|The Imperial Spirit|
|Various Sects and Churches|
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 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 decades, these divisions have 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, while the Conclave in Regalia working hard to push the tenants of the faith onto the world.
Early Churches and Worship
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 into the Ten Creeds, 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 being spread slowly between the upper class and nobility present in the capital city. Conversion happened locally throughout Regalia, mostly by court missionaries and by the power of the word of mouth. 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 67 AC, his son Lilienmar I apparently saw a greater vision for Unionism. He translated the Ten Creeds of Unionism into the Axelland Anglian Dialect, and was also the first Emperor to call a Diet of Unionism to unify the growing religion. After this first Diet of Unionism, various sects were alienated from the centralized church structure. These sects would eventually become the Nonnateans and the Dogartans (sometimes also referred to as the Nonnarians and the Dogarians to reflect against the Sancellians who are the main cast of Unionism).
The Etosian Schism
Unionism's first true Schism happened at the Diet summoned in 67 AC by Emperor Lilienmar I following the death of Emperor Theomar the First. The Council broke unity over the Third Creed, which spoke about the Herons. The Supreme Reverend and the grand majority of the Reverends of the Regalian Archipelago believed the liberty of the Third Creed was taken too loosely by a Unionist sect called the Evintarians. They 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 as Herons, 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 and the Reverends started a vote of expulsion and declaration of heresy unto the Evintarians. The Evintarians were expelled from Regalia by the Emperor Leomar the First, though this gave them enough time to set up a proper church structure. They originally baptised their new split off church the Evintarian Patriarchate, and moved all their priestly members and a large crowd of their followers who refused to convert to the island of Etosil. Mixing with the local population and their culture, the Evintrarian Patriarchate eventually became the Etosian Patriarchate as the land was defined by the influx of migrants, who eventually also started adding to the religion. Separated from the Unionist Sancella, which was also set up around this time, largely by the fear of the Supreme Reverend that the Evintarian church would gather more followers due to its structure, the Etosian Church developed new beliefs. Iconoclasm became a central theme in Etosian Unionism in later years, setting the two churches permanently apart, with the Etosians believing that imagery of the Imperial Spirit or Emperor are heretical objects and that images may only be made of the Herons. Nowadays, the Etosian Church is one of the strongest private military organizations in the world, and the Etosian theological state, while being a subject of the Regalian Empire, has effective autonomy. Etosian Unionists are commonly called Etosian, but may also be referred to as Evintarians. In 98 AC, the Clastic Law was adopted to prevent violence between Unionists Sects, which paved the way for peaceful if somewhat mutually avoiding cooperation to the conversion of Old Gods worshipers in the Empire who at the time were still in the majority.
The Diviner Schism
Nearly 90 years following the Clastic Law, a small crisis point arose in 186 AC. The Second Schism was much smaller than the first, caused by a group of dissenting locals in Girobalda, a lordship of Regalia. The locals and the priests felt that Unionism did not do enough to forcefully convert non-Humans and pagan Humans to their faith. Additionally, Divining and superstition had become a popular local practice, leading the local priests, under the influence of Opium, to believe that the Emperors were not the only ones able to receive visions and messages from the Imperial Spirit. They believed that, in a smaller form, everyone could form a connection with the Imperial Spirit as long as they were devout and sacrificed enough, and used the right potency of numbing substances to achieve a hallucinatory trance. The Second Schism is referred to as the "Diviner Schism" leading to the establishment of the small cult-like religion of Diviner Unionism. This was the first event that caused the Reverends to regret the signing of the Clastic Law. Diviner Unionism was a much more xenophobic and aggressive form of Unionism, demanding regular non-Human sacrifices and violent struggles within the religion itself to advocate survival of the fittest for the cause of Humanity. Despite the original success of Diviner Unionism in Girobalda, the religion did not spread elsewhere, largely because of the lack of appeal in a drug-infested forest dwelling belief, but also because the Girobaldin lands are completely surrounded by Ithanian lands. Ithanian Culture demands a certain level of civility and class, two things that were utterly incompatible with Diviner Unionism. Without a presentable land bridge to spread their faith, Diviner Unionism eventually confined itself within Girobalda and declined over the decades until it was limited to only a few small forest communities who gradually went more and more underground. The Diviner (or Divinarian) form of Unionism is commonly the only one referred to as a “heresy” and excluded from the Unionist dialogue and conclave, because their beliefs are so repugnant to all other Unionist Sects.
The Kleine Rechnung
Unionism grew explosively between 190 AC and 250 AC, following the many successful conquests of the Emperors and the subjugation of many other Human States within the Regalian Archipelago and elsewhere. Missionaries, for the first time, had success spreading their faith elsewhere, causing the erection of many Unionist Cathedrals across Aloria. Unionism had undergone several changes as well. Several Emperors selectively removed, added, and re-added smaller sections of the Creeds, or wrote expansions to suit their specific needs at the time. In 263 AC, Old Gods worship had totally been eclipsed by Unionism as the more dominant religion in the Regalian Empire, and was well on its way to control the rest of the Human world. It was in this year that the Supreme Reverend Wolffram Ultor signed the "Kleine Rechnung." The law effectively dictated that various lesser faiths and sects were protected within the borders of the Regalian Empire. In communion with the Emperor, the Supreme Reverend concluded that the Spirit proclaimed sufficient galvanization of the faith to allow for more religious freedom in the Empire. What the Kleine Rechnung essentially proposes is that Unionism while still a religion in and of itself, can also be treated as a syncretic faith to other denominations and beliefs, creating a more secular understanding of the Spirit and the Emperor’s divine authority. What this means is that any religion could theoretically exist in Regalia, so long as it does not contradict the divinity of the Emperor’s word, and the authority of the Imperial seat. The Kleine Rechnung is sometimes also called the Confession of Melennar, a priest who supposedly received visions while in close contact with the Emperor, who later verified the visions, giving rise to the dialogue that would eventually lead to the Supreme Reverend proclaiming the Kleine Rechnung.
The Priscelle Schism
The Priscelle Schism is not formally a Schism since it never erupted from the church internally, but it is often held up to the same standard as the other Schisms because eventually a large body of Reverends would change their allegiance and adopt this newer sect of Unionism. The Priscelle Schism erupted in 265 AC when in Ithania, unrest erupted among the female population over the chauvinistic tendencies of the clergy imposed on them by the Regalian Sancellians. Women were at that time still completely excluded from the clergy, and often had delegated circumstances of worship, an oddity in a land where women actually ruled and dictated the law of the land. Many of the rulers could not stomach being princesses and duchesses outside of the church walls, but delegated to coiff-wearing second-rank worshipers inside the hallowed halls. The Priscelle March is an event where many theologically inclined women marched upon the Episcopal Academy of the Ithanian capital, and occupied it, flushing out the male tutors and essentially annexing this church property for themselves. Quickly following this movement, the women teaching themselves and each other the religious texts at this Academy proclaimed the Priscellian Unionist Sect. This is not formally a Schism, because these women were never clergy to begin with, but the churches usually acknowledge it as a Schism because many Reverends in the western lands would eventually become sympathetic to the plight of including women in the clergy, and switched allegiances to their church. This was largely made possible because Priscelle Unionism isn’t all that different from Sancellian, aside from their belief that women can also be the Vessels of the Spirit, and that female clergy should be permitted. Priscelle remains a relatively small sect nowadays, but has made major contributions to the other churches who eventually buckled to societal pressure after the Priscelle March. The Vultarin church now permits female Reverends, while the Sancellist church formally permits it, but lets in very few women. The only strict bastions of male-only priesthood reside in the Etosian Church and the Dogartan Church. Curiously enough, the Nonnatean Church was very against the Priscelle Movement. From the Nonnatean perspective, women fulfill a different role in society than men, proclaiming that the Priscelle Movement blurred the lines between man and woman as outlined by the Creeds. To this day, Nonnateans and Priscelle have a furious hatred for each other because of doctrinal differences.
The Vultar Schism
The Third Schism happened upon the ascension to the throne by Alexander Kade, the first non-Ivrae to take the throne in nearly 300 years. The Kade Settlement, as the document would later be called, was a paper signed by the Chancellor and the then dying Emperor that would dictate males from female descendants could take the throne. Prior to this event, Emperor Justinian II had lost all his sons to the Undead Scare in Regalia, leaving no male descendants alive. Prince Charles, the brother of Justinian who died 10 years prior to him, still had two living daughters, Princess Liliane Ivrae-Kade and Princess Adelheid Ivrae. Princess Liliane, the eldest of the two, had been married to the Arch-Chancellor Moriarty Kade, and had given birth to several sons, among them Alexander. Adelheid Ivrae only had two sons, Daryl and Frederic Ivrae, but she was the younger sister, and so these Ivrae males were overlooked by the Kades when it came time to select the next Emperor. The Reverends of Vultaro believed that, because Alexander Kade was a muddled non male-direct descendant from Emperor Theomar the First, that the Imperial Spirit had left the Imperial seat, and that the churches should reject the current vessel of the Spirit until such a time that the Spirit gives providence to his new selection. This Schism severely affected the south, particularly Montania and Vultaro where the Dressolini locals were already disgruntled by rule of the local Duke, causing this dissent to merge with religious unrest. Vultarians spread like wildfire in these southern regions, accompanied by what the locals referred to as the “Rebirth of Reason”, a uniquely Dressolini belief to challenge the world with cynicism and a critical questioning mind. This more uniquely enlightened mindset allowed the Dressolini to latch onto Vultarianism which demanded more proof before callously accepting religious dogma. Clastic law protected the Vultar Church from violence, and so it continued to grow into the third largest denomination.
The Ascension of Unionism
The Ascension of Unionism is a major event in the history of Unionism, occurring during the reign of Emperor Cedromar I, or more specifically towards the end, as it coincided with his abdication. The Ascension of Unionism was a major event of providence where the faithful flocked to the Imperial Cathedral to witness the Emperor call forth the spirits of the past Emperors to proclaim a holy premonition. Indeed, during this event, the spirits of the past Emperors proclaimed that Unionism had once more ascended to a higher step towards the great goal of paradise, and that it was time for Unionism to speak more broadly to all the faithful. They proclaimed that while the relationship of Spirit and Emperor remained very unique and the sole right of the Emperor, that this relationship changed from a “being as one”, to a “being as best allies”, stating that the Emperors could no longer speak as the Spirit, but rather in name of the Spirit, acknowledging a more “human” aspect to the words of the Emperor. This distinction seemed insignificant to the faithful, but meant a great deal to the clergy, as it allowed the clergy to dissent with the Emperor’s proclamations and decrees for the first time in history. Provided they do with righteous divine interpretations. It also opened the way for the Spirit to speak to others besides the Emperor, though while some have stepped forward to claim the Spirit spoke to them, the rigorous testing by the churches remains in place to prevent any false prophets. Due to the Ascension of Unionism, it became even easier to see the Emperor as a semi-divine secular figure of authority for other religions already nominally legal under the Kleine Rechnung. Despite allowing more freedom of thought in the churches however, the topic of disagreeing with the Emperor or directly contesting his decrees without the backing of the conclave remained hugely controversial. In retrospect, the Ascension of Unionism is largely seen by the clerical community as an attempt from the Spirit to attribute more human qualities to Emperors, as the veneration and “can do no wrong” status of the Emperors was becoming detrimental to the Empire’s progress, sliding it backwards into dogmatic hatred and rejection of things other.
The Tenth Creed
The Tenth Creed had always been a mysterious piece of writing by Emperor Theomar. In religious discourse, it had largely been ignored in favor of the clearer doctrinal teachings, and some even claimed that the Tenth Creed was a sham. In 307 AC, the Supreme Reverend Piète-a-Piète Kade-Salards (a cadet member of House Kade) discovered the original Tenth Creed as it had been written by Theomar in the floor of an abandoned monastery in the Dragenthal-Anglia border. The Supreme Reverend was, on his way to Regalia to reveal this new found document, assassinated by a clandestine organization called the Brothers of Virtue, a hyper-reactionary and fundamentalist organization of shadow-ruler Reverends who sought to control the minds and wills of the people by skirting canon law and manipulating social opinion through faith. The Supreme Reverend however outsmarted his would-be assassins, sacrificing himself so a milk-maid could deliver the Tenth Creed to safety in the Imperial Palace, where its teachings were quickly spread. The Brothers of Virtue had overplayed their hand, and their entire structure was revealed, causing an internal witch-hunt against these fanatics and many public burnings in the Bonfires of Vanity, where Reverends who had manipulated social politics and the people were burned as heretics on the pyre, a type of heretical execution that hadn’t been seen in over a decade. When the Tenth Creed was finally published, it created a bomb-shell in the clerical community, as the original wordings of Theomar directly contested the actions of the Unionist Diets post-mortem, proclaiming that the Unionist Community should always act to stay together and work together, even if doctrinal differences would come into being in the future. This Tenth Creed essentially contested the expulsion of the Evintarians, Vultarins, Nonnarians, Dogarians and Priscellians, proclaiming that even with doctrinal church differences, the word of the Spirit applied equally to all. This document turned out to reveal a century-long conspiracy by some Reverends from the Brothers of Virtue to control church politics by expelling the ones that agreed with their common consensus to silence dissent. When the Creed was formally ratified by all other churches, these independent bodies unanimously voted to re-combine into the Unionist Divine, re-unifying all churches into one body albeit with great autonomy between them, and all excluding the Divinarians, who were unanimously voted not to be included. Still, this cooperation is far from what it was made out to be to the people. While the Brothers of Virtue and their seditious politics had been removed, many of the churches still did not see eye to eye, and often just begrudgingly sat together in conclave.
Churches and Sects
Unionism knows several so called Churches and Sects. Churches are main denominations of religion that came into being because of Schisms. Sects are subdivisions of Churches where various believers have different interpretations, but not so wildly different that they become different churches altogether, or choose to remain together for political reasons. Below follows a list for all major Churches and Sects. The churches are ordered based on size of followers.
- Sancellian or Sancellist Church, is the main body as created by the Emperors in ages past. The Sancellist Church is considered the default state of Unionism. Nowadays the Sancellist Church is politically superior to the other churches, but is on the backfoot in military and doctrinal devotion from its flock, having a very laid-back flock of followers.
- The Minoth Sect is a minor sect of the Sancellist Church that believes in a far more secular form of Unionism where much like the Great Alchzech by the Allar, Unionism is seen more as a life philosophy than a divine institution. They believe the Spirit is not so much a separate conscience, but more the collected thoughts, experience and life lessons passed from Emperor to Emperor as knowledge that is so profound it reaches near-divine status.
- The Imperial Sect is a minor sect of the Sancellist Church that wants to eradicate the semi-autonomy of all other churches and the local parishes and institute a very strong and militarized divine structure of authority led directly by the Emperor instead of the Supreme Reverend and the Conclave. They are essentially against decentralization and democracy in the Unionist Divine.
- Evintarian or Etosian Church, is the first schismatic church that is very similar to the Sancellist church, but believes in living herons (saints) and is against depictions of Emperors and the Spirit. The Evintarians have a highly militarized church structure and a societal chokehold on their people with extreme devotion.
- The Ixandrosi Sect is a minor sect of almost laughably racist ideology. The Ixandrosi Sect practices racial segregation and profiling in their religious sites. This organization is largely laughed at even by the Etosian Church, though tolerated because sometimes their fanatics are useful in military conflict.
- The Menarian Sect is a minor sect that believes in the complete superiority of the male being. While the Etosian Church is anti-women for its clerical structure, it permits women everywhere else. The Menarians believe women should be veiled to become unrecognizable, and remain at home as domestic partners in near servitude.
- Vultarian or Vultarin Church (sometimes also called Vultdragon Church), is the fourth schism into a church that is more critical and free-thinking than the others, demanding evidence for worship. Vultarians in modern times reject the rule of Alexander, proclaiming instead the Imperial Dragon as ruler.
- The Horopadosi Sect is a smaller sect of the Vultarin Church (with origins in the Etosian Church) that believes in body-modification and evolution of the Human form to become a more “perfect Human”. This Sect is notably favorable to Url Symbiosis, as well as some of the not-Void/Exist related mutations and body enhancements.
- The Silvershroud Sect is a smaller sect of the Vultarin Church that believes in the physical superiority of the Silven. This Sect was largely born out of the nature of the Iron Duke of Vultaro being a near superhuman Silven being, in the belief that Silven are bearer’s of the Spirit’s Divine Touch.
- Priscellian or Priscelle Church, is the third schism into a church that is far more open to women in its structure and women in church life. They also proclaim the possibility of a female Empress as Vessel of the Spirit, though do not contest the current lineage.
- The Vinelle Sect is a fundamentalist group within the Priscelle Church that denounces the Kade Settlement, and demands that the Emperor abdicates in favor of his first cousin, Frederique-Mattinais Ivrae. This sect is strongly against the Kade Emperors.
- The Soucelle Sect is a more moderate group that nonetheless expresses the need for the Supreme Reverend to be a woman, because in their belief, women are more diplomatically and soundly capable, believing that the Spirit blessed women with incorruptibility.
- Divinarian or Diviner Church, is the second schism into a church that is far more fanatic and racist. The Diviner Church is illegal in Regalia because their very worship constitutes State Crimes, and they are excluded from the Unionist Divine.
- Dogarian or Dogartan Church, is a small sect that eventually formed a church in and of itself. Dogartans live an ascetic but highly militarized life, giving rise to the warrior-curates of the Dogartan Church who roam the land in defense of the faithful.
- Nonnarians or Nonnatean Church, is a small sect that eventually formed a church in and of itself. Nonnarians live a semi-ascetic life strongly focused around the psyche, the arcane and spiritual ascension. Nonnarians can be described as the only real “pro-Magic” Church.
The Unionist Divine has a number of core concepts called the Theologies. The Theologies outline the rough belief of the Unionist Divine and the flock, but some small re-interpretation is possible. This list will also include notable dissenting beliefs from the other churches, while everything is proposed from the default Sancellian perspective.
Theology of Life
The Unionist Divine primarily believes in the unassailable right to life of all good Unionist Humans (which may include races other than Ailor). It is important to note that to the Unionist Divine, the term “Human” is not prescribed to any particular race, rather, it simply means any race that is in line with the Unionist beliefs and not aligned to the forces of ruin, which usually is defined as demons. The Theology of life implies a stance against abortion, but may be conflicted by the Theologies of Military and Races. The Unionist Divine is against capital punishment, save for those who are heretics of the worst decree, violating Imperial Law.
- The Vultarin Church differs in belief here that termination of pregnancy should be permitted based on a concept of “corporeal right”. Essentially, the Vultarins extend that not only does the individual have an unassailable right to life, they also have an unassailable right to decide what happens to their body. This is not necessarily a pro-abortion argument, but more a pro-choice argument, believing nobody should be able to criticize what any person does to their own body, even at the cost of an infant.
Theology of Family
The Unionist Divine primarily believes in the unassailable right for families to have children, and for children to be well cared for. In theological courts, children are upheld as a virtue of innocence who can do no wrong, and children must always be cared for and looked after before the needs of adults. The Unionist Divine preaches the need for many children, for it is the duty of each Unionist to provide more offspring.
Theology of Sexuality
The Unionist Divine is somewhat ambiguous about the concept of sexuality. It is important to note that there is no teaching or writing or doctrine that specifically speaks out against same-sex relations, but there is an implication of duty upon them to produce offspring “in whatever way is morally unobjectionable”. This is complicated further by the fact that the Unionist Divine considers adultery a sin. While certain degrees of incest are permitted by State Law (and practiced among Nobility to keep the bloodlines pure), the Unionist Divine is strictly against incest. The Unionist Divine is also strictly against what they call “body flaunting”, being very against non-artistic nudity. Polygamy is permitted in the Unionist Divine, but only under the provision that all partners are fully consenting and go through the correct Sacraments.
- The Etosian Church differs in belief here that same-sex relations are not possible because they go against the very fabric of the reproduction duty. The Etosian Church bans same-sex marriages, but not relationships, proclaiming that anyone wishing to engage in this should enter a polygamist marriage.
- The Dogartan Church differs in belief here that the duty for children is in fact a vanity, and that the purpose of relationships is not to have children, but to have a fulfilling spiritual connection with someone else. Dogartans as a result support same-sex relations and are also against polygamy.
Theology of Genders
The Unionist Divine believes that women and men are nominally equal, but that men are sometimes more equal. What this means is that women and men don’t really have a difference in opportunity in the eyes of the Unionist Divine, but that in practice, men are favored over women for certain positions. The Unionist Divine does not recognize a legal or societal difference between men and women otherwise.
- The Priscelle Church differs in belief here that the Divine belief of “men being more equal” is repugnant and that efforts must be made to make sure society is blind to gender.
- The Nonnatean Church differs in belief here that the Divine belief of “men being more equal” is repugnant and that efforts must be made to ensure the proper division of tasks in society between manly tasks and womanly tasks, and that no genders must cross over into the territory of the other.
Theology of Economy
The Unionist Divine believes that economic progress is a necessary duty for all Unionists, but that charity to those who have a hard time is a good virtue. It is important to note here that the Unionist Divine believes in the need to be clever with said charity, so as to avoid a population of lazy financial parasites, but to truly give to those who have no other way out.
- The Dogartan church believes that economy is evil, and that capitalism is corruption. They believe in only taking what is necessary to survive from charity, and then rejecting all wealth and status in favor of duty.
Theology of Military
The Unionist Divine believes that the military is a necessary evil, and that deaths incurred from Unionists fighting Unionists is a necessary break from the right to life that all Unionists have. Essentially, the Unionist Divine turns a blind eye to Unionists fighting Unionists in internal struggles, as long as the Emperor does not denounce the fighting.
- The Dogartan Church differs in belief here that Unionists fighting Unionists is an evil crime that must be ended. They ironically fight to end the fighting themselves, but consider this a necessary evil to remove an unnecessary evil.
- The Priscelle Church differs in belief here that while Unionists warring each other under the tacit approval of the Emperor is permitted, that this demands additional virtues from those who draw Unionist blood to repent for their violent crimes.
Theology of Races
The Unionist Divine believes in the nominal equality of all races “With a torso, two arms and two legs and a head with two eyes”, though always proposes that Ailor or Ailor-adjecent races (like Qadir, Songaskians, Nelfin except Kathar and Sihndar) are more equal than others.
- The Priscelle Church differs in belief here in that the Nelfin species including all subraces are on equal footing to the Ailor, and that rather than Unionism being an Ailor tale, that it is a communal Ailor-Altalar tale, with supporting roles from the other subraces.
- The Etosion Church differs in belief here in that Ailor are truly the only Unionist race, and that all other races are inferior and must be reincarnated as an Ailor to re-prove their virtue, or be declared Humanum by the Conclave.
Theology of Governance
The Unionist Divine believes in the divine right of the nobility and the Emperor, and the rule of aristocracy. The Unionist divine proposes the need for a class divide between the people and the nobility, and that society would descend into chaos if this relationship was disrupted.
- The Etosian Church differs in belief here that the Nobility is irrelevant, and that the clergy should in fact be the Emperor’s divine representation to lead the common man in the Unionist wider society.
Theology of Law
The Unionist Divine believes in the rule of law, is against theft and murder, foul words, violence, disobedience of parental authority, false witness and evidence and envy or greed for that which is owned by others.
Theology of Death
The Unionist Divine believes in the afterlife, where if a person has been evaluated by the Spirit to be of virtue, they shall join the Spirit in the Everwatch where they watch down upon the living, only to return when Paradise is proclaimed. They also believe that non-Humans reincarnate as Humans if they live a virtuous life, and that those who do not live a virtuous life as Humans, are reincarnated as one of the “beast races”.
Theology of Prayer
The Unionist Divine believes in the need to pray three times a day, at dawn, at noon and at dusk, though many faithful only manage to pray at noon during the 1 hour intermission from work. Prayer is commonly seen as a right and duty of the nobility due to their large amounts of free time.
Theology of Funerals
The Unionist Divine believes in the need to burn the dead and bury the charred remains in a grave. Nobility are exempt from this, having only their heads removed from their bodies and buried separately in reliquaries in family tombs.
Theology of Arcane
The Unionist Divine has a traditional stance that any non-racial Ability is in itself a corruption of sorts. The Abilities to deny the reality of the world or change the laws of physics, or even worse, the clarity of the mind, are all considered corrupting forces to the Unionist Divine.
- The Priscelle and Nonnatean churches differ here in the belief that Magic users (and Sorcerers, but not other Afflictions or Silven) are in fact "touched by the Spirit" and that Magic is a divine blessing for a fated purpose. They believe that all Mages have a pivotal point in time where they must do something crucial for Unionism and as such were blessed with powers.
- The Vultarin church differs here in that it is more ambiguous about the nature of Magic being corruption or blessing, but is very outright about how Silvenism is a blessing, and that Silven are holy warriors of Unionism placed on the world to be taught by the faithful to become weapons of faith.
The Creeds of Unionism
The Creeds of Unionism are holy books which contain passages written in prose by Emperors that outline everything regarding Unionism. Each Creed is a bound book in and of itself, originally written in Proto-Regalian but eventually translated into High-Anglian, and then into all other languages. These documents are living breathing documents in that many Emperors made modifications and erase or add things when they believe the Spirit commands them to do so due to the changing circumstances of the world. While major themes largely remain intact, smaller aspects of the Creeds are subject to change with each new Emperor.
- The First Creed is the foundation for all other Creeds, outlining the state religion and core principles of Unionism and the Spirit, the Imperial Bloodline and the Great Way. The First Creed is essentially the foundation of Unionism.
- The Second Creed dictates the worship and tasks of the faithful, as well as the church structure and virtues of the faithful. The Second creed also explains the Religious Writs and Parish tasks.
- The Third Creed dictates canon law regarding Herons and the holy decrees of living and deceased Emperors. The Third Creed also records the names of all Herons after each Emperor’s death, meaning it is edited the most.
- The Fourth Creed dictates the rules of the afterlife and judgement by the Spirit, as well as the general outline of the Great Way and the Everwatch as well as racial reincarnation and interactions with other races.
- The Fifth Creed was once a major volume on other religions, but has largely become redundant after the Kleine Rechnung. This document as such currently only contains the Confessions of Melennar.
- The Sixth Creed dictates the duties of Unionists to others, as well as to each other, while also outlining the pathway for non-Ailor to be declared of Human Soul. Furthermore, it outlines some freedoms of interpretations of the Reverends.
- The Seventh Creed is a bit more esoteric in that it speaks about the need for Humankind to ascend to become a more perfect version of themselves, through trial and error, through failure and success, and through dedication to becoming more capable and skilled.
- The Eight Creed outlines the rights and status of the Imperial Blood more closely, detailing the Imperial succession and the chosen lineage of Princes and Princesses and their implications on Imperial Law.
- The Ninth Creed dictates the rights and duties of the Emperor, while also outlining his decree power and his prerogatives. The Ninth Creed includes the most recent Ascension of Unionism aspects into its writings.
- The Tenth Creed is a final heed of warning against laziness, complacency and corruption, not only of the people, but also of the clergy. It urges everyone to remain ever-watchful for those that would twist the Unionist message of communal harmony to evil.
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 I 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 Unionism 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.
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, and communions for Union and feast days or holidays.
It is traditional for Unionists to close religious discussions, debates, or sermons with the wording "Oratario Paean", which roughly translates to "Orchestra of praise or triumph", a diminutive form of Proto-Regalian used to describe the final coming of Paradise. Within folklore and customs of worship, this phrase is uttered both as a blessing for others to be there when Paradise comes, but also to thank the Spirit and the Great Way for its benedictions. It is custom for good Unionists to respond with “Oratario Paean” when a Reverend cites it in Sermon or in Holy Lecture. If in person, whether two Unionists departing from one another, or giving blessings in passing, the more common "Oratario Ode" is used, which is a more personal blessing rather than the more universal “Oratario Paean”, but they effectively mean the same.
- Click here for the Verses of the Faith, a collection of short prayers commonly spoken by Unionists.
- Liturgical Calendar:
- The Liturgical year of Union is a central way for the devoted to celebrate and devle into worship. It 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, wherein at the end, children are usually born, crops are 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 during the past year.
Each Cycle has their own smaller holidays, and 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 during 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
Sacraments of Union
Unionism has several Sacraments, or Rituals, performed throughout one's lifetime, which are done by clergy during key points in a Unionist's life. Some are optional, such as the Sacrament of Harmony and Humanum, though the Sacrament of Entry and Slumber are mandatory for all Unionists. The only strict requirement for undergoing a Sacrament is that is must be performed by an ordained member of the clergy who has completed the School of Seminary, as any layperson conducting a Sacrament is guilty of performing heresy.
Sacrament of Birth Blessing
The first Sacrament in most Unionist lives is the Birth Blessing. Upon the birth of a Human 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: Newborn Humans in Unionist Families
Sacrament of Communal Entry
The next Sacrament is the first mandatory Sacrament to be undergone by a Unionist, as it is considered a Unionist's formal entrance into Communion with the rest of the Unionist Divine, and as a public proclamation of one's duty to the Great Way. Consequently, it is also the first Sacrament taken as a non-Unionist who wishes to convert from their previous faith. In this Sacrament, Unionist-born children at the age of 10 years old (or converts) must profess the Creeds of Union, and be able to provide a rudimentary summary of what each one means during the sermon. After completion of their recitation, the presiding priest traces an Eye of Union on the forehead of the individual with Holy Water, before concluding with a blessing and proclamation of their formal entry into the Unionist Divine.
Applicable to: All Unionists/Converts
Sacrament of Harmony
The Sacrament of Harmony is performed to each wedding made in the Unionist Divine. If divorced or widowed, the Sacrament of Harmony is repeated with every new spouse, meaning the Sacraments of Harmony duplicate. A Unionist who divorced their first spouse and remarried, thus has two Sacraments of Harmony. Note, because Sects and Churches are allowed to have their own interpretation of what passes for a marriage (including whether or not they accept same-sex or interracial marriages), it is quite possible to have a Sacrament of Harmony that is recognized by one clergyman but rejected by another. It should be noted that a State marriage 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 legal by State Law is not always the same as getting a marriage from the Church. Generally speaking however, any marriage performed by the Unionist Divine is accepted by the Regalian State, but not vice versa.
For a more in-depth explaination of the Sacrament of Harmony, and how it is performed, please read here.
Applicable to: Those who are married in the Unionist Divine
Sacrament of Humanum
The Sacrament of Humanum is intended for individuals who have their soul status elevated to that of a Human's, when their body is still non-Human. This Sacrament is still issued by the Conclave 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: Human Soul Status Grants
Sacrament of Slumber
The final Sacrament is the Sacrament of Slumber, the death ritual. The Sacrament of Slumber is performed for those who have passed, but it differs radically per social class. Richer citizens can afford a crypt burial, involving priests reciting the relevant Creeds and heavy use of incense, while the more common folk will simply be cremated and their ashes put in a grave with a simple prayer. It is custom to dress 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 the deceased 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
Unionism isn't a specifically aniconist religion, meaning it does not rely much on images to convey itself, but there are several symbols which strongly represent the religion. It's often difficult to symbolize the fate of humanity into a single image, though the most acceptable way of putting it is a golden eye with sun rays radiating from it, carrying a weighing scale to represent the value of the soul. 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 turn the pages and move religious artifacts around during Sermons. 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.
- Emperor Theomar the First made Unionism mandatory among some of the noble families very early on, but this regulation has relaxed in recent times when it was removed from Synod Law.
- 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.