Like all Space Marine Apothecaries, Sanguinary Priests are battlefield medics, trained to heal Battle Brothers' wounds, and retrieve the geneseed of those who are killed or too grievously wounded to survive.[1a]
They also share a role with the Blood Angels' Chaplains in the spiritual guidance of their Battle Brothers. Where Chaplains are there to save Blood Angels from falling to the Black Rage, Sanguinary Priests watch for signs of the Red Thirst, doing their best to curb its effects, or - when the battle turns against them - harness it as a weapon against the enemy.[1a]
Sanguinary Priests also oversee the induction of new recruits into the chapter, by a process known as Insanguination. During the Insanguination, geneseed is implanted into successful Neophytes by drinking from the Blood Chalice held by a Sanguinary Priest.[1b]
Because of this role, the Sanguinary Priests are responsible for the care of the Red Grail, the chalice holding the blood of Sanguinius himself. This blood is regularly circulated through the veins of the Sanguinary Priests, who are injected with a sample from the Grail, then later cut themselves to bleed it back in. In this way, the blood is continuously kept fresh, and every single draught from the Grail contains a small percentage of the original blood of the Primarch.[3a]
As the chapter's leading specialists in the Blood Angels' genecode, many Sanguinary Priests are engaged in an intensive - some would say futile - search for a cure for the Red Thirst and the Black Rage.[1d][3b]
Because of their dual role, with the Chaplains, of watching over their battle-brothers' spiritual health, it has become traditional, since M35, for the Sanguinary High Priest and the High Chaplain to assume joint command of the chapter, in the event the Chapter Master is killed or incapacitated. For this reason, the Sanguinary Priesthood is considered on an equal footing with the Chapter command in the Blood Angels' hierarchy.[1c]
Sanguinary Novitiates are a junior stage of Sanguinary Priest. Trained in the art of surgery, they are equipped with the Narthecium and Reductor common in all Apothecaries but lack the blood of Sanguinius and Blood Chalice.
Notable Sanguinary Priests
- Izrafel - Flesh Tearers/Deathwatch
- Lamentarios - Took part in the Cryptus Campaign and defended Asphodex.
- Caecus[Needs Citation]
- 1: Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition)
- 2: Codex: Blood Angels (4th Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 3: Red Fury (Novel) - Blood Angels: The Second Omnibus by James Swallow
- 4: White Dwarf 44 (2014) - The Phodian Mind War
- 5: Codex: Blood Angels (8th Edition) pg.30