CHARACTERISTICS OF MYSTERY RELIGIONS (and
Orphism is one of them)
"Mystery" concerns the religion's interest with the
questions that remain a mystery to us while alive. These religions suggest
that worship of a particular god in particular ways can bring knowledge
unknown to those outside the religion, and eternal life after death.
Rituals include an initiation ceremony,
reenactments of the god's death, and a communion with the god (generally
achieved by a communal meal of a sacrifice that represents the god).
Believers had to life their life according to the tenets of the religion
(rules concerning morality, diet, etc.), as set forth by the god. They also
had to accepts the god's understanding of how the world works.
Mystery Religions are based on faith that belief in
the gods and adherence to his rules will result in rebirth after death.
MYSTERY RELIGIONS OF ANTIQUITY (IN ROMAN
Cult of Cybele
Cult of Mithras (Persia)
images: Mithras slaying the bull (from
Pergamon Museum, Berlin and from British Museum,
Cult of Dea Syria (Atargatis and Tammuz)
Egyptian Mysteries (Osiris and Isis)
Know the term syncretism, the conflation
(combining, confusing) of two cultures. The extent of the Roman Empire
allowed for lots of different cults to trickle back to Rome...as many of
them overlapped, some elements merged together. In the same way, outlying
provinces were affected by the Roman religions, and syncretism occurred
there too. (An example of syncretism would be a fourth century AD mosaic of
Apollo or Dionysus with a halo...representing Christ).