Campaign of the Month: March 2016
Ptolus, City by the Spire
Church of Lothian
|Conciliators||Order of the Dawn||Order of Dayra||Hierarchy|
Lothian grants the following domains to his clerics: Life, Light, and Protection. His clerics normally wear white and blue, although on high holy days they wear golden garments. Lothian’s favored weapon is the longsword and his holy symbol is the ankh crucifix.
The Church of Lothian, often just called “the Church,” has been inextricably entwined with the Empire of Tarsis for as long as the Empire has existed. When Delian Von Tessel was crowned Emperor and ascended the Lion-Guarded Throne in Tarsis, the act granted him both secular dominion over the Empire and spiritual leadership of the Church. Even when the Emperor and Emperor of the Church split into two different positions (and thus lineages), Lothianism remained the official religion of the Empire.
The Church of Lothian is based around a martyred saint named Lothian who rose from his own grave and ascended into Heaven, becoming the most powerful of the gods, according to his followers. In fact, the harshest of Lothian doctrines maintains that Lothian discovered that all other beings claiming to be gods were actually demons in disguise; this belief teaches that he rose again to bring order to the previously disordered, godless universe. Throughout the first five centuries of the Empire, in fact, other religions were outlawed. People could practice their “pagan” faiths only in secret or in remote areas. However, in recent years, as the power of the Empire has waned, so too has the influence of the Church. Other religions are now permitted, and newer, more liberal doctrines allow that not all the other gods are demons. Some are in fact true deities—albeit lesser gods than Lothian.
Like so many Prustan organizations, the Church has a strict structure. It is set up like the Empire’s hierarchy, with an Emperor, a Prince, and a council of accomplished elders called archbishops. From there, each major community in the Empire looks to a bishop who operates out of a cathedral. The bishop usually consults directly with the community’s Commissar or local governor and wields a great deal of influence and power. Every cathedral has a dozen or more satellite churches, each managed by a high priest who answers to the bishop. One normally finds these satellite churches in surrounding settlements, but large cities sometimes have a handful of community churches in addition to the cathedral.
Other than Holy Emperor, Holy Prince, archbishop (or elder), and bishop, priests of Lothian have three ranks. The aforementioned high priest is a special rank indicating charge of a church—a building, a congregation, and probably a number of attached priests. Clerics who are not high priests are either acolytes or curates, the latter being a rank of distinction earned through time and accomplishment. The faithful often address acolytes and curates as “Brother” or “Sister.”
A further distinction is that all priests of Lothian are either bespoken priests or itinerant priests. Bespoken priests are assigned official duties and belong to a specific congregation or organization. Itinerant priests have no specific role within the church hierarchy other than to perform good works, obey Lothian’s will, and spread the word of Lothian (“adventuring” clerics are virtually always itinerant priests). Itinerant priests function as missionaries, wandering caregivers, or spiritual consultants tied to another organization. For example, a number of itinerant priests work among the Keepers of the Veil as healers, support troops, and even accountants and administrators. There is also the title priest errant, which is a cleric who still has spellcasting ability but has violated Church law. Such priests wield no authority (secular or spiritual), but their faith and power still allow them some respect.