The Ecclesia (ə-KLĒ-zē-ə) mirrors real life medieval Christianity on almost all major points. Important events are mirrored in similar MK past situations, and religious dogma is very much the same, as is Ecclesia hierarchy. The past of Ecclesia includes a similar number of splits from the mother religion at comparable historical points.1 These splinter groups, who call themselves Rebuilders, are generally small in number, but they have been able to survive more easily in MK than they did in the RL Middle Ages. This is because of the ongoing conflict between the Ecclesia and the Lothanasi Order, which has created places of refuge for the Rebuilders where the Ecclesia does not have the military power to stamp out their alleged heresies. Thus, while the RL Catholic Church enjoyed almost uncontested dominance over religion in medieval Europe, the Ecclesia must contend not only with a large and powerful organization of polytheists but also with smaller monotheistic sects whose equivalents would not flourish in RL history until centuries later.
Structure and Names
Christianity as a whole is called: The Way2
Christians are called: Followers of the Way or just Followers3
The Catholic Church is called: The Ecclesia4
Catholics are called: Ecclesiasts
Protestants are called: Rebuilders5
God is called: Eli (Ē-LÄĪ)
The Father is called: Abba (ÄB-ə)
Jesus is called: Yahshua (íə-SHŪ-ə)
The Bible is called: The Canticle of Eli or the Scriptures
The Virgin Mary is called: Yanlin (ÍÁN-lín)
Mass is called: Liturgy
The Pope is called: The Patriarch
The Ecclesia is centred in the city of Yesulam. The Patriarch lives in the Cathedral of St. Kephas (KĀ-fəs)6, and it is there that he presides over the Council of Bishops. The Council is the great ecclesiastical deliberative body where the weighty issues of both theology and liturgy are decided.
There are three main branches of Ecclesiast priests: clerical, monastic, and judicial. The clerical priests are the ones that most Followers know best. They serve as Parish priests, and some serve as Bishops. The monastic are familiar as Monks and Nuns. These are not as well-known to ordinary Followers, but they provide the bulk of the writings that the Ecclesia uses. The judicial are the ones that most Followers hope never to meet, the Questioners. They are tasked with rooting out heresy and finding the truth of the matter. Many of their methods in recent years hinge on instilling fear in those they question.
All consecrated priests can preside at Liturgy, though generally the monastic and judicial priests only offer Liturgy for their own kind. The lay Followers usually receive the Host from the clerical priests.
The influence of the Follower God is more strongly felt in MK. Prayers can and are frequently granted, and certain protection is bestowed on all believers.
It is important to note that most Followers are staunchly against the practice of magic. MK Followers have a laissez-faire view of wizards, however. They view it as idol worship, but not necessarily of an evil god. For true communion with Eli, the practice of magic is prohibited. Receiving the effects of magic is a minor sin, to the tune of swearing. In Metamor, magic is too prevalent to be avoided.
Inherent magic is viewed as a gift of Eli. Debilitative inherent magic is a test.
To make up for this, Followers have priestly magic of their own to draw on. Prayer by a true believer in needy circumstances can produce many effects, including:
Healing — On oneself or another.
Protection — From hostile magic.
Protection — From natural forces.
Prophecy — Very obscure glimpses. However, Follower prophecy is very reliable.
Exorcism — A true Follower has authority over the Fallen and can command them to leave a person's body, though usually only highly trained priests will attempt this because of the danger involved.
In addition to its control of Ainador (the Holy Land), the Ecclesia has religious dominance over the Pyralian Confederation, Lanton, and some other parts of the Midlands. They also have a presence in Silvassa, Kelewair and Metamor Valley, but these regions are historical strongholds of the Lothanasi and the Ecclesia's views do not guide public policy. The Ecclesia is particularly strong in the northernmost cities of the Southlands, such as Sondeshara, Eavey, Stuthgansk, and Boreaux. In the southern cities they have a presence, but are far from a hegemony. In the last hundred years they have also developed a strong presence in Arabarb.