The cult of the Persian God Mithras (a sunā€god), which was established in Rome by NT times, and it had certain beliefs and rites which resembled those of the Christians: after Mithras had overcome and sacrificed a bull, he ascended into heaven; bread, water, and wine were used by initiates in the rituals; and there was a ministry of priests. Several German scholars in the early decades of the 20th cent. argued for an influence of Mithraism on the development of sacramental Christianity. The Mithraic festival of the Natalis Solis Invicti on 25 December was taken over as Christmas Day by the Church in the 4th cent.