Unionism

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Unionism
Unionism.png
Religion
Pronunciation Yoon-yen-is-m
Origins Emperor Theomar
Notable Beliefs Ten Creeds, the Imperial Spirit guides all Unionists to a communal faith and destiny
Notable practices Pillars of Blessings, Funeral Rites, Communal Sermon, Liturgic Calendar
Deities
  • The Imperial Spirit
Subsects
N/A

Unionism is a monotheistic religion based on the life and oral teachings of the Emperors of Regalia and the divine Spirit that binds them all together. Unionism is one of the largest faiths in Aloria and practiced by millions of Ailor and those others from Races seeking spiritual fulfillment. The core belief of Unionism is that one day, Humanity will achieve paradise through the journey they call “The Great Way.” The Great Way refers to the time between now and an undefined time in the future where Human & Supporter superiority will eclipse that of all other lesser races and establish a holy paradise on Aloria. In the past, Unionism was greatly divided between various sects and regional systems of belief, but over the past several years, these divisions made been solved with a newly reunified Unionism. Because of this, Unionism is on the rise (even though it is already dominant) and religious fervor has gripped many devout regions with the Synod in Regalia working hard to push the tenants of the faith onto the world

Note: This is a huge article, and it was decided not to have it split up. The content is not universally relevant, if you want to get a basic understanding of Unionism, simply read the Beliefs, Worship, and Symbols. For those who want to go more in-depth though, this article should cover all the information you could ever want on Unionism.

History

Unionism began shortly after the rise of the Regalian Empire. Newly crowned Emperor Theomar I was said to have had divine visions, which came slowly over the course of 53 years. By 58 AC, the Ten Predictions of Union were officially ratified, and the Unionism sect began to expand its power outside of the Imperial Court. In this early stage, it had no churches or centers of worship, instead of being spread between the upper class of the city and nobility present in the capital city. But, it was slow going. Conversion happened locally throughout Regalia, mostly by court missionaries and by the power of the word. Sectarian violence in Regalia was a common occurrence in the early years after the Void Invasion, following the fracturing of existing religions as theologians scrambled to try and explain the events that were happening in the world. Limited missionaries were sent out to other states, but did not take root as strongly as they did in Regalia. Regalia was after all at this stage only but a city-state, not a sprawling Empire. When Theomar died in 61 AC, his son Leomar apparently saw a greater vision for Unionism. He condensed the Ten Predictions of Union into the first Five Creeds, later adding his own. He was also the first Emperor to call a Diet of Unionism to unify the growing religion. This was when the First Schism took place, over the issue of Herons. The Reverend of Regalia and many of his colleagues from across the Archipelago reasoned that Herons should function only as the most prime examples of Unionist fervor and that anointing living Humans as Herons, was heresy because it would imply that the worship of another Human besides the Emperor in life is permitted. The Evintarians, however, believed that living Humans should be anointed to Heron, so that they may function as living examples and be worshiped to indirectly worship the Emperor, as they claim the Emperor was responsible for their good deeds. The debate between the main body of Reverends and the Evintarians continued for several days until an eventual deadlock was declared. Then, the Evintarian Unionists were ejected from Regalia and sent to Etosil to live out the rest of their days.

At this Diet also emerged another branch of Unionism. The Dogartans were ascetics who believed in a form of Unionism where Humans reject all earthly riches and material values and subject themselves to intense servitude to the Emperor and their religion through fasting, charity, communal service, and even military service. It was the last aspect that especially infuriated the Diet, and while the Dogartans avoided exile (as they technically were not heretics), they chose self-isolation rather than rile up their fellow Unionists. Thus, the Dogartans simply existed in a series of monasteries and held themselves absent from the conflicts between the other churches until the modern day. As for mainline Unionism, it would continue to grow with subsequent Emperors with new Creeds and laws being passed. Basta, namely, was handed over to the control of the Church that had grown into a body aiding the Regalian state in various matters of governance and record work. Another Imperial declaration was the reduction in importance to both the Oldt Fayth and Old Gods religions which had been central to the Ailor for centuries. This move was largely in response to the Skagger Horde in the north of the Regalian Archipelago, who were of these faiths, in an attempt to curb the spread of an “enemy religion.” This largely succeeded, particularly in Regalia’s growing urban regions though rural regions such as Anglian lands retained their old ways. Still, Unionism grew and expanded out beyond the Archipelago into regions like Ithania where it found great success. Though this travels did reveal a surprising fact: Evintarian beliefs were still alive. Radicalized and isolated in Etosil, the theocracy found there firmly rejected the Unionist beliefs they were preached. In Ithania, Unionism also saw changes. Rather than focusing on just the Emperor and the Spirit, Priscelle Unionism focused on the Imperial Family as a whole though the Emperor was still usually seen as the largest figure in this pantheon. Additionally, the even more radical Diviner Unionism sprang up in the Archipelago and was a sect who was dedicated to the purity of the Empire, committing brutal acts against non-Ailor in the name of the Spirit. They were repressed and went into hiding but still lurked in the darkness.

But all of these smaller fragmentations had nothing on what occurred in the Regalian Pessimism. Cracks began to appear in the Church as corruption increased as did the opulence of urban religious seats, especially those with ties to the Imperial Seat. Preachers started to speak openly about this corruption, and the Fathers of Piety turned on the state in many regions. This resulted in growing religious tension, and some Fathers fled to other lands seeking to propagate a better Unionism away from the state (one of these efforts leading to the development of the Colonial Culture). Finally, Unionism suffered because of its weak icon, Justinian I. A figure wrapped around the finger of Morgann Kade, Justinian I fed concerns and worries about the future of the Empire, the fallibility of the Spirit and other complex matters (though such discussions only played out amongst the nobility and upper class with many in the lower classes firm believers and unaware of these issues). Ultimately, with Justinian’s death and the rise of his much more capable son Justinian II, these religious fears were quelled. Matters would be stable for several more decades only for a problem to arise at the end of his life. Justinian II had lost all three of his sons by this point, and the Ivrae line only had females to take the reigns, something the wider Regalian Archipelago would likely reject. When he died, the Imperial titles passed to House Kade, longtime allies of the Ivraes, their capable second in command and united through several weddings. But, not all accepted the Kade Settlement and sects declared that the Spirit was dead, unpassed into the body of Alexander Kade, and all should despair.

Luckily, such groups were fringe sects, and their opinions were not shared by any in actual power. At the same time, Alexander I and later Emperor Cedromar I, sought unity in the Empire. Alexander’s Eleventh Creed though did not have the best effect, and Cedromar later recanted it from the Unionist canon. Cedromar’s reign was ultimately the period where Aloria saw this. Priscelle Unionism died off, Vultaro Unionists came out of hiding after their leaders had a divine vision of the Dragon Emperor and now believed they had been incorrect in not believing in the Kades while the Diviners died off or were reconverted back into the light. All seemed well, but the last link was Etosian Unionism. Isolationist but strong in faith, Etosil’s theocracy and history with the Regalian Empire were obstacles to unification, but compromise by both sides ultimately produced results. In 306 AC, the two groups officially reunified and the process of such a reunification is underway in Etosil, which experiences the most changes from this deal. Wider Unionism as well must also adjust, but only slightly, and continues its domination of the Ailor world and the realms of the Regalian Empire.

Beliefs and Practices

Unionists have a set of holy passages referred to as the Holy Creeds, written by various Emperors throughout Ailor history. It is said that the Holy Creeds are written by the Emperors, but their hands are guided by the Imperial Spirit and visions granted from that same divine power. The Creeds are all written in Proto-Regalian, a now ancient and dead language that predated the Alt-Regalisch language. The only modern exception is the 11th Creed, which is written in Common. A total of Eleven Creeds are active at the present time, however the 10th Creed is somewhat of an enigma since nobody has ever seen it, nor does actual proof exist that it was ever written. The Creeds are also all written in rudimentary Middle Altalar metaphorical grammar. This is largely a practice that stems back from the days when Middle Altalar was actually an accepted language among the Ailor nobility to deal and communicate with the Altalar slavers from Daen. Since then, it has simply passed into tradition, as well as practice to treat the creeds as literature for the soul.

The Practices of the Unionist church are fairly uniform, in that all forms of Unionism pray and worship in roughly the same ways. Most of the Unionist practices are not mandatory, but highly encouraged or recommended. A list of common Unionist practices is as followed:

  • Prayer three times a day, at dawn, noon, and following dinner after dusk. Unionists are recommended to pray at least once a day in public mass, which occurs at the same time as Prayer time.
  • The dead are burned and their ashes are buried. The burning occurs in so called Houses of the Dead where priests burn the bodies in ceremonial stone sacrophacusses. After burning, the remains are scraped up and placed in an urn which is then encased in a cask and buried. Most nobles are not burned, but rather beheaded and have their heart removed and placed in an urn away from the body.
  • Unionism believes in the concept of Herons, saints who in their life (or afterlife) are deemed so Holy and strong in virtue to the cause of Humanum that they are elevated to Herons. In the past this was restricted to after death but now, though none are yet declared by the Emperor, the honor can also be given while life.
  • Unionism defines a distinct difference between worship adoration of the Emperor and worship veneration of the Herons. A Heron must never be worshipped to the same degree as the Emperor.
  • Sacred images are used in all denominations of Unionism. This includes paintings of the Emperor, statuettes, and sometimes relics of Herons and previous Emperors. Etosian Unionism up until very recently was heavily against the use of most images but will now have to change such a policy.
  • The Synod is a collective of the Reverends of the Sancella of Union. The Synod itself appoints future Reverends as well as special appointments within the structure of their organization.
  • Strict observance of the Emperor’s Holy Will and Law. The Emperor does no evil, can think no evil, and must see no evil. The Emperor is always right, and when he is wrong, it is because of flawed advisors. The Emperor must never be spoken of in a bad light.
  • Four yearly religious celebrations, the festivals of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter with their own various religious implications.

The Creeds of Unionism

The Creeds of Unionism are the written holy scriptures that are worshipped, sometimes even more fervently than the Emperor himself, as the scriptures are the strict words of the Imperial Spirit while the Emperor is technically just a prophet who put them to paper. Similarly to the Emperor, the Creeds cannot be wrong, but they can be misinterpreted or mistranslated. Translation of creeds or the correct interpretation of them has led to much conflict between the various denominations and even the Emperors and the Sancella of Union.

First Creed: Divinity of the Emperors

The First Creed was written by Emperor Theomar the First, being the foundation for all other creeds after it and the formation of the formal state religion. Back when this creed was written, Unionism was nothing more than a personality cult, however it quickly grew and so did the translations of this creed become more complex. The First Creed is very poetically written, though it can mostly be summarized as such by removing the rudimentary Middle Altalar metaphorical grammar:

“There exists something so pure and beautiful, yet it has no name. I, Theomar the First have witnessed a land where there is no want, no hunger, no sadness and no fear. It is the land where all who have gone before us returned, and embraced those who were living and saw no difference between the living or the dead or the soon to be. It was a land pure of Humans, clean of those who would spoil our greatness and clean of those who would be ruinous onto others as they are onto themselves. It is a vision that was given to me by a being so pure it also has no name. For it tasked me to provide it with a name, and a worldly body so that it can act for which it exists. I write of the Imperial Spirit, the embodiment of our Empire so Holy and our future so pristine. The collective will of all that is Regalian and all that shall be, for a future which we all share. This Spirit was born when we cast down the chains of the past, when we freed ourselves of oppression and raised ourselves up in the light of prosperity. This Imperial Spirit has chosen the Emperors of Regalia as its host, as we see the world of Aloria our host. As we guide our world, so does this Imperial Spirit guide our hand to the future that lays beyond, the Great Way that will take us there. For through the divine Imperial Spirit, we Emperors become divine in living. We are but an earthwork vase for a vessel of water however, make no ill mistake. Like glass we can shatter, and like water, our contents may spill into nothingness. It is the primary duty of any of Union or Humanity to preserve the sanctity, life and divinity of the Emperors and the Empire.”


Second Creed: Disbelief of Death

The Second Creed was written by Emperor Theomar the First, fairly quickly after he finished the first one. Together with the First and Third creed, the first three creeds are considered the basis foundation of Unionism. By the Second Creed, it became more obvious to Theomar that his divine word needed more substance to appeal to the masses. As such, this creed mostly covers the afterlife and death and reincarnation. Unionism is rare in that aspect in that it is one of the extremely few Alorian religions that beliefs in the illusion of death and afterlife, something that many scholars speculate explains why it spread so quickly. The Second Creed is very poetically written, though it can mostly be summarized as such by removing the rudimentary Middle Altalar metaphorical grammar:

“The Divine Spirit has shown us the way, and the way we shall follow. For through my hands, its will shall become manifest, but mine hands are only two of many. For thousands of hands are required to carry the burden and prominence of our future and fate. I speak of those who are the common men and women, the farmers, the artisans, the priests, the clerks and soldiers. No matter how small the being, all carry the weight of Unionism on their shoulders and back, and if one falls, so shall the others feel it. Every person in Humanum must live up to the standards and codes set forth by the Empire, or face the fate of a fallen one. Those who are fallen will wither and die, and be reborn in the being of a non-Humanum, an existence of torment and penance. For those who are non-Humanum are only but fallen ones in a living trial to be given a second chance. When a non-Humanum reaches the end of their lives, the Imperial Spirit will weigh them to the good nature of a Human and decide to condemn them to the void or reinstate them as a Human for a second chance at traveling The Great Way.”


Third Creed: The Rights of the Others

The Third Creed was written by Emperor Theomar the First, in tandem with the Second Creed. The Third Creed speaks about the divine paradise that is to come at the end of The Great Way. It speaks about the enslavement of other races and the redeemability of non-Humans in a life of servitude, to be reborn as Humans for a second chance at becoming part of The Great Way. It’s not entirely clear what happens if you fail to succeed in your duty as a Human on your second chance. Many priests just speculate that Unionism technically gives you infinite chances as long as you keep proving yourself worthy as a non-Human. The Third Creed is very poetically written, though it can mostly be summarized as such by removing the rudimentary Middle Altalar metaphorical grammar:

“In this pure and beautiful future, I witnessed the hands of Humanum holding the chains of the lesser beings. There is no place for the fallen races among the steps to the Divine throne of the Imperial Spirit, but they will not be denied entry to paradise. Be it they cannot or will not prove themselves worthy of the Great Way, they shall be our slaves and servants when the time comes, that time of such great Regalian might and prominence. One day our fair race shall rule all the world and all the known lands and all the known seas and so too shall we take to the skies and conquer anything that can be seen and even that which cannot be seen. It is by the labor of the man, woman and child, and by the direction of the Imperial Spirit and the hands of the Emperors that we shall achieve and bathe in the divine Fate”


Fourth Creed: The Mass of Passage

The Fourth Creed was written by Emperor Theomar the First originally, but heavily altered by subsequent Emperors due to the changing nature of Human qualifications. Early in Thomar’s writing it purely only spoke about the need for Humans to fight for Regalia, but the centuries after Theomar’s death have seen it radically altered to include the need for religious worship, charity and love for your fellow Humans and various other practices which are encouraged by the Sancella of Union and finally codified in the Creed. It has generally been speculated that as the world’s machinations become more complex, so must the Fourth Creed become more complex to ensure Humans continue to do the best and most they can to achieve the Paradise.

“The afterlife is not a state to be feared, for I too have heard the voices of my forefathers and felt comfort in what they had to say. The Imperial Spirit, much like the Emperors to be, are as much a vessel as a clay vase like us. The Imperial Spirit gathers all the souls of those who pass over and weighs them on the Scale of Worthy Judgement. The single eye pierces through darkness and deceit and exposes the light, or the lack thereof. When the judgement time comes, the souls will be denied or granted. When denied, they shall be cast back as a non-Human, tormented to live life again as a lesser being to have a second chance at proving they deserve to be Humanum, such is the grace and mercy of the Imperial Spirit. Those who are worthy, shall join the Imperial Spirit in the Everwatch, a state of divine being in which those who have come before, together with the Imperial Spirit, watch over us from above. Take comfort in the knowledge my fellow Humanum, death is never the end, simply the beginning of the long Everwatch until the Great Way is complete and all shall be re-united in paradise. Carry all, the sword, the rake, the prayer beads, the hammer and sickle and tool, carry all for the virtue of work, the hardship of prayer and the love for your fellow Unionist. Carry all in your days and your lives, so that when the measure comes of the scales of judgement that you shall be on the weightier end of your crimes against Unionism. For a single crime, or a second crime will not condemn you. But should your crimes become too many, and repentance is far to be found, so too shall your entrance to the afterlife be denied, and cursed you shall be to the life of one not Human."


Fifth Creed: Prayers and Duties

The Fifth Creed has similarly been written by Theomar the First, and also been heavily changed like the Fourth Creed. The Fourth and Fifth Creeds are often considered in tandem, as the Fourth speaks about duties, while the Fifth actually goes into specifics in terms of what should specifically be done and avoided. The Fifth Creed is often used to define the base practices of Unionism and is generally also shared strongly by all denominations of Unionism.

“For The Great Way to remain on the correct path, all must endeavor to pray, worship and act as examples of the Code of Union. Man woman and Child must pray twice a day, come morn of dawn and come dusk of night. Priests shall administer prayer times, five times a day, for those who are unable to meet dawn or dusk mass. All must contribute to the Great Way, from the highest noble to the lowest street beggar. All must also contribute to each other’s Great Way however, the noble must give alms to the poor and the poor must take up the sword and spear and bow when the noble is in need of men and women for their banner. To kill another man not in the name of Union is heresy and will condemn a soul for non-Human torment. War by the Empire is always sanctioned in the name of Union, and so is the divine word of the court which speaks for the Emperor which speaks for the Imperial Spirit. To deny the birth of a Humanum is a crime, and to work against the Empire or Emperor are high treason.”

Sixth Creed: The Holy Sancella

The Sixth Creed dictates the structure of the Unionist church, the Sancella of Union. This creed was written by Emperor Leomar the First with the assistance of the Holy Synod. This Creed mostly came to be as a result of the establishment of the Etosian Patriarchate, thus can be claimed to largely derive its power structure and content from the Etosians. This Creed was relatively short and has very little actual padding language in it, just an analytical approach to describing how the Sancella of Union should function.

“The Holy Synod shall rule all, like the Supreme power of the Emperor, though granted by us. The Holy Ministry shall be the Ministers of the Spirit, much like our own material ministers guide our hands in the matters of the material world. The Holy Ministers shall be the Reverends, the Revered and holiest men in the body and house of worship. Their word will be carried by the Priests, the Curates of Union who multiply and amplify the words so holy and pure to be the Holy Law. The Holy Synod remains charged with the interpretation and the enactment of the Spirit’s Holy words from their Unionist convictions.”


Seventh Creed: The Holy Confessions

The Seventh Creed was officially written as the Tenth Creed, but moved down to the 7th spot due to the perceived importance by Emperor Justinian the Second. It speaks about the position of other religions, their rights, and more specifically how to deal with heretics and non believers. This Creed is generally very controversial as it has changed so much, sometimes entirely whimsically based on the opinions of the Emperor at the time. It is mostly inspired by the confessions of Melennar, who some would later come to claim had too much personal power on Emperor Justinian the Second after the death of his sons.

“It is not hatred we should harbor for those who have lost the way. For the steps to the Imperial Throne lie in front of us, and yet we may look away. But the only way to the land above, so pristine and pure, is up those steps. There is no way around, there is no way from it, and no matter how far we thread, those steps will always be ever closer. So too are those who have fallen from the righteous path, they envelop themselves in the fabrications of false prophets, but the people are born in a state of ignorance and innocence. It is the duty of the virtuous to convert and protect the lesser beings that need our guidance, not to utterly destroy them in fire. Let the gentiles who accept our word and confess their sins to Melennar be welcomed with open arms, not as a brother or equal, but as a lesser mirror of ourselves, yet to be brought into the fold with due time.”


Eight Creed: The Spirits of Virtue

The Eight Creed speaks about the virtue of the Herons, the Saints of the Unionist Sancella and the Etosian Patriarchate. Herons exist also in the other denominations of Unionism, but are barely given attention to. The Eight Creed was mostly the subject of controversy between the Etosian and regular Unionist faiths, as the Etosians believed the limitations for Heron declaration are both looser and can be granted upon living Humans, which is declared heretical to the Sancella of Union. This schism is now mended and most limits on the declaration of Herons have been changed to suit the Etosians.

“And by the virtue of strength, or wit, or cunning or the simple virtues of man woman and child, so too can the simplest of souls be elevated to the highest steps to the throne of the Imperial Spirit. The Emperor alone is but one, surrounding him is a vast collection of spirits, not Imperial in a sense, but purely Unionist in many ways. We speak of the Herons, the Heroes and Saints of our times and times past. We model our lives to them as examples, as they have modeled their lives in the image of the Emperors. So that the will of the Emperor can be carried in the wind, like rain on a gust, ever multiplying into the infinite beyond. They shall have shrines, they shall have statues and the people shall evoke their names in reverence. They shall fill the bodies of Union with the will to fight, to preserve our cause, and to dream to one day become like one of them and be assured passage to the highest places in Paradise.”


Ninth Creed: The Daemonic Fallacies

The Ninth Creed of Unionism is generally seen as a less spoken about Creed detailing the evils in the world, the Demons. It is inherently unclear if Demons are referred to in the scholarly sense, as the Void and Exist energies that they are, or whether they are just basal representations of Human vices. The Ninth Creed was written by Emperor Handorien the First, and it was also the only piece of state writing he did given his old age when he ascended to the throne. The Ninth Creed was actually written to instill a sense of fear into the average Regalian who did not know what a Demon was. Curiously enough it specifically speaks about the heretical status of “Demon Magic”, and setting clear divisions between what was to be considered good magic and what was to be evil magic.

“There are those who would destroy the steps to the Imperial Throne. Those who would see us all cast out of paradise and see paradise twisted to a tormented plain of destruction, where our loved ones will anguish and we will watch for all eternity. It is the Daemons of our past, our present and our future, the evils within and without, the evils we invite and the evils that claw at our very doorstep every morn and every dusk. It is the duty of every man woman and child to purge the evil and Daemon scourge from the world, be it an act of kindness or the sword of deliverance. For Daemons are merely creatures of will, and will hath no hold over Humans of virtue. Those who would dabble in the arts of Daemons, and would see honest men and women cast into darkness for their hubris. Those foul charlatans and deceivers whom bend reality from the creation of the Spirit for their own needs in place of the needs of the greater good. Strike them down for their fingers thread where no Human should, in the realm of the corrupted and the befouled. They bring only ills on their loved ones, plagues of blisters and putrid plague and destruction.”

Tenth Creed: First Humanum

Not much is known about the Tenth Creed. It is now known exactly where it was written or when, but it is generally theorized that Emperor Justinian the First wrote it. Due to the court’s opinions of Justinian the First however, it is theorized heavily that Chancellor Morgann Kade had a big hand in writing it instead, simply dictating the content to Justinian the First to record. Only various snippets have ever been received, and even then they could not be confirmed by the physical presence of the Creed, as all the writing had disappeared after the death of the Chancellor and the Emperor. There have been various doomsaying speculations on the content of the Tenth Creed. Some collude to the idea that the Tenth Creed was actually a prediction of failure to the entire Unionist Faith, while others allude to the idea that it was just nonsensical rambling of a feeble minded Emperor. The subject of the Tenth Creed is utterly avoided by most if not all of the Unionist denominations, as to presume what the Emperor has written without his holy word is heresy.

“To believe is not to think. To think is to not believe. We will transcend, as those who have come before transcended. Providence only comes forth by the will of the few, like Paradise can only come by the will of the many.”

Eleventh Creed: Siblings in Faith

The Eleventh Creed is the only recorded Creed by Emperor Alexander the First. Emperor Cedromar the First declared this Creed null and void, and is no longer proselytized by Unionists. The Eleventh Creed was the first Creed written by a non-Ivrae Emperor and has arguably caused the most controversy among the Regalian citizens and beyond. The Creed itself was very vague and open to interpretation, but speaks about the holy inclusion of Nelfin and Dwarves into the Human fold. Many regional communities have rioted, and many more noble families have outright refused to accept the truth of the Eleventh Creed, even up to the Emperor’s own brothers. That being said, the vast majority of the population simply begrudgingly accepts the Creed because it comes from the infallible word of the Imperial Spirit which is housed in his Imperial vessel.

“It is not by the virtue of round ears, or the stature of six foot lengths that we ascend. It is not by the virtue of the roundness of our eyes, or the paleness of our skin that we ascend. Our pride in our semblance, our visage, are all illusions that matter naught in the afterlife which we seek. The Imperial Spirit peers into our souls, not at our faces, nor at our feet. There are those not dissimilar from us, those who have sought us out and joined us and lived with us. They have bled and loved, fought and died in the name of our Empire and our cause. If the cause of Unionism is the cause of our Empire, and if the Empire is our cause of Unionism, then they too are Humans for it is only one eye blink, one thought or one moment that separates us from being equals. I speak not of those that are like feline cretins or green monstrosities, but of the fair skinned Nelfin and the stout Dwarves. Centuries of servitude of their forefathers after the world had accepted their time’s passing, has granted their admittance onto the steps of the throne of the Imperial Spirit.”

Twelfth Creed: The Training of Faith

The Twelfth Creed is the first Creed by Emperor Cedromar the First. With its creation, Emperor Cedromar changed the playing field by essentially saying that for non-believers, denying the divinity of the Emperor was not a crime, merely denying his supreme authority and supreme rule. Cedromar permanently separated the Spirit’s Divinity from the Emperor’s Material, yet created a clause that ensured full adherence to Unionist tenants, while also multiplying obedience to the Crown. This decision in particular strongly resonated with many Old Faiths and Faith of Estel worshipers who had lived inside the Empire their entire lives.

“A person can never be at peace with a theology forced at the end of a sword. Inversely, a person can truly be at peace with a theology when it is trained with a sword like a soldier does. A soldier practices a swing, takes it to memory, and develops the body to sustain the thought. In the same way, theology should be practiced and taken to memory through providence and experience, not forced by the same sword. The Great Way cannot be achieved if it seeks to trample on all the instruments of the Imperial Spirit, the people who have come before, and who will come in the future, the people who are Unionist, those who are not, and those who may yet be. Those who are united with the faith of Union must remain strong, and those who falter shall find others holding them to the righteous path. But the Spirit does not diminish or dim in the face of denial from non-believers. Non-believers bear no skill or tool capable of defeating the Imperial Spirit, yet they themselves may be of skills and tools capable of aiding the Imperial Spirit if permitted. Be it the farmer, the soldier, the bureaucrat or the sailor, Their denial does not impede the Spirit, but their hands may aid it, so that in time, providence and affirmation will soften their mind, and be waxed to practice Unionism like the arm does the sword. Faith will come with practice, but for those theologies named by the Emperor who deny his divinity, only his authority is an absolute.”

The Imperial Spirit

The Imperial Spirit in Unionism refers to the soul of the Imperial power. It is an abstract concept that many theologians have theorized about, but the general interpretation is that the Imperial Spirit is a form of spiritual energy of divine power that fuses with the soul of the Emperor of Regalia as soon as he is crowned. The Imperial Spirit, according to the First Creed, only fuses with a male Emperor, meaning male descendants of Theomar must always be the Emperors of Regalia. The identity of the Emperor caused the Third Schism. The majority of Unionism accepted "The Kade Settlement" which dictated that the childless Emperor Justinian II would carry pass the throne onto his second removed cousin, Alexander Kade. A fraction of Union believers believed that because he descended from a female Ivrae, the Imperial line had ended, and the Imperial Spirit no longer fuses with anyone. In present times, that belief no longer exists in any major capacity since the largely successful reunification of the Unionst world. The Emperor's duties as the Imperial Spirit are to make the divine decisions for the cause and course of Humanity, with regards to who to subjugate, who to free, and where to divert the attention of the Empire.

The Imperial Spirit also abstractly exists in the afterlife, guiding the souls of those who have passed in the Divine flow of energy that empowers the Imperial Spirit, and keeping them safe and close until the day of the divine Fate. The day of the divine fate, refers to the day when Humanity reaches it's fate and the world shall be rid of all death and suffering, and all those who have passed in service to Humanity shall walk Aloria again. The current afterlife is vaguely called the Steps to the Throne of the Imperial Spirit. It is often imagined as a staircase of marble leading up to a golden throne upon which the Imperial Spirit sits with no face, all the dead and those who have passed before and were deemed good Unionists on the steps all the way to the top. At the current time, the Imperial Spirit has been described by the Emperor as having ascended, taking a less direct and forceful role in the world of Humanity in favor of allowing his chief officer the Emperor interpret and still receive his ethereal guidance. The response to this has largely been positive, and it is seen as a sign that the Spirit trusts the world enough to back off in such a way.

Death and the Afterlife

Death is the final judgement of any Human's life, a weighing moment when the Imperial Spirit weighs the value of their contribution to Humanity's fate. If the Human is considered valuable to the Human fate, they are allowed into the afterlife. The afterlife is like having a bird’s eye view of the world, the souls of those who passed in service to the Human fate abstractly exist around the living, seeing them, hearing them, but not being able to communicate with them, but existing in the loving embrace of the Imperial Spirit, which is the steps to the Throne of the Imperial Spirit.

If the Human is considered a failure, they are condemned to a life of a non-Human, usually an Allar or a Varran, and in very bad circumstances, a Slizzar or some other Race unloved by the majority of the Empire. As a non-Human, they have the chance of mercy or absolution, if they put their lives in servitude of Humans. If they succeed, the Creed speaks of a second chance at being a Human. A death sentence by the Emperor himself is generally seen as the worst that could happen to any Human, and they will be forsaken by their family and removed from all records of history and memory.

Origins of Life

Unionism has surprisingly little to say on the origins of life or the creation of everything in general. Some of the Creeds vaguely hint at the idea that the thoughts behind Creation from the Old Gods faith is actually an accepted version of creation theory to Unionists, especially since Melennar’s confessions, Old Gods worshippers are just strayed Unionist worshipers who weren’t blessed by the visions of Theomar the First. Both the Creeds and the Emperors have never been literal on the concept of creation however, which is why it always has just been treated as an unspoken matter. Unionists focus very strongly on where the future is going, instead of where the past has been. This generally hooks into the Ailor belief and drive for progress, as opposed to staying in the past and remaining stagnant, like the Altalar. Some Unionist sects belief that the Imperial Spirit was originally the world of Aloria itself, existing in a dormant state as lesser races came into being and disappeared, until Humans were deemed worthy enough to become the chosen race, after which the Imperial Spirit sent visions to Theomar the First. These beliefs are never explicitly denied or confirmed by the Sancella of Union however.

Worship

It is implied in the Ten Creeds of Union that prayers can be used to call upon the Emperor for worldly favors and blessings. Emperor Theomar constructed the grand Regalian Cathedral, home to the Pillars of Blessings. The Pillars of Blessings have small orifices in them, capable of containing small pieces of paper. Believers of union will write down small wishes and deeds they would like to see the Emperor perform, and stuff these papers into the ornaments of the Pillars. Every month, the Emperor would lead a procession of the Imperial Spirit in the Cathedral, after which he would come down to the Pillars and pick out a few pieces of paper. These wishes or deeds would then be performed within the mortal power of the Emperor, giving heed to the blessings asked for by the followers.Unfortunately, such an event hasn’t happened publically in years as Cedromar Kade was focused firnly on the military while Alexander I had multiple wars, political issues and scholarly matters to attend to during his tenure.

Communal worship for Unionists happens on a daily basis three times a day, and though it is strongly encouraged and almost enforced once a day, participation is not obligatory more than once a week. Most citizens with a profession choose Saturday or Sunday, but Priests hold sermons every day of the week, so one may participate on any day. Sermons of Unionism are usually filled with communal prayer, priests reading from the holy texts, and faith healing. Sermons are held traditionally within churches, but can also be held in open air or in any building. There is no specific celestial law that states sermons must be held in a church, and street sermons are sometimes frequent in times of trouble or social unrest. Worship can be varied for different events. Birth blessings have their own rituals, as do funeral rites, communions for Union and feast days or holidays.

Sacraments of Union

Unionism has several Sacraments throughout one's lifetime. Some are optional; only the first and last Sacrament must be performed for all Humans.

Sacrament of Birth Blessing

The first Sacrament is the birth blessing. Upon the birth of a Human born in a Unionist family, the baby must be blessed by a priest reading the First Creed to the baby, usually when it has just come out of its mother. This Sacrament represents initiation of the Human baby into the duty and rights of a Unionist, but also serves to cleanse the newborn of any past non Human life they may have suffered, to prepare them for their second chance at redemption.

Applicable to: Birth/Baptism

Sacrament of Entry

The next Sacrament is the Sacrament of Entry. Entry Sacraments are performed by those who enter the service of the Regalian state. This means all soldiers, knights, nobles, state officials, politicians and priests, or children who aspire to be of those professions, go through this Sacrament. In this Sacrament, the children (usually between ages 10 and 13) must memorize the Ten predictions of Union, and be able to recite them in their most basic rudimentary form during a sermon on their Communion day. The Communion Sacrament is seen as entry of one's duty to the Human Fate. Anyone who has an employment as subject to the Regalian State must have gone through the Sacrament of Entry.

Applicable to: Military, Nobles, Knights, State Officials, Politicians

Sacrament of Harmony

The Sacrament of Harmony is performed to each wedding made in the Unionist church and blessed by the Sancella. It should be noted that marriage in Regalia isn't exactly the same as a church marriage. The church and the state do not have the same ideology or legislation concerning marriage, and as such, having a marriage agreed upon by the State, is not the same as getting a marriage from the Church. Church marriage is always subject to canon law, though does not have to particularly come after or before a state marriage, and can in fact be made entirely separately depending on whether the state marriage even took place or not (though the state never recognizes religious marriages for legal reasons). If divorced or widowed, the Sacrament of Harmony is repeated with every new spouse, meaning the Sacraments of Harmony duplicate. A man who divorced his first wife and remarried, thus has two Sacraments of Harmony.

Applicable to: Those who are married in the Unionist Church

Sacrament of Solution

The Sacrament of Solution exists between the Sacrament of Union and Sacrament of Entry, for those who converted to Unionism at a later date than birth or early childhood. The Sacrament of Solution is done by combining both the Sacrament of Union and Entry into one, while also requiring the individual to already be engaged in, or start working in service to the Regalian State. Additionally, unless the person was Agnostic or Atheist, they will be required to engage in the Sacrament of Rejection.

Applicable to: Converts

Sacrament of Rejection

The Sacrament of Rejection is a Unionist practice that ensures (from the Sancella's perspective) the loyalty of the individual by forcing them in an act of grand herecy that would condemn them in their native religion. For most converters (such as Old Gods or Old Fayth) this includes performing sacrilege on holy offerings and idols, for Songaskians this involves turning away from the sun with head cover, and for most other religions, loud and vocal rejection of old beliefs. The Sacrament of Rejection must be performed by each convert.

Applicable to: Converts

Sacrament of Blessings

The Sacrament of Blessings is intended for individuals who have their soul status elevated to Humanum, when their body is still non-Humanum. This Sacrament is still issued by the Church, but not officially performed since it is always implied when the Emperor through the Imperial Spirit promotes someone's soul. This Sacrament is the rarest Sacrament, since Emperors very rarely promote anyone, in fact, many Emperors have gone through life never promoting any individual to Humanum.

Applicable to: Humanum Status Grants

Sacrament of Sacrifice

The Sacrament of Sacrifice is usually performed by adults, advanced in age between 30 and 50, and often also by criminals. The Sacrament of Sacrifice effectively introduces those who perform the rites into a monastic order, such as women joining the Celestials of Mercy, and men joining the Fathers of Piety. Fathers of Piety often become monks and priests, whereas the Celestials of Mercy become nuns or silent women of the church who embalm the dead or deliver babies to the world. After the Sacrament of Sacrifice, those who have passed either divorce their marriage or never marry again. It is also common for those who perform this ritual to swear an oath of silence and servitude to the church, becoming a member of the Ecclesiastical Estates of Basta.

Applicable to: Church Service/Monasteries

Sacrament of Highest Order

The Sacrament of Highest Order is performed for each Imperial Guard who enters service. It involves a number of highly spiritual sermons and meetings in which the subject prays and begs the Spirit for the strength of mind and body to protect the Emperor and to serve him everlasting or until death separates them from him. The Sacrament of the Highest Order can often also be granted by the Emperor to unique individuals who serve the Emperor with great dedication and loyalty.

Applicable to: Imperial Guards

Sacrament of Fervent Service

The Sacrament of Fervent Service is the official rite name of Knighthood, a ritual that most male Nobility go through, but also commoners who are elevated to Knighthood. The Sacrament of Fervent Service is the only Sacrament not performed in the church, instead relying on a test of strength, wit, and faith to the Emperor by the Regalian military. In most cases, the recruits will be instructed to stand guard at the cathedral for a week with nothing but a flask of water, while also reciting the predictions of Union whenever anyone asks for them, and remaining disciplined and orderly throughout the entire ordeal. This Sacrament is currently only valid for Bloodcast and Viridian Knights.

Applicable to: Viridian Knights & Bloodcast Knights

Sacrament of Slumber

The final Sacrament is the Sacrament of the Slumber, the death rite. The Sacrament of Slumber is performed for those who have passed, but it differs radically per social class. Richer citizens can afford a church burial, involving priests reciting the relevant Creeds and heavy use of incense, while the more common folk will simply be put in a grave with a simple prayer. It is custom to bury the dead in robes of black, while all those who mourn for their death are dressed in pure white. This is to emphasize that even if their passed spirit cannot see themselves, they can always see those who are still on Aloria and living, and focus their energy to further their cause instead of any worldly selfish desires.

Applicable to: All dead Unionists

Liturgical Calendar

The Liturgical year of Union is very class and profession based. The period of spring is seen as the Cycle of Growth, in which children are conceived, crops are planted and the year's census is done. The following period in Summer is the Cycle of Dominion, in which wars are usually performed by the Regalian Empire for expansion. The next Cycle is in Autumn, the Cycle of the Harvest, in which the ending part, children are usually born, the crops harvested, and the lands subjugated. Finally the months of Winter represent the Cycle of Reflection, months filled with worship, feasts and thinking back on everything that has happened past year.

Every one of these Cycles has their own smaller holidays, but each cycle has its own Festival week, in which most Regalians celebrate the Liturgical cycle with each other in a merry week of drinking, games, feasting and communal prayer. The one in the Cycle of Reflection is especially important, as that is the only Festival which the Emperor actively participates in.

  • Click here for more information on the Unionist Liturgical Calendar

Symbols

Unionism isn't a specifically aniconist religion, meaning it does not rely much on images to convey itself as it's often difficult to symbolize the fate of humanity into a single image, but there are several symbols which strongly represent the religion. For nearly 300 years, a stork was the main symbol of Unionism, carrying the Spirit of Union as the stork was also the family crest animal to House Ivrae. Since the Kade Settlement however, the stork has been replaced with a Feathered Dragon, animal ruler of Aloria and proud symbol of justice, strength, power and all-rule. The only other major symbol beyond this one is a golden eye with sunrays radiating from it. This is also seen in priestly prayers where they hold their right hand up next to their face while reciting the Creeds with the Unionist symbol pendant in their hand palm, using their left hand to wander the pages and move religious artifacts around during Sermons. As for general or common symbols, most Unionists have a necklace with a small golden hand in front of a star, or a broach with the head of Emperor on it to outwardly identify themselves as Unionist. In general, Unionists condemn the practice of outward identification of other Religions however, and refrain from doing it much themselves in the street as flaunting Unionist symbols is often seen as hubris.

See Also

Trivia

  • Emperor Theomar the First made Unionism mandatory among some of the noble families very early on. The Kade family initially resisted and did not formally convert to Unionism until around 140 AC.
  • Some speculate there is some dark conspiracy behind the Emperor, the Oxoron Celestial Body and the Void, but most of this is generally called nutcase ramblings.
  • Melennar was not an Elf, contrary to popular belief because of his name.



Accreditation
Writers MonMarty, HydraLana
Processors LumosJared, Shayin, HydraLana
Last Editor HydraLana on 01/13/2019.

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