The newest sect of Unionism, coming out of Ithania, Priscelle Unionism is the only sect solely led by female clergy. Priscelle Unionism came out of a collective of female priests in Ithania that received a vision that the Imperial Spirit had split various aspects of itself amongst the entire Imperial Family in order to preserve itself. The fact that the Emperor’s sister could hold a piece of the Spirit was favored by the female centric culture of Ithania. So although the sect is currently in its third year, it has quickly gained traction in Ithania. Overall, the stand-out characteristics of this sect are the all female clergy and the idea that various members of the Imperial family house aspects of the Imperial Spirit.
Name and History
The Priscelle sect has a fairly short history, spanning only three years at most. On a warm summers night in 301 AC, several Celestials of Mercy in the sleepy Ithanian town of Priscelle had gathered together for evening prayer. When they closed their eyes for prayer, a strange vision overtook them. In their vision, a light shined from above, splitting into several beams and passing through what appeared to them to be members of the Kade family. The sisters believed that it was a collective vision from the Spirit. They interpreted it as the Imperial Spirit, at the death of the last Ivrae, had decided that to better assist Humanum, it would need to split itself among the members of the Imperial Family. This included the sister of the Emperor, which struck a strong chord with the Ithanian women. The sisters took this as a message that must be shared with the world, and set to work preparing for the days ahead.
As the Sisters set to work, their new message spread like wildfire over the Ithanian continent. This particularly occurred because under the beliefs of Priscelle Unionism, the Emperor’s youngest sister would be deemed part of the Unionist Imperial Spirit. The idea that the Imperial Spirit was never going to be manifested in a woman was often hard to swallow for Ithanians - who are always very female centric - and the chance that the Emperor’s youngest sister could actually require worship was immediately jumped upon. After the first year, the newly deemed sect reorganized itself to better serve their mission. With a freshly elected Revered Princess, the denomination was able to better organize the newly converted. With such rapid growth, the Priscelle sect soon came to rival the Sancellist sect in pockets across Ithania. Between a combination of the newly converted Ithanian nobles and the rising concerns from Sancellist clergy in Ithania, the Supreme Reverend was pressured into signing the Pristine Law. The Pristine Law was a special form of the Clastic Laws that had existed for centuries amongst Unionists. What made it stand apart from the Clastic Laws was that it allowed the Priscelle sect to continue to spread their faith in Ithania, but only Ithania. They were the first sect outside of the Sancellists (and the Dogartans who were ignored by the Clastic Laws) that were granted missionary rights within the Empire. Presently the sect seems to be in a stable position, but only time will tell if they will survive.
The Princessity of Priscelle, originally being part of the Sancellist branch, copied their general structure of the Sancella of Union. However, unlike the Sancellist sect, the Priscelle clergy consists of solely female priests. At the top, stands the Revered Princess. She holds similar powers within the Princessity to the Supreme Reverend. She resides (or will reside when it is complete) within the Cathédrale d'Espoir, which is being constructed in Priscelle. She also acts as the representative of the Princessity during meetings of the chief religious figures. She is chosen from amongst the High Clerics, a group of five Clerics appointed by the few Ithanian Sovereigns who have converted to this new sect. Each has one High Cleric that they get to elect to the Council of Clerics. As of this point, the Grand Sovereign has remained a staunch believer of Sancellist Unionism. This has caused a bit of controversy amongst the remaining Sovereigns, and currently has caused problems for the Princessity. Another point of contention is that the High Clerics are not a permanent appointment, and should a Sovereign decide to, they can replace their High Cleric with another. The High Clerics hold similar roles to the Holy Ministers. Unlike the Ministers, they act as personal clerics to their liege, and often serve their duties from their home court. This new position has caused some stir amongst the Courts of Ithania, in a sudden appearance of new members often does. The next level beneath the High Clerics are the Clerics. These women serve in a similar fashion to the Reverends. They can often be identified by the special burgundy capes that they wear when preaching. Clerics are the most abundant clergy in the Princessity. There is a push for Acolytes to be advanced so that they can perform more of the Sacraments. Beneath the Clerics are the sisters who are freshly joining the order. These are the Acolytes, who serve as the base of the Princessity; they can be best compared to the Curates of the Sancella. The Acolytes, however, do not attend a formal seminary, and are instead taught by the Clerics that they work under. This was done originally due to the lack of funds early on to construct a proper seminary, and then it became a tradition. Finally, the Priscelle Sect allows their clergy to marry and have children, as they see the importance of continuing the Ailor race through childbirth. Some wives have joined the order to provide an additional income to their households.
Worship and Traditions
Priscelle Unionism has a few key practices that set them apart from Sancellist Unionism. First, Priscelle Unionists engage in the practice of worshipping the other members of the Imperial family as being semi-holy. This practice has come to replace the praising of the Herons, as a majority of those who follow the Priscelle sect rarely, if ever, mention the Herons. The Priscelle do not view the Herons as individuals containing upstanding characteristics of a good Unionist. They instead find those characteristics as ‘aspects of the Imperial Spirit’ within the members of the Imperial family. However, it must also be noted that while Priscelle Unionists do engage in worship of the other members of the family, the Emperor receives a majority of their praise. Another practice that differs drastically from other forms of Unionism is the great deal of art that comes out of the faith. Due to the Ithanian origins of the sect, art has flourished amongst the Priscellens. This can be found in all aspects of the Priscelle sect; from painting and sculptures, to even the clothing worn by the clergy. This practice is drastically different from the Etosians, who practice iconoclasm. Examples of the various art commissioned by the Priscelle sect can be found in the small chapels dotted across Ithania. Many include large murals depicting the a golden eye with several beams of light shining down upon hard working ailor. There are also several artists who have painted scenes of past Emperors passing on knowledge to the next generation. Sculptures often depict past Emperors, and members of the current Imperial family. The art can also be seen in the uniforms of the clergy. The Priscelle sect has adopted burgundy as the official color, and the new outfits all features some elaborate design incorporating the golden eye motif. Finally, the Priscelle are often more engaged in the politics of the realm than other sects. This comes out of the way in which the Council of Clerics is elected to their positions. Many clerics engage in political rallying and events in an attempt to gain influence with one of the Sovereigns. They also operate as members of the court, playing the game of politics with others to gain more power. Some families even send their daughters to become acolytes in order for them to have a shot at gaining power for the family with a Sovereign. The standard education they receive also grants them additional abilities over the standard lady in waiting, as a Cleric is taught how to read, write, and how to properly give a speech. Because of this and the nature of the Ithanian culture, it is unheard of for a Priscelle clergywoman to ever engage in combat. They prefer to use their words and subterfuge skills to improve their position and expand the faith.
Relationship with other Sects
Priscelle stands out amongst the various denominations due to its special privileges. Their view on the other sects is currently in the air. The current Revered Princess is attempting to solidify her position more before taking on the challenge that the other sects provide. The Pristine Law has allowed it equal protection under the Clastic Laws, but it is the first to be granted special missionary rights in any part of the Empire. Because of this and the artistic nature of the Sect, many Etosian Unionists outwardly despise Priscelle Unionists. The Vultars and Diviners also despise the Priscelle for being allowed to spread their form of the faith. Both groups also share anger against the Priscelle Sect due to the fact that neither sect believes the Spirit is with us, let alone that it is shared amongst the entire Imperial Family. Finally many Sancellist Unionists view the Priscelle Sect as upstarts, and look down on them for their female clergy. They also view the worship of the other members of the Imperial family as highly heretical. Similar to the other sects, they dislike the Pristine Law. However, instead of viewing from the side of ‘why do they have special privileges’; they view it as a political grab at power for a select few, and that it will only harm the faith in the long run.
- There has only been one Revered Princess since the Sects foundation. She is a blood relative of the Sovereign of Hivre Carnigoux de Foix, the Hivre where the town of Priscelle can be found.
- Since the Sects foundation, the sleepy little town of Priscelle has grown near five fold. It is suffering from a lack of housing, but many pilgrims flock to the city to better serve the faith.
- The Sovereign of Hivre Bressuivre currently holds the record for changing who is her High Cleric, at a total of eleven times in three years. The Council of Clerics has yet to determine if the Sovereign is eccentric, or simply wishes to see the Sect fall apart as one of their members is constantly removed and replaced.