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The Great Church

The Church

 

Religion

The Great Church

The Great Church, sometimes called the Holy Conorrian Church, is the largest and strongest religious institution in all of Vatheria.  Unlike all the other churches, it worships all the gods of the Conorrian pantheon equally as a family.  It is an an enormous organization spanning dozens of nations and hundreds of cultures.  

The Great Church has one primary goal: to assure that every population center in Theeurth has a church dedicated to the entire Pantheon, in order to make the gods accessible to everyone.  As a result, nearly city of any size has at least one such church, and large cities may have several, or a large cathedral.  This is more true in human cities than in those of the other races, who tend to cleave more strongly to some members of the Pantheon than to others.

The Great Church is very popular with commoners and nobles alike, both of whom desire to stay in the good graces of all the gods and often see little reason to prefer one god over another.  

Alignment

Overall, the Pantheon can be said to be Neutral Good.  However, the Great Church is definitely Lawful Good.  For this reason, it maintains closer associations with the clergy of the lawful gods than of the chaotic ones. Clerics of the Great Church may be lawful neutral, lawful good or neutral good.

Representations

The Great Church typically portrays the gods as a family, standing or seated on thrones in a circle.  The symbolic representation of the Lords of Heaven is a white Grail.

Church Structure

The Great Church is organized on a byzantine system of offices, paralleling that of the Conorrian Empire.  In general, the Great Church has two separate and powerful holy orders: the clergy and the paladins.  

The clergy are generally divided into five levels of authority: priests, deans, bishops, archbishops and the Patriarch or Matriarch, who sits in Echoriath.  In addition, there are a dizzying array of offices within the church, some of which may wield a surprising amount of authority, regardless of the rank of the office holder.  There are also a number of lesser orders within the clergy.

The paladins are an important and influential order within the church, operating almost autonomously, and answering only to the Patriarch or Matriarch.

Church Doctrine

The Great Church teaches that as the gods are good, so should mortals strive for pure goodness.  This means caring for for the less fortunate, sacrificing for others, promoting love, charity, hope and forgiveness.  Forgiveness and redemption are themes central to the parables and legends of the gods.  There are few things that make forgiveness impossible, but some things come close: consorting with demons, creating the undead, etc.

The largest part of the Great Church is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the faith.  It's teachers and missionaries are everywhere in Vatheria.  Several smaller orders within the church are contemplative, striving through the rigors of monastic life to more clearly understand the will of the gods.  

Finally, there are the "military orders."  These are clergy with an adventurous cast of mind who actively oppose evil rather than concentrate on spreading the faith.  Closely allied with these priests is the Holy Order of Paladins.  Few adventuring clerics ever rise in the church hierarchy.

 

 
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