Patriarchate of Etosil
The Patriarchate of Etosil is well known as the governing body of Etosil, a unique region in Aloria long kept isolated from the outside world, and is known for being the result of several Cultures and a splash of former Unionist heresy combined together in a similarly unique terrain. Ruled by a Patriarch, that title has recently been changed to High Reverend as Etosil and Regalia have reconciled their two century old animosity over religious issues, thus beginning a new age for the Patriarchate. For now though, not much has changed and the state is quiet, focused far more on internal matters and adhering to the conditions of their reunification with mainline Unionism than with external affairs.
The Patriarchate of Etosil has the simple etymology of being named after Etosil, whose name comes from what the locals long called their region before the arrival of outsiders, and its system of leadership, a form of religious patriarchy. Despite the recent change in the head of state’s title, the name of the nation remains the same.
The Patriarchate of Etosil was once not the Etosil-spanning body it is known as today. Instead, it was once just the government of the Great City of Thessalo, controlling an area of northern Etosil. Other city-states, like the Exarchy of Mlyat and Ypsildiocese of Gyrakiosis fought the others for territory and over religious issues. The Patriarchate was one of the weakest of these city-states, but that soon changed. When the Regalian Empire arrived in 127 AC, the war they started broke all of the rules agreed upon by the Etosian city-states in their own isolated corner of the world. They all fought back, but were divided, with Thessalo standing alone with its Patriarch. Then, supposedly one night while praying, Patriarch Zinon Kokkinos was informed of the Spirit’s desire to end the war through the ascension of him as religious leader and his city as the capital of a new pan-Etosian state in return for peace and prosperity. Thus Thessalo turned on the other states and provided the Regalian Empire with harbors to dock in, and access to information on proper routes through the Etosian countryside. The other states immediately caved, surrendering within a week and allowing the Patriarchate to rapidly expand. All other city-states were dismantled, and their religious authorities were forced to pay homage to the Patriarch as their leader. However, the Patriarchate was not a Regalian patsy, and violently rejected mainstream Unionist attempts to convert the population back to the “proper” strain of Unionism. Thus, the Regalians pulled out of Etosil and merely maintained a blockade, seeking to contain the “threat” of Etosian Unionism.
This stance almost caused civil chaos on Etosil when the Undead, a threat only experienced at the fringes of the region for an indeterminate amount of time, suddenly surged. They threatened the countryside openly, and the Etosians fled into the cities to avoid death. It was at this time that the Vladno arrived, and thanks to the unique cooperation between them and the Patriarchate, the Undead were driven back. For this, the Vladno were granted many high honors and were easily able to insert themselves into the structure of the Patriarchate. Ironically, rather than gaining the theocracy many churchmen wanted, the Etosian Church allowed the creation of a permanent aristocracy that would forever be part of local governance. The Patriarchate has ruled Etosil ever since, but only recently have there been some rather fundamental developments. First, the Bone Horror Crisis saw the Undead and the living of Etosil ally themselves. For the first time ever, a Patriarch met with the Undead King, and marked out a deal of mutual cooperation which helped the people withstand the Bone Horrors until the Regalian Reconquest Armies reached their area. After that, the Undead returned to the countryside and, for once, Etosil is at peace with the Undead with an unspoken truce that remains. There also came the calls, and ultimately the actions, that fixed the First Schism of Unionism. The Etosian Church was meshed with mainline Sancella, and both parties gave concessions to the other. One of these even saw the Patriarch give up his title for the term High Reverend. However, his control of Etosil remains powerful, and it is unlikely that the Patriarchate will dissolve its current system of a blended theocratic and oligarchical government any time soon.
The Patriarchate of Etosil is a theocratic body, ruled over by a High Reverend (formerly Grand/Supreme Patriarch) out of the city of Thessalo. The High Reverend is put into his position by election from the religious councils from each of the Seven Great Cities known as the Ierarchíes. Each is made up of nine clergymen, who are selected from the defined borders of an archdiocese that correlate to the territory of each Great City. These clergymen can be from any rank, but they must be elected through consensus of the Ierarchía they serve, and if a tie is reached the Ypirétis tis Mitrópolis or “Servant of the Metropolis” must break the impasse. The Ypirétis is not a clergyman though, and is instead a representative of the civilian government of the Great City, somewhat equal to a mayor or central alderman, and commonly a Vladno rather than an Etosian. His position is also an elected one, the voting process being done by the able-bodied male members of certain families who clear a property requirement. This level of society is essentially an aristocracy, and it supports both the Ierarchíes and the High Reverend through lavish gifts of wealth and material to the church in Etosil rather than paying much in the way of taxes. In return for this generosity in material wealth, the Patriarchate is rarely audits people, and so electors to the Ypirétis have remained unchanged for decades. The Ypirétis himself does not run the entire city, and has his own various advisors for that, more often than not the men or families who helped put him into office. Beyond the Great Cities, each township and other city has a more Etosian-focused bureaucracy to handle things on the local level, with matters of taxation and trade taken up every other month in the Great City that dominates the archdiocese. Together, the government of the Seven Great Cities is known as the Septarchy, and they serve the High Reverend. However, aside from nepotism and what amounts to the buying of favors, the Patriarchate remains solvent. Religious devotion keeps the region tightly knitted together, and it is rare for the casual corruption of the Vladno-dominated bureaucracy to become so pronounced or dire as to require outside intervention.
List of Rulers
- 76 AC to 89 AC - Panos Ioannidis
- 89 AC to 114 AC - Anastasios Papadopoulos
- 114 AC to 159 AC - Zinon Kokkinos
- 160 AC to 190 AC - Vasilis Stephanidis
- 190 AC to 228 AC - Stanislav Hessaliosshniydom Vananid Yuryovich
- 228 AC to 262 AC - Pavlos Stavros
- 262 AC to 292 AC - Themistoklis Dimitropoulos
- 293 AC to Present - Omiros Onasis
The Patriarchate of Etosil once had a unique set of laws and ideas all their own, but the arrival of the Regalian Empire and the Vladno have helped to shift them. Formally, all laws of the Regalian Empire are followed by the Patriarchate. However, given their piety, they aggressively follow religiously-based laws, especially when it pertains to marriage and the protection of religious structures and figures. As for punishment, Etosian laws are unique in that exile is never a verdict in any court cases, recognizing the pain of it. Even exile from one’s city is not allowed. Instead, public punishment and restitution are the most common punishments, stemming from Etosian religious ideas that value members of the community and believe that forgiveness must be sought publically, in the open. As for the Vladno side of the equation, while they do take the word of the High Reverend as gospel, equal to if not more important than the words of the Regalian Emperor himself, they do tend to have some differences in regard to the law. Male Vladno have an extreme, internalized macho culture where adultery and intercourse out of marriage is glorified. This often presents an internal struggle, as the Etosian Church is always strictly against these practices, and heavy fines and imprisonment are issued against adulterers. However, as the functional nobility of Etosil and a valuable military resource to both the Patriarchate and the Regalian Empire, imprisonments are often short, fines are not life-crippling, and the only real punishment for being found out is religious penance in some way. This overall duality in the laws of the Patriarchate makes them one of the more unique states in Aloria, as it is rare for such a clear distinction to exist between two Cultures of people living in the same region.
The Patriarchate of Etosil is one of the earliest conquests of the Regalian Empire and thus has been loyal to the Regalian Empire for some 150 years. As a result of this and the recent formal reunification of the Etosian and mainline Unionist Church, Etosil’s religious issues are largely solved. Because of all of these factors, the nation follows the beliefs of the Regalian Empire when it comes to its enemies and allies. However, Etosians and Vladno often view these outside states with some disdain or prejudice, as the lifelong repression and exclusion from world politics has fostered these attitudes. However, they are cordial in dealing with foreigners, if not a bit firm, and in general seek to follow the ways of the wider Regalian Empire.
The Patriarchate of Etosil hasn’t had its own military for a number of years. In the past, they did have a formidable force of spear-and-shield men known as the Asími Adelfótita, but the arrival of the Regalian Empire forced that group to be taken apart. Unfortunately, this left them vulnerable as the Undead surged just a decade or two later, but the Vladno came to their aid. Fierce men on horseback and physical skill, the Vladno organized militias to help the locals resist the enemy. In the end, the militias were disbanded, but the military acumen of the Vladno attracted the notice of the Regalian Empire. Since then, Regalian forces have been stationed in each of the Great Cities, often with heavy Vladno oversight, while the rural countryside is often forced to rely on militias in the way of protecting themselves from bandits and Undead. As for the navy, Regalian ships protect the nation from pirates and other such threats and have done so effectively for over a century.
The Patriarchate of Etosil has a moderate and stable economy, exchanging a variety of specialty and common goods with the outside world, while goods are also traded on a local level between the Seven Great Cities. Chief among what they export to the wider world is valuable Lazurite, a unique blue gemstone that exists in large deposits across the region of Etosil, and slaves captured and kept by the Vladno. Minor materials exported both abroad and between the cities are olives and olive oil, as well as animal products such as yogurt, goat cheese, and pottery. What the state does import are often materials useful to the Vladno aristocratic population, such as the many kinds of dark wood and stone they use in their structures, as well as the luxury fabrics they wear which they accentuate with local furs. The Regalian Empire once tightly regulated the region’s trade thanks to their constant blockade set up after their conquest, though they now have little direct role to play in it today. This is both a boon and a loss, as without much interest from the Anahera or Kade House of Trade, Etosil’s trade remains largely mundane and lacks foreign investments. At the same time though, Etosil’s freedom from Regalia-based groups means that they can operate as they have since the end of the blockade. And for a nation steeped in tradition, that is of great value to them.
The Patriarchate of Etosil is a unique body in terms of religion. They are Unionists, and up until very recently were part of the separate Etosian Church of Unionism. Formed by the First Schism of Unionism in the year 62 AC, this Church believed that Herons, the saints of Unionism, could be declared in life. Additional beliefs were added after the Evintarians were excommunicated and shipped to Etosil. With their recent reunification with Sancella Unionism, many of these exotic beliefs have either been dispelled or have been somewhat incorporated into the traditions of both groups. No other faiths are recognized within the bounds of the nation.
The Patriarchate of Etosil, as a union of the Seven Great Cities, long tried to reflect the symbolism and heraldry of each of the parts that made up the whole. However, the Regalian Empire pursued the Sixth Patriarch to craft a new, more simple flag, which he obliged. The flag is a green diamond on a pale blue background, with a single white line running up from the middle of the image. A golden Imperial Eye sits in the middle of the flag over the white line. The line itself represents Ouranopoli, the center of Etosil and a site of religious significance given that Henri III supposedly ascended it, on the island of Etosil (the green diamond).
- Some believe that the message from the Spirit that convinced Patriarch Zinon Kokkinos to join the Regalian Empire wasn’t as theological as the man claimed. They state that the Regalian Emperor likely smuggled a note or letter to him, promising such a position should he and his nation join the Empire.