Let's Compare Pastor and Priest


A pastor is usually an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, the term may be abbreviated to "Pr" or often "Ps."

pastor n 1: a person authorized to conduct religious worship [syn: {curate}, {minister}, {parson}, {rector}] 2: only the rose-colored starlings; in some classifications considered a separate genus [syn: {subgenus Pastor}]

36 Moby Thesaurus words for "pastor": DD, Doctor of Divinity, Holy Joe, abbe, bishop, canon, chaplain, churchman, churchwoman, clergyman, clergywoman, cleric, clerical, clerk, curate, cure, divine, ecclesiastic, father, man of God, military chaplain, minister, padre, parson, priest, rector, reverend, servant of God, shepherd, sky pilot, supply clergy, supply minister, the Reverend, the very Reverend, tonsured cleric, vicar

Pastor \Pas"tor\, n. [L., fr. pascere, pastum, to pasture, to feed. Cf. {Pabulum}, {Pasture}, {Food}.] 1. A shepherd; one who has the care of flocks and herds. [1913 Webster] 2. A guardian; a keeper; specifically (Eccl.), a minister having the charge of a church and parish. [1913 Webster] 3. (Zo["o]l.) A species of starling ({Pastor roseus}), native of the plains of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Its head is crested and glossy greenish black, and its back is rosy. It feeds largely upon locusts. [1913 Webster]


A priest or priestess is a person authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or multiple deities.

priest n 1: a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders 2: a spiritual leader in a non-Christian religion [syn: {non-Christian priest}]

74 Moby Thesaurus words for "priest": Aaronic priesthood, Levite, Melchizedek priesthood, Seventy, abbe, abbess, abbot, acolyte, acolytus, apostle, baal kore, bishop, cantor, cassock, celibataire, celibate, chief rabbi, churchman, churchwoman, clergyman, clergywoman, cleric, confessor, curate, cure, deacon, diaconus, divine, doorkeeper, ecclesiastic, elder, evangelist, exorcist, exorcista, father, father confessor, father in Christ, gallach, high priest, holy man, holy orders, kohen, lector, major orders, man of God, minor orders, misogamist, misogynist, missionary, monastic, monk, mother, nun, ostiarius, padre, parish priest, patriarch, penitentiary, preacher, presbyter, rabbi, rabbin, reader, reverend, scribe, servant of God, single, spiritual director, spiritual father, subdeacon, subdiaconus, teacher, unmarried, vicar

Priest \Priest\, v. t. To ordain as priest. [1913 Webster]

Priest \Priest\, n. [OE. prest, preost, AS. pre['o]st, fr. L. presbyter, Gr. ? elder, older, n., an elder, compar. of ? an old man, the first syllable of which is probably akin to L. pristinus. Cf. {Pristine}, {Presbyter}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Christian Church) A presbyter elder; a minister; specifically: (a) (R. C. Ch. & Gr. Ch.) One who is authorized to consecrate the host and to say Mass; but especially, one of the lowest order possessing this power. --Murdock. (b) (Ch. of Eng. & Prot. Epis. Ch.) A presbyter; one who belongs to the intermediate order between bishop and deacon. He is authorized to perform all ministerial services except those of ordination and confirmation. [1913 Webster] 2. One who officiates at the altar, or performs the rites of sacrifice; one who acts as a mediator between men and the divinity or the gods in any form of religion; as, Buddhist priests. ``The priests of Dagon.'' --1 Sam. v. 5. [1913 Webster] Then the priest of Jupiter . . . brought oxen and garlands . . . and would have done sacrifice with the people. --Acts xiv. 13. [1913 Webster] Every priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. --Heb. v. 1. [1913 Webster] Note: In the New Testament presbyters are not called priests; but Christ is designated as a priest, and as a high priest, and all Christians are designated priests. [1913 Webster]

Presbyter \Pres"by*ter\, n. [L. an elder, fr. Gr. ?. See {Priest}.] [1913 Webster] 1. An elder in the early Christian church. See 2d Citation under {Bishop}, n., 1. [1913 Webster] 2. (Ch. of Eng. & Prot. Epis. Ch.) One ordained to the second order in the ministry; -- called also {priest}. [1913 Webster] I rather term the one sort presbyter than priest. --Hooker. [1913 Webster] New presbyter is but old priest writ large. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 3. (Presbyterian Ch.) A member of a presbytery whether lay or clerical. [1913 Webster] 4. A Presbyterian. [Obs.] --Hudibras. [1913 Webster]

Priest The Heb. kohen, Gr. hierus, Lat. sacerdos, always denote one who offers sacrifices. At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the head of the family, as in the cases of Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham (12:7; 13:4), Isaac (26:25), Jacob (31:54), and Job (Job 1:5). The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18). Under the Levitical arrangements the office of the priesthood was limited to the tribe of Levi, and to only one family of that tribe, the family of Aaron. Certain laws respecting the qualifications of priests are given in Lev. 21:16-23. There are ordinances also regarding the priests' dress (Ex. 28:40-43) and the manner of their consecration to the office (29:1-37). Their duties were manifold (Ex. 27:20, 21; 29:38-44; Lev. 6:12; 10:11; 24:8; Num. 10:1-10; Deut. 17:8-13; 33:10; Mal. 2:7). They represented the people before God, and offered the various sacrifices prescribed in the law. In the time of David the priests were divided into twenty-four courses or classes (1 Chr. 24:7-18). This number was retained after the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh. 7:39-42). "The priests were not distributed over the country, but lived together in certain cities [forty-eight in number, of which six were cities of refuge, q.v.], which had been assigned to their use. From thence they went up by turns to minister in the temple at Jerusalem. Thus the religious instruction of the people in the country generally was left to the heads of families, until the establishment of synagogues, an event which did not take place till the return from the Captivity, and which was the main source of the freedom from idolatry that became as marked a feature of the Jewish people thenceforward as its practice had been hitherto their great national sin." The whole priestly system of the Jews was typical. It was a shadow of which the body is Christ. The priests all prefigured the great Priest who offered "one sacrifice for sins" "once for all" (Heb. 10:10, 12). There is now no human priesthood. (See Epistle to the Hebrews throughout.) The term "priest" is indeed applied to believers (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6), but in these cases it implies no sacerdotal functions. All true believers are now "kings and priests unto God." As priests they have free access into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and the sacrifices of grateful service from day to day.

Data Sources:

  • pastor: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • pastor: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • pastor: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • priest: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • priest: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • priest: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • priest: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • priest: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • priest: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

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