The Acacianic Church

And the prophet did return from his sojourn through the hells, having witnessed many truths and gaining insight into the mind of his creator. And the prophet did think upon what he had learnt there and at the golden gates of heaven, which he had seen at the centre of that terrible place. And so the prophet did teach to his companions who had gone with him part way before becoming afeared, what he had learnt. And so did mortal mind learn of the truths of god that need no written word bar this. And so was this world saved

The Acacianic church is the official state religion of the empire and ruled from the papal see at Marrechia. The Acacianists follow the one true god and his holy prophet. In this day and age one should never underestimate its temporal power not to mention its ability to send inquisitorial assassins at educated and intelligent Gretchen who generously give of their intellect to the uneducated masses. However the church has many other roles, and tirelessly fights against dark demonic forces that work in unfathomable ways…

Certainly having seen very little evidence of it, excepting that of peasant anecdote, I can’t fathom it.

Be that as it may it is true the citizens of the empire draw hope from the sounds of the church bells, believing their sounds alone drive away the demonic influences and keeping their new born safe from possession.

The Church orders.

Church orders are perhaps to an outsider appearing as a confusing and chaotic state of affairs that is almost nonsensical. A close friend of mine with the greyfrairs has informed me this is largely because it is.

Before we begin one must first note that a given order does not necessarily suggest a hierarchical organisation. Some do, some dont. What an order does refer to is the rule set out by the founder, a rule which each order member is sworn to uphold and which differs from order to order.

Melitians (the tenderers).

Under melitian doctrine there is no better way to worship the light but to tend and to shepherd his creation, the garden. Melitians are highly respected therefore by all of those who exist in rural communities and hold the majority of the churches within the hamlets and villages of the empire. Despite this the Melitians are one of the weakest orders and are frequently examined for heysecest heretical tendencies due to their occasionally avoidance of the main body of the church.

Ordo Fratrum Minorum (The greyfriairs)

The Greyfrairs are sound believers in the foundations of religious knowledge and are famed scholars. Although they have frequently clashed over the paper bull it is notable that they come a very close second to the Praedictorum in appointed inquisitors and it is almost unheard of for appointments to be made outside these two orders. Whether earned or not the Greyfriairs are considered to be less harsh inquisitors frequently employing physical questioning techniques only in the direst of circumstances, a position which earns them scorn from the Praedictorum for being soft despite the overwhelming evidence for its need in combating heresy.

Ordo Hominum Salvator (The battle friars).

One of the often repeated credos derived from the council of Marrechia, is that Acacianistic blood, sweat and living breath must never leave the prophets side during his eternal slumber and that the defilers should never tread upon his holy ground. The Djinn to a degree have respected this credo in that they allow pilgrimages to the prophets stone and avoid the hill upon which it sits. However this is occasionally not enough for the holy see and intermittently since the prophets death, crusades have been organised to reclaim the prophets stone for all of Acacianistic faith. The Ordo Hominum Salvator originally provided safe passage for the pilgrims but were charged with joining the first crusade which rapidly turned them from guides to soldiers.

Every crusade has been of intermittent success, and by intermittent success I mean the cost of performing the crusade then getting the boot by the Djinn once their ire has been raised, who then punished the pilgrims, has totally outweighed the few short years they could claim to have ruled it. Despite this there is no pervasive incompetence within the order, indeed they excel at the role of professional soldier and holy order.

Ordo Asclepius

Unlike the other orders the Ordo Asclepius can claim descendancy from an apostle (Galen) and traditionally a high ranking member of the Ordo Asclepius has held the Cardinal bishops title, though never has it been concurrently held with the title of totalier head of the order. The Ordo Asclepius believes that for the soul to be strong the corpus must as well and vis a vie. Their chosen task then is to heal the sick and the needy the better to do gods work. Further many are known to take pacifist vows for this very reason, and there have been frequent conflicts between them and the more aggressive orders of the church. The Ordo Asclepius have many small institutions across the towns, villages and cities of the empire, and where ever there is poverty you are likely to find a brother or sister of this order. It still must be stated that while I am certainly all for a order within the church that moves away from cutting up innocent writers for ecclesiastical reasons to cutting up innocent writers for their health and well-being I prefer the science of the Toubibs to the wish wash of the Ordo Asclepius.

Ordo Benedictine

The Ordo Benedictine are perhaps the most numerous of the orders, however this stated the Ordo Benedictine are not a hierarchical rule. Each of the monasteries retains to a degree their autonomy from one another. Recently there has however been a movement to formalise their union into a single confederation, and this has received a great deal of emphatic support from the papal throne. Fortunately, for the other orders at least, this movement is slow to start at best and it is unlikely to reach its full fruition any time soon. Despite all this the Ordo Benedictine monasteries will frequently work together and lend one another resources asking nothing in return. Something many of the monasteries who are part of hierarchical orders might not be able to rightfully claim.

Ordo Praedicatorum (the Blackfriars)

The Blackfriars are one of the largest and most influential orders within the acacianist church, and were originally conceived to preach the word of the prophet and combat heresy. Indeed it was their influence that convinced pope Lucius II to introduce the papal bull of Ad abolendam, (the complete and utter eradication of all heresy was planned for once and for all) and their resources that convinced the empire to reintroduce the secular rights of the church in combating heresy once more. The Ordo Praedicatorum snobbery extends so far as for these monks and nuns to distrust the orthodoxy of the other orders. A Praedicatorum will frequently cross examine his brothers of different habit for signs of suspected heresy.

Ordo Guis (Guisite)

An offshoot from the Ordo Praedicatorum they are solely charged with following the smell of heresy across the empire and have no other duties nor reason. When people think of the inquisition it is the ordo Guis and to an extent the fear from the Ordo Praedicatorum is largely due to misattribution of the Ordo Guis actions. Ironically in structure the Ordo Guis follows most like that of the Order Asceplius however; as the majority of the Ordo Guis are lay members, with those holding the rank of Inquisitor (which itself is now becomes a dubious term as Inquisitor can also mean those of the Ordo Praedicatorum and the Ordo Fratum Minorum who have been charged with the duty of investigating heresy) usually being formerly of the Ordo Praedicatorum.

The reason why the Ordo Guis exists and the reason why the majority of them are not educated Acainic brothers is singular, for the Ordo Guis is there for when heresy becomes rampant within a community and the entirity of the community must be purged, a task with which the Ordo Hominum Salvator has become increasingly unwilling to be tasked by the Ordo Praedicatorum.

And so like locusts after crops, like velten after slaves the ordo Guis is like unto heresy, entire battlions of a hundred or more of these brothers stalk the empire seeking those who commit crime against god. And so like the words inquisition and Guisite have become synchronous to the masses, Gyrovagues and Ordo Guis are synchronous within the church.

And towns and villages do take note, for the Ordo Guis is unforgiving, judging almost all those who suffer heresy in their community to be guilty. Man, women and child alike and only occasionally sparing the youngest for adoption.

One final note upon the Guisites, like the Ordo healers and Ordo Hominum Salvator lay members are not routinely bound to celibacy and though they are forbidden from fraternisation with one another are allowed to live under the same roof. In the case of the Guisites this is because not one of them, for fear of been torn apart by the others, would break such an edict.

Cardinals

To add to the confusion of the reader, the religious heads of the orders are not technically part of the hierarchy, though many of them have positions within the hierarchy also. That role lies with the college of cardinals, the true superiors of the church and cardinality is independent of this factor. Although there are over a hundred cardinals (the exact number escapes me) there are but eight cardinal bishops and each one can claim direct succession from the original eight apostles. It is from the cardinal bishops alone that the pope is appointed, and these cardinal bishops which direct the church region by region within the empire.

But the Djinn scorned the prophets words and mock him so, for a closed mind or one that is tainted by the minions of the hells cannot learn of truth

Heresies

Hesychast

Amongst the melitian order there is a small but significant group who are perhaps too much involved with rural life, including the older pagan ways stemming from the first empire. This subgroup marked by the term hesychast are retreatists who have withdrawn themselves from their fellow man to such an extent as to breach the laws governing the church.

Eternalists

Eternalists are perhaps the oldest of the heresies from within the Acacianic church and served in a role to organise the episcopate into a collective. The Eternalists creed stems from the ninth apostle Cresl who was still alive at the first council of Marrechia and had his status stricken from him. Cresl had held to the belief that the prophet was not only born of god but was always of god, a view he expounded quite vocally, claiming to have had the word of the prophet to such an effect.

Exanimusation.

And though bloody and the fight dire, so did the prophet free the damn soul from the influence of the demonic spirit that had taken possession

If a heretic is unfortunate enough to be judged to be non-salvable by any other means or refuses to repent then church doctrine is that the heretic is executed by Exanimusation. Typically the heretic is chained to a table at roughly 50% degrees to the vertical plane upon a dais so as to been seen by the faithful. Preliminary superficial torture is frequently performed for some time before hand with the priority being to keep the heretic lucid and aware for the more spectacular steps. In the first instance an incision is made in the lower abdomen and the entrails removed by insertion of a thorned rod into the lower cavity, which are then wound up and withdrawn then burnt before the heretics eyes. Next the top most region of the skull is withdrawn and lime added. Finally the victims remaining vital organs are removed and then he is beheaded.

Truly are Gretchens blessed to have encountered your civilisation.

The Written Edicts

This is a somewhat touchy subject amongst scholars but I shall attempt to describe the written edicts (as it is known) as objectively as possible.

The first written edict stemmed from the first council of Marrechia and was that no written text could describe the life of the prophet and not be profane, excepting that of the apostles. As a result it is considered to be a sin of the soul to either write or read about the prophet’s life. This same edict forbade the name of the prophet to ever be spoken.

Saint Albos upon his ascension to the papal throne declared that due to a rapid rise of the number of heretical texts, the faithful were in need of a cleansing and that all writings were to be destroyed lest the flock be tainted irrevocably. Pope Albos further decreed that no writings may be made or owned for one week for every recognised saint excepting papal bull, including the apostles writings outside of holy ground. Upon the advice of the holy college of cardinals this edict was to be reiterated at the death of each pope, with all written text to be burnt before the end of the sede vacante (the formalised name of the rule of cardinals during popes) and then forbidden for the saint period.

There are currently 63 saints recognised by the church including for some reason the recent addition of Saint Horus, patron saint of writers just over a century ago. Prayers uttered in his name during the sede vacante period probably verge on truly heretical.

Emperor Corsini came to the conclusion that the Cetus Duchies had managed to maintain their integrity over time and in my opinion realising the church’s attitude to that stemmed from their nobles right of books attempted a novel solution. Corsini formed an independent agency from his government known as the Maccelum and then lobbied the pope for them to receive special sanctions allowing them to hold specific trade records during the sede vacante and saint period.

This lobbying lasted for a period of six years, frequently involved violent action between imperial troops and Vatican interests and upon the tragic death of the then pope Gordianus was instantly implemented by the college of cardinals.

There was however a significant loss of life as the declaration took some time to be communicated to the general populace and historical critics have argued that Corsini was too actively aggressive, almost losing his seat due to this uprising.

For myself I note that records of a number of his detractors also disappeared during this time and I suspect one of the reasons he implemented the ruling in this fashion was to grant him the opportunity to remove a number of detractors.

It is a fascinating coincidence for example that several deaths of highly placed noble lines not directly affiliated to Corsinis government could be traced to criminal cartels, certain outspoken priests against the cardinals declaration similarly. Criminal cartels that then started to focus upon legitimate business interests and eight years later were formally recognised by the empire as the Roachers guild.

All this stated it was a possible miscalculation of Corsini to have played it in such a way. Pointedly the rights for the Maccelum have never been ratified by the papal throne.

Finally and as more as a side note under the decree of Pope Eusebius no text barring those that place the prophets life in print is itself heretical. However to own a text that discusses heretical thought is to be considered to hold those beliefs and can lead to Exanimusation.

No quarter bull.

Upon the advent of steamware now being a viable option rather then a unique exception for humans the church was forced to act. Steamware was a step beyond the usage of technology; for the church it was an invasion of the corpus. The then pope thus decreed that adaptation of steamware was not only a violation of the corpus but a violation of the soul and that any steamware tainted the soul. Further that adoption of more than a quarter of the corpus with steamware irrevocably tainted the soul unto its destruction.

Even the most hardened technophile took note of this for under church law to have no soul was to have no legal rights. One could be summarily executed by any and all without the possibility of retribution by the offender.

On witchcraft

Although there are rumours of fantastical displays of arcane ability no one really believes them. However the existence of false spirits and curses remain one of the church’s doctrines and many is the sorcerer who has been examusated by the inquisition for perverse rites.