Holy Church of Achaea
The Holy Church of Achaea, based in the Chrysalis Basilica within Shallam, was an organisation dedicated to the ideals of Good. Guided by the Codex of Light bestowed upon them by the Gods Pentharian, Lorielan, and Tarah, the Church strove to uphold Righteousness, Order, and Light while opposing Evil, Darkness, and Chaos. Two Houses, the Templars and the Empyreal Assembly, formed the bulk of Church membership along with the Imithians who were from other Houses or no House at all.
According to legend, the Church was founded by Imithia, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Pasiphae, when she held the Rite of Ending to both commemorate the life and mourn the death of the last of the Offspring. This act also marks the beginning of its ancient internal dating system, year zero on the Imithian Calendar. By modern reckoning, the founding of the Church occurred on Chronos 20th, 3131 BF. Though originally composed of a few devout friends of Imithia, the ancient Church grew slowly, eventually giving birth to the Templars and Priests. Though much different from their modern-day counterparts, they each played important parts in the functioning of the ancient Church.
Though based in the Delosian Basilica, the Church had many branches and chapels in other cities, including the Minorus Basilica in Ashtan and the Tower of the Luminai in Shallam. The Luminai were a scholastic sect; the most ardent opponents of the ancient Occultists and guided the Church's fight against them. Though denied by the Church, the Occultists claimed that the Luminai and the Church perpetrated many "injustices" against them, including torture and the destruction of their scholarly texts. The Luminai, likewise, claimed that the Occultists were responsible for chaotic atrocities against local villages and the arson that destroyed their tower in Shallam. One member of the ancient Luminai who survives today, Sir Gladius, is the former bloodsworn of the priestess-turned-Goddess of the Sun, Mithraea.
The Church was responsible for many of the highways within Sapience, built under the Archprelacy of Raphael I. Through their construction, continental commerce was improved, travel hastened, and the Church was able to extend its influence to a greater degree within Ashtan and Shallam. It sponsored the building of outposts and chapels in all of the great cities as well as Tenwat and New Hope. The Church held great influence within the Seleucarian Empire whose founder, Nicator, the Church named Fire Saint. It had blessed the coronation of every ruler of the empire; an absence of this blessing was seen as a sign of disfavour from the Gods, and on one occasion prevented the immediate accession of Prince Mycale after the death of King Valerias. While it often placed itself as a neutral mediator, healing wounds physical and political during the world's conflict, its influence tended to wane greatly in Ashtan though it continued into modern times in Shallam.
Other Church notables include:
The Modern Age saw the relocation of the Church's base of operations from Delos to Shallam by the Logos, and the renaming of the Templars guild to the Paladins Guild. Later both guilds became Houses and went through bouts of renaming and reform. The Church became a subordinate but essential part of Shallamese government, an arrangement which not only contributed to a heightened spirituality and strengthened force of arms but also political embroilment over time.
Miraman 24th, 568 AF saw the end of the Church era. A string of miraculous signs in the six city-states followed a prophecy by Imithia, leading to divine symbols appearing in the air above the Chrysalis Basilica and Shallamese Royal Palace, creating a silent explosion which bathed Sapience in its incandescence. A spire of emerald appeared in its afterglow, dubbed the Citadel of Light, a symbol of the union of church and state. The Citadel itself was destroyed along with the rest of Shallam in 612 AF.
The Church's influence settled into Cyrene for over two centuries in the form of the Ordine Vashnar Lumeni, a community of Cyrenian devotion users. After the fall of Shallam, it continued through the founding of Targossas until the Bloodsworn Gods abolished the order in the 630s.
The Church was lead by a council of three Prelates who selected an Archprelate to serve as their chief. The three prelates were the Mayan Prelate, House Lord of the Empyreal Assembly; the Justiciar Prelate, House Lord of the Templars; and the Imithian Prelate, who was chosen by the Divine Patron of the Church.
|1||Isildur||223-276||First modern Archprelate|
|3||Aldair||293-334||Longest serving Archprelate|
|1||Brinn||285-298||First Imithian Prelate|
|5||Itkovian||368-400||Longest serving Imithian Prelate|
|12||Quoren||503-519||Resigned in order to serve as Mayan Prelate.|
|14||Azor||528-542||Defected to Mhaldor|
|16||Ferrous||546-568||Last Imithian Prelate|
For a list of Mayan Prelates, see the list of the Patriarchs/Matriarchs of Angels of the Empyreal Assembly. For a list of Justiciar Prelates, see the list of Grand Champions of the Innocent of the Templars.
The coat of arms of the modern Church of Achaea was a trio of interlocked silver rings on a field of blue, representing its priestly caste, its templar arm, and its foreign congregation of laymembers.