Parsee in Tajikistan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Parsee people, which literally means inhabitant, are also known as Zoroastrians, Zarathushti, Parsees, Parsis, and Zarthusht. This people group traces its origin to the Persian Kings of the Old Testament including King Darius, Cyrus, and Xerxes who aided in the rebuilding of the Temple. In the Old Testament, Cyrus is noted as the only Gentile who was called "anointed". The magi who came to worship at Jesus' birth are also believed to have been Parsee. Because of their ancient heritage, which is dated at before 3000 BC, they are very proud and cling to their identity of royal heritage. They are the Zoroastrian Iranians who refused to adopt Islam during the Arab conquest. They live in various parts of South and Central Asia, including Tajikistan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Parsee communities are tightly knit closed groups that view themselves as superior to all other religious groups and races. Parsee women who marry outside their people group are no longer considered Parsee.
One must be born Parsee and must participate in a blood covenant ritual to truly be Parsee. This ritual takes place just before children reach puberty. The child is bathed and then offered bull's urine, considered to be the blood of their god, by the temple priest and thus establishes a covenant allowing their soul to be one with god. Then the child is given a white shirt and a band of the covenant that is tied around the waist. These articles are never to be removed and are to be worn the rest of their lives as a reminder of the covenant.
Upon a baby's birth, mother and child are confined with a lamp to ward off demons. Children are often given three names, the first is a personal name, the second is the father's name, and the third is the family name.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The religion of Parsees is Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism has fire as its supreme deity of worship believing it to represent the son of god. All religious rituals and rites of passage are performed with fire present, and it is often lit by sandalwood and oil. Fires burn continuously in homes, and the temple fire is forbidden to burn out. Fire worship may include one falling prostrate before the flames.
They hold to the belief in a Wise Creator god and wisdom is the most valued character trait by Zoroastrians. Guardian angels, who are treated more like a magical genie to disperse wishes, are also primary to religious beliefs -- conscience is the most important of such angels. Resurrection and salvation are part of their religious terminology, though they differ in meaning from Christian definitions.
Ancestor worship is an important part of their worship. Pictures of deceased loved ones hang in homes and are prayed and bowed to. August marks a time dedicated to ancestor worship during which forgiveness is sought and the spirits are asked to join the people. Demons manifest themselves in the likeness of lost family members.
The Parsee people celebrate six seasonal festivals known as Gahambars. Each festival lasts five days and is a time of worship dedicated to Ahura Mazda. After worship, there are assemblies of feasting, fellowship and acts of goodwill.
Zoroastrians are extremely generous to the poor and needy. Parsees respect other faith systems and gods. The Bible is treated honorably as a religious text and Christ is also seen in a positive light and as a Messiah. The Parsee people hold to a code of conduct which is summarized as, "good thought, good word, good deeds." They believe they go to heaven by reading or reciting their Zoroastrian scriptures. Zoroastrian scriptures are the biggest and most difficult obstacle to their accepting Christ on his terms.

What Are Their Needs?

An important trait for a missionary to Zoroastrians must be unconditional agape love as in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." Zoroastrians are prejudiced against non-Zoroastrians, but that prejudice can be negated by a missionary who is highly educated.

Prayer Points

Pray for spiritual openness and a desire for eternal truths for the Parsees in Tajikistan.
Pray for the Lord to send dreams and visions to Parsees, paving the way for the Lord.
Pray for Parsee disciples who make more disciples.

Scripture Prayers for the Parsee in Tajikistan.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Parsee
People Name in Country Parsee
Pronunciation PAR-see
Alternate Names Parsis; Parzi; Zarathushti; Zardasht; Zarrushti; Zarthusht; Zarushti; Zoroastrians; पारसी
Population this Country 2,800
Population all Countries 169,000
Total Countries 9
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 14322
ROP3 Code 107901
ROP25 Code 306579
ROP25 Name Parsi / Parsee
Country Tajikistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Tajikistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Primary Religion: Other / Small
Religion Subdivision: Zoroastrianism
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
100.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Parsi-Dari
Language Code prd   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Dari, Zoroastrian
Primary Language Parsi-Dari
Language Code prd   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Dari, Zoroastrian
People Groups Speaking Parsi-Dari

Primary Language:  Parsi-Dari

Bible Translation Status:  Unspecified

Resource Type Resource Name Source
None reported  
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Ramniklal Mod - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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