The Chantry originated as one of the many cults emerging upon the legend of Andraste’s martyrdom. Known as the Cult of the Maker, it was without central leadership and its followers were oppressed. The clerics had to hide their lore from Tevinter magisters by way of ciphers and encoded scrolls. In -130 Ancient, cult practitioners organized Andraste's teachings into hymns, creating the Chant of Light and the cult popularity spread.
The cult remained fragmented until it was formalized into the Chantry by Kordillus Drakon, the first Emperor of the newly formed Orlesian Empire, in -3 Ancient. Drakon established Andrastianism as the national religion and was himself a fervent believer in the Maker. Three years later the first Divine, Justinia I, was declared. Drakon's military successes during the Second Blight significantly expanded the borders of Orlais, and soon after, the conquered lands converted to the faith. While these lands would later liberate themselves from Orlesian rule following Drakon's death, the Chantry's practice remained.
The Nevarran Accord signed in 1:20 Divine brought the Inquisition and the newly created Circles of Magi under the Chantry's authority. The Inquisition divided into two new orders: the Templar Order, charged with looking over the Circle and hunting apostates and maleficars, and the Seekers of Truth, overseers of the templars and special agents of the Divine.
The Antivan Crows started as an arm of the Chantry. In the hills north of Treviso, an order of monks used the herbs grown in the gardens of their abbey to oppose the rule of a despotic duke in the only manner the monks could.
During the Towers Age there was debate in the Chantry over whether Andraste was truly divine. It was largely the Imperial Chantry's belief that she was not divine that led to the schism in the Chantry and the eventual founding of the Imperial Chantry as a separate religion in 3:87 Towers.
With so much influence over the people, the Chantry can exert considerable political pressure on the ruling classes in many areas of concern. In extraordinary times, and in deference to Andraste, the Divine may also be moved to declare an Exalted March. These religious crusades have mobilized armies of thousands to destroy the heretical enemies of the Maker. The first March after Andraste's death was against the elves of the Dales. The next four were against Tevinter, and the most recent were against the Qunari. Tevinter also took part in the latest march.
With the start of Mage-Templar War in 9:40 Dragon, the Chantry lost control over the Circles of Magi, Templar Order and the Seekers of Truth due to Lord Seeker Lambert declaring the Nevarran Accord null and void for the Divine Justinia V's interference with the mage revolt at the White Spire.
At a later stage of the Mage-Templar War, Divine Justinia V managed to organize peace talks between representatives of both mages and templars at the Temple of Sacred Ashes. However, Corypheus infiltrated the conclave to use Justinia as a ritualistic sacrifice. The ritual was interrupted and the following massive explosion killed the Divine and most of the Grand Clerics worthy to succeed her, creating the Breach in the sky and ushering in a rash of Veil Tears throughout the area. The Chantry was, until the Breach, "the thing keeping the lid on the pot of Thedas." After the Breach and with no Divine to guide them, Chantry leadership succumbed to chaos with no clear successor for the Divine. What's more, Chancellor Roderick used his influence to convince the remaining clerics to publicly denounce the reformed Inquisition, calling them heretics for harbouring the sole survivor of the conclave attack, the Inquisitor, who had been labeled the Herald of Andraste.
The Inquisitor traveled to Val Royeaux on the advice of Mother Giselle to address the clerics and give them reason to doubt their denouncement, as the opposition's strength was in their unity. The Chantry was further humiliated when Lord Seeker Lucius Corin refused to bring the templars back into their fold.
As the Inquisition gained great renown, the Chantry started reaching out to the Inquisition for the Hands of the late Divine, Cassandra Pentaghast and Leliana, to stand as potential candidates for the title of Divine.
In 9:42 Dragon, Divine Victoria was elected to lead the Chantry and instituted controversial reforms.
Until the Maker's return, the faithful believe that the Maker watches, a patient observer rather than an absent god. They do not believe the Maker will perform miracles on their behalf, but he will shed a tear for the suffering of those who do not deserve it. The Chantry's interpretation of Andraste's teachings emphasizes death, guilt, and the difference among races and genders.[
Tenets of Faith
◾ Magic is a corrupting influence in the world.
◾ Humankind's sin of pride destroyed the Golden City and created the darkspawn, terrible embodiment of that sin.
◾ Andraste was the bride of the Maker, a prophet and martyr whose ultimate sacrifice must be remembered and honored.
◾ Humankind has sinned and must seek penance to earn the Maker's forgiveness. When all people unite to praise the Maker, he will return to the world and make it a paradise.