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Sumia Kahin

High Priests of the Saohri Temple


Agheb the Red built our first temple in the times after the Age of Eternal Sun- it is under his guidance that the Saohri Temple came to exist, and many of our precepts can be traced back to him. Since these days, every temple has had a Sumia Kahin to guide the people, and help them act in accordance to the will of the gods.
— from "The Founding of the Saohri Temple"

Historically, the Sumia Kahin are the most powerful Saohri Priest of temples within the Saohri religion. They are responsible for the organisation of religious rituals and ceremonies, as well as the general maintenance of the place of worship. In small villages, it is common for Sumia Kahin to be the only priest working within their temple, but Sumia Kahin of the Seven Temples have hundreds of people working for them, and are amongst the most powerful people in the Danatelian Lands.


Becoming a Sumia Kahin

There is little in terms of official qualifications one might need to become a Sumia Kahin. These precepts are (more or less) unanimously accepted by all Saohri- but they do not account for internal differences, as well as the myriad of unofficial practices that happen in day to day life.

To become a Sumia Kahin, one must have worked at the very least 15 years in their temple, they must have performed acts of great devotion to their god, and they must be elected by their fellow priests.
— Guidance of Agheb

However, gaps of power and wealth between various temples radically change their policies: while a small temple of only one priest might readily accept anyone who wishes to apprentice themselves, larger temples in one of the major towns accept almost no one, and often partake in nepotism and corruption. Some temples might have extra criteria for their applicants- a certain level of education perhaps, or a sign they are favoured by the gods.

"Norawn got kicked out of school for setting fire to a tree. I tried to tell him he was just playing, but they wouldn't hear a thing... we'll have to cash in that favour with Sûmaiya Kaabin, see if she can get him an apprenticeship in the Temple of a Million Years."
— Tired father, glass of wine in hand

Appointing a Sumia Kahin

Once the position of a Sumia Kahin opens up (usually becasue the previous holder of the title has passed), a series of processes begin within the temple. First, the Keeper of Books must reveal the note of succession left by the previous Sumia Kahin, which should list a few names of possible successors. Traditionally, the other priests choose their next Sumia Kahin from the list, though schisms within doctrines have lead to irregularities regarding these practices.

Second, and most important, the elligible priest or priests must be validated by the divinity worshipped within the temple. Rites, prayers and rituals are conducted to gain the attention of the god, so that they may point to who they wish to communicate with. The nature of these rituals greatly changes from one worship to another, but a few core concepts remain similar.

A sign of the gods is absolutely essential for a priest to become a Sumia Kahin. However, because only Sumia Kahin may interpret signs from gods, a Sumia Kahin from a nearbye temple is often asked to come help with the process.
A presentation is also required from each priest elligible to become a Sumia Kahin. The priest must express what their motivation is, what services they have performed for their god, and how they distinguished themlseves in their worship.

A Sumia Kahin can also directly appoint their own successor, on the condition they can confirm and approve their choice with the gods whilst they are still alive. Then, they must immediatly retire from their functions. While this is very common within small temples, where only one or two priests may reside, larger temples are often left in a period of turmoil as they deal with the matter of succesion. Due to the political power that comes with being a Sumia Kahin, these games of succession can quickly become dangerous affairs for those unprepared to fight in the race for power.

Once a priest is voted in by their fellow priests and approved by the gods, they must be officially named Sumia Kahin. The appointment of their new title takes place in a large ceremony, where the priest must walk on coals to the center of a temple, bathe themselves in perfumed oil before recieving the Blessings of Night and Day, which will be tattoed on their eyelids.

History and Origins

The Sumia Kahin were first created at a very early stage in the development of the Saohri Temple. It is unsure wether their existence predates the Danatelian Conquest- what few sources exist on the subject are often very contradictory, and historians struggle to establish the truth from the myth. Nevertheless, it is commonly admitted that the first Sumia Kahin was Agheb the Red, the first Nasbarin.

Legend has it Agheb recieved his first vision from the gods at the age of 11, as he and his people sailed across the world after the end of the Age of Eternal Sun.

The boy fell asleep, and he dreamt of a land bathed in sun and light. He saw three red birds fly towards the coast, carrying the promise of a new home. The boy woke up and ran to the deck- "Behold, the birds of our gods!", and all gazed to the morning sky and saw the three red birds of Deïmon the Bright.
— Fragment of a forgotten myth

After the death of Agheb, a leader had to be chosen. Temples and disciples disagreed about who the leader of their faith should be, and so each took to obeying whoever was chosen amongst the temple. But instead turning to war and conflict, these various leaders took to working side by side. Historians assume the reason for this behaviour was that the Danatelians of the time were too weak to handle a large scale conflict amongst one another.
Form of address: Habanin Adegho, Sûmaiya

Reports to: no one- highest form of authority within the Saohri Temple

Related locations: Saohri places of worships

Related organisation: Saohri Temple, though only within the temple they exerce in

Source of authority: elected by their fellow priests within their temple


Functions

A Sumia Kahin's manages both some of the main aspect of the religious life of the temple, as well as its finances. They are the prime communicator between gods and mortals. They interpret natural phenomena, decide when celebrations will take place, and are the only ones allowed to ask anything from gods.

Sumia Kahin are also in charge of taking care of the money their temple makes. However this role is often delegated to other priests within the temple (only a temple with a single priest will be in charge of all the temple activities).

Unofficially, Sumia Kahin are also very involved in the politics of whatever town or village their temple is located within. The Sumia Kahin of the Seven Temples are some of the most important political figures of the Danatelian Lands, and their influence is not to be dismissed.


  • from 429 to 384 A.A, a temple of Argus the Protector was rulled over by four Sumia Kahin simultanouesly. The four waged an intense war that only ended when the last two Sumia Kahin were struck down by lightning whilst dueling on a plain.

  • since the 750 A.A schism, a few temples of Aher the Green have refused to elect Sumia Kahin, as they argued any form of hierarchy was an act against the freedom they were given by their god.

  • Sûmaiya Malaki Tahlem was one of the most influencial politicians of the Danatelian Renaissance (circa 400 A.A). They used their wealth and authority to unite the various Danatelian cities, and bring about an era of peace and prosperity.

  • Some temples have books of rules describing the appointment process of a Sumia Kahin. The Morning Dew is said to have a series of 5 volumes which cover almost all possible election scenarios.

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    Cover image: by Mohammad Ali Berenji

    Comments

    Author's Notes

    Second article for WE 2021 is done! As always, feedback is more than welcome :D


    Please Login in order to comment!
    10 Dec, 2021 20:17

    This definitely gets the Ynar Seal of Approval :D It's one of my fav articles from your world!

    Ynar wishes you a nice day!   Also feel free to visit my current world, Tevakari
    11 Dec, 2021 11:41

    Thank you so much Ynar <333 that really means a lot!!!

    Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
    11 Dec, 2021 15:20

    'The four waged an intense war that only ended when the last two Sumia Kahin were struck down by lightning whilst dueling on a plain.' I guess the gods disapproved! XD   Wonderful article, TC. I just love how this whole article is steeped in both history and mythology. <3

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    12 Dec, 2021 15:26

    Quite ironic isn't it! Especially since Argus is the god of lightning. I wonder what lessons may have been pulled from this. Thank you very much for the kind words Emy <3

    Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!