Illuminated Church

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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.
 

Structure

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.
 
Herald
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.  
Archbishop
Due 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.
 
Bishop
Priests 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.  
Priest
Deacons 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.  
Deacon
Following 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.

Public Agenda

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 Light
Ensure every city and town has a church dedicated to one of the three deities of light.  
Oppose Evil
Tirelessly 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 Yearning
Help one of the three deities achieve their Yearning and ascend as an Architect.

Worship

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.
 

Church Symbol

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.
Founding Date
134 EoIF
Type
Religious, Holy Order
Alternative Names
Church of Light
Permeated Organizations

The Sullied

Mortals who have not accepted one of the deities of light are known as “sullied." To convert to the light and remove the sullied title, a sullied must seek penance by writing their sins with a quill of truth in the presence of a priest. These magical quills prevent a sullied from writing a lie and are enhanced by a zone of truth spell.  

Doctrine of Light

The Doctrine of the Illuminated Church is easily described as doing good in the world and relies heavily on Rezmir's True Law. The church recognizes that mortals are tainted by the Six Sins of Lights End and believes if mortals repent through penance, they will be forgiven.   However, the Illuminated Church firmly believes that not all acts can be forgiven. The church sees itself as bringing the rule of the deities of light against the sullied, hopefully converting them away from the blasphemous ones. Any sullied who commits one of the following acts directly opposes the Doctrine of Light and is seen as lost.
  • Participating in rebellion alongside a blasphemous one.
  • Selling one's soul for any reason.
  • Sullied who are considered lost by the Illuminated Church are put to death, burned alive in the purifying fires.

    Political Aspiration

    The Illuminated Church knows there are shadows in the world, both born from the acts of other creators and undoubtedly created by themselves for being the most followed church on Erenel. Conspiracy theorists speak of the Illuminated Church as nothing more than strategic thinkers and high-minded nobles who operate in the shade of religion.   This thought is further amplified by the Illuminated Church becoming a nation following the defeat of Morthos Dray and his Draconic army. Now, the Illuminated Church openly commands the Grenchester Army and Balefire Knights of Grenchester under the command of Grenchester’s Queen, Brenna Ambercrown.   Keen on keeping the conspiracy conversation at bay, the Illuminated Church is known for acting with diplomacy, rarely through direct force. Luckily, staying behind the scenes has proven easy thanks to promoting the Churches of Yearning in their stead. Nevertheless, church leaders are influential diplomats who have positioned themselves near many kings, queens and notable personalities.

    Churches of Yearning

    Hearth Keepers

    Followers of Asanna, the Hearth Keepers harness sunlight from Ikaram the sol to push back the darkness.  
    Herald
    Zendaya Lifebringer, Thalorian Human
     
    Hearth Keepers follow the tenets of Asanna, seeking to spread her faith wherever they go, performing great deeds of healing and community restoration.   Herald Lightbringer determines the Hearth Keepers' official mission and goals, which almost always align with the Church of Light, leading many to seek out Herald Lifebringer for day-to-day matters of both the Hearth Keepers and Illuminated Church.
     
    Common Phrases
    Greeting/Happy: Hale and hearty!
    Anger/Suspicion: By the blasphemous bell.

    Lantern Priests

    Followers of Rezmir, the Lantern Priests harness holy light found within to push back the darkness.  
    Herald
    Osric Stoutheart, Valthera  
    Lantern Priests follow the tenets of Rezmir, seeking to provide justice for all children of the light. With their lanterns attached to their hips, a Lantern Priest is a protector, unafraid to step into the darkness in pursuit of evil.   Herald Stoutheart’s gaze often falls on the destruction of anything to do with the Below or the demons who call it home. Brasher than the other heralds, Stoutheart looks to the offensive beyond the church's walls.
     
    Common Phrases
    Greeting/Happy: Faith and honor!
    Anger/Suspicion: Light burns you.

    Midnight Eyrie

    Followers of Luniwyn, the Midnight Eyrie, harness moon and starlight to push back the darkness.  
    Herald
    Luna Silvermaul, Lunar Elf  
    The Midnight Eyrie follow the tenets of Luniwyn, seeking to protect the Realms of Remembrance from the Null and void spawn found in the Nothingness.   The most feared of the three churches of yearning, the Midnight Eyrie scour the world looking for void infestation to slaughter and put to the fire. This difficult task, unfortunately, requires purging every infested individuals by fire against the otherworldly threat.
     
    Common Phrases
    Greeting/Happy: Stars guide you.
    Anger/Suspicion: By Luniwyns wrath!


    Cover image: by Jeff Brown

    Comments

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    2 Oct, 2020 18:49

    What a great and iconic D&D Priest, makes me think of Greyhawk's Priests of Pholtus.


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