Gerlach Cathedral - The First Aldelgian Church of Ildyr Building / Landmark in Fyria | World Anvil

Gerlach Cathedral - The First Aldelgian Church of Ildyr


This impressive cathedral was built around the same time as the founding of the Crown City of Elric. Emperor Volkstadt was a devout Ildyr worshiper and began construction of the church shortly after breaking ground on the city. The first two major structures in the capital of The Empire of Aldelgis were Castle Volkstadt and Gerlach Cathedral. The cathedral was originally named The First Church of Ildyr, though many years later citizens would come to call it Gerlach Cathedral named after a well-loved pastor, Pastor Deion Gerlach. Gerlach was the head pastor of the church for decades, he was known for being kind and giving, taking in many sick and poor individuals during several major outbreaks of war and sickness, including an infamous outbreak of Veinot Plague. In the two centuries that have passed since Pastor Gerlach's death, he has been granted saintly status. At the beginning of the month of Ild, Saint Gerlach's birth-month, the church and its followers celebrate his name by giving away baked goods to those in need, followed by an evening sermon where many of his favourite prayers and stories are lovingly retold.   The church, in the several centuries it has stood has seen much change, including dozens of physical expansions, and countless organizational changes, that have put the church in a prominent position in the Aldelgian Church of Ildyr Diocese. In the past, the head pastor of the church would be accountable for all those who passed through the cathedrals archways and for those in the community around them. Now, the cathedral has gained such importance to the faithful Aldelgian that it has become the home of the entire Ildyr Diocese in the empire. The head pastor of Gerlach Cathedral now holds a much greater title due to this change, being granted the title of Arch Bishop, a position that puts them at the head of the entire Aldelgian Ildyr Diocese. Along with their previous duties, this Arch Bishop now has the position of the personal religious advisor of the Lord Noble Empress and also oversees all decision making throughout the entire empire's religious community. They are accompanied in this task by four priests, chosen by hand by the Arch Bishop, these priests are given the title of Prince Bishop, and are granted territory in the empire to oversee, under the watchful eye of the Arch Bishop themselves. The Arch Bishop must also keep an eye on all of his Patriarchs spread across the empire, making sure they conduct their duties properly as envoys to the faith, spreading religious knowledge across the empire.   Gerlach Cathedral's current head pastor and Ildyr's Arch Bishop is Ingolf Hildemar, an elderly Aldelgian man obsessed with the old ways and traditions of the church. His reign as Arch Bishop has been littered with controversy, as Hildemar has struggled with maintaining his duties at the cathedral and has missed numerous important sermons at the church in order to deal with matters he has deemed more pressing. The shunning of his home parish has left a sour taste in many followers mouths and some have started to call for a new Arch Bishop to be installed. Opinions of Hildemar did not start off on a positive note either, as his predecessor, Grigory Alstaf, disappeared under mysterious circumstances and hasn't been seen in a number of years, casting a shroud of suspicion over Arch Bishop Ingolf Hildemar.
For the local Ildyr worshipers of Elric, Gerlach Cathedral is a grand church in which they are able to conduct their daily prayers and communions. On occasion, special celebrations and sermons are held within the cathedral, usually corresponding with a holiday or rare event.   It has become popular for citizens of the empire that are on pilgrimages to stop at the cathedral at least once during their travels. For those leaving to begin a pilgrimage they will begin at the church, and receive a blessing from one of the faith’s priests, who use blessed water from one of the church’s many fountains. This blessing is considered a must for those journeying to the farther reaches of the empire as it bestows good luck and health upon the traveller.   Travellers finishing their pilgrimage in Elric will stop by the church as soon as they can in order to conduct a cleansing ritual. This ritual, also conducted by one of the church's priests, is done to alleviate the traveller from any harmful energy or ill health they may have picked up on their path to the church. As payment for their services, the church requests a donation of clothing, used to clothe the needy in nearby communities.   Outside the daily practices of the church, the cathedral is also home to the leader of the faith, the Arch Bishop. This is where his seat is held and is where he makes all decisions regarding the faith and the diocese direction. As such, Gerlach Cathedral is a highly respected symbol of power for the Ildyr Diocese.   For extremely rare and special events the Lord Noble Empress may even attend service and give her own blessings upon the lucky crowd in attendance. And though the city hasn’t seen one in decades, when the time comes for the Empress to marry, it is a tradition for the royal couple to receive the churches blessing by attending a sermon conducted by the Arch Bishop on the day of their marriage.
The cathedral is an expansive structure made from a light coloured stone, which is mined from the mountains in the surrounding Wulfetier Circlet. This stone was mined hundreds of years ago and was used to construct the original portion of the church. A wide and long building that houses the original nave and altar.   Since it’s constructions many new additions have been added to the cathedral. The first of which is a tall peaked bell tower, that sits at the back of the original structure. This bell rings at the time of prayer each day and has done so every day for generations. The cathedral has seen several other additions, most of which have been for the purpose of housing an ever increasing number of parish priests, which are needed to serve the growing communities religious needs.   It is a strictly held tradition that if any additions or remodelling of the cathedral must be done, the stone used must be gathered from the same source as the original structure, from within the Wulfetier Circlet, as it has been done for generations.
Temple / Church
Parent Location
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Cover image: Medieval Cathedral by 달 봉이


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