Are there any modern sects who originate from or claim affiliation with Christianity that still practice any sacrificial rites? If so, who are they and what specifically is their understanding of the nature of sin and forgiveness in relation to sacrifice?

I think I understand the general position of orthodox Christianity on the issue. I'm specifically looking for anybody who both claims the label "Christian" and acknowledges Christ as the Messiah, but still sees a need for ongoing animal sacrifice -- and why.

  • I'll just comment since this isn't what you're looking for, but Catholics and Orthodox keep up the old tradition of the Thanksgiving Sacrifice, which according to some old Jewish tradition would be the only sacrifice that was kept up after the coming of the redeemer.
    – Peter Turner
    Oct 23, 2012 at 11:37

4 Answers 4


According to this article, there are local churches in Israel that still practice animal sacrifice. It says:

Although slaughter for sacrifice contradicts a basic belief of Christianity, it is practiced by local Catholics, Greek Orthodox and other Christians at the ruined Byzantine church of Saint George in the village of Taybeh, 20 miles from Jerusalem. "Around 70 to 80 lambs are sacrificed here each year," said the Roman Catholic priest, Father Raed. Similar sacrifices are also made in the towns of Lodd, Jaffa, al-Khadar and elsewhere in the Holy Land.

Unlike traditional sacrifices, the meat is then distributed to the poor rather than to the priests, but the purpose is very similiar.

From the article:

"The sheep are always facing east when a sharp knife goes through their necks," Khoury explained. "Sometimes sacrifices are offered as gratitude for the birth of a healthy child, help with a relation surviving a deadly illness or a major operation, or thanks for survival from a car accident."

During the killing, prayers are offered in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost and accompanied by entreaties to al-Khader (Saint George) to act as an intermediary.

Qleibo, although a Muslim himself, insists that Christian blood-sacrifice cannot be explained away as a Muslim influence: "Blood sacrifice was an important part of the ancient Canaanite religion and numerous pagan cults. Semitic blood sacrifices have persisted."

All this said, it seems to be a peculiar practice of a place, not so much as a denomination. Syncretism is apparently not the sole province of the Samaritans...


The Armenian Orthodox Church has practiced animal sacrifice since its inception in 301 AD and still does until this day. It is referred to as Matagh and performed outside of the church on holy days such as Easter or to ask for forgiveness. The practice was instituted by St. Gregory the Illuminator in his efforts to convert pagans, so it is an example of adapting a pagan practice to further conversion efforts. Please refer to the following article:


Please note that the Armenian Orthodox Church was the first nationally established church, the country officially converting in 301 AD. The second was its neighbor, the Kingdom of Georgia, which was officially declared Christian in 337 AD. Georgian Christians also occasionally perform animal sacrifices. The Armenian Orthodox Church is one of the Oriental Orthodox Churches which rejected the ruling of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, over the definition of the Trinity, so it has split with the larger Eastern Orthodox community.

Also for a history of animal sacrifice within Eastern Orthodoxy, see the following:



I personally know of a Christian Church in Conyers, Georgia, USA that participates in animal sacrifice ( sacrificial lamb/goat) before the Masters Supper during Passover. This year the holy day will fall on March 12, 13, or 14th. The church is Ministers of the New Covenant - Pastor Matthew Janzen. Children are encouraged to participate in the slaughter.

  • @DavidStratton I think this should "explkaining" it: September 13, 2013 When the two words "animal sacrifices" are spoken, people generally begin to feel a discomfort in their spirit. Most people have the idea that they are now detestable to the Almighty. This lesson explains how we must trust in Yahweh and not lean to our own understanding, pulling from the first book in Scripture. Feb 5, 2014 at 3:10
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    Mod Notice: Attn commentors — If you want to have a discussion about issues that are not constructive criticism or requests for clarification from a post, please take it to Christianity Chat. Comments are not far carrying on topical discussions. Thanks for understanding.
    – Caleb
    Feb 5, 2014 at 20:25

Santeria is kind-of sort-of a Christian denomination, and they practice animal sacrifices.

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    This as the beginning of a good answer. Can you add more, and some references? Oct 24, 2012 at 3:05
  • Well, I don't claim to be any sort of expert on Santeria. You can find more than I know by searching the web. I quickly found this reference: britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/523208/Santeria. There's an article on Wikipedia, etc. The gist of Santeria as I understand it is that it is a Caribbean religion with roots in Africa that identifies spirit-beings worshipped by these people before they heard of Christianity with Catholic saints. So they merge their ... "tribal"? "traditional"? ... divination, animal sacrifice, etc, with some Christian beliefs.
    – Jay
    Oct 26, 2012 at 17:49
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    @Jay How about editing some of that into this post? It's a bit weak as it stands. Your comment is more substantial than your answer. It should be the other way around.
    – Caleb
    Feb 5, 2014 at 20:10
  • I don't practice Santeria.
    – fгedsbend
    Feb 19, 2017 at 4:00

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