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    The Imperial Orthodox Church
    Posted on Tue, August 21, 2001 by Toran
    Taras writes "The Imperial Orthodox Church stands as the richest, most powerful, and largest of the Pholtine churches that rose to prominence with the Aerdi. Read on, and learn more of the heresy of Monotheistic Aerdy.

    Author: Taras Guarhoth (montand@canonfire.com)


    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.


    Imperial Orthodox Church

    Location: Aerdi Imperium (based in Mentray, Medegia)
    High Priest: Pontiff Spidasa of House Garasteth, Holy Censor of Medegia
    Holy Book: The Book of Arnd (Medegian Version)
    Symbol: The Imperial Aerdi Sunburst done in electrum

    The Imperial Orthodox Church is the official faith of the Aerdi Imperium. The Holy Censor of Medegia is one of the chief advisors of the Overking, and crowns each new Overking. As the official faith of the Imperium, the Imperial Orthodox Church enjoys a number of benefits, including lands, taxes, and titles of nobility for it’s leadership. The Imperial Orthodox Church has enjoyed this position since before the founding of the Aerdi Imperium in 1CY, leading many to believe that it’s leaders have gotten greedy and slothful.

    History: Officially, the Imperial Orthodox Church was founded in to 1CY with the crowning of the first Overking, although, in reality, it existed long before that, as the Orthodox Church of the Aerdy. At the height of the Imperium, the Imperial Orthodox Church held the feifs of Voll, Almor, Medegia, and the Pale. With the rebellion of Ferrond, the first major schism formed within the Church, as the newly crowned King Thrommel I effictevly removed the Imperial Orthodox Church from control of the clergy within the lands of Ferrond, including the lands of Voll. Eventually, the Church in those lands completely seperated, and became the Royal Orthodox Church of Ferrond (which later broke into several separate churches). The second major schism came when the junior branch of House Rax defected from the Imperium, taking Nyrond with them. The Church itself suffered a split at this time, as the Nyrondese nobles began to purge the Church in their territory of those still loyal to Aerdy. This led the Pale to rebel against Nyrond, and further split the Church. Almor remains a special case, for while it never officially split from the Imperial Orthodox Church, it remains completely autonomous in the wake of the Nyrondese split. Today, the Imperial Orthodox Church, while still the largest of the Pholtine churches in existence, is no longer the monolithic entity that it once was.

    The Imperial Orthodox Church

    Clergy: Specialty Priests
    Clergy’s Align.: Any non-Chaotic

    The clergy of the Imperial Orthodox Church is composed of specialty priests, who are either devoted to Pholtus himself or belong to one of the various orders devoted to one or more of the saints. The specialty priest given below is only intended for those who are not members of these orders devoted to the saints, which is where the non-lawful members of the clergy can be found.

    All members of the clergy gain Religion (Oeridian) and Languages (Aerdi) as bonus proficiencies. Those not part of a particular order gain Etiquette as a bonus proficiency as well. Different orders of the Church will be detailed later, as well as their benefits.

    Dogma: There is but one god, Pholtus. His will is to be followed. Those who serve him well will gain a place by his side in the afterlife. Those who do not serve him will be consigned to the clutches of the Reaper. Pholtus led his chosen people, the Aerdi, out of the terrors of the Twin Cataclysms, though the guidance of his prophet, Arnd. It was Pholtus who guided the first Overkings to build an empire. By following the will of the most holy Pholtus, the Aerdi will remain the greatest of peoples in the Flanaess. He led the Aerdi to victory, and will ensure that the Aerdi remain victorious as long as they continue to follow his will.

    Day-to-Day Activities: The Imperial Orthodox Church runs a number of monasteries around the Aerdi Imperium, as well as orphanages and missions. In addition, the Church is responsible for the governing of the fief of Medegia. A number of smaller clerical fiefs exist within the bounds of the Aerdi Imperium, located within larger fiefs, such as the Bone March or South Province. The clergy of the church typically spends their days administering the clerical lands of the Imperium, caring for those at their missions and orphanages, dealing with the public (and preaching to them) at their cathedrials and churches, or working the lands of the monastaries. Other activities carred on include copying of manuscripts (typically books important to the faith), performing special ceremonies for the faithful, and drilling the clerical troops and staffing the courts of the Imperium.

    Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Every Godsday, the faithful (and some of the semi-faithful) gather in the cathedrials and chapels of the Imperial Orthodox Church to worsip in the morning. The following is a sampling of some of the important holy days of the church. This is NOT an exhaustive list. Nearly every day has some significance to the Church, although many of these are of minor importance.

    The Day of Remembrance (Readying 1) - observed in remembrance of those who have fallen in the service of the Church. Typically, solemn ceremonies are held in cemeteries, often involving sorrowful hymns.
    The Day of Cleansing (Flocktime 15) - on this day, the faithful of the Church are expected to repent of their sins.
    The Festival of the Blinding Light (Wealsun 1-4) - a time of revelry and feasting. Worship services are conducted each day at noon, followed by a large feast.
    Midsummer’s Day (Richfest 4) - after worship services at noon, the rest of this day is typically spent relaxing with family and friends. The grounds of most church lands are open to the public on this day. It is expected that the day will be spent in quiet contemplation of the teachings of the Church.
    Festival of Hope (Ready’Reat 7) - this is a traditional day of atonement for all the petty sins committed in the previous year by the clergy. This is usually accomplished through extra vigilance in the care of the destitute.

    Major Temple: The Imperial Orthodox Church has cathedrals and chapels throughout the lands of Aerdy, and even some lands that have broken from the Great Kingdom. The grandest cathedrals are those located in the large cities of Aerdy, with the greatest among them found in Mentray, Rauxes, and Rel Astra. Mentray holds an extensive set of impressive and exquisite cathedrals, monastaries, and other institutions. It is here that the Imperial Orthodox Church’s bureaucracy has it’s headquarters, where judges are appointed, doctrine decided upon, and the other affairs of the church run. Second only to Mentray, the cathedral in Rauxes is truly a work of art. It is here that Overkings are crowned within it’s cavernous sanctuary, and the bodies of fallen Overkings lie in state before their burial. Rel Astra, oldest and greatest of the Aerdi cities, was once the headquarters of the Orthodox Church of the Aerdy. As such, impressive, ancient cathedrals stand in the center of the city, many still bearing the silvery disk symbol from before the crowning of Nasran of Cranden in 1CY. Collected in these places is an impressive array of artwork, manuscripts, and precious metals and gems, all the result of the many centuries of the church’s domination of the faith of the people of Aerdy.

    Affiliated Orders: The Imperial Orthodox Church has a number of orders within it, devoted to various saints of the church. Among these are aroders devoted to St. Hextor, St. Hieroneous, St. Zilchus, and the other important powers of the Aerdi.

    Priestly Vestments: Priests of the Imperial Orthodox Church wear robes of pure white when conducting their ceremonies, with gold or silver trim to denote status within the church. Silver is used on the robes of Abbots, Bishops, and other minor leaders among the church. Gold is used on the robes of the high ranking clergy, including Archbishops, the Prelate of Almor, the Holy Censor, and the Cardinals who head the bureaucracy. In addition, the holy symbol held by the clergymen is modified by the priest’s position in the church. Abbots have a crescent moon etched in the center of the sunburst. Bishops have the same crescent moon, although it is made of gold and inset into the electrum starburst. The symbol used by Archbishops is the same as the one used by bishops, although the tips of the sunburst are also made of gold. Cardinals have a smaller coppery sunburst inset into the center of the larger electrum sunburst. The Prelate of Almor has a copper battlement inset across a platinum disk, while the Holy Censor bears the golden sea-lion of Medegia inset in a platinum disk trimmed about it’s edges with gold. Priests in the fief of Almor will have a battlement etched across the silvery disk, to denote their separate hierarchy, while those in the See of Medegia will have their symbols trimmed about the edge in gold. Judges of the Sessions have a twin scale symbol done in copper inset into the silver disk of their holy symbol, while the three Primes, the chief justices of Aerdy, who has his symbol trimmed in copper. The various other orders of the church often have their own modifications to the symbols used by their priests, as well.

    Adventuring Garb: There is no set dress code for priests, although most tend to favor the heavier armors, with a sunburst symbol etched or inlaid in the breastplate, identical to the one they use in their ceremonies.

    Hierarchy: The Holy Censor is the head of the Imperial Orthodox Church. Directly beneath him are the Archbishops, Cardinals, and (in theory) the Prelate of Almor (who heads his own hierarchy of Archbishops and Cardinals). The Archbishops oversee various regions, from the size of fiefs (such as Ratik or the Bone March) to portions of fiefs (typically major cities, such as Rel Astra and Pontylver). Below the Archbishops, Bishops administer smaller portions of the Archbishop’s region. Abbots are below the Bishops, and administer individual monastaries, cathedrals, or small tracts of land. Cardinals, who answer only to the Holy Censor, administer the bureaucracy of the church, and choose the next Holy Censor, with the approval of the Overking in Rauxes.

    Priests of the Imperial Orthodox Church
    (Specialty Priests of Pholtus)

    Requirements: Wisdom 12 or Charisma 12
    Prime Req.: Wisdom
    Alignment: Any non-Chaotic (usually lawful)
    Weapons: Any blunt
    Armor: Any (plate preferred)
    Major Spheres: All, Combat, Divination, Guardian, Healing, Law, Necromantic, Protection, Sun
    Minor Spheres: Charm, Summoning, War, Wards
    Magic Items: As a Cleric
    Required Proficiencies: Read/Write (Aerdi)
    Bonus Proficiencies: Religion (Oeridian), Language (Aerdi), Etiquette
    Turn Undead: Yes

    The clergy is open to all races, although only humans, half-elves, and (rarely) half-orcs can rise to the rank of Archbishop, be appointed as Judges of the Sessions, or become Cardinals. Only full humans can become head of one of the major clerical fiefs.
    At first level, the priest gains a +1 to all saves vs. enchantment/charm and fear spells and effects.
    At third level, the priest can cast Dispel Darkness once per day.
    At fifth level, the priest can cast Glow once per day.
    At ninth level, the priest can cast Reflect once per day.
    At eleventh level, the priest can cast Holy Word once per day.



    Note: Aerdy, Almor, Medegia, Pholtus, Second Edition"
     
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    Re: The Imperial Orthodox Church (Score: 1)
    by Fallon on Wed, August 22, 2001
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    I really liked the article and its explanations. Am corrected to assume that this was the state of organization before the Greyhawk Wars. Pontiff Spidassa is currently(591cy) is currently undergoing the unending death for Ivid's Pleasure(!?). Also does this assume that Hextor eventually replaced Pholtus as the principal god?




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