Unique Online Course For Zoroastrian Priests Completes First Batch

The first batch comprising 20 priests, recently completed the first 10-week module of a unique 30-week long religious course, covering outer rituals, inner rituals and Avestan texts, put together and taught by Prof. Almut Hintze, (Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism – SOAS, London) and Er. Dr. Ramiyar P. Karanjia, Principal – Dadar Athornan Institute. The complete course is designed as a 30-week programme consisting of three 10-week courses – the first 10-week course covers the outer rituals, the second covers the inner rituals, and the third covers Avestan texts.

Envisioned and funded by London-based Zarthushtra (Zar) Amrolia, in memory of his late parents – Jal and Armin Amrolia, this course is specially designed for full time and part time Zoroastrian priests. The purpose of the course is to empower Zoroastrian priests all over the world. Zar Amrolia has also made an endowment with the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE), which makes it possible for the courses to run annually, provided there is an interest among priests.

The first ten-week course, covering outer rituals, was held 22nd May to 24th July, 2023. It was attended by fully initiated, full-time practicing priests, from Mumbai, Nagpur, Bangalore, Billimora and Karachi, including Ervads: Peterasp D. Bajan, Zarvan J. Bharda,  Adil J. Bhesania, Neville D. Broacha, Hormuz A. Dadachanji, Marazban N. Kanga, Kersi T. Karanjia, Fardoon Karkaria, Kaizad M. Kotwal, Harvesp P. Madon, Farshogar P. Madon,  Dinshaw D. Mullanfiroze, Percy G. Panthaky, Shehrezad R.Pavri, Hormazd S. Sidhwa, Kurush A. Sidhwa, Khurshed J. Turel, Gushtasp H. Vimadalal and Farzin D. Yazeshni.

Most priests had a 100% attendance record, with no priest having a less than 80% attendance. Healthy discussions were held after each session. Post the completion of the entire course, the priests will be writing an essay on topics covered in the course and how the course helped and influenced them. They will be awarded a participation certificate as well as a handsome monetary award for completing the course. Prof. Almut Hintze and Er. Dr. Ramiyar P. Karanjia conducted five sessions each. Topics covered included: Introduction and survey of Zoroastrian rituals, Afringan, Farokhshi, Baj-dharna (Dron Yasht), Stum, Naojote, Wedding, Death Ceremonies (Geh-sarna), Death Ceremonies (Uthamna, Sarosh no Kardo etc.) and Boi ceremony. Zar Amrolia also attended some of the sessions and post this successful Indian launch, hopes to run the course globally, for which a plan is underway to include Iranian priests, next year.

Priests looking to participate in programme can write to: ramiyark@gmail.com and ah69@soas.ac.uk for information on subsequent batches of the programme. Applicant priests should indicate the details in their email application including their Full name; Whether they perform higher rituals; Part time or full time; Nature of service, Place of work and share a reference.

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