View Full Version : Variations in Imperial religion?

23-06-2005, 18:08
Okay this is something Im curious about. Religion in the Imperium is officially led by the Ecclesiary (spelling?), however the Imperium is a very large place and open to interpretation. I mean if you look at Christianity, it was catholisism that is lead by the Pope in the Vatican. However there are lots of philosophies of catholisism. Later on Protestantism formed and that has many variations too. Now today there are many variations of Christianity.

So does something similar occur in the Imperium? Are there many variations of Imperial religion or is it one thing that is fully the same everywhere? Would there be conflict between religious groups in the Imperium amongst themselves?

23-06-2005, 18:58
i believe that thier are many different ways tovenerate the emperor in the forty first millenium just like thier are different ways to worship god on this planet alone we have a minumin of atleast ten major religions and the imperium is made up of ateat 1,000,000 worlds,thats alot of religions if you think about it(assuming thier are ten on every world)

24-06-2005, 00:23
Again, Codex: Sisters of Battle is your helpful friend here... the Black Library really ought to bring out a Liber Chaotica-esque book on the Ecclessiarchy and the Imperial Creed.

Yes, there are lots and lots of different factions, sects, cults and you name it within the Imperium, which are often at odds with eachother. An example of a point that has caused much discussion and many schisms over the millennia is the precise nature of the Emperor's divinity. Some believe he was always a god, others say he was deified when he destroyed Horus (and there are bound to be many other interpretations).

But for all its internal differences the Imperial Creed is still the only religion within the Imperium. When a group or individual crosses the line of what is found acceptable it'll be decladed Heresy and the problem will be remedied in the familiar fashion.

That said, remember this is 40K and people aren't usually very understanding of cultural or philosophical differences, so different groups won't tend to get along well, especially not if there isn't anything else to keep them occupied.

24-06-2005, 00:24
It's a tad different to modern Earth, though.

Nominally, all the citizens of the Imperium are members of the same religion, the Imperial Creed. If you worship something different (or at least, something with a different name), you'll be burnt as a heretic pretty fast.

However, the Imperial Creed means almost entirely different things to different people on different worlds of the Imperium. Like the ancient Romans did, the Imperium seems to incorporate new worlds' religions (Oh, so you worship your god M'oshis? You see, he's actually called Zeus/the Emperor etc). So on a primitive world, the Emperor might be the divine warrior, the hurler of lightning etc. On a more civilised world, the Emperor could be the spiritual guardian of mankind etc. As long as you're devoted to "the Emperor", you're unlikely to be burnt for heresy.

The fundamental tenets of the Creed, however, are a joy in servitude, and a belief in the Emperor as the protector of humanity and a duty to help defend humanity.

24-06-2005, 06:31
Indeed, the Imperial Cult knows great variations. This is meant to allow, as mentioned, for people who worship different things to still worship the Emperor. There are several ways to do this.
Most importantly is the mission of the Missionaria Galaxia. These preachers, sometimes accompanied by Sisters travel the galaxy and settle on non-Imperial worlds on the fringes. They spend their lifetime preaching to people and slowly modifying their beliefs so that when the armies of the Imperium arrive, they will find a world which worship the Master of Mankind in some way or other.

The most important feature of the Ecclesiarchy is, as the Catholic Church, its capacity to adapt to local situations. Indeed, for example, many of the dates now used for Christian holidays were pagan feasts : Christmas is the winter solstice, Easter is summer solstice, All Saints Day marks the end of the harvest season, the feast of the assumption is the harvest feast and so on...
You could also mention the Uniats in Eastern Europe, people who are linked to Rome but with a Greek ritual.

24-06-2005, 09:50
Erm, last time I checked the summer solstice was 2/3 months after easter. :confused:

26-06-2005, 13:38
There was an article in UK WD 303 a while ago about renegade marines it talks about every planet/system worshiping differently:
'for the Helio-Cultists of Limnus Epsilon, the Emperor resides in their sun'
'To the Apocalites of the worlds bordering the Hell-Stars of the Garon Nebula, he is the bringer of merciful death, deliverance from the evil that stalks their worlds'
'To the feral natives of Miral, the Emperor was the great best that stalked the dark places of their forests'
'To the acid miners of Mordant he is the guilding spirit light that keeps the all-encompassing darkness at bay. '

The article also mentions theosophical debates, which can lead to fighting and about a chapter who went renegade when a cardinal found out that they worshiped the emperor as an animal-totem and launched a crusade against them.

26-06-2005, 13:49
sorry, Easter corresponds to spring feast, my mistake :o

29-06-2005, 04:53
I would definately say there are many differant forms of the Imperial Cult. Which is evident in my DIY chapter. The populace of their world hail the mighty dragons that reside on the planet as avatars of the Emperor. Hence forth why the chapter is constantly brought up on charges of heresy from both the inquistion to the eccelisharcy.

29-06-2005, 06:39
I would say that as long as their is a great/heavenly/celestial dragon that embodies the Emperor this would not be so much of a problem...

29-06-2005, 08:09
So, the summary of the "Missionaries' Manual" would be:

"Insert Emperor here:"

29-06-2005, 08:28
"Insert Emperor here:"

Which curiously enough is also the wording of the Word Bearers' "Heretic Missionaries' Manual", except that they mean it a different way and include an anatomical diagram.

More seriously, although working the Emperor into existing religious practices would be a useful starting point for the Missionaria Galaxia I doubt that the Ecclesiarchy would be content to leave it at that if at all possible. I'd expect that if they persuaded some planet that, for example, the Thunder God they conducted shamanistic dances for was really the Emperor, they would then start working to persuade them to conduct their dances in a big building, and then to work up to them with some vigorous piece of music, and then gradually morph that piece of music into a standard Imperial hymn, then introducing sermons and incense and whatever, all the while teaching their kids the classical Ecclesiarchal style of worship so that eventually their religious practices don't differ significantly from those of congregations on the surrounding worlds...

...who all this time have probably been evolving different services and writing new hymns and arguing strenuously via epistles between cathedrals and delegations to Grand Eccliesiarchal Convocations as to which is the best and which are unacceptable, so that there's a constant low boil of trends and minor developments going on everywhere, all the time.

29-06-2005, 18:11
I would partially disagree with you Sikkukkut. It would apply if you're thinking about a civilised world. But what you describe would mean not only changing the way the locals worship, but also their way of life. And that would not be possible in the space of one generation (or even a few). What you're describing is changing people from a feral state to civilised in a few years. I don't think the Imperium does this. After all the standard policy is to leave worlds to their own device...

Easy E
29-06-2005, 21:57
Glad to see you back Brusilov!

May take is similar to Brusilov. The initial missionaries would convert the current religous practices to that of the Emperor. In addition, they would weed out those practices that tend towards chaotic or heretical worship. Through this give and take an eventually new cult/religion of the Emperor would be formed that would be based off local conditions.

29-06-2005, 22:52
Indeed, this is heavily inspired from the practices, as mentioned before of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Jesuits in particular. A more modern example of such things is Greek Catholicism, that is recognising the authority of the Pope but keeping Greek as the language of the cult and the Greek ritual.
It derived from the understanding that for common people what mattered was not the finer theological points that differentiated Catholicism from Orthodoxy, but the rituals themselves.
The Ministorum is exactly that, although the great variety of worship always runs the risk of being a cover for something darker (be it Chaos or Stealer), but that's why you have an Inquisition after all.