Author Topic: Anuirean clerical titles in RoE  (Read 2419 times)

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Offline DM B

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Anuirean clerical titles in RoE
« on: March 18, 2010, 12:20:16 PM »
The Imperial temple evolved over several centuries and not before the 4th or 5th century HC had it solidified into the uniform structure most commonly associated with it. Claiming to be the holder of the truth, the core of Imperial Temple dogma was that no one written work (read the Book of Laws) held the will of Haelyn (and to a certain degree that of the other gods), but rather that the Temple as an institution is the means through which the Gods make their will known on Aebrynis.

Pontiff, His Holiness, Your Holiness - The head of the Imperial Temple was known as the Pontiff, and he was chosen from among the ranks of the clergy of the Imperial Temple, by the Cardinals of the Conclave. In theory anyone could be chosen, but in practice only senior cardinals, or very rarely powerful bishops, were chosen. The Pontiff ruled for life or until he abdicated (only happened thrice in the history of the Temple). As the direct representative of Haelyn on Aebrynis, the Pontiff was the supreme religious authority in Cerilia.

Patriarch, His/Her Holiness, Your Holiness - The Imperial temple contained many sub-sects, some based on worship of one god in particular, others more regionally focused. The exact number, nature, and extent of these sub-sets varied over time. In later years of the Empire, and especially in the first hundred years after it's end, the sub-sects took on greater importance. As a result the title of Patriarch was coined and applied to the leaders of these sects; they became, in effect, religious sovereigns paying only lip service to the Pontiff (whom they eventually considered only first among equals).

Today's temple leaders are the heirs to the Patriarch tradition - supremely sovereign temple leaders who bow before no authority but God's. The names of 16th Century temple heads varies enormously; the OIT has a Patriarch, the WIT a Prelate, the NIT a Hierarch, the HA a High Marshal (although that title is descended also from a military rank).

Cardinal, His/Her Eminence, Your Eminence - The title of Cardinal was bestowed by the Pontiff on respected bishops and archbishops, and as such the Pontiff had a certain degree of influence on who would succeed him, especially if he ruled a long time and got to make many cardinals. During the election of Pontiff Taeman III in 846 HC, a total of 89 cardinals out of 101 made their way to Imperial City to participate in the Conclave.

Archbishop, His/Her Eminence, Your Eminence - Certain bishops, because they were personally powerful, held a specific position within the church hierarchy or because their diocese was very important, were given the title of Archbishop – literally first among bishops. A good example of this was the Maester of the Holy Orders of the Inquisition, which was always an archbishop.

Bishop, His/Her Eminence, Your Eminence - Below the Pontiff in rank were the Bishops. Each bishop was tasked with the administration of the Temple’s affairs within a defined area known as a diocese, which almost always corresponds to a specific province. Some bishops reported directly to the Pontiff, but the majority of dioceses eventually came to report through an Archbishop.

Priest, Father/Mother, Father/Mother - The next lower rank was that of Priest. A priest was either responsible for a parish, a smaller area within a diocese, or held a position within the temple that gave him that rank. Missionaries are a good example of this – they were recognized a priests even though they had no parish to call their own. Priests were sometimes referred to as pastors if they had a congregation, as to differentiate them from other priests.

Deacon, Father/Mother, Father/Mother - The most common member of the clergy was the Deacon – full members of the clergy who were too junior or otherwise not fit to bear the rank of priest. They had, as they do today, a specific place in liturgy and sacraments, and were generally permitted to do many of the tasks a full first did. The Imperial Temple was special in that a deacon reported directly to a bishop, and not to the priest to whom they had been dispatched to.

Acolyte, Brother/Sister, Brother/Sister - Acolytes made up the lowest part of the rank hierarchy within the Imperial Temple. Acolytes were mostly youngsters sent to the Temple to train to become priests, but sometime people would join at a later stage in their life. Not all acolytes became deacons, for upon being judge worthy each acolyte was given the choice of dedicating his life to Haelyn or returning to the mundane world. A large number chose the later option, and it was indeed a common practice to send young boys to the temple to train as acolytes as a means of giving them an education and a moral upbringing.

Obviously these titles were more uniform during the days of the Imperial Temple, but for most Anuirean temples this system (or a variant of it, using different names for the ranks for example) is used even toady.

Until the resurgence of the Conclave there was no Pontiff nor and Cardinals (except the Patriarch of the OIT who continued to claim that old and meaningless title). The way these two titles are bestowed are quite different now than was the case in the past; the pontiff is elected from the Haelynite leader of a faction, while a Cardinal is identical to the High Priest (Pariarch) of the so-called Cardinal Temple (13 in number).

« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 01:34:28 PM by DM Bjørn »
DM Bjørn