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Kandarin
29-08-2008, 05:05
Imagery assorted with the Imperial Ecclesiarchy and its priests, or for that matter any particularly pious characters, tends to feature a lot of holy books, scrolls, and other assorted writings. With that in mind, is there sort of standard list of materials that tend to get incorporated into these? If so, what is it?

I'm especially curious as to whether any Imperial holy books or other writings commonly include anything the Emperor actually said, or merely comments thereupon by saints and luminaries.

The Venerable Archmage
29-08-2008, 09:21
I imagine the Ecclesiarchy to have an open canon, made up of the writings of many different saints and worthies. Many writings would have only a local appeal, having been written by local saints in the context of the indigenous manifestation of the Imperial Cult. Other writings would be found across the entire Imperium, such as those produced by, or ascribed to, Sebastian Thor, and perhaps also the original Lectio Divinatus, mentioned by the Horus Heresy novels.

I don't imagine that many of the Emperor's actual sayings will have made it into the present, since the Emperor's vision of a secular, scientific empire is at odds with the superstitious way things turned out, but that doesn't preclude people ascribing writings to him or his contemporaries at a later date.

Of course, there are other possibilities - if the Emperor was secretly planning his ascension to divinity all along, as some of his more cynical detractors suggest, then he may well have prepared some texts ahead of time, which remain in circulation. Or, since he was kicking around for almost for 38,000 years prior to revealing his identity, it's quite possible (indeed, it seems to me likely) that he authored some of the most influential texts in human history, or inspired them. Some of these may remain extant, although it is far from certain that their authorship would be recognised.

Phoenix King
29-08-2008, 14:20
I don't know if they are considered standard, but there are a few books listed on the Lexicanum website that could be of interest. It doesn't sound like they have anything to do with the Emperor however. These are the ones I found:

The Road of Salvation: A Guide to Following in the Steps of the Prophets and Saints of the Imperium

Reflections on the Long Death

Historica Pilgrimage

Age of Apostasy

Ministorum Libra Martyr

Precepts of Saint Emelia

Sermons of Sebastian Thor

Notes on Martyrdom

Epistles

Brother Siccarius
29-08-2008, 18:37
Imagery assorted with the Imperial Ecclesiarchy and its priests, or for that matter any particularly pious characters, tends to feature a lot of holy books, scrolls, and other assorted writings. With that in mind, is there sort of standard list of materials that tend to get incorporated into these? If so, what is it?

I'm especially curious as to whether any Imperial holy books or other writings commonly include anything the Emperor actually said, or merely comments thereupon by saints and luminaries.

The ecclisiarchy is hardly a cohesive organization, there are millions of different minor religions in it that worship the Emperor or his words in slightly different ways from the rest.

I can imagine a holy war being declared by two factions arguing over the meaning of a couple of words attributed to the Emperor.

In any case, the books most common to the Ecclisiarchy would probably be those written by, written about, or attributed to the saints or their followers. The latter part of the Gaunt's Ghosts series, the books forming "The Saint" series, are good for examples, even having a few outright quotes from them (particularly in Honor Guard).

There are also probably billions upon billions of books about philosophy and possibly some minor sciences (Though I'm sure the Mechanicus would be unhappy with it). Think along the lines of the Renaissance, where the "learned men" of the world were often priests.
Also, along that line, are "books of detestation"; ie, literature about demons or evil and chaos (probably misleading) and how to defeat them (probably even more misleading). However, the higher you go up in the ecclisiarchy, the more likely the books are to be correct. Because, while any two penny preacher or confessor could get a simple book about how to fight chaos, the more correct it is, the more likely the inquisition is to stop it from being wide spread, and it takes a lot of sway to attain such a book.


I don't know if they are considered standard, but there are a few books listed on the Lexicanum website that could be of interest. It doesn't sound like they have anything to do with the Emperor however. These are the ones I found:

The Road of Salvation: A Guide to Following in the Steps of the Prophets and Saints of the Imperium

Reflections on the Long Death

Historica Pilgrimage

Age of Apostasy

Ministorum Libra Martyr

Precepts of Saint Emelia

Sermons of Sebastian Thor

Notes on Martyrdom

Epistles

Collected from various clips of the books presented in quotes before a chapter in the Grey Knights, Gaunt's Ghosts, and Ciaphas Cain books. Saint Emilia particularly is mentioned as a favorite subject of Ciaphas Cain, and he quotes her often in Death or Glory(if not mistaken).

Grimbad
29-08-2008, 22:46
You have thousands of different texts, each in thousands of different translations in varying accuracy, each interpreted differently by thousands of cultures across a galaxy.
I'm going to guess that the most standardized Imperial religious text is at the back of the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer.

weissengel86
30-08-2008, 00:25
the witchunter codex describes a book that has the teachings of the ecclesiarchy and is considered canon it is called the litanies of faith and it describes how sisters might meditate for long periods of time on a single passage to give them insight

The Venerable Archmage
30-08-2008, 01:04
I think another significant question is the revealed status ascribed to each particular text. Of course, this will again vary from book to book, from world to world.

To crudely divide things into three categories, one can regard a religious book as an actual manifestaton of the divine word, a work whose human author received divine inspiration, or a good book which, while just the work of human hands, is worthy of study by the faithful.

Obviously examples of the first category will prove problematic in the Imperium, where no single text appears to hold the top spot. I'm sure there are worlds where wars are prosecuted by one group in defence of an incorruptible, revealed scripture and against another such group with a similar, but not similar enough, scripture of their own.

I'd actually see the latter two categories as more common, though, however much pointless holy wars appeal to my impression of the Imperium of Man. I think the wider Ecclesiarchal organisation probably has a fairly ecumenical attitude, when it comes down to it, making sure everyone keeps to the major, non-negotiable tenets without killing each other over the minor, optional ones. After all, there's plenty of real heretics, mutants and aliens to kill without turning one's witch-hunts inwards. Without a single text or an Ecclesiarchal Council* to decide what's canon and what's not (I'm sure we would have been informed in the fluff were there such a pivotal event**), there can be no Imperium-wide standard, and so such sacrosanct scripture inevitably becomes only local.

Given the dogmatism access to the revealed word of the Emperor might easily foster, I would not be surprised if the Ecclesiarchy had long ago decided that it was to be discouraged for the sake of unity. Some theologians might even argue it is impious*** to hold a simple book in such reverence, when all one's faith should be reserved for the Emperor himself.

I think there's a danger, given the similarity of imagery between the Ecclesiarchy and a sort of grimdark version of medieval Roman Catholicism, to assume similar attitudes when it comes to scripture, but the Imperium is nowhere near as intellectual as the High Medieval period. One does not need complex theology when the particulars of one's faith are so simple as to worship only the Emperor and do what His mortal representatives instruct.

Anyway, I'm already digressing. I've always wondered just what the Ecclesiarchy want people to believe, so now I'm getting carried away!

* Of Nicea, perhaps?
** Fairly sure, anyway. GW do like their surprises.
*** I like the word "bibliolatry", and never expected an excuse to reference the concept in the context of 40k.

Number 24
30-08-2008, 01:38
the witchunter codex describes a book that has the teachings of the ecclesiarchy and is considered canon it is called the litanies of faith and it describes how sisters might meditate for long periods of time on a single passage to give them insight

Don't forget the Book of St. Lucius, another witch hunter best seller.

And the Liber Heresius which is less holy scripture and more Inquisitorial primer.

olmsted
30-08-2008, 01:59
i actually have what was considered on the imperial guard message board the 40k bible.


LONG ASS READ


And here it comes in multiple posts.
A rather long-winded 'genesis', followed by some prayers and hymnals.
Some (most) culled from GW fluff, some written by me. I forget which is exactly which, it was years ago.


"In the beginning, there was darkness. An empty void of infinite nothingness. Then, the void did split, and reality was created from nothingness. Matter and energy in swirling patterns combined to form galaxies, and stars, and worlds.

On a trillion worlds and more life grew from the chaos, the guttered and died, with nothing and no-one to remember it.

On a billion worlds and more life grew from the chaos, and survived. Transformed by the passage of aeons from base protoplasm into animal and plant, there to hold and thrive.

On a million worlds and more life grew from the chaos, and founded a line that would survive and change to sentient life, from which a form of society would grow.

On a thousand worlds and more life grew from the chaos, and founded a line which would create coalitions and empires and federations which would spread throughout the stars and found itself again on new worlds.

On one world life grew from the chaos, and founded a race which will one day rule all. A race which would rise above all others and claim its rightful place as the ruler of its galaxy, and perhaps eventually all of creation. The race of Man.

...More to come...
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:08 No.747367
>>747365

And from ancient Terra did Man first grow, and as he learned Man created Science, and Law, and all the greatness of Civilisation. And Man did spread throughout the Galaxy, to take his rightful place among the stars. And Man created the Plasma Drive and the Warp Coil and the Titan and all other great devices, spreading throughout the stars and prospering as scant few other races had done before. And Man forced back the Xenos, and confounded the accursed Mutants which did arise from the multitude against the will of Man’s destiny. Yet, for all that had been created and all that had been learned Man was faithless and fell from grace. Nations and worlds did attack their neighbours and the sons of Terra did war, one upon the other.

And in this time of darkness and ruin one did arise on sacred Terra. A God among Men, he who would be all-hailed as Emperor of the Galaxy. And He who would become the Emperor lead humanity from the darkness that had befallen it, and He did create beings of great power to do his biding, and these were the Primaches and they were strong of body and mind above all save the Emperor. And to them He granted His greatest warriors, the Space Marines, to lead in the Great Crusade.

And this Great Crusade did expand the bounds of Man’s territory throughout the galaxy, east of Okasis and west of Hydraphur and to the north and south as well. The galaxy was being united and the ultimate victory of Man appeared viable for the first time in untold millennia.

Yet, for all their Creator was Divine, the Dark Gods did conspire against him. Knowing their strength could not match His, they turned those of the Primaches who were weakest in soul against Him. Taking with them their Legions, and all the Impure who would follow them, they did war against their fellow Man.
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:08 No.747369
>>747367

And the Emperor, salvation of Man, was distraught at the treachery of his Creations, but did not falter. When the Arch-Heretic did approach Terra, the Emperor did face him. Though suffused with the power of the Dark Gods, the Emperor faced him down, aided by the Angel Sanguine. Yet the Angel was cast down and the Emperor confined to His Golden Throne, never again to walk among the humanity which he loved so dearly.

Yet the soul of the Emperor was that of a God, and still His light guides us, and still His Eye watches over us. And whilst there is the Emperor there is hope for Man and its destiny to rule all."

• "A spiritu fornicationis,
• Domine, libera nos.
• From the lightening & the tempest,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the fire of the stars,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the guns of the foe,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the curse of the overload,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the airless void,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the beasts of the Warp,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the creatures of the deep,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the begetting of the warpkin,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the curse of the misborn,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• From the horror of the System Crash,
• O Lord, deliver us.
• A morte perpetua,
• Domine, libera nos.
• Peccatores,
• te rogamus, audi nos.
• That thou wouldst spare us,
• we beseech thee, hear us.
• That thou wouldst pardon us,
• we beseech thee, hear us.
• That thou wouldst bring us truly to penance,
• te rogamus, audi nos."
from the sermons of Fleet-Confessor Demelphic
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:09 No.747371
>>747369

• "A spiritu dominatus,
• Domine, libera nos.
• From the lightening & the tempest,
• Our Emperor, deliver us.
• From plague, deceit, temptation and war,
• Our Emperor, deliver us.
• From the scourge of the Kraken
• Our Emperor, deliver us.
• From the blasphemy of the fallen,
• Our Emperor, deliver us.
• From the begetting of daemons,
• Our Emperor, deliver us.
• From the curse of the mutant,
• Our Emperor, deliver us.
• A morte perpetua,
• Domine, libera nos.
• That thou wouldst bring them only death,
• That thou would spare none,
• That thou would pardon none,
• Wee beseech thee, destroy them."
Invocation of the Fede Imperialis. Commonly known as the Battle Prayer of the Adepta Sororitas.

"I pray that my soldiers do not die this day,
But if they die I pray that they do so with honour and in Your Name,
And if they live I pray that they do so without cowardliness.
I pray for victory this day,
And if I should claim that victory I would that You know that it is in Your name,
And if I should face defeat I shall offer my soul up to Thy judgement.
I pray that my life not be claimed this day,
But should I die I know that I shall have done my Duty,
And if I should live I shall do so only in Your service."
The Commanders’ Prayer. From the First Book of Indoctrinations.

"As I know my Emperor I know that He is watching,
As I knew my friend I pray that You find him worthy.
I pray unto thee, my lord Emperor, that you take the soul of your servant unto you.
That you shepherd him through the dark and bring him truly to your everlasting and eternal light."
The Last Rites - for the Imperial Infantryman’s uplifting Primer.
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:09 No.747374
>>747371

"Every day, both at home and out here we are warned of the enemy. But who is the enemy?
Is the enemy the xenos?
Is the enemy he who does not follow the Emperor?
Is the enemy the malform?
These are all foes, and you must confound and destroy them, but there is one enemy which you should confound and destroy above all else. An enemy that lies within all. An enemy which can kill you far more assuredly than any other.
Cast out the darkness in your own soul, that the Emperor’s light may find in you a vessel, for it is through us, and the untold billions like us, that the Emperor works His will."
The sermons of Confessor Diocratin.
Vol. IV. Ch. II

"When cities burn and armies turn and flee in disarray,
and cowards cry 'tis best to fly and fight another day,
A warrior knows it in his bones that when he dies and falls,
'tis better to have fought and lost than to have never fought at all."
Verse of the Talamactra

"The Emperor go between you and harm,
In all the dark places where you must walk."
Anon

"God-Emperor, oh our source of security. Protect us from foul daemons. Guard the wombs of our women that wee mites are not twisted into mutants. Save us from the darkness within darkness. Oh watch over us as we carry out your will. Imperator hominorum, nostra salvatio!"

"In nomine Imperatis, guard our armour and our gaze; lubricate our projectile weapons that they do not jam. Bless and brighten the beams of our lasers; fiat lux in tenebris."

"Imperator hominorum. Oh God-Emperor bless the crops of these people. Nostra salvatio! Blast the locust so that they will live and breathe and thrive under your guiding light."
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:10 No.747375
>>747374

way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No-one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain."
Trakan

"It is the story of a man who did insane things because he put into practice what many Saints have preached."
Dolan Chirosius in the Ministorum Libra Martyr

"A single man of faith can triumph over a legion of the faithless. Untold billions of the faithful can never be opposed."
The sermons of Sebastion Thor,
Vol. XI, Ch. IV

"One man can start a landslide with the casting of a single pebble."
The Legend of Thor from the "Age of Apothasy" by Eclesiarch Decis IX

"You have committed the ultimate heresy. Not only have you turned your back on the Emperor and stepped from the light, you have profaned His name and almost destroyed everything He has striven to build. You have perverted and twisted the path He has laid out for mankind to tread. As your own decrees have stated, there can be no mercy for such a crime, no pity for such a criminal. I renounce your lordship, for you walk in the darkness and cannot be allowed to live. Your sentence is long overdue and now it is time for you to die."
Alicia Dominica, leader of the Daughters of the Emperor, to High Lord Goge Vandire.
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:10 No.747376
>>747375

"The Emperor is our father and our guardian, but we must also protect the Emperor."
The sermons of Sebastion Thor,
Vol. XVI, Ch. I

"I will steal from the plate of decadence to feed the mouths of the powerless."
The sermons of Sebastion Thor,
Vol. XVI, Ch. XXXVIII

"I tread the path of Righteousness. Though it be paved with broken glass, I shall walk it barefoot; though it crosses rivers of fire, I will pass over them; though it wanders wide, the light of the Emperor guides my step."
Confessor Dolan of Chiros - Sermon on the road to Gathalamor

"The strength of the Emperor is Humanity, and the strength of Humanity is the Emperor. If one turns from the other we shall all become the Lost and the Damned."
The sermons of Sebastion Thor,
Vol. XXVII, Ch. LXII

"Prayer may cleanse the soul, but pain cleanses the body. Both are necessary for the survival of humanity."
Confessor Ganinimus.

"The Daemonic leads to two crimes. You turn from the path of righteousness and you abandon the Emperor as the object of your devotion. For the first, death is merely a just retribution. The second is a Heresy so terrible that no punishment can be sufficient. Yet the search for an appropriate penalty continues, and it shall be found."
Malleus Daemonicus, The Decleration of Eclesiarch Issus XLVII
"The weak will always be lead by the strong. Where the strong find purpose and act, the weak will follow. Where the strong cry out against fate, the weak bow their heads and succumb. There are many who are weak and many are their temptations. Despise the weak for they flock to the call of the Daemon and the Renegade. Pity them not and scorn their cries of innocence - it is better that one hundred innocents fall before the wrath of the Emperor than one kneels before the Daemon."
The first book of Indoctrinations.

• "Beloved Emperor, bless those Guardsmen, as they are hence to be the faithful in a land of heretics.
• Beloved Emperor, strengthen their faith and hearts, so they shalt feel no fear in the face of chaos and despair.
• Beloved Emperor, bless their weapons of these, the righteous.
• Beloved Emperor, bless their armor, so they will be protected ‘gainst the depredations of the foe.
• Beloved Emperor, bless their faith, that they shall resist the seduction of chaos.
• Beloved Emperor, bless their tanks and machines of war, so they will carry them safely through the faithless lands.
• Imperial Guardsmen, the Emperor is with you, as you are about to be the faithful in a land of heretical faith.
• Fear not, as the Emperor is with those who are faithful!
• In the face of death, fear not, as the Emperor is with you.
• Beloved Emperor, I recommend you the souls of these faithful Guardsmen.
• Bless them and protect them, as they shall travel dangerous paths.
• Beloved Emperor, have mercy on them, have mercy on those of them who shall not return home.
• Beloved Emperor, embrace those who fall in your never ending love.
• I bless thee, in the name of the Emperor.
• Accept your orders, serve the Emperor and Mankind.
• Make glorious triumph yours and fail not in the eyes of your Emperor and the eves of your commanders."
Commissar-General Koraken Dwight.
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:11 No.747379
>>747378

"Though I travel into the eternal darkness of the Void, I shall fear not, for my Emperor is my Light.
Though I tread amongst the Heathen and the Xenos, I shall concern myself not, for the Emperor is my Guide.
Though I march into the fields of battle, I shall worry not, for the Emperor is my Protector.
Though I journey from this world to the next I shall falter not, for the Emperor is my God."
Missionary Galaxia Herman Colt.

"What race save Humanity has the right to rule this galaxy?
The Eldar are fallen from grace, forever cursed by their great failure and their unlimited arrogance.
The Orks have no order, no true leader and directed goal to steer them.
The Tau lack any sense of the hereafter and have faith in nowt bar material and transient technology.
The Tyranid lack any culture or learning, seeking only to kill, feed and breed.
The ancient Necrontyr have slumbered too long, loosing whatever hope they may once have held.
The Slann hide themselves away, not wishing to face the fire and be tempered by it.
Humanitas dominatus omnis, de iam dum terminus aetas."
Eclesiarch Morden IX

"Love the Emperor,
For he is the salvation of mankind
Obey His words,
for He will lead you into the light of the future
Heed His wisdom, for He will protect you from evil
Whisper His prayers with devotion, for they will salve your soul
Honour His servants, for they speak in His voice
Tremble before His majesty, for we all walk in His immortal shadow"
Imperial Hymnal

"How can a man be happy if he does not serve his lord with his whole heart?"
Litany of the Adeptus

"When people forget their duty they are no longer human and become something less than beasts. They have no place in the bosom of humanity nor in the heart of the Emperor. Let them die and be forgotten."
From Prime Edicts of the Holy Synod of the Adeptus Minstorum
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:11 No.747382
>>747379

"On the Day of Affirmation it is the custom to light a candle, small and sweetly scented, and while it burns to silently think of those days so long ago. For a few minutes every year the whole universe of mankind falls silent and bends its mind to one propose - billions of billions of souls drawn together in the memory of the Great Confessor."
From Dolan Chriosius in the Minstorum Libra Martyr

"No army is big enough to conquer the galaxy. But faith alone can overturn the universe."
Eclesiarch Deacis IX

"War is Peace,
Freedom is Slavery,
Ignorance is Strength."
Inscription across the ceiling of the Chapel Primus on the Divine Right

"There is nothing better that a man can do than to lay down his life in the service of the Emperor"
Proverb

"Let the Emperor guide my shot;
Let my faith shield me;
Let his strength shield my brethren;
FOR THE EMPEROR AND HUMANITY!
ON TO BATTLE!"
Battle prayer of the Imperial Guard

"We pray for souls
adrift in the tide,
May those who are lost find peace,
All our fathers
and all our brothers,
We pray for souls
adrift on the tide."
Ave navigatus
Litany of Lost Souls

"Though the darkness will be rent by noise and flame,
Let not men’s souls be broken in the crucible of war."
Prayer of Preacher Veltros Theodorus before the third battle of Tarrisus Ridge

"We lay upon the ground the red rose of our Order. The blood of the pure has washed back the impure, but we who live shall be called upon to join them soon."

Celestian Superior Avril Lantine. Order of the Bloody Rose.

++AVE IMPERATOR++

For the Emperor - As we serve him, he is our greatest servant. As we pray to him his thoughts are only for us.
>> Anonymous 10/28/07(Sun)19:12 No.747386
>>747382

Of The True Faith

Being a composition of assorted sermons, prayers and inspirationals for the betterment of Imperial citizens, compiled from a variety of worlds encountered by the author on his travels throughout the Galaxy. This volume is ideal both as a primer for further study of the Imperial Cult and of itself to provide a base understanding of the many forms of worship of the Most Holy Emperor, may his rule continue for eternity.

Note: The author has attempted, wherever possible, to cite the speaker or original work from which these works originate. Omission of such indicates that the work is either of such age as its originator has passed into obscurity, or that the originator is unknown for some other reason.

DantesInferno
30-08-2008, 06:47
While I agree with the bulk of what you have to say, The Venerable Archmage, I just wanted to pick out a few points:


I think the wider Ecclesiarchal organisation probably has a fairly ecumenical attitude, when it comes down to it, making sure everyone keeps to the major, non-negotiable tenets without killing each other over the minor, optional ones. After all, there's plenty of real heretics, mutants and aliens to kill without turning one's witch-hunts inwards.

Perhaps. But there's nothing more fun than a good witch-hunt, and it helps keep the donation plates full and make sure there are bums on pews.

And in a religion which promotes hatred and intolerance of heretics, there's always room for puritanical/bombastic/greedy/stupid/secretly heretical/meglomaniacal Cardinals or Confessors who are perfectly happy to start Wars of Faith over differences in doctrine.


Without a single text or an Ecclesiarchal Council* to decide what's canon and what's not (I'm sure we would have been informed in the fluff were there such a pivotal event**), there can be no Imperium-wide standard, and so such sacrosanct scripture inevitably becomes only local.

Well, the Ecclesiarchy does have a sole figurehead (the Ecclesiarch). There is also the Holy Synod, which functions as a ruling body to assist (or at times, "assist") the Ecclesiarch. And following Thor and the reformation after the Age of Apostasy, there is also the Synod Ministra on Ophelia VII.


Given the dogmatism access to the revealed word of the Emperor might easily foster, I would not be surprised if the Ecclesiarchy had long ago decided that it was to be discouraged for the sake of unity. Some theologians might even argue it is impious*** to hold a simple book in such reverence, when all one's faith should be reserved for the Emperor himself.

Remember too that the Ecclesiarchy only formed as a unified body about a millennium after the Emperor's death/permanent incapacitation in the Heresy. It was many years before many of the various unofficial cults that spread through the galaxy following the Heresy united to form a galactically dominant sect: the Temple of the Saviour Emperor, and a few more centuries before this cult became recognised as the Imperium's official religion and formed the Adeptus Ministorum (or Ecclesiarchy). I'd imagine that the formative period of the Imperium's official religion was incredibly fluid, as various rival cults subsumed, adopted or eradicated smaller cults until only one remained.

The Venerable Archmage
30-08-2008, 10:42
Perhaps. But there's nothing more fun than a good witch-hunt, and it helps keep the donation plates full and make sure there are bums on pews.

And in a religion which promotes hatred and intolerance of heretics, there's always room for puritanical/bombastic/greedy/stupid/secretly heretical/meglomaniacal Cardinals or Confessors who are perfectly happy to start Wars of Faith over differences in doctrine.

You make a good point. Witch hunts are good for morale. However, I think it's in the Ecclesiarchy's interests wherever possible (and that's not always) to steer witch-hunts in the direction of actual social undesirables rather than the fellow faithful of a different rite/sect/denomination.

I'm trying to remember the background on the Redemptionists, because they seem a good example of this. Am I right I thinking they like to wage crusade upon all those less pious than themselves (i.e. everybody) and are considered a menace by everybody else as a result, and outlawed? Maybe just in Necromunda itself, I guess.


Well, the Ecclesiarchy does have a sole figurehead (the Ecclesiarch). There is also the Holy Synod, which functions as a ruling body to assist (or at times, "assist") the Ecclesiarch. And following Thor and the reformation after the Age of Apostasy, there is also the Synod Ministra on Ophelia VII.

Ah, yes, there's certainly apparatus in place for centralised decisions to be made, and I that could see deciding that a single book was holy writ if they wanted to. I'm sure they do hand down texts to be accepted unquestionably, but I'm not sure if they'd ground it theologically in the idea that the text is the inherently divine so much as "because I said so and I'm invoking Ecclesiarchal Infallibility."

Mystics are the sort who typically deliver the actual words of the gods (rather than my second and third categories), and I don't think such an individual and eccentric form of religion would be widely popular with the Ecclesiarchy (not necessarily automatically heretical, but always somewhat suspect). The idea that one can have a mystical experience of the Emperor, and then write it down, could easily be a profoundly dangerous one. I see the Ecclesiarchy as fundamentally tradition based.


Remember too that the Ecclesiarchy only formed as a unified body about a millennium after the Emperor's death/permanent incapacitation in the Heresy. It was many years before many of the various unofficial cults that spread through the galaxy following the Heresy united to form a galactically dominant sect: the Temple of the Saviour Emperor, and a few more centuries before this cult became recognised as the Imperium's official religion and formed the Adeptus Ministorum (or Ecclesiarchy). I'd imagine that the formative period of the Imperium's official religion was incredibly fluid, as various rival cults subsumed, adopted or eradicated smaller cults until only one remained.

I'd have thought that this would make it harder for everyone to have the same canon, though? Everyone has plenty of time to circulate tracts, write letters, get tangled in obscure points of theology. It's a thousand years before there's any real unity, and even then, it's a unity of various factions, rather than one in which everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

DantesInferno
30-08-2008, 14:27
You make a good point. Witch hunts are good for morale. However, I think it's in the Ecclesiarchy's interests wherever possible (and that's not always) to steer witch-hunts in the direction of actual social undesirables rather than the fellow faithful of a different rite/sect/denomination.

Yeah, when the Ecclesiarchy is viewed as a whole it's clearly in the organisation's interests to avoid unnecessary bloodshed between its various factions.

But clearly a creed which prides itself on intolerance and hatred of the heretic is going to lead to some occasional....misunderstandings. And when the Imperium has religious misunderstandings, they can end with mass burnings.

Basically, what I think we both might be trying to say is that there's an inherent tension between the intolerant substance of the Imperial Creed (Let the Emperor's divine wrath descend upon the Heretic, the Mutant, the Alien, etc), and the structure of the Ecclesiarchy (no set canon of religious texts, probable lack of centralised enforcement of doctrine etc).


I'm trying to remember the background on the Redemptionists, because they seem a good example of this. Am I right I thinking they like to wage crusade upon all those less pious than themselves (i.e. everybody) and are considered a menace by everybody else as a result, and outlawed? Maybe just in Necromunda itself, I guess.

My Necromunda memory is a bit rusty too: I seem to recall that the Redemptionists were at least theoretically within the law in the Underhive, even if they were viewed with a mixture of fear, awe and revulsion by the Underhive settlers for their outbursts of near-random violence, from lynchings to total genocide.

If I'm wrong and the Redemptionists are actually outlawed, I'm sure the authorities turn more or less a blind eye to all but the worst of their excesses. For instance, no one seems to have a problem with the fact that they're largely supported and equipped by one of the six major Houses of the Underhive.

In any case, it's probably a bit problematic to extrapolate too much from the Necromundian Underhive to the galaxy in general.


Ah, yes, there's certainly apparatus in place for centralised decisions to be made, and I that could see deciding that a single book was holy writ if they wanted to. I'm sure they do hand down texts to be accepted unquestionably, but I'm not sure if they'd ground it theologically in the idea that the text is the inherently divine so much as "because I said so and I'm invoking Ecclesiarchal Infallibility."

Mystics are the sort who typically deliver the actual words of the gods (rather than my second and third categories), and I don't think such an individual and eccentric form of religion would be widely popular with the Ecclesiarchy (not necessarily automatically heretical, but always somewhat suspect). The idea that one can have a mystical experience of the Emperor, and then write it down, could easily be a profoundly dangerous one. I see the Ecclesiarchy as fundamentally tradition based.

Keep in mind the pivotal role played by the writings of various Saints in Ecclesiarchy doctrine.


I'd have thought that this would make it harder for everyone to have the same canon, though? Everyone has plenty of time to circulate tracts, write letters, get tangled in obscure points of theology. It's a thousand years before there's any real unity, and even then, it's a unity of various factions, rather than one in which everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

Yep, of course. My observation was intended to back up your overall case that the Ecclesiarchy is likely to be quite doctrinally inclusive.

Adra
30-08-2008, 15:00
Its a kind of parasitic faith that latches onto the local faiths of a world and adapts it to fit into the church of the Holy Emperor. The new chimera faith that is the final product then slowly moved away from the original and more in line with imperial faith. that said a trace is always left behind from local customs to traditions or even the words of preachers. Each planet has a different view of the god emperor and although the differences are marked they are more like the differences in the christian faith on earch today. they may all seem very different but all have a fundimental link and thats all the Ecclesiarchy seems to demand.

Holy books come from everywhere and can be the teachings of firebrand warrior monks traveling the galexy or the ravings of a local preacher. In the name of the Emperor is the only common ground they need.

weissengel86
31-08-2008, 02:19
it seems that the ecclessiarchy has a sort of changing doctrine within certain boundaries. As new saints appear and get martyred their writings go from thelogical texts to being considered semi-canon. The ecclesiarchy seems to not mind as long as they can be assured the writings and saints are truly from the emperor based on their contributions to the imperium and miracles.

A.Gentleman
31-08-2008, 07:10
Notes on Martyrdom

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Notes on Martyrdom: A Ten-step Guide to Sacrificing Your Life to the God-Emperor.

Jam-packed full of handy tips for your piety!

Buy now and you will recieve a copy of Dogmatism! and a complimentary list of clever insults to hurl at the foul enemies of the Emperor!!

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Helsing
01-09-2008, 04:20
Having a standard bible for the Ecclesiarchy is like having a standard uniform for the Guard, it can't happen. Simply put, there are a million worlds in the Imperium, each with its own culture. These raise their own preachers, and thus their teachings are influenced by local saints and stuff like that.

There.

Done.


Helsing.

The Venerable Archmage
01-09-2008, 08:37
@ Dante's Inferno: I think we're pretty much arguing the same point from different sides - there's tension between the necessary inclusiveness of such a broad church and its tendency towards intolerant heretic-burning. There is, of course, room for plenty of both.

@ Adra: I love your description of the Imperial Creed as "parasitic" - I'd never thought of it in such terms, and yet it fits perfectly. It takes their inclusiveness and turns it into something suitably nasty and sinister sounding!