High priest

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The term High Priest may refer to particular individuals who hold the office of ruler-priest in local regional or ethnic contexts. In secular contexts it may refer to the head of a religious caste.

  • In Ásatrú, the high priest is called a Gothi (or Gythia) and is the leader of a small group of practitioners collectively referred to as a Kindred. The Gothi are collectively known as the Gothar.
  • In Christianity a high priest could sometimes be compared with the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church, a Patriarch in an Eastern Orthodox Church, or a Primate in an Anglican or Episcopal church; but it is traditional to refer only to Jesus Christ as the one high priest of Christianity.
  • In Druidry, all members would be considered priests due to the historical role of the Druids as the priestly class of the Celts and Gauls. A "high priest" would likely be referred to as an Elder and would be a person who has practiced Druidry for a considerable amount of time.
  • In Islam, a high priest may be called a caliph or a mullah.
  • In Judaism and Samaritanism, a high priest is called a Kohen Gadol. The office is not filled while there is no functioning Temple, thus only the Samaritans have had an active high priest after the year 70 C.E.
  • In the Roman Republic, the high priest office was called the Pontifex Maximus; it was usually filled by leading politicians, not by full-time priests. The Roman Pope bears this title today.
  • In Wicca, the high priest is a male who has earned the 3rd Degree level of recognition within his coven. A coven may also have a high priestess, either in addition to or instead of a high priest.
  • In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a high priest is an older male who has been faithful in the church and may have served in the bishopric and other important callings.

In other religions the meaning of this term may vary.

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