The Illuminated Church is arguably the most influential organization and religion in Erenel. Members of the church worship the deities born of the foremother, now known as the deities of light, equally as a family. As a collective, the deities of light represent all that is holy and good while seeking to protect their faithful from the abominations that would bring harm. The three deities of light (Asanna, Luniwyn and Rezmir) seek to further their own ends and grow stronger with worship. As determined by their Yearning, gods and demigods grow more influential through worship. Only after amassing enough influence can a deity fulfill their Yearning and replace Al’Madoon as Architect. This often brings deities into conflict, except the deities of light, who, besides petty squabbles, are unified behind the principles of light. Under the Illuminated Church are the three Churches of Yearning, each following one of the three deities of light. While these Churches of Yearning are under the Illuminated Church, each is widespread, with sects stretching across Erenel in every capital city.
Anyone of faith can find a place in the church by spending several years as an Ordi. An Ordi's day is filled with work and study, learning various prayers and how to perform services. After an Ordi has completed their training, they are assigned to one of their superior's many churches of light. The church has multiple titles and ranks, which cover not only the Illuminated Church in Grenchester but all smaller churches across Erenel.
One Herald representing each deity of the light leads the Illuminated Church in unity. A Herald serves until death, with vacancies filled personally by the deity from whom the Herald serves. No mortal has more access to their deity than a Herald giving each Herald enormous influence.
ArchbishopDue to the limited number, a Bishop can ascend to Archbishop following a vacancy and is appointed by a Herald. An Archbishop is granted control of the church's presence for an entire nation and oversees the operation, reporting only to the three Heralds in Grenchester.
BishopPriests who are proven diplomats are granted the title of Bishop and oversee large geographic areas while residing in one of the churches of that area. Typically, an area encompasses a region, with the Bishop taking on a more political role instead of day to day services.
PriestDeacons who prove themselves are tasked with leading their church in the town designated by a Bishop. Due to the competition, most Priests remain in this position until death or retirement.
DeaconFollowing their training as an Ordi, a member of the church can rise to the status of Deacon. Deacon responsibilities include aiding the church's priest in growing their clergy and overseeing the training of Ordi under the care of a priest.
The Illuminated Church operates with three main goals, which all congregations strive to achieve in their own way. Above all, the church’s focus is to make sure the lands where the deities of light are worshiped never lose sight of their faith.
Spread LightEnsure every city and town has a church dedicated to one of the three deities of light.
Oppose EvilTirelessly oppose all forms of evil created from the Six Sins of Lights End and the fallen demigod Edictor, Toll of Light's End.
Fulfill the YearningHelp one of the three deities achieve their Yearning and ascend as an Architect.
The Illuminated Church recognizes three groups of deities; the primal deities, the deities of light, and the blasphemous ones. Mortals who have risen to godhood (demigods) are not considered actual deities of Erenel, merely powerful beings. The primal deities, including Aymara the Foremother, are looked fondly upon for their role in Erenel’s existence but are seen as what once was, not what will be. While more uncivilized cultures may worship the primal deities, the Illuminated Church acknowledges their existence but downplays their role in the Era of Inner Flame. The blasphemous ones, Vyse Tyranal, demigods of the Below, and the Null, are shunned and considered enemies of the Illuminated Church. Great lengths are taken to protect the church from Null infestation, including the critical vow of silence to now speak any of the Null’s true names. The church openly opposes any connection to all blasphemous ones and plainly teaches against the Six Sins of Lights End.
The symbol of the Illuminated Church is the candelabra with three stems, one for each deity of the light. All candles must be kept burning at all times, making changing and lighting candles the perfect job for an Ordi or newer clergy members.
Ritual of Service
The holy number of the Illuminated Church is three (three deities of light), so service is held every third day of the week (Tanarya) at 3:00 PM under the sun’s light. For the working class of Erenel, this is generally a time to break or end the work day for service before preparing supper. If a church follower cannot attend service, spending 3 minutes of prayer on the third day of the week at 3:00 PM will provide enough spiritual nourishment for one week. Without this spiritual nourishment, the soul is thought to weaken, and the Six Sins of Light’s End will more easily tempt the follower.