Attis, the Phrygian god was bled to death at the foot of a pine-tree. His blood renewed the fertility of the earth and thus brought a new life to humanity. He also rose from the dead. In celebrating his death and resurrection, his image was fastened to a pine-tree on March 24th, and the day was called the “Day of Blood”, since on that day the deity was bled to death. The image was then laid in a tomb with wailing and mourning, but the coming night changed sorrow to joy. The tomb was found to be empty on the next day, when the festival of the resurrection was celebrated. These mysteries seem to have included a sacramental meal and a baptism of blood. According to an ancient Christian tradition, Christ died on March 23 and resurrected on March 25. These dates agree precisely with the death and resurrection of Attis.
In Attis, a bull was slaughtered while on a perforated platform. The animal’s blood flowed down over an initiate who stood in a pit under the platform. The believer was then considered to have been “born again.” Poor people could only afford a sheep, and so were literally washed in the blood of the lamb. This practice was interpreted symbolically by Christians. Followers of both religions celebrated a ritual meal involving bread. It was called a missa in Latin or mass in English.
Both the Catholic church and Mithraism had a total of seven sacraments.
Epiphany, January 6, was originally the festival in which the followers of Mithra celebrated the visit of the Magi to their newborn god-man. The Christian Church took it over in the 9th century.
The great Christian theologian, Clement of Alexandria, demonstrated the assimilation of Greek thought in writing: “Philosophy has been given to the Greeks as their own kind of Covenant, their foundation for the philosophy of Christ… the philosophy of the Greeks… contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human… even upon those spiritual objects.”