Training for Priesthood in the Modern World: A Zarathushtrian Perspective



Abstract.  This essay traces the development of the Zarathushtrian (Zoroastrian) priesthood from the time of the prophet Zarathushtra, through the Median priestly tribe as Magi, and the Macedonian and Arab invasions. This sets the stage for the separation of the Zarathushti priesthood between Iran and India and the generation of independent training methods. Centuries later dialogue between the two groups revealed some remarkable differences due to diverse cultural influences. From the eighteenth to the twentieth century there is a loss of respect for the priestly class and organization by the community of learning institutions to revamp the priestly training. The last portion of the paper discusses factors that affect the training of priests in North America. Some recommendations are put forward to adapt the training of the priesthood in the changing world society, and how these ideas can be brought to reality.