The robes of a Brother of the Congregation for the Orthodoxy of the Wakeful are one of the few Congregation's robes to follow a prescribed pattern. For many in the Diarchy the periodic visits from the Orthodoxer are their only formal link to the Church and having some level of consistency in appearance was felt to be useful. Religious law prohibits anyone not of that Congregation from wearing the robes; traditionally the punishment was lenient but under the Religious Emergency Laws the punishment, like practically every punishment, is a term in the penal legions.
The DesignThe Precepts of the Church are embroidered "in a size visible to one in conversation with the wearer" across every visible part of the costume. Fashions have changed as to how this is achieved - see the Evolution section below - and the regulations do not stipulate a colour, though white is common as undyed yarn is easier to obtain than most other threads. This embroidery is the most delicate part of the otherwise hardwearing costume and during the course of the Orthodoxer's travels it often becomes frayed and unreadable. While it is technically the Orthodoxer's responsibility to replace and repair this, in practice the job is often delegated to a seamstress in whichever village they happen to be passing. Due to the lack of general literacy among the peasant population this means that the writing on the robes quite quickly becomes simply lines and abstract shapes of embroidery that kind of replicate the look of writing without actually forming legible words. The Primate of the Congregation has confirmed that this is acceptable. The important point is that those seeing the Orthodoxer are reminded of the Precepts - that people know the writing is the Precepts not that the writing actually is the Precepts - or even writing at all.
The People Who Wear Them
You. Tell me the Fourth Precept. Good, now, you at the back, what's the Eleventh?The Priestly Brothers of the Congregation for the Orthodoxy of the Wakeful are, to many rural folk, the only link to the state religion. Each travels a circuit of villages taking roughly a season to complete. In each they gather the inhabitants and have them recite the Precepts of the Church - first in order then randomly accessed On their route they will also consecrate new births and important buildings to Land and often support the Brothers of the Congregation for the Jurisprudence of Land in judging and sentencing religious crimes. They provide a number of important informal services as well - for example they are often serve as healers to the ill or incapacitated in the villages they pass or even as informal teachers. While recruitment is strictly a matter for the Brothers of the Congregation of the Eternal Clergy, it is well accepted that the Orthodoxer's role has the potential to bring them into contact with potential recruits and it's an expected part of their duties to make such people known. Orthodoxers are seriously under-represented in the higher ranks of the Church. This is largely a matter of choice - the kind of person who enjoys travelling by themselves is unlikely to enjoy becoming a deskbound cog in a bureaucratic machine. For more, see The Orthodoxer
EvolutionPerhaps unsurprisingly the biggest change to the robes came when the Twentieth to Twenty Fifth Precepts were added - the mass recall and subsequent mass reclothing of all Orthodoxers being one of the smoother running parts of that chaotic period. Aside from that, changes have largely followed the unpredictable whims of fashion. The only thing specified about the embroidery is the content and factors such as orientation, size, color and so forth are in the hands of the individual Orthodoxer. The current trend is for writing to run vertically down the body, aligned so the tops of letters are on the wearer's right. However, as picking out all the lettering and replacing it with another form is a difficult job one can get a rough idea of how long an Orthodoxer has been serving by observing the dominant fashion of his stitching.
Clothing / Accessory
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