A priest or priestess (feminine) (from Greek πρεσβύτερος presbýteros through Latin presbyter, "elder", or from Old High German priast, prest, from Vulgar Latin "provost" "one put over others", from Latin praepositus "person placed in charge"), is a person authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more 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 (see Proto-indo-European trifunctional hypothesis) and in the simplest societies, most likely as a result of agricultural surplus and consequent social stratification. The necessity to read sacred texts and keep temple or church records helped foster literacy in many early societies....
Source: Wikimedia Commons
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