In purgatory, a chief priest or priestess is a ghost who has consumed the ideal 13,060 souls during their time as soul reapers and are given human bodies by Pluto and Persephone, as well as an esteemed rank in purgatory's hierarchy and special privileges and duties.
When a ghost or soul-reaping team consumes enough souls to place them within the purgatory leaderboard's top three, they can attend meetings with Pluto, Persephone and priests to discuss their qualifications for their currently hypothetical promotion. If they desire to pursue this course for their lives and if they possess the necessary requirements, they are given special training to prepare them for their responsibilities as priests until they reach the amount of souls elligible for them to begin their task. The ghost or team must be accompanied by the current, soon-to-be former chief priest/ess as well as one ghost witness directly affiliated with them while reaping souls. As part of Pluto's expression of gratitude for reaching this milestone, he will honor the ghost or soul-reaping team one wish each to be granted (although nothing explicitly malicious or parsimonious will be approved); however, if the ghost or team has no wish or does not want one granted, this can be skipped entirely. During the process of the ghost or team's transformations into their human bodies, all souls previously consumed will repopulate purgatory, including those collected by ghosts who will be relocating to the afterlife. The ghost's witness or witnesses regain their human forms as well, however do not have the same privileges as chief priests and act as their bodyguards until a new priest is elected to suceed them. While they receive their human bodies from when they were alive, they still retain their post-mortem hair and eye color. Whatever powers a ghost had are increased by twenty after they become priests, and a human body is necessary to serve as a proper container for this newfound strength in ability and force.
Differences from Ghosts
Priests make important decisions in purgatory and can be thought of as members of Pluto and Persephone's cabinet. They typically serve as their mouthpieces, and will make appearances at meetings and functions for them if necessary. Their words are traditionally to be taken as if they were of Pluto and Persephone's, although potential nuance from the priest's personal bias does occur and this typically should not be taken at face value. Although it is no longer necessary for a priest to reap souls, the only factor that prevents them from doing so is their free will, as is shown is Jewels of Malice when Sternenglanz still actively collects souls for his immortality project. Priests spend the majority of their time in mediation corridors, where they chant prayers quietly and wait for human souls on the brink of death to be available to them so that they can sever their threads of life. This can require extreme concentration and precision, as waiting too long can result in a human not dying in their intended time, while acting too soon can potentially result in a premature death.
Chief priests have a seperate chamber apart from the rest of the corridor that doubles as a throne room, and he or she can meditations and address relevant issues as a monarch would. After a new chief priest is chosen, they relinquish their throne room to him or her and move to the main corridor, where they sit on their feet on floor mats. All seats in the corridor are positioned facing an enormous fire pool, where they can visualize their targeted human as well as use it for its default purpose, such as inquiring about certain details and communicating with others.
In addition, priests are given the authority by Pluto and Persephone to send ghosts and priests to eternal sleep, a sentence for those who repeatedly engage in illegal activity.
- On occasion, Kleinod and Weltraum will refer to priests as shinigami; however, this is inaccurate as the term is parallel to the concept of the Grim Reaper, which is a role fulfilled by ghosts in purgatory.
- Their responsibilities and relationship with humans is similar to Atropos/Morta of the Three Fates.
- Ghosts who become priests do not go to the afterlife after they die.
- Throughout the series, only four chief priests appear and play a prominent role, these being Sterbenfrau for the majority of the show, co-priests Kleinod and Weltraum prior to season two's finale, and an unnamed male who is only mentioned at least twice in passing, yet was active before being succeeded by Sterbenfrau.
- While dead in the sense that they were human-turned-ghosts, priests are both simultaneously and neither dead and/or alive.