Church of the Canon
The Church of the Canon (High Imperial: Ecclesia Canonis) is the largest religious authority in humanity. It has played a key role in the development of human civilization. Followers of the Church are called Canonists, and their religion is Canonism. The leader of the Church is called the High Pontiff, who is considered the successor of the prophets and the spiritual complement to the Holy Orenian Emperor's worldly authority. The current High Pontiff is High Pontiff Everard VI.
Canonism is a monotheist religion that asserts that when God (called the Creator) distributed blessings to each of the four races, he promised that four prophets (called the Exalted) would visit humanity. The Church believes these four prophets have already appeared and revealed their scriptures, called the Holy Scrolls or the Canon. The High Pontiff is the successor to these prophets, inheriting their responsibility to interpret scripture and lead the faithful.
Through prophetic succession, the Church claims sole religious authority over all humanity. It considers any human who does not practice Canonism to be an apostate. Nonhumans are permitted to practice their native faith, but are still encouraged to convert.
The Holy Scrolls
The Holy Scrolls, of which there are four, are the scriptures of Canonism.
- The Scroll of Virtue: Revealed to Ex. Horen, the founder of humanity. It contains seven books called 'Canticles', each detailing one of seven virtues, and one of seven commandments all must follow.
- The Scroll of Spirit: Revealed to Ex. Owyn, the grandson of Ex. Horen. It contains Epistles, written by Ex. Owyn to the various contemporary groups. Each epistle details a misunderstanding that group had about God, and one of God's attributes.
- The Scroll of Gospel: Revealed to Ex. Godfrey, the founder of the Holy Orenian Empire. It contains the history of humanity up to the point of Ex. Godfrey's death, and then a prophecy of the next Exalted.
- The Scroll of Auspice: Revealed to Ex. Sigismund, who divided Church and State. It contains three visions describing the beginning, middle, and end of the last days.
The Scroll of Virtue
Canonism is generally founded on the pursuit of 'virtue', which is good and pious behavior as it is described in the Scroll of Virtue. Although the Church believes that only humans are required to observe Canonism, all races are required to be virtuous. Each of the seven canticles of the Scroll of Virtue describes a specific virtue and its derivative commandment:
- The Canticle of Faith: You shall not blaspheme My Word, nor any thing that is holy.
- The Canticle of Charity: You shall not desire the wealth of this world, nor the wealth of others, but the wealth of the spirit.
- The Canticle of Temperance: You shall not lie with your kin, nor those of other tribes, and none shall lie together but in holy union.
- The Canticle of Diligence: You shall not be idle, nor forget your duties in favor of sloth.
- The Canticle of Patience: You shall not raise a hand in wrath, nor in envy, nor in any kind of sin.
- The Canticle of Fidelity: You shall keep fast to your word and station, and aspire not to greatness among men, but to My glory.
- The Canticle of Humility: You shall not judge your own virtue, be it great or small, for all fall short of Me.
Individuals who lived virtuous lives will go to one of Seven Skies after their death, depending on how well they modeled the Virtue: virtuous pagans go to the First Sky, while Canonist saints go to the Fifth Sky. Only the Exalted live and their wives live in the Sixth Sky, while God's throne is in the Seventh. Those who led evil lives go to the Void, which is a place of oblivion and torment.
The Scroll of Spirit
Canonism is monotheist, believing God is the culmination of all power, goodness, and wisdom. Each of the seven epistles of the Scroll of Spirit details one of the attributes of God, written in the form of a letter to one of Ex. Owyn's contemporaries.
- The Epistle to the Godwinites: Written to the followers of Godwin, the second son of Ex. Horen. It chastises them for believing God has internal divisions, emphasizing his oneness.
- The Epistle to the Jorenites: Written to the followers of Joren, the third son of Ex. Horen. It chastises them for adding foreign ideas to their religion, emphasizing God's eternality.
- The Epistle to the Harrenites: Written to the followers of Harren, the first son of Ex. Horen. It chastises them for sinning in secret, emphasizing God's omniscience.
- The Epistle to the Elves: Written to the followers of Malin, founder of the elves. It chastises them for believing God is only present in nature, emphasizing his omnipresence.
- The Epistle to the Dwarves: Written to the followers of Urguan, founder of the dwarves. It chastises them for believing in a pantheon of gods, emphasizing God's omnipotence.
- The Epistle to the Orcs: Written to the followers of Krug, founder of the orcs. It chastises them for believing God is evil, emphasizing his omnibenevolence
- The Epistle to the Magi: Written to practitioners of magic. It chastises them for attempting to imitate and understand God's methods, emphasizing his incomprehensibility.
The Scroll of Gospel
The Scroll of Auspice
The Church of the Canon has existed since the founding of the human kingdom by Horen I under various names, however a formal Head of the Faith was only appointed during the reign of his grandson, Owyn I. Since then the clergy has experienced turbulent times and periods depending on the political situation of humanity at the time.
Initially known as the Temple of the True Faith, the Church as it is today was formed by King Horen I after he was contacted by the Aenguls and granted the prophecy of his line and the Scroll of Virtue. He served as Head of the Faith until his grandson, Owyn Godwinson, came to power after slaying his traitor uncle Harren the Defiler, the forefather of the Adunians, and banishing his ilk from the lands of man. With this righteous action he returned the realm of man to the doctrine of purity and righteousness in fear of their Creator, and in reward, he was granted the Scroll of Spirit.
Under Owyn the first head of the Church was appointed, however, the nascent clergy was unsophisticated and simple, possessing of little hierarchy. For several centuries the Church kept the Faith powerful and prevalent under the Horen dynasty.
Eventually, the Horen dynasty grinded to a halt, their last scion abdicating only to be replaced by the House of Perea. For several unstable years under the Perea line and subsequently the Sheffield line, the Church grew redundant and was mistreated by the three usurper kings. Throughout this period, the Church was kept unified by St. High Priest Everard, who is in modern times praised for his ability to maintain the Church and keep it intact.
With the undead onslaught, the Kingdom of Oren fractured into three realms, Hanseti, Renatus and Salvus. Only Renatus continued to adhere to the principles of the faith after the Church was absorbed into it, and for eighteen years between the split and the regency of Renatus there was no formal head of the faith. King Eze'kiel of the Tarus dynasty surrendered his realm to a regent lord who finally appointed a Prince-Archbishop.
When the regency ended and the dynasty of Horen was restored, the King and later Emperor Godfrey I was proclaimed the third prophet of exalted nature by the Church. This was due to his great deeds, as Godfrey did what others could not - he unified the quarreling human kingdoms by the sword and the cross and brought forth divine scripture. the Scroll of Gospel, a deed not done in over a thousand years.
The appointing of a Prince-Archbishop, James Hightower, had thus established a common Pontifical tradition, although it would not be executed to its fullest extent until the reign of St. High Pontiff Lucien I. With the Exodus came High Pontiff Owyn I, a radical figure known for his gross accumulation secular power and political wit. It was this period of chaos where the final divine scripture of the Canon was revealed to the exalted Siegmund, the Scroll of Auspice, an ominous prophecy which revealed the end times. Siegmund released the Church of all caesaropapist oaths and allowed it to govern and elect among itself, granting the Church ultimate ability to administer its communion.
With this came the middling figures of Radomir I and Lucien II, both mastermind theologians with lofty goals and little means to accomplish them due to the volatile nature of post-Exodus Oren. Whilst the former resigned in face of the challenges of the Pontificate, Lucien II turned to militancy to accomplish his goals, establishing the Order of St. Lucien, a fellowship which has had a strained relationship with its Mother Church. The clerical peerage had soon grown corrupt with their new found liberties, and High Pontiff Lucien II died in an attempt to restrain them in an assassination by poison.
These corruptions had soon festered into sects, with various priests lobbying to establish their cultural rites as dominant. The two most prominent sects in the Empire, the Ruskan Orthodoxy and Rovinist-Lucienist sects had soon found themselves in open warfare against another due to petty doctrinal dogmas, while the Darfeyist Pontificate had tolerated, if not encouraged, the attempted genocide inflicted on both sides. This culminated in the Franciscan Massacre, where King Francis I of Oren along with his court were butchered openly by Lucienist and Decterum traitors. These Franciscican martyrs are heralded as beatified figures of the Church
The brutal actions of the Darfeyist Pontificates had led to their stigmatization in society, with various nobles of renown outraged and disgusted at the open depravity of their Church. A group of young radicals, spearheaded by Basil of Sabris, a cleric of mild renown, had issued 21 theses against the Church, demanding an open purge and overhaul of the ecclesiastical order. The ruling family of the period, the House of Chivay, had used the document as basis to restore a caesaropapist tradition, leading to a deep decline in clergy activity, with many who felt the practice heretical in face of the Siegmundic tradition. This Third Interregnum was kept together by the High Patriarch Thomas I, known more commonly as Cordal deHerendul, a closet Canonist who maintained the farce of caesaropapism until the Chivay regime was usurped in the Vibian Coup and the Church could restore its rightful liberties.
The Third Interregnum ended with the appointment of Siguine of Barrows being named High Pontiff by the Ecclesiastical Synod; he took upon himself the pontifical name of Daniel I, in honor of Saint Daniel of Al’Khazar, the patron saint of peace; the period in which Daniel was elected was known as a time of troubles, with chaos and instability caused by the coup of Vibius de Sola and other squabbling by both secular authorities and religious authorities alike. However, his hopes for stability were dashed with the incessant civil discord characterized in Emperor Tobias’ reign. The two however, benefitted from another, as the Holy See was granted the lands of Fursten and Cyriaum to establish a clerical powerbase. While Daniel remained apolitical in the fall of the Carrion Empire by the hands of the Renatus Occult and Aesterwald, the successor states found his carrion descent concerning and declared schism. The Great Schism War was fought between the Kingdom of Akovia, the Duchy of Savoy, the March of Adria, and the County of Werdenberg against the Konigreich of Aesterwald, the Mardonic League, the Orcish Warnation, and the Dwarves. Canonism prevailed as its soldiery crushed the opposition and peace and stability echoed throughout Oren after a half century of tensions.
Daniel used this period of peace to elaborate and adapt the Canon; his work in rendering it to the Common Tongue had enabled a sprung in growth of religious knowledge and activity. Written tradition and the standardization of liturgy and religious dogma had earned him the moniker ‘the Reader’, for his scholarship and pursuit in academia. After forty years, he passed of old age in the Blessed Patrick Cathedral in Petrus. His protege, Theodosius of Fursten, secured the Synod election thenceforth, seeking to electrify and build upon Daniel’s foundation. Finding no pontiff nor saint who managed to do such, he took upon the name Sixtus III after the little-knowned Sixtian Pontiffs, in hopes of establishing his own legacy.
Unfortunately, after six years at the helm of the Pontificate, Sixtus III was assassinated after rumors surfaced of his support for the Adrian side of the Orenian civil war. His successor, Daniel II, led the faith before, as High Patriarch Thomas I, and is overjoyed at the chance to redeem himself as the leader of a true and legitimate faith instead of a caesareopapist puppet. He is the first non-Raev Pontiff since the days of Darfey. Sixtus' successor was swiftly chosen by a slim majority, Cordal d'Herendul for the second time in his long clerical career was chosen to lead the faith. Taking upon him the name Daniel II.
Daniel II's reign was considered by most to be a success, though due mostly to his counselors whom would often rule in his stead. As the Vicar of GOD Daniel oversaw the stamping out of heresy in Kaedrin, with the assistance of the Magnate, he also sanctioned a crusade further south. Under Daniel's hand the godless steppe bandits of the south were driven from their lands, making way for the founding of Luciensport, and the assurance of relative peace amongst the faithful. He died of old age.
More information can be found here.
Horen I "the Father" - Golden Laurel Patron of Humanity, Covenants and Humility
Owyn I "the Purifier" - Flaming Sword Patron of Purity, War, and Fire
Godfrey I "the Redeemer"- Silver Scepter Patron of Dominion, Glory, and Justice
Siegmund I "the Preserver" - Globus Cruciger Patron of Clairvoyance, Wisdom, and Sight
Leaders of the Faith
- The Diarchy: High Priests Evaristus and Clement I
- High Priest Sixtus I
- High Priest Alexander I
- High Priest Pontian I
- High Priest Stephen I
- High Priest Paul I
- High Priest Paul II
- High Priest Sixtus II
- High Priest Liberius I
- High Priest Marcus I
- High Priest Bernard I
- High Priest St Everard I
- Priest-Archbishop James I
- High Pontiff Pius I
- Blessed High Pontiff Adeodatus I 'the Simple'
- High Pontiff St Lucien I 'the Good'
- High Pontiff Owyn I
- Blessed High Ecclesiarch Radomir I
- High Pontiff Lucien II 'the Unready'
- High Pontiff Regulus I
- High Pontiff Pius II
- High Pontiff Paul III 'the Wicked'
- Interregnum: High Patriarch Thomas I
- High Pontiff Daniel I 'the Reader'
- High Pontiff Sixtus III
- High Pontiff Daniel II
- High Pontiff Everard II 'the Wise'
- High Pontiff Lucien III
- High Pontiff Tobias I
- High Pontiff Daniel III
- High Pontiff Theodosius I
- High Pontiff Sixtus IV
- High Pontiff Lucien IV
- High Pontiff Everard III
- High Pontiff Theodosius II
- High Pontiff Adrian I
- High Pontiff Daniel IV
- High Pontiff Owyn II
- High Pontiff Lucien V
- High Pontiff Clement II
- High Pontiff Everard IV
- High Pontiff Clement III
- High Pontiff Jude I
- High Pontiff Siegmund I
- High Pontiff Daniel V
- High Pontiff Pontian II
- High Pontiff Everard V
- High Pontiff Daniel VI
- High Pontiff John I
- High Pontiff Pontian III
- High Pontiff James II
- High Pontiff Owyn III
- High Pontiff Jude II
- High Pontiff Tylos I
- High Pontiff Everard VI