformer Thong-Kaba, has developed in Tibet a formal hierarchy and hierocracy in Lamaism (Lama=Brahma).
After the destruction of the Persian monarchy only two categories of priests remained: the officiating (, magic-father).
In addition to the maintenance of the sacred fire, the duties of the priests were the offering of sacrifices (flesh, bread, flowers, fruit), the performance of purifications, prayers, and hymns, and instructing in the holy law.
The Brahmins alone understood the intricate and difficult sacrificial ceremonial; thanks to their great knowledge and sacrifices, they exercised an irresistible influence over the gods; a pantheistic explanation of the god Brahma invested them with a divine character.
Teichmüller, "Religionsphilosophie", Leipzig, 1886, p. Still less justified, in view of the pantheistic character of the Brahminic religion, are all attempts to trace a genetic connection between the Catholic and Indian priesthoods, since the monotheistic spirit of Catholicism and the characteristic organization of its clergy are irreconcilable with a pantheistic conception of the Deity and the unsocial temper of a caste system.
The same remarks apply with even greater force to Buddhism which, through the reform introduced by King Asoka (239-23 B. As this reform inaugurated the reign of Agnosticism, Illusionism, and a one-sided morality, the Brahminic priesthood, with the decay of the ancient sacrificial services, lost its If there be no eternal substance, no Ego, no immortal soul, no life beyond, the idea of a God, of a Redeemer, of a priesthood forthwith disappears.
By the term is meant a (male) person called to the immediate service of the Deity and authorized to hold public worship, especially to offer sacrifice.
In many instances the priest is the religious mediator between God (gods) and man and the appointed teacher of religious truths, especially when these include esoteric doctrines.