There were so many similarities between Christianity and Mithraism that early Church Fathers such as Tertullian and Justin Martyr claimed that Satan had, in anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ, created a false religion that shared many of the same rituals, traditions and beliefs in Christianity, concerning not only practices in worship but indentical traditions usually accredited to Jesus Christ such as the resurrection so that people would be tricked into believing that all Christianity was was a plagarisation of prior pagan beliefs. As absurd as this explanation is, it serves to show that Mithraism was not an plagarisation of Christianity but was there prior to Christianity.
Also, it is erroneously claimed that there were never any written records of Mithraism but the reality of it is, is that most evidence of Mithraism was destroyed by the Christians including not only monuments and many other artifacts but many books by ancient authors, such as Eubulus, who had written many volumes on the history of Mithraism!
Also, another thing that proves that Mithraism was around before Christianity was the discovery of Mithraic remains beneath later Christian edifices on Vatican Hill.
The following is taken out of the Catholic Encyclopedia by Joseph Wheless in his ever valuable book "Forgery in Christianity"(the words of Wheless are inbetween the parenthesis): "Mithraism is a pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-God Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander's conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth, [Of late it has been] brought into prominence mainly because of its supposed [?] similarity to Christianity.
"The origin of the cult of Mithra dates from the time that Hindus and Persians still formed one people, for the god Mithra occurs in the religion and sacred books of both races, i.e. in the Vedas and in the Avesta. ... After the conquest of Babylon (538 B.C.) this Persian cult came into contact with Chaldean astrology and with the national worship of Marduk. For a time the two priesthood of Mithra and Marduk coexisted in the capital and Mithraism borrowed much from this intercourse. ... This religion, in which the Iranian element remained predominant, came, after Alexander's conquest, in touch with the Western world. When finally the Romans took possession of the Kingdom of Pergamum (in 133 B.C.), occupied Asia Minor, and stationed two legions of soldiers on the Euphrates, the success of Mithraism was secured. It spread rapidly from the Bosphorus to the Atlantic, from Illyria to Britain. Its foremost apostles were the legionaries; hence it spread first to the frontier stations of the Roman army.
"Mithraism was emphatically a soldier religion; Mithra, its hero, was especially a divinity of fidelity, manliness, and bravery; the stress it laid on good-fellowship and brotherliness, its exclusion of women, and the secret bond among its members have suggested the idea that Mithraism was Masonry among the Roman soldiery." Several of the Roman Emperors, down to Licinius, colleague of Constantine, built temples to Mithra, and issued coins with his symbols. "But with the triumph of Christianity [after Constantine] Mithraism came to a sudden end. The laws of Theodosius [proscribing it under penalty of death, to please the Christians] signed its death warrant. Though he was still worshiped a thousand years later by the Manichees (p. 402). ...
"Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. -- This incarnate evil (Ahriman) rose; with the army of darkness to attack and depose Oromasdes (Ahura Mazda) They were however thrown back into hell, whence they escape, wander over the face of the earth and afflict man. ... As evil spirits ever lie in wait for hapless man, he needs a friend and savior, who is Mithra. ... Mithra is the Mediator between God and Man. The Mithraists... battled on Mithra's side against all impurity, against all evil within and without. They believed in the immortality of the soul; sinners after death were dragged down to hell; the just passed through the seven spheres of the planets, leaving at each planet a part of their lower humanity until, as pure spirits, they stood before God. At the end of the world Mithra will desectid to earth, ... and will make all drink the beverage of immortality. He will thus have proved himself Nabarses, 'the never conquered.' ...
"The fathers conducted the worship. The chief of the fathers, a sort of pope, who always lived at Rome, was called 'Pater Patratus' ... The members below the grade of pater called one another 'brother,' and social distinctions were forgotten in Mithraic unity. ... A sacred meal was celebrated of bread and haoma juce for which in the West wine was substituted. This meal was supposed to give the participants supernatural virtue. ...
"Three times a day prayer was offered the sun towards east, south, or west according to the hour. SUNDAY was kept holy in honor of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as Mediator. The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the Natalis Invictis, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigors of the season." (pp. 403-104.) It may be noted that Sunday was made a Pagan holiday by edict of Constantine, In the fifth Tablet of the Babylonian (Chaldean) Epic of Creation, by the great God Marduk, we read, lines 17 and 18: "On the seventh day he appointed a holy day, And to cease from all work he commanded." (Records of the Past, vol. ix; quoted, Clarke, Ten Great Religions, ii, p. 383.)
To resume with CE.: "No proof of immorality or obscene practices has ever been established against Mithraism; and as far as can be ascertained, or rixther conjectured, it had an elevating and invigorating effect on its followers. [So different from Christianity!] ...
"Relation to Christianity. -- A similarity between Mithra and Christ struck even early observers, such as Justin, Tertullian, and other Fathers, and in recent times has been urged to prove that Christianity is but an adaptation of Mithraism, or at least the outcome of the same religious ideas and aspirations. Some apparent [they are very apparent] similarities exist; but in a number of details -- [it is substance that is identical] -- it is quite as probable that Mithraism was the borrower from Christianity. -- [But these essential identities are found in the Vedas and Avesta, of maybe two thousand years before Christianity; Zoroaster, who, gave final form to the creed, lived some 600 years before the Christ!] -- It is not unnatural to suppose that a religion which swept the whole world, should have been copied at least in some details by another religion which was quite popular daring the third century -- [and for nine, Or twenty centuries before!] Similarity in words and names means nothing; it is the sense that matters. [To be sure; we proceed to see more of the sense, -- the essence -- to be identical] ...
"Mithra is called a mediator; and so is Christ ... And so in similar instances. Mithraism had a Eucharist, but the idea of the sacred banquet is as old as the human race and existed at all ages and amongst all peoples. -- [Not much "divine revelation" in this greatest of Christian mysteries!]. Mithra saved the world by sacrificing a bull -- [just as the Jews saved themselves] Christ by sacrificing himself. ... Mithraism was all comprehensive and tolerant of every other cult; Christianity was essentially exclusive, condemning every other religion in the world, alone and unique in its majesty." (CE. x, 402-404.)
As for the similarities between Mithra, Mithraism, Jesus and Christianity:
Mithra was a traveling teacher.
Mithra had 12 disciples.
He performed Miracles.
He was buried in a tomb.
In three days he was resurrected.
He was called the "Good Shepard".
He was considered ""the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah."
His sacred day was Sunday.
His resurrection was celebrated on Easter.
He had a Last Supper when he returned to his father. Also called the Eucharist or the Lord's Supper.
He was believed not to have died, but to have ascended to heaven where it was believed he would return at the end of time where he would judge the living and the dead.
He granted immortal life of his followers through baptism.
Followers of Mithra were lead by a 'papa', the Greek word for 'father' and what 'pope' is derived from,who ruled on Vatican Hill in Rome.
Followers of Mithra celebrated "sacramenta", a consecrated bread and wine, using chanting, incense,bells, candles and holy water just as is found in the Catholic Mass.
"The devil, whose business is to pervert the truth, mimics the exact circumstances of the Divine Sacraments...Thus he celebrates the oblation of bread, and brings in the symbol of the resurrection. Let us therefore acknowledge the craftiness of the devil, who copies certain things of those that be Divine."-Tertullian in the late 2nd century C.E., describing the similarities between Christianity and Mithraism.
"He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made on with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation."- NO this isn't John 6:53-54. Its actually an inscription to Mithras.
Worship of the Sun
TheCosmic Mysteries of Mithra
Mithra,Light of the World-MUST READ!
Mitra, Mithra, Mithras Mystery
Mithraism: Jung vrs Freud