The Imperial Church

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mancerbear
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The Imperial Church

Postby mancerbear » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:14 am

I found this description in 101 religions...
Church of Sylea
Description: The Church of Sylea (later the Imperial Church of Sylea, and later still, the Imperial Church) is another tool for the Third Imperium's expansion efforts. Where the Imperium cannot go, missionaries can. Their dogma preaches the value of unity of belief and political organisation. They are adept at incorporating the beliefs of various faiths into their own, thus attracting followers of all sorts. Worshippers include Solomani, Vilani and Sylean alike. They use this diversity to advantage in their missionary work.
I'm looking to expand this, as I like the idea of an Imperium endorsed religion. I imagine the Church would be found throughout the Imperium, be the primary religion of the armed forces, and Nobles and Emperors would be supported by the Church.

The administration breakdown I see like this:

The Patriarch
Archcardinal
Cardinals
Archbishops
Bishops
Priests

The Patriarch presides over the entire Emperium, and is bishop of the Holy City on Sylea

Archcardinals oversee domains (ie, the Archcardinal of the domain of Deneb). They form a college that supports and advises the Patriarch

Cardinals oversee sectors (Cardinal of the Spinward Marches). They too are part of the college that supports and advises the Patriarch

Archbishops over see subsectors (Archbishop of Mora)

Bishops oversee worlds (Bishop of Mora/Mora)

Priests oversee parishes on worlds

I envision the religion to be a monotheistic with strong background in the Roman Catholic Church, but not a part of it. They believe in a trinity consisting of a Creator deity (God), his avatar (the Son), and a manifestation of his divinity (the Holy Ghost).

Anyway, this is really just a bit of stream of thought and I would be very interested in your input.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Condottiere » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:48 am

There's an organizational gap between continents, country/regions, and cities.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby mancerbear » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:44 am

Condottiere wrote:
Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:48 am
There's an organizational gap between continents, country/regions, and cities.
Bishops will also oversee those as well. Junior and senior bishops, just like the real world. Perhaps a senior priest in the role of a Canon could also look after those.
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Rick
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Rick » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:55 pm

The Priest will be the most senior church official of the parish, usually assisted by assistant priests or vicars; one Dean or Archpriest will be in charge of a group of fixed parishes, in addition to his own parish, which would likely cover a continent or country (but could conceivably be an entire secondary planet if the population was small) - presuming that you're basing the Sylean church on the Catholic church.
The Bishop of a system would be in charge of several Dean's or Archpriest's of the various planets within the system, and usually located on the main world of the system, which would likely have the system's cathedral on it.
Deacon's would likely be employed by the Bishops or Archbishops - ranking below Priests in the hierarchy, they would be secular agents of the church. They might be used as overt advisors or covert intelligence operatives (depending on what might be needed by the church or what role the church has in the game), or as secure messengers, auditors, investigators, etc.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Reynard » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:26 pm

Might actually be within the Imperium but, as we see on Earth, it doesn't take much or long for even the most iron clad organized religion to drift and dilute like Brownian motion and we're talking a mere single world. 11,000 worlds with ties based on the speed of jump and tenuous bonds cause by the gulf of space would far easier see even the most powerful religious foundations find themselves struggling to hold followers. Add in a big scoop of The Long Night.

The further out from the central authority, as the Emperors well know, they less their power actually is. that's why control is under smaller seats of power answerable to the next in the command chain. Same would go for religion and, by its nature, would break down much easier with distance and isolation from the source. An Imperial Church could exist but it would probably be more common with the higher social circles as part of their power base as we see on modern Earth. The Imperium in general would thereafter be a gigantic hodgepodge of beliefs molded over time and distance similar to the vast, chaotic variety of UWPs rather than a unified and uniform galactic society.

I'd say on any world, anything goes and religion/philosophy/belief is a subtle flavor too. Good for a scenario or campaign as any other concept.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Condottiere » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:30 pm

What's the proportion of priests to parishioners?
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Reynard » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:22 pm

Nothing better to do while gardening today but think a bit about this topic. Then it hit me. There has been official material concerning religious/philosophical organization in Traveller. Sure enough I found it in MegaTraveller's World Builder's Handbook under Government Related Details 2, pages 79-81 as Religious Profile (optional). It's designed for the Government UWP codes of D and E but should be adaptable for any world. It starts with the world's god view. It would be interesting how the Imperial Church would be listed there. It's obviously treated as a monotheism but the subcategories are Interactive [deity gets involved], Influential [deity only interacts during key events], Crisis [deity only involved at crucial historical moments], Remote [deity get the universal ball rolling and seldom gets involved] and Deism [deity built the garden and let it go]. After that the section details the organization's aims, devotion required, structure, formality, missionary fervor and number of adherents.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:13 pm

Is the Emperor connected with the Church at all? Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Church of England. Is there a link to the ruler in some way?
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:14 am

Does the Emperor need to rubberstamp the more important appointments? Then yes.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby mancerbear » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:25 am

I don't imagine there being a direct link like the Church of Englad. The Imperial Church has it's own head, and it's own input into the Imperium.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:32 am

Religion tends to be a base of power.

Lots of rulers are patrons with varying degrees of influence; with England, Henry's influence was eclipsed by Spain's, so he took things in his own hands.

Plus the financial pay off and a cheap way to reward his clientele.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Rick » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:23 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:30 pm
What's the proportion of priests to parishioners?
It would depend on the parish - usually they would be of a fixed geographical area, but could equally be a starship, a space station or a series of belt habitats. If a parish had a lot of parishioners, it would be more common to enlarge the place of worship and bring in an assistant priest (or more), rather than splitting the parish into smaller areas. A priest whose parish was a starship might be subordinate to the Bishop of its home port or where it is registered, or he might be granted a 'traveling ministry' where he would be expected to make contact with the church as he entered a new Diocese (area administered by a Bishop).
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:33 pm

For starships, I would have thought they'd appoint a chaplain.

Possibly, starports as well.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Rick » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:15 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:33 pm
For starships, I would have thought they'd appoint a chaplain.

Possibly, starports as well.
Yes, that is a good possibility - it really all depends on the setting and the interpretation of the church's role really. Certainly, I think that the terms are pretty much interchangeable - all Chaplains would be Priests, but only a minority of Priests would be Chaplains.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby mancerbear » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:57 pm

I would imagine the church being quite influential among the nobility, and their influence become less important as you move down the social ladder. The Church supports and mimics the feudal system of the Imperium, giving it validity.

I'm getting a lot of my inspiration from Nivens Motie series.

The Church does not disregard any other religion, and in fact absorbs many rituals and traditions from other religions to make it as popular as possible. It pays the Imperium to have an official religion that supports it, and vice versa.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby paltrysum » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:44 pm

Can the patriarch be a woman? We're 3,600 years into the future and gender roles are likely to evolve and overlap further. Furthermore, there could be a legacy to using the term "patriarch" regardless of gender. Traveller has the convention of referring to empresses as emperors.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Condottiere » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:33 pm

You can assign a spiritual adviser to every noble household.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:11 pm

Bene Gessirit teaching all the young nobles the litany against fear

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby Condottiere » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:32 pm

I have a healthy fear of needles.
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Re: The Imperial Church

Postby locarno24 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:58 am

The Church does not disregard any other religion, and in fact absorbs many rituals and traditions from other religions to make it as popular as possible. It pays the Imperium to have an official religion that supports it, and vice versa.
That was a key element in the successful pervasiveness of the Roman 'state religion' - the trick of appropriating the identity of local gods as 'alternate names' (Sulis Minerva, for example).

Of course, that's a lot easier with a polytheistic pantheon because it almost by definition includes the concept that their might be other gods you haven't heard of yet, or other aspects of the ones you know, whereas monotheism tends to consider itself "the one true truth".

At the same time, early Christians were good at pulling the same trick. I found the whole "not using the word easter" row in the news recently rather amusing partly because neither the spring festival being a Christian thing nor the fixation on eggs as a symbol were in any way Christian traditions before they purloined them off the locals and re-branded them.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.

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