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A Primer to Religion

Contents


[top]Abstract

Religion forms an important part of the every day lives of all Aelyrians. While not everyone necessarily hold the gods in reverence their presence still casts a heavy shadow over the lives of all who live in the Aelyrian Empire and beyond.
Further Reading: A Primer to the Pantheon

[top]The Church of Faith

The Church of Faith is a looming presence in the Empire, while not every village will see an imperial tax man or an imperial soldier, all but the very smallest of villages will have their own priest. The Church of Faith is the largest single organisation in the Empire and boasts an information network to rival that of the Imperium, it is often said that the Archprelate knows anything that transpires in the Empire three days before the Empress does.

The vast majority of the education in the Empire is facilitated through teachers from the Church and everyone but the most insular of groups in the Empire knows by heart the teachings of the Church about the glory of the Aetherians and the wickedness of the Aeternians. Secular education exists, but is for the most part restricted to those who can afford expensive private tutors.

The Church of Faith often represents their best hope for a career of note for the noble and the common man alike when there is little they stand to inherit. This means that the Church has connections to just about every major and minor noble and political family in the Empire. The Church has very little official or legal political power, but this ensures that they have the ear of both the people and the nobility. Speaking up against the Church of Faith is considering something akin to social suicide, there is no faster way to become a social pariah or a political nobody than to take an official stand against the Church.
Further reading: Church of Faith

[top]The Free Cults

It should be noted that the Church of Faith's monopoly on faith is incomplete and throughout the land can be found cults to deities outside the Church's influence. Very few are powerful enough to stand against the power of the Church and must operate in secrecy, though there are occasional exceptions enjoying enough support in their local community that they may worship in the open. Given that the Church can theoretically field an army large enough to easily best any Governor or Duke's armies, such overt defiance of the Church is a delicate position to be in at the best of times.

These cults often offer a different view of the Church's dogma and will tend to offer a new perspective for those who join them. It should be noted that the vast majority of such cults still worship the Aetherians though they usually do so in ways which have been deemed heretical by the Church. Of course there are others who may worship Aeternians, Planetars, Spirits, or other Gods.
Further Reading: Religious Cults, Religious Rites

[top]The Private Practise of Religion

There are many who beseech the gods for their favour, this is typically dependent on the task they need help with. No one would pray to Orod for help with a burglar, or to Ioannes to aid them in ensuring the harvest is abundant. While prayer is often of the silently mouthed supplication type, rituals, sacrifices, and feasts are often more public and involved affairs that try for more or less the same effect.

There are more permanent ways of showing one's devotion. Most large homes will have a small shrine of some kind, dedicated to whatever god or gods the household feels closest to. Larger noble households will even have their own chapels and priests. Exactly what deity is represented in such a shrine might say much about the person owning it, a smith might have a shrine to Cetheron, whereas a mage might have a shrine to Phedos.

Such shrines will tend to range from the extremely simple to the very elaborate, depending on the household. Of course, some eschew having their own shrine altogether or have hidden shrines to some outlawed deity.

[top]Religious Paraphernalia and Symbols

Many carry symbols of their preferred deities with them, believing that they hold some value in warding off evil, or gaining the favour of the god in question. Often this takes the form of rings, necklaces, and similar accoutrements. Such symbols, especially when blessed by a priest of the appropriate faith, may even have some degree of debilitating effect on demons or angels of a god in direct opposition.

Sometimes these symbols are written in places to send messages, the Eye of Aslan is often put up to show anyone nearby that the truth cannot be hidden whereas the Seal of Maj is often used both as warning that something evil is nearby and to keep that evil sealed away.
Further Reading: Religious Symbols, Religious Artifacts

Contributors: Indefinite, Nimh, Charybdis
Created by Charybdis, August 9, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Last edited by Indefinite, July 26, 2015 at 12:50 PM
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