the previous article, I have mentioned that the priest was an important
person in the society and one belonged to the highest social class.
So what actually did a priest in general do besides helping the
kings and nobles rule the country?
Mesoamerica, the high priest also had the job of carrying out religious
ceremonies in temples and writing sacred books. He also had to teach
other priests the method of keeping ancient calendars, how to cure
the sick, write with hieroglyphs, study the stars and record what
they understood and predict the future. In addition, the priests
had to pursue intellectual studies so that they would be wise and
knowledgeable. Thus, they were well respected by the people.
In Mesopotamia, the priest was in charge of dividing the farmers
into groups to farm and take care of the land. He also ensured that
the crops that they grew, such as barley, beans, and wheat were
harvested and distributed among the people. In Egypt, the priests
were in charge of making a record of their kings, or pharaohs and
marking the most significant happenings of their reigns. In India,
the priests performed religious ceremonies, interpreted the Vedas
and also charged the farmers a fee for storing their grains in the
great granary, of which these fees served as a source of income
for the priests.
we can see how important the priest was in each of the different
ancient civilisations. However, in today's society, do the priests
still enjoy such high status like those in the ancient times? How
actually is the priest of today different? In present-day India,
priests are generally the heads of mosques, temples or churches,
or any highly religious people. They are still well respected by
the public as they are the ones who perform religious ceremonies
for the people. However, in many countries all over the world, where
Christianity is one of the dominating religions, the priests do
have any special status as all Christians are seen to be equal before
God in one "priesthood of all believers."
role of a priest today, in general, is to perform religious rites
such as baptism and to witness a marriage between a man and a woman.
He also perform sermons and act as missionaries in spreading his
religion to people all over the world. A priest in the modern world
is not, in general, involved in politics, but rather, devotes himself
to taking care of the people in the society and helping them in
anyway he can. Thus, he is seen more as a friend and advisor in
the eyes of his fellow men instead of a leader or a person of high
authority as in the past.
would being a priest in the past, with all the status and respect
he commanded of the public as ruler of the country and religious
leader, be much better off than the priest of today, who has the
same status as everyone else but who involves himself socially instead?
Priests of the Greek Orthodox Church lead an Easter procession on
the island of Patmos.