In religion, the chief feature was the priesthood of Druids, who here, as in Gaul, practised magical arts and barbarous rites of human sacrifice, taught a secret lore, wielded great influence, but, at least as Druids, took ordinarily no part in politics.
Hormizd had not the ability to retain the authority of his father, and he further affronted the Magian priesthood by declining to proceed against the Christians and by requiring that, in his empire, both religions should dwell together in peace.
The motive for this change does not appear, and we are equally ignorant of the cause which prompted his transference of the priesthood from his nominee to another son of Annas in 37.
Movement, the childhood of a new community of faith, are reflected so naturally in them all, that it is impossible for a moment to think of a later period of composition by a priesthood whom we know to, have been devoid of any historical sense, and incapable of reconstructing the spiritual conditions under which Zoroaster lived.
Under the Roman empire the cult of Isis, now furnished with an official priesthood and elaborate ritual, became really popular in the Hellenistic world.
The strength of the priesthood in Chaldaea and in Egypt stands plainly in the closest connexion with the survival of a magical element in the state religion, and Rome, in like manner, is more priestly than Greece, because it is more superstitious.
If all conception of intermediary priesthood be eliminated, the Ulema may be said to be equivalent to the secular clergy of Roman Christendom (see Dervish).
As regards this latter, purely exoteric, doctrine, there can be little doubt of its owing its origin to considerations of theological expediency, as being calculated to supply a sufficiently wide formula of belief for general acceptance; and the very fact of this divine triad including the two principal deities of the later sectarian worship, Vishnu and Siva, goes far to show that these two gods at all events must have been already in those early days favourite objects of popular adoration to an extent sufficient to preclude their being ignored by a diplomatic priesthood bent upon the formulation of a common creed.
The Armenian doctors also taught that John by laying hands on Jesus and ordaining him at his baptism sacramentally transferred to him the three graces or charismata of kingship, prophecy and priesthood which had belonged to ancient Israel.
He bestowed the priesthood and a consulship upon his horse Incitatus, and demanded that sacrifice should be offered to himself.