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Priests and Priesthoods
The public rites of the Religio Romana were performed and controlled by a number of different priestly collegia and other special priests and magistrates. Those priestly organizations that ranked below the collegia were known as sodalicia, and there were many "independent" priests of various cults who bore the title sacerdos. In addition, there were a number of priesthoods of well-established "foreign" cults (such as the cult of Isis and Serapis). Some of these cults were initiatory, and were called "Mysteries" (such as the Mysteries of Mithras). Nova Roma has reinstated these ancient Priesthoods as part of our effort to reconstruct Roman religion and culture.
JOINING THE PRIESTHOOD
Nova Roma is accepting applications for various Priesthoods. If you are interested in helping to rebuild the Religio Romana and the worship of the ancient Roman deities on an official public basis, we would be pleased to hear from you. The Priesthoods in Nova Roma are open to both men and women, with the exception of the Vestals. As Priesthood is an important position of responsibility we do ask that you read the guidelines for applications before applying. Any questions about Priesthood should be directed to the Collegium Pontificum at: PONTIFICES.
If you would like to become a Priest or Priestess of Nova Roma, please submit an Application.
OFFICES OF THE PUBLIC RELIGIO ROMANA
The Collegium Pontificum (College of Pontiffs)
The Collegium Pontificum consists of XV priests who serve the public rites of the State religion and have general authority to determine the structure and nature of both the public rites and the priesthoods themselves. They act as the general oversight committee for the public rites of the Religio Romana and appoint members of the various Priesthoods. Some specific administrative duties of the Collegium include: advising the Senate on religious matters, setting the dates of religious festivals, organizing and assisting the Priesthood, and acting as the final arbiters of Sacred Law and religious disputes.
Pontifex Maximus (Greatest Pontiff)
(The Pontifex Maximus acts as the Speaker for the Collegium Pontificum, and oversees the Comitia Curiata and the Vestals.)
Rex Sacrorum / Regina Sacrorum (King/Queen of the Sacred) Positions open
(The Rex and Regina Sacrorum are a legally married couple that perform various public rites and make announcements of Festival days. First among the Priests and members of the Collegium Pontificum, but subordinate to the Pontifex Maximus. The Rex and Regina Sacrorum may hold no other religious or political posts.)
Flamines (XIII Priests that serve specific deities (but allowed to worship other deities as well).
The Flamines hold public rites on the days sacred to their deity, and oversee the general worship of that deity. The Flamines are present in the Collegium Pontificum.)
Flamines Maiores (Major Flamines)
Flamen Dialis (priest of Iuppiter)
Position not open at this time. The Flamen Dialis serves the cult of Jupiter, and participates in the Vinalia festivals and at conferratio marriage ceremonies. This priesthood is subject to a large number of complex taboos which have not yet been resolved for reconstruction. The wife of the Flamen Dialis was known as the Flaminica Dialis, and assisted in the rites and was subject to the same taboos.
Flamen Martialis (priest of Mars)
The Flamen Martialis oversees the cult of Mars, the God of War, leading public rites on the days sacred to Mars.
Flamen Quirinalis (priest of Quirinus)
The Flamen Quirinalis oversees the cult of Quirinus, a god related to the peaceful aspect of Mars, who presides over organized Roman social life. The Flamen Quirinalis leads public rites on the days sacred to Quirinus.
Flamines Minores (Minor Flamines)
Flamen Carmentalis (priest of Carmentis): Position open
The Flamen Carmentalis oversees the cult of Carmenta (Carmentis), a goddess of Prophecy and Oracles. The Flamen Carmentalis leads public rites on the days sacred to Carmenta.
Flamen Cerealis (priest of Ceres):
The Flamen Cerealis oversees the cult of Ceres, Goddess of grains (identified with the Greek Demeter). The Flamen Cerealis leads public rites on the days sacred to Ceres.
Flamen Falacer (priest of Falacer): Position open
The Flamen Falacer oversees the cult of Falacer, a deified Roman hero (who presumably personified qualities such as strength, courage, etc.) The Flamen Falacer leads public rites on days sacred to Falacer.
Flamen Florealis (priest of Flora):
The Flamen Florealis oversees the cult of Flora, the Goddess of flowers, and Spring (and therefore new beginnings). The Flamen Florialis leads public rites on the days sacred to Flora.
Flamen Furinalis (priest of Furrina):
The Flamen Furinalis oversees the cult of Furrina, a Goddess of Springs who had a sacred grove associated with water (possibly connected with health and healing). The Flamen Furinalis leads public rites on the days sacred to Furrina.
Flamen Palatualis (priest of Palatua): Position open
The Flamen Palatualis oversees the cult of Palatua, the guardian of the Palatine Hill (the oldest settled part of Rome, therefore making Palatua possibly a goddess of Rome's beginnings.) The Flamen Palatualis leads public rites on the days sacred to Palatua.
Flamen Pomonalis (priest of Pomona):
The Flamen Pomonalis oversees the cult of Pomona, Goddess of Fruit. The Flamen Pomonalis leads public rites on days sacred to Pomona (there was no major single festival day).
Flamen Portunalis (priest of Portunus) Position open
The Flamen Portunalis oversees the cult of Portunus, God of Harbors and doors. The Flamen Portunalis leads public rites sacred to Portunus.
Flamen Volcanalis (Priest of Volcanus):
The Flamen Volcanalis oversees the cult of Volcanus (Vulcan), God of Fire and smithcraft. The Flamen Volcanalis leads public rites sacred to Volcanus.
Flamen Volturnalis (Priest of Volturnus):
The Flamen Volturnalis oversees the cult of Volturnus, a River God sometimes also associated with the Southeast wind. (Both these aspects may be related to travel and trade.) The Flamen Volturnalis leads public rites sacred to Volturnus.
Virgines Vestales (The Vestal Virgins)
A priesthood of six women who guard the Sacred Hearth of Rome. They oversee the cult of Vesta, Goddess of the Hearth and Fire, and lead public rites sacred to Vesta. The duties of the Vestals included indextaining the fire in the Sacred Hearth of Rome, and making Mola Salsa (sacred cakes made from spelt flour used in public rites.)
The Vestals also guarded some sacred objects, including the Palladium (an ancient image of Pallas Athene said to have been rescued from Troy). In ancient Rome the Vestals were virgins — in Nova Roma this has been replaced by a voluntary vow of chastity for the duration of office. Until Nova Roma has a central hearth, the Vestals each keep a Sacred Flame as a symbol of the Sacred Hearth of Rome. The Vestals receive great public respect for their work, and are entitled to be proceeded by Lictors.
Chief Vestal: Position open
The Chief Vestal oversees the efforts of the Vestals, and is present in the Collegium Pontificum.
Vestals: IV positions open
Past Vestals: (honored for their former vows and duties)
Collegium Augurium (College of Augures)
IX priests who take auspices and create templum, or sacred space. The Collegium Augurium is the second rank of priestly colleges. The duties of the Augurs include taking auspices before military and political actions, consecrating the sites of temples and shrines, overseeing the laws of augury (ius augurium — the discipline or art of augury itself) and advising the Senate.
Septemviri Epulones (Seven Epulones)
VII priests who oversee the organization of public religious feasts. The Epulones arrange the Epulum Iovis — (feast of Jupiter which is attended by the Senate and People, and presided over by the images of the Capitoline deities), as well as the public banquets at other festivals and games. The Epulones are one of the four major colleges of priests, and have sacred as well as organizational duties.
Epulones: VI positions open
Sodales Fratres Arvales (The Arval Brethren.)
XII priests who compose the oldest priestly college in Rome. The Arval Brethren offer public sacrifices for the fertility of the fields, and preside over the worship of the Dea Dia, a Goddess of Grain and Cereal crops.
The rites of the Arval Brethren are one of the few virtually complete sets of Roman rituals to survive antiquity. In ancient Rome the Arval Brethren met in a grove sacred to the Dea Dia, where there was a circular temple and bath house. Until Nova Roma is able to provide such a central place, the Arval Brethren are to gather yearly in person if possible.
Magister (President of the Arval Brethren)
This position is elected yearly among the Arval Brethren.
Flamen Arvales (Assistant to the President)
This position is elected yearly among the Arval Brethren.
Sacerdotes Arvales: XII positions open
Sodales Luperci ("Wolfmen" Priests who officiate at the Lupercalia)
The Lupercii were responsible for purification and fertility, and the festival of Lupercalia is a time of fun and revelry. The exact number of Lupercii is not recorded and may have varied over time.
Luperci Quinctiales (or Quintilii) (founded by Romulus): Positions open
Luperci Fabiani (or Fabianii) (Founded by Remus)
Sodales Salii (the "leaping priests" of Mars)
XXIV priests who who dance in procession during public festivals of Mars. The Salii are responsible for keeping the sacred ancilia (shields) and dancing and singing the public festivals sacred to Mars. The Salii in antiquity wore archaic armor and carried arms, and would stop their procession at certain places to carry out ritual dances and sing.
Sodales Palatini (XII priests particularly devoted to Mars Gravidus):
Sodales Collini (or Agonenses)
(XII priests particularly devoted to Quirinus):
XX priests who represent Rome in foreign diplomacy and the making of treaties and declarations of war. In Nova Roma the Fetiales act as diplomats with other nations and organizations, and are therefore expected to be well versed in Nova Roma laws and policy.
Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis (One of four major priestly colleges)
XV priests who are in charge of the Sibylline Books (and their restoration).
Quindecimviri Sacris Facundis:
Sacerdotes (minor priesthoods)
There are a vast number of major and minor Roman deities that were served by "lesser known" Priests and Priestesses in the ancient Roman world. The Sacerdotes are the lesser "everyday" priesthoods that tend the temples and shrines, indextain the worship of a deity, and who assist the populace with their worship of that deity.
Within Nova Roma the Sacerdotes that oversee the worship of deities that do not have their own Flamen or Collegia (or who assist Flamens in the worship of specific God or Goddess). There is, in essence, no limit to the number of Sacerdotes that may serve a deity.
Please note that since there are many Gods and Goddesses from the Roman World, all the possible Sacerdos Priesthood positions cannot be listed here. If there is a Roman deity that you are interested in serving both publicly and privately, you are welcome to apply to be an official Sacerdos of that deity by applying to the Collegium Pontificum.
Click HERE to apply to be a Sacerdos of Nova Roma.