Who Are The Samaritans ?

sacrifice cermony (1903)
        Samaritan sacrificial ceremony on Mount Gerizim (1934)

The Samaritans are the descendants of  the ancient northern kingdom of israel .
This remnant are the heirs of the Ten Lost Tribes that still bear the flag of the ancient sanctuaries of Israel.Their history overlaps that of the  Kingdom of Judea. Both kingdoms bear witness to a glorious common history, till  the period of  Eli .Eli the priest, was of the lineage of Itamar, a son of Aaron, and he took for himself the High priesthood as written  in Samuel 1 , chapter one. However the Priesthood belonged to Uzi Ben Bahki, of the lineage of Phinehas of whom the priesthood was promised in Numbers 25:11-13. Eli had persisted to take the position of High priest while Uzi was still a young boy when he was assigned to be High Priesthood.

Two centers of worship  developed from consequence of Eli's actions.
The israeli people had to choose between Mount Gerizim , the Holy Place, with the High priest Uzi the descendant of Phinehas or Shilo with Eli, a descendant of Itamar. (Years after, in the 14th century CE, the last priest of the lineage of Phinehas, Solomon Ben Phinehas, was died, without children, and the priesthood passed to the lineage of Itamar Ben Aaron the brother of Moses the Prophet)
This brought about the first religious division among the Israel and the priestly house.

In the 4th century C.E, the Samaritans numbered over one million.
They  dwelled throughout Isreal, even from southern Syria to northern Egypt. For many generations the Samaritans were persecuted by their adversaries. This nearly brought about their total elimination. At the beginning of the 20th century, only 150 had survived. Today in Israel, the sect numbers about 600 souls, in their own special neighborhoods on Mount Gerizim, and in Holon near Tel Aviv.

 Despite the fact, that the Samaritans are the most ancient people in the world, from a demographic point of view ,it would seem that it is a younger society than average.

The samaritans have their own form of writing, the Ancient hebrew script, their  own historical  traditions, dating back to the creation of the world. Their own news paper, A.B-The Samaritans News appears biweekly.

The samaritan religion is based on four principles of faith, which are the basic beliefs of followers of the religion. these  four principles of faith are read by the samaritan at the beginning of every prayer and the are:
1. One God-The God of Israel;
2. One Prophet-Moses Ben Amram;
3. The Belief in The TORAH-the first five books of the bible.
4.One  Holy Place-Mount Gerizim.
To these principles is added the belief in  the day of Vengeance and Retribution- "THE END OF THE DAYS" when the "THAEB"-son of  Joseph, a prophet like Moses (Messiah") will be revealed.

The samaritans celebrate the festivals laid down in the Torah:
THE SEVENTH MONTH (equivalent to the new year in the jewish tradition);

The leader of the community is the High  priest. He is also the head of the priestly clan. The other  three clans are from the house of Joseph, Tsedaka ,from the tribe of Menashe, Danfi and Marchiv from the tribe of Ephraim.

The samaritans observe the laws of purity and impurity, and Kashrut.
Circumcisions are performed on the eighth day after the sons birth.
All young boys and girls up on completing the reading of the Torah are called "Hatan Torah"- completers of the Torah ,but unlike the jews,  this is not determined by age.
Ties between couples are in three stages: sanctification, engagement and marriage.