Monastriist of Dogartan
Theoretically the oldest sect of Unionism, the Dogartans represent one end of the spiritual spectrum. The core of this sect involves giving up all Alorian possessions, riches, and things of value to live a more penitent life for the Imperial Spirit. Those that follow this sect of Unionism often give up their family name as well. To them, it’s part of serving the Great Way with all that they are, without the temptation of greed, envy, and lust. Dogartans are identified by their green wool robe tied around the waist with a flax rope hanging around their neck. These robes are often torn and dirty, showing the many miles and years that the faithful believer has served through. But at their core, the Dogartans are some of the most zealous Unionists; giving up all they have to live a life of intense servitude to the Emperor and their religion.
Name and History
The name Dogartan comes from a small town in the Calemberg countryside, called Dogartenburg. This village was home to a group of curates who first came up with the idea of giving up all Alorian possessions to show their devotion to Unionism. The local Reverend became the first Prior, and the curates became Lay Brothers. This was around the time of Emperor Theomar the First’s death, when the first Supreme Reverend summoned a diet to decide the future of Unionism. The small group of proto-Dogartans sent only a single representative to the diet, deciding on their own course for how to achieve redemption in the eyes of the Spirit. This was the strongest draw to the sect early on. The idea that followers could simply turn in their belongings to be assured Paradise in the next life was fairly popular and embraced. Over the next centuries, the Dogartans would slowly prosper. After the first Diet in 92 AC, there were two monasteries in the Calemberg countryside that were relatively ignored by the general populace; instead choosing to enjoy the complimentary services the Dogartans performed. The Clastic Law completely passed over the Dogartans, who cared little for what the other faithful did. In 112 AC, with seven monasteries and a little over two hundred Lay Brothers, the Dogartans began their tradition of an annual pilgrimage back to Dogartenburg to congregate and compare what everyone had been doing in the world. By the time of the Second Schism in 186 AC rolled around, the Dogartans had managed in occupying thirty monasteries in Calemberg; one in Ithania, and two in Vultaro. Their numbers had risen to nearly three hundred, and could be found wandering across various parts of the Empire. 186 AC also saw the rise of Prior Hendrich, also called Hendrich the Hunchback; Hendrich served for forty three years, despite being malformed. He helped to spread the call of Dogartan Unionism to the four corners of the world. He was also the first of the more ‘active’ Priors, who engaged in actual leadership of the Monastriist. By 263 AC, Dogartan Unionism remained considerably dwarfed by all other sects. They then held monasteries in more locations across the Empire. However, most Sancellist Unionists still did not fully trust the ‘green-robed fanatics’, and often closed their doors to them. By this point, the Fathers of Piety had been founded by the Sancellist sect, and were eclipsing the Dogartans in size. This did not phase the Dogartans, who tended to isolate themselves from the outside world. While those who chose to fight did join the Regalian Army, there were no large movements amongst the Dogartans. Remaining steadfast in their individualist nature, the Monastriist made no official stances on any issue, believing in the Emperor and their decisions. In the modern age, Dogartans continue their centuries old traditions, aiming to serve the Emperor in any and all ways they can. There were stirrings amongst the more militant Dogartans during the Anahera dictatorship that prompted a response from individuals, but the Monastriist remained neutral in that instance as it ever has.
The Dogartan sect of Unionism is organized in an ancient organization named the Monastriist of Dogartan. The Monastriist is the least organized of all Unionism sects. At the top is the Prior, who is the spiritual leader of the Monastriist and is chosen by the previous Prior before his death. Their role is similar to the average Dogartan, due to the sect’s tradition that all Ailor should shoulder the burden of the Great Way to ensure Paradise in the world. However, the Prior must also deliver a yearly address to a large gathering of Dogartans at their ancestral monastery located in the Calemberg countryside. This event is a yearly pilgrimage that all Dogartans must take part in unless their current duty restricts their travel. It takes place in late August, and the sect meets for a week of prayer and meditation. This is the only event organized by the Monastriist, that often thrives off of its independent agents. Instead, the Dogartans work on their own projects and each member serves as they see fit. It is a vastly different system compared to the Sancellist Sect, which was built on organization and power structure. However, beyond this one special position, the Dogartans view all members of the sect as equals under the Emperor. So if one were to meet a Dogartan in the streets, it is highly likely they would be a member of the Lay Brother rank. These individuals often congregate in special monasteries across the Empire; praying, fasting, and committing acts of charity to praise the Emperor. They spend their days providing basic first aid, taking care of bees, praying to the Emperor, and anything they feel helps the Great Way. The bees were raised in an effort to develop patience. The bees was often used to help pollinate the fields where the Brothers grow their food, and the honey they produce is used to make mead. The Dogartans will often trade this mead to local farmers in exchange for seeds. Many peasants have come to associate the honey bee with the Dogartans; the songs the Dogartans hum as they travel being associated with the buzzing of the bees. It was from these Lay Brothers that the Sancellist sect created the Fathers of Piety; where they attempted to replicate the good deeds done by the Dogartans with a more organized structure. There is also a group of soldiers serving in the Imperial Army that are all Dogartans, dubbed the Pilgrim’s Flock. These fanatics often wield Regalian Holy Maces, and desire to spread Unionism across the world. They are some of the most zealous individuals in the entire Empire, and firmly believe that the Spirit will keep them safe from harm.
Worship and Traditions
The key pillars of Dogartan Unionism are fairly simple. First, those who enter the sect give up all Alorian possessions, and personal claims to possessions. They are either unmarried or receive a divorce upon joining the faith, and Dogartans pass up all claims to inheritance. This has caused problems in the past when a noble’s son runs off and joins the Dogartans, only to be the sole heir of his father’s title when the father dies. The only item a Dogartan actually owns is the robe on his back and the heavy rope around his neck, symbolising the burdens that all Unionist carry on the Great Way. Everything else is the Emperor’s, and must be given up to help those the Emperor deems in need of helping. They view their vow to give up all Alorian possessions as sacred and greatly disapprove of those who break it. Due to this, the original view of the Dogartans was that they were extreme cultists; the required uniform and entry contributed to this greatly. This caused a great distrust of Dogartans amongst other Unionists, who felt that they were often giving up too much and harming the Great Way instead of helping it. In addition, a Dogartan will never accept charity -- whether it’s food, coin, or lodging. It is against their duty, as Dogartans often live away from these temptations. They choose to stay with fellow Dogartans in monasteries, striving to praise the Emperor in every action they undertake. The other major pillar of the Dogartan sect is the mission to serve the Emperor in every facet you can. Many Dogartans spend their days in their monasteries outside of smaller communities. Here, they often spend the day praying and meditating. Some monasteries are more open to outsiders, and routinely perform acts of charity such as taking care of the sick and lame, or helping in re-construction after a storm. Some Lay Brothers travel the countryside, performing small deeds in a village before moving on to the next stop. In larger cities, they can be found in the poor districts and slums, delivering positive sermons and attempting to help the poor out of their squalor. Then there are those that feel they best serve the Spirit and the Emperor defending those in need. These Lay Brothers (often called Warbrothers amongst those in the sect) travel the roads, armed with the holy maces that they use to defend those in need. Some wander the highroads of the Empire, while others tend to join the Imperial Army to serve as devoted soldiers of the Empire. Finally, the Dogartan sect is the most difficult to join out of all sects, in that those that join must take part in a combination of the Sacrament of Sacrifice and Sacrament of Fervent Service. They are one of the few organizations outside nobility that require this Sacrament to be completed before joining. Once in, any Dogartan who wishes to leave (or is cast out of) the sect must be branded with the symbol of an closed eye (an open eye being a symbol of the Imperial Spirit) on their left hand, and cast out of the Sect. The brand marks them as an ex-Dogartan, and the individual is forbidden from joining the sect ever again. This has been the only recorded method of leaving the Dogartans, and has only been witnessed a handful of times due to the zealous nature members of the sect possess.
Relationship with other Sects
The Dogartans are ignored - for the most part - by the other sects. However, they are still looked down upon by all other churches as being fanatical zealots who only harm the Great Way. However, Dogartans rarely act to cause the other sects harm. The Dogartans often look down on the other sects, viewing them as being not pious enough. As such, they just leave the other sects to their devices and continue with their isolationist lifestyle. As such, they rarely have any impact on the greater Unionist faith, choosing not to have any say in how the faith progresses. For this, they have been left out of Clastic Law, and are even allowed to proselytize their sect in public on special occasions. The Dogartans are the oldest sect and their promise of salvation through dedication to the Great Way has kept it lingering in the shadows of the Unionist Faith.
- The longest serving Prior is actually the current standing one, Caspar the Tall. He was chosen to replace the previous Prior, Prior Arnolt, in the year 253 AC. At the time, Prior Caspar was twenty two.
- Despite being organized into various monasteries, there are no different titles for Dogartans across the entire Monastriist, preferring only to refer to each other as ‘brother’.
- Many Ex-Dogartans who leave the order and long to join the sect again often join the Fathers of Piety to regain some semblance of their past life. These Fathers tend to be more zealous in their actions than the normal Father.