Orthodox Imperial Temple
The Orthodox Imperial Temple is successor of the Imperial Temple in Diemed on the Southern Coast of Anuire. The schisms of the Imperial Temple has left the Orthodox Temple reactionary and opposed to any whiff of innovation.
Teaching and Doctrine
The Orthodox Imperial Temple is the leader of the school of thought known as the Orthodox Principles.
The Orthodox Imperial Temple is devoted primarily to Haelyn as the Lawmaker. Haelyn is revered throughout Anuire as a paragon of kingship, courage, chivalry, command of armies, and stern yet merciful justice. The temple teaches that its followers that Haelyn established a social order for the good of all his people. This order includes a dual hierarchy of priests and nobles. Its rituals, rites, and forms of worship are very traditional and look and feel much as they did during the Imperial Temple.
The doctrine of the Orthodox Imperial Temple is based primarily on the Book of Laws, the sacred text of Haelyn, read closely using sophisticated textual methods. The centrality of the Book of Laws, interpreted by skilled textual analysts, supercedes all other teachings and interpretations. Other sects may consult other texts as key commentaries on Haelyn's intentions in the Book of Laws, or they may use other interpretive methods to read it.
As taught in the Book of Laws, society, laws, and culture are a mark of civilization. Haelyn is the Lord of Rulership, and thus it is the duty of his faithful to establish a civilized society with clear, just laws to guide it. By this observation of laws and dispensation of justice, adhered to by all people in the society, Haelyn can be honored more fully. Just as nobles are created and ordered as part of a just, lawful society, so likewise are religious ceremonies and rituals are a mark of a cultured society and thus a great civilization. Such ceremonies demonstrate the greatness of Haelyn, uplifting the spirits of the faithful and as a result increasing their religious fervor, driving them on to greater deeds in Haelyn's honor. Priests preserve and employ the rites and rituals described in the Book of Laws for the benefit of all the people.
Every temple claims to have the best interpretation of Haelyn, but only the Orthodox Imperial Temple, as the direct continuation of the Imperial Temple and thus the oldest church in Anuire, enjoys the honorary primacy due to its heritage. This primacy is further reflected in the fact that the Temple originated from the oldest church built in honor of Haelyn, as well as its role as the keeper of the Book of Laws. It takes this responsibility very seriously and has founded schools to teach the methods of close reading and textual analysis that allow the priests of the Orthodox Imperial Temple to understand the Book of Laws better than those who lack these skills.
The Orthodox Temple stresses Haelyn as the lawmaker, the arbitrator of the actions that the righteous can take and the sole foundation of law in the empire. Laws exist in the view of the church to control the ‘bestial, solitary’ urges in the hearts of all men, order can in turn only be preserved if all accept the social order and their place in it – those of lowly status who seek to rise above their station are, in the eyes of the church, every bit as evil as those of high status who fail to maintain the honor of their station.
The Orthodox Imperial Temple claims that it is the sole heir of the true word of Haelyn, and that in changing with the world, or softening the law as laid down by Haelyn to account for human frailties other temples of Haelyn have debased themselves. The church keeps the Book of Laws in a vault in the Avelerine Cathedral in Aerele and refers to its passages to support its creed.
A slightly less well known aspect of the Orthodox Imperial Temple is its role as the repository of the few surviving records of the War of the Shadow and regarding the formation of the Anuirean Empire. The Church was the successor to the Righteous Sword of Anduiras, a militant faith dedicated to Haelyn's predecessor. It was responsible for early record keeping during Roele's rule (due to the fact that its priests were the only body of substantially literate people and accordingly were responsible for keeping all the records of the nobility) and while many of the records elsewhere have been destroyed by the passage of time, the temple's vaults have been protected against all those who would damage or 'edit' the records for the lore-keepers of the church ban any alterations to the sacred texts whatsoever.
The Imperial Temple was formed just after the battle of Deismaar by Anuirean clerics who witnessed the ascension of Haelyn, The first temple was dedicated to Haelyn in the hills of Diemed, overlooking the city of Aerele close to where Mount Deismaar once stood. That place remained the chief place in the Imperial Temple growing into the Avelerine Cathedral that still stands today. It was here that the Imperial Temple received the Book of Laws on the Day of Holy Justice. Today there is still a sense that there is one Imperial Temple of Haelyn, but there is clearly no central leadership in the temple, but rather several distinct leaders and their movements and followers. The Orthodox Imperial Temple is the name for the organization run by the successors of those who have advocated the most strict reading of the Book of Laws and its most rigid and unchanging interpretation. However the church preserved in the memory of the Orthodox Imperial Temple is not the early church of Haelyn's ascension, but the Imperial Temple as it existed just prior to the sundering of the united hierarchy.
In the 290's MR, a scholar and teacher of Talinie, Fitzalan, began calling for reform of the Imperial Temple. His country was wracked by a civil war, and after the War of the Candles, in which lawpriests and warpriests of Haelyn fought a war that included a dispute over how many candles were properly used in various ceremonies, Fitzalan decried the emphasis on ceremonies and the disregard of the central doctrines of the faith. For three decades, Fitzalan developed, revised, and taught his method, writing books, teaching, and preaching reformation. Over time, and as the memory of disorder waned, tolerance for his message also waned. Fitzalan reorganized the church in Talinie and formed a rival organization to the Imperial Temple. Eventually, the leadership in Aerele felt compelled to act. In 315 MR, the Imperial Temple began to officially debate and criticize Fitzalan's positions. Fitzalan, whose homeland had been ravaged by religious wars, was strident in his demands that the message of the temple was vastly more important than the ceremonies. He argued that the complexity of the ceremonial prevented the people from understanding Haelyn's message and left the people in darkness. The leadership in Aerele was proud of the beautiful rituals employed and regarded their sophistication as a testament to the civilization, good order, and right example that Anuire enjoyed as a result of Haelyn's teaching. It was inconceivable that these very signs of goodness should be a source of ill.
In the Heartlands, the Holy Order of Haelyn's Aegis, which had evangelized the message of Haelyn across Cerilia urged conciliation and mutual understanding. As the conflict between Aerele and Nowelton grew more bitter, the knights of Haelyn formed their own temple, Haelyn's Aegis, based on vigilance in war and conciliation in diplomacy. Haelyn's Aegis never abandoned Aerele's views of ritual, worship, or theology, but broke over how to deal with Fitzalan and reformers within the temple.
In Ilien, the new college there at first argued forcefully for the orthodox position, only to develop its own criticisms of Aerele. The Impregnable Heart of Haelyn broke away as well. It demanded a focused message to refute Fitzalan, and focus requires simplicity to achieve clarity. Eventually, the Impregnable Heart urged simplification of ritual as well, and the break was complete.
In the west, Onwen Nichaleir argued against strict interpretations and close textual readings of the Book of Laws, and favored a more spiritual temple in which a scholarly knowledge of the text was not as important as a good understanding of it, and that this was accessible to anyone. With a little prayer and compassion, Haelyn's will could be understood and right action performed without the need for complex rituals, debates, and endless consultations with priests. Living the good life and achieving right conduct was more a question of wanting to do right than it was a question of strict obedience as the Orthodox Imperial Temple argued, or strict discipline as the Northern Imperial Temple argued. The Western Imperial Temple carried the spiritual and open interpretation of Haelyn forward in the south west of Anuire.
In modern times the Orthodox Imperial Temple is a faded shadow of its former self, having been reduced to the realm of Diemed as alternate power centers in the old Imperial Temple articulated their own doctrines. Its critics charge it with an absolutely unyielding response to change which has meant that it completely failed to accept the changes in Anuire since the fall of the empire after the death of Michael Roele. Its defenders argue that only the Orthodox Temple puts the truth of Haelyn before local political matters and currying favor with the nearest duke.
As befits a church of Haelyn, the Orthodox Imperial Temple is organized in a strict hierarchy, with each office having specific duties and honors assigned to it.
Patriarch: The Patriarch, who is also the Archbishop of Aerele, is the highest leader of the Orthodox Church. In Imperial times, the Patriarch was also present during the Imperial coronations, giving the blessings of Haelyn to the new Emperor. The Patriarch has the right to call Ecumenical Councils, to ordain the bishops in his own diocese, to confirm and depose the bishops in any diocese under the Church authority, and to make ecumenical laws. The Patriarch is elected by the Holy Synod (see below), and holds his office for life. A Patriarchal candidate must be an ordained priest of Haelyn in good standing, though he need not hold any prior rank in the hierarchy, nor is the length of time he has been a priest is of any significance (in one past case, a favored candidate was ordained a priest and elected as Patriarch all in the course of the same day). The general principle is that the Patriarch is subject to no living authority. However, in the past there have been cases when the Holy Synod or the Emperor (when one existed) attempted to depose Patriarchs, who nearly always have refused to acknowledge the deposition, and a struggle followed.
Holy Synod: The Holy Synod is a gathering of all bishops and archbishops. Collectively, it is the governing and advisory body of the Church, subject only to the Patriarch. The Holy Synod elects the Patriarch, advises him on the matters of government, and makes proposals for new laws or decrees. Bishops and Archbishops: A Bishop is the ecclesiastical ruler of a diocese, generally comprising a single province. An Archbishop is the ruler of a group of dioceses, and all the Bishops of those dioceses are subject to him. Although the Orthodox Imperial Temple does not currently hold sway in all dioceses where it once did, there are nonetheless Bishops and Archbishops appointed to some important dioceses. For example, there are Archbishops of Endier and Ilien, as well as a Bishop of Braeme. Such titular Bishops reside in the city of Aerele. Together, all Bishops and Archbishops, including the titular ones, comprise the Holy Synod.
Priests: The priests comprise the bulk of the Church. They are the "rank and file" of the Church, doing the will of Haelyn among the people. Each village has at least one resident priest, and larger towns and cities have many more. There are also traveling priests who do not reside in any single location, instead traveling around the lands and aiding the faithful as they can.
Deacons and Archdeacons: The Deacons are the third order of ministry, after Bishops and Priests. They are Church officials appointed to assist a Bishop or a Priest in administrative, religious, or financial affairs. A Deacon need not be a priest of Haelyn with clerical powers, though some are. The Archdeacons are a specific name for Deacons who assist the Patriarch; they are delegated some of the Patriarch's authority and appointed to manage some specific task.
Holy Knights: Holy Knights are fighters and paladins in the service of the Church, fighting for the glory of Haelyn as members of the knightly orders. These orders are led by Grand Masters, who are subject directly to the Patriarch. The Orthodox Imperial Temple currently sponsors two knightly orders. One, the Guardians of Holy Orthodoxy, is based in Aerele and constitutes a fighting arm of the Church in Diemed. The other is the Holy Order of Haelyn's Aegis, which has developed into a separately governed organization, based in Mhoried but with chapters in other domains as well. Its primary purpose originally was to defend Anuire against the Gorgon and his minions, it now functions as a complete rival temple.
Monks are members of monastic orders devoted to the worship of Haelyn. These orders are not considered to be a direct part of the Church hierarchy, and as a rule do not involve themselves in political matters. Nonetheless, their purpose is significant, for the monks engage themselves in spiritual contemplation, study and copying of religious texts, and education. Each monastery is presided over by an Abbot.
Over the past five centuries, a distinctive Orthodox form of monasticism has slowly appeared. Called the anchorite tradition, ("anchorite" means "withdrawn" or "silenced" in Old Andu) Orthodox monks withdraw into a particularly strict form of asceticism. Codified by Gregory Polamus in 321 MR, the anchorites combine hermit-like ascetic lifestyles with long hours of repetitious prayer, controlled breathing and meditation upon the mysteries of Haelyn. The goal is to achieve inner stillness, quiet and tranquility, aligning one's mind to the Law of Haelyn, eventually having an experiential knowledge of Haelyn himself.
Anchorites possess tremendous respect from all sectors of Diemedan society. The anchorite path is one that many dream of travelling - in fact most learned Diemdan men retire to an anchorite monastery in their old age - and the word of an anchorite monk is often seen as coming from Haelyn himself (at least amongst the peasants).
However, the anchorite tradition remains one of the most controversial developments in modern Orthodoxy, one that has been strongly rejected by both the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn and the Western Imperial Temple, Haelyn's more action-oriented faiths. It has also caused friction with Haelyn's Aegis, and although the anchorites have established a few small monasteries in Mhoried and Elinie, most followers of the Aegis simply ignore its existence.
Major Centers of Worship
The Church's regional administration is based on dioceses. Each diocese is normally equal to a single province level and is ruled by a Bishop. Each province is ruled by Archbishops, who hold higher authority over the various dioceses in their province.
Aerele is a Patriarchal See and the primary diocese of the Orthodox Imperial Temple. The City of Aerele houses the Avelerine Cathedral, the first church built solely in honor of Haelyn, and the residence of the Patriarch. The Cathedral houses many relics and treasures of Haelyn, not the least among them the original Book of Laws. The Patriarch, currently His Holiness Lavalan Briesen, also holds the titles of Archbishop of Aerele and of the Imperial City, as well as Primate of Diemed and Anuire and Supreme Commander of the Knightly Orders.
Guardians of Holy Orthodoxy: Situated on the peninsula south of the City of Aerele, on the hilly coast, Baesel Castle is the stronghold and headquarters of the Guardians of Holy Orthodoxy, the knightly order subject to the Orthodox Imperial Temple. The Castle bears the name of Baesel the Blessed, founder of the order, who lived in the times of the Battle of Deismaar. The current Grand Master of the Order is Sir Neacel Coelitos (MAn; Pal3; Unblooded; LG).
The archdiocese of Bliene is one of the smaller ones, but nonetheless significant due to its mountains being the last remnant of the range that once included Mount Deismaar. There are several important holy sites dating from the Battle of Deismaar, which are visited by many pilgrims. The Archbishop of Bliene, is currently Aeric Toren.
The Abbey of Mount Blencathra, headquarters of the monastic Order of Blencathra. Mount Blencathra is in western Bliene, on the coast; from its summit one can observe the exit from the Arnienbae to the Straits of Aerele, as well as the shores of Bindier opposite. According to tradition, Mount Blencathra is the closest to the site of the battle that took place there. The current Abbot of Mount Blencathra is Duraend Astaer.
Ciliene is the most populated archdiocese in Diemed, with its main city standing across the Maesil River from the Imperial City. The archbishopric is considered an especially important one for political reasons, considered the gateway to the Imperial capital. The current Patriarch, Marcas Melaesis, was Archbishop of Ciliene before his election. The current Bishop is Torele Enioras.
Duene is a rather small archdiocese. Situated on the border with Medoere, it has always been a gathering spot for the more militant members of the Church, especially many knights and war priests. They are always hoping to be at the forefront when the Patriarch declares holy war against the heretics and apostates of Medoere and Roesone. The current Archbishop of Duene is Moerele Cataros.
Moere is one of the larger archdioceses in Diemed. The archdiocese of Moere is very politically active, as it shares a large border with Avanil where the rival Western Imperial Temple holds sway, not to mention the archdiocese of Endier over which the Orthodox Temple presses claims. The current Archbishop of Moere is His Eminence, Michael Argyreol.
Tier is the smallest archdiocese in Diemed, and the most reclusive one. It is home to even more fighting men than Duene, if that is possible, and for good reason - situated as it is, bordering both Medoere and the Spiderfell, the priests and warriors of Tier have learned to expect battle regularly. The Archbishopric is Lord Vaesil Diem, a war priest, who comes from a cadet branch of the Diem family.
Beyond Diemed there are important archdioceses and dioceses to which the Orthodox Imperial Temple posts bishops and archbishops despite their lack of influence among the people and the rulers of these places. The most notable titular dioceses are listed below.
Imperial City - The Patriarch himself holds the office of the Archbishop of the Imperial City.
Endier - The titular Archbishop of Endier is currently Theodore Caelisen.
Ilien - The titular Archbishop of Ilien is currently Anuvier Aelicar.
Braeme - The titular Archbishop of Braeme is currently Parniel Vaeles.
'Shieldhaven - The Patriarch normally grants the Grand Master of Haelyn's Aegis the title of Archbishop of Bevaldruor, and receives a courtesy notification of nominations of Haelyn's Aegis to its hierarchy.
Lavalan Briesen, Patriarch of the Orthodox Imperial Temple
Domain Holding Table
|Aerele, Diemed (4/1)||HD (3)||OIT (4)||EH (2)||He (1)|
|DA (0)||OT (2)|
|Bliene, Diemed (3/6)||HD (2)||OIT (3)||EH (3)||He (4)|
|Ciliene, Diemed (6/0)||HD (4)||OIT (6)||EH (3)||-|
|DA (2)||GK (3)|
|Duene, Diemed (3/2)||HD (3)||OIT (3)||OT (3)||He (2)|
|Moere, Diemed (5/0)||HD (3)||OIT (5)||GK (3)||-|
|DA (1)||OT (1)|
|Tier, Diemed (2/3)||HD (1)||OIT (2)||GK (3)||He (1)|
|Abbreviations: HD = Heirl Diem (Diemed); OIT = Orthodox Imperial Temple (Lavalan Briesen); DA = Darien Avan (Avanil); EH = el-Hadid (Port of Call Exchange); OT = Orthien Tane (Southern Anuire Shipping and Imports); GK = Guilder Kalien (Endier) (Heartlands Outfitters); He = Hermedhie.|
- Law: Heirl Diem attempts to control the law in the realm of Diemed, but some of the law is in the hands of Darien Avan.
- Temples: The Orthodox Imperial Temple is unchallenged here.
- Guilds: The baron plays the guilds off against one another giving each a share, but preventing any one from too much influence.
- Sources: Only the wizard Hermedhie has any sources here.