Catholic/Orthodox takes on Zoroastrianism and its links to Christianity?

What’s with the similarities and why do you think that it might have strongly influenced Medieval Christians as these findings might show?

Some people have been searching into its history and relationship with Christianity, with some interesting finds. Its implied that the European Zoroastrians all converted to the Catholic or Orthodox Faith. The last prince of the Zoroastrian Sassanian Empire converted to Christianity after its fall, and Piruz Navandhi was a Zoroastrian who considered the idea of Jesus being the Messiah while holding both Christian - Zoroastrian beliefs simultaneously. These brand of Zoroastrian converts might have strongly influenced Medieval Catholics or Christians and resulted in the popular strand of the time.

Even Catholics in the countryside during the Middle Ages continued to hold Zoroastrian strains alongside their Christian beliefs and it influenced their superstitions. The devil was an individual who roamed the landscape causing trouble and issues, sometimes even causing people to be born with inherently dark qualities that gave them an evil nature. If you study Zoroastrianism you will find the foundation that they had, it wasn’t just ‘paganism’ but Zoroastrianism that came before the Church.

On the religion’s teachings for context:

Zoroastrianism predicted before Christianity came into place of a virgin birth even that would bring forth a messiah who would oversee the resurrection, destruction of the evil one and all evil in the world. Many Zoroastrian converts to Christianity who believed Jesus to be the messiah in their beliefs strongly rejoiced at the notion that the ‘Saoshyant’ (Saviour) predicted had already come to our world. The religion historically it has a pontiff or pope just as the Church does, but the last one in Iran is deceased and the Zoroastrian pope’s office has been empty since. They believe in saints and angels as well just as Catholics do, and also in a holy spirit?

Their theology teaches that God isn’t necessarily all powerful and did not create bad. Evil is a separate thing from God unless you believe in the interpretation that ‘Zoroaster meant bad vs good mind and got misinterpreted’. Its that our purpose in life is to push bad against the bad as ‘God the Wise Lord’ with hopes of eventually having an environment where goodness or good thoughts can flourish and where evil cannot tempt us into sinning. Environments shape people etc, and an evil environment infected by the devil will corrupt. The devil makes war against the good but will be destroyed in the end times when the messiah comes.

In the approach to evil it does not teach ‘turning the other cheek’ and teaches that people should resist, in attempt to vanquish the bad in their lives through whatever means are reasonable.

So apparently the original version of the religion never opposed conversion and there are denominations outside of the Parsi ones that allow it with some Parsis or Priests also joining their side recently.

1 Like

Adding something here for more context.

They had a sacrament of reconciliation or confession before the Islamic invasion destroyed their religion’s central administration during the time the pro-conversionists were strong. You needed to confess your sins to a priest or dastur in which he would then tell you what you had to do in order to atone for what you’ve done. Whether its going back and fixing it or accepting a certain punishment including if it means you voluntarily undertaking penalty/dying for your sins depending on how serious it is. A murderer could opt to confess their sins for example and choose to die for them in order to reduce their time in Hell. There’s some evidence this belief might have seeped into medieval Christians’ interpretations of scripture or their beliefs. Hell in its difference to Christianity is a temporary place where all souls will suffer before they are saved once people finish doing their time. People are judged based on their actions instead of belief (Unless it affects them) by said God or Wise Lord.

Deliberately polluting the environment can also be counted as a sin, as well as cruelty to animals (Being a serious one).

Other supernatural beings that exist which people have worshiped as deities in other religions are broken down into classifications of angels or demons depending but not seen as ‘God’.

Also they do not pray at fire, instead its like an altar, one giant candle or acts similar to the black stone in Mecca within Islam. Idolatry is also forbidden etc.

Zoroastrianism is sometimes grouped with Christianity, Islam and Judaism because of many of its teachings. Cyrus the Great and the Magi were presumably Zoroastrians, and I’ve heard it theorized that Abraham was some form of Zoroastrian at first, though he would eventually become the patriarch of the Jews.

Meh. All human religions deal with identical, universal human problems, wishes, hopes, desires. To me, similarities among them indicate only that they attempt to deal with problems common to mankind.

Notice that those who question Christianity and toss out all manner of supposedly earlier or more credible or believable belief systems, do not actually believe in those same systems!

They desire only to cast doubt upon Christ.

If you are Son of God…”

Who asked that?

Interpretations of religions branching from the Zoroastrian side often range from interpreting Jesus as a prophet or teacher (And not the messiah) if people don’t think he is, or ‘a savior’ and ‘not the savior’.

Others have claimed he was always meant to be the messiah of the Zoroastrian interpretation of ‘God’ and not the Jewish one.

He said of Himself “I am sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”

Once rejected, He became the greatest gift in human history to the Gentile world - as well as to all Hebrews who would have him.

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.