Priests, rituals and celebrations

Hermaic stele of Plutarch
© Ephorate of Antiquities of Phocis, Ministry of Culture and Sports

 In each of the aforementioned areas the rituals and the form of the cult, of course, differed. Yet, the god's cult in Delphi itself is probably more interesting and important. From archaeological and epigraphic testimonies it is deduced that there were two priests (maybe three in the 1st century B.C.), appointed for life. Delphic chronology was organised on the basis of the succession of the priests. Another life-long office was that of the neokoros, whose tasks are not particularly clear, yet he might have been a kind of superintendent of the temple. We know, however, that he was present in all acts of liberation of slaves, as attested on the manumission inscriptions. Plutarch, himself a priest at Delphi for a considerable part of his life, speaks also of the Hosioi (the Sacred Ones), a council consisting of five men, head of which was the “presvys of the hosioi” (elderly). These men were present during several ceremonies, yet they must have played a role also in the administration of the assets and property of the sanctuary. Administrative roles were held also by the “protectors” and the “epimeletes” (curators), who undertook several tasks of a practical character during various celebrations.

Text - Translation: Dr. Aphrodite Kamara, Historian