Church of the Holy Flame

Fire is life.

It gives us light, that we might see through the darkness. It gives us heat, that we might survive a winter’s chill. It cooks our food, it powers our forges, our industries. Fire is life.

Fire purifies, searing away all that is unclean, reducing our flawed corporeal form, in death, to ashes. Fire is truth, and hope.

The way is clear to us, a blazing path illuminated by the Most Holy Flame, leading us away from our impure nature, teaching us. Saving us.

Fire is transformation, freeing us, making us holy. When the bodies of the righteous burn, all that is impure in them is rendered into ash, and they become sacred. Beings of Heat and Light, transcending into perfection.

In death, all shall burn within the Holy Flame. The virtuous shall rise up to Paradise, and the wicked shall be consumed, transformed, sent back to redeem themselves in service to the living as elements

All praises to the Holy Flame.

–From the Collected Sermons of the Transcendent Flame

The Church

The Church of the Holy Flame is the primary religious force in Sherran and Lavissar, and most people will – if only in secret – agree that it intends to remain that way by force, if necessary. The central tenet of Church doctrine is the worship of the Holy Flame.

Church Doctrines

Unto the 3rd Generation

The shadow of the parent is passed on to the child

–Path to Purity, verse I

The Church teaches that the sins of the parent are visited upon the child, and it is in the interest of every man and woman to live righteously, and seek to emulate the purity of the Holy Flame in all things, lest their children suffer for their selfish acts.

This can be seen in everyday life where the children of poor parents suffer the curse of being penniless themselves, and the children of rich parents have the blessings of wealth. Similarly, poor children are generally sicker, more likely to die young, dumber and uglier than rich kids.

Loyalty and Excellence

Obedience to those whose flame bears less shadow than your own is the key to purification

–Path to Purity, Verse II

Dogma further teaches that the only way to move up in life is to unquestioningly obey those with fewer shadows on their souls than you. The Church teaches constant loyalty, even to death, to those who are your betters. Finally, they teach Excellence in all you do, persevering against and overcoming the toughest challenges your masters place before you.

Often distilled down to the idea that “the Flame helps those who help themselves,” this attitude can be seen in everyday life where those who work very hard for a Guild can not only improve their lot in life, but also improve the lot of their children. With better education and medical care, their children are obviously prettier and smarter (on paper) than those born in the ash-slums.

Altruistic Tithing

He who provides fuel so that another’s flame may burn brighter, shall be rewarded tenfold in the Realm of Purity

–Path to Purity, Verse III

Lastly, dogma teaches caring for those less fortunate than you, and it is here that the Church’s true genius shows. Having their Missionary Hospices already in place, the Church argues that any other form of welfare are wasteful – only the Church, with their centuries of practice, can do it right.

This means that the Church is best placed as the sole source of handouts and medical care for the poorest people. This generates massive amounts of self-replicating gratitude on the part of the poor for the Church. Of course, hospices generally treat the symptoms, and not the problems. Similarly, they don’t tolerate people who just want food doled out to them (the whole work hard attitude).

Generally they put those they’re “helping” to work performing some Church or community service, like cleaning streets or caring for the sick and injured. If you prove yourself in these services, the opportunity exist to volunteer regularly as a hospice nurse, Church guard, Church “hostess” or one of dozens of other Missionary positions. These ‘volunteers’ are only paid in simple, bland food and a non-private spot on the floor in an unsafe and occasionally violent common room, but if you’re down on your luck and starving to death…

Church Influence

The Church is a massive institution, and its presence is felt at all levels of society. Health services, the courts, municipal maintenance, houses of comfort (brothels) — these are just some of the services that are managed by or performed directly by Church affiliates. Due to the combination of extensive public works, beneficial and/or popular public services, and masterful propaganda, are generally well-liked by the general populace.

Organization

The Church is headed by the Beacon. He lives with his family in Holy City of Sanctuary, which is protected by the Sanctorian Knights.

Quorum of  Light

The Quorum of Light serves the Beacon and the church at large. They are considered first among brethren Reverends. The Quorum consists of eleven Master Reverends, selected from the Synod of Divine Light. They hold court in an inner chamber of the Sanctoria, which no one else may enter regardless of their military or civilian status.

They serve as a supreme judiciary and legislative organization whose authority puts it in direct control of the church legal system. Their orders are absolute and no decision has been known to be overturned.

Synod of Divine Light

The Synod is made up of all Senior Reverends in the Church. They oversee the many religious rituals of the Church, elect and elevate Master Reverends from their ranks and maintains the official Church calendar. Furthermore, it provides religious advice to the Beacon. Women are allowed to become Senior Reverends and serve in the Synod.

Militant Orders

Templars of the Burning Light

Templars are the operatives of the Church. As well as hunting rogue elements they also work to knock down heretics who threaten the Church. They consider themselves the police force of the church. Despite their name, Templars are far from being paragons of virtue. Because their domain is out of sight, they act with greater license, happy that their indiscretions and brutal methods will never be known to anyone save for their adversaries.

Templars Creed

There is only the Flame.

Shadow is but the lack of Light:

There is only the Flame.

May the Flame reveal the shadows of my heart.

Ash did the fire Purify not:

There is only the Flame.

May the Flame remove the Ash from my soul.

Smoke is but the sign of Burning:

There is only the Flame.

May others see the signs of the Flame in my life.

Cold is but the absence of Heat:

There is only the Flame.

May my anger burn against the enemies of the Flame.

This world is but cold smoke, ash and shadow:

There is only the Flame.

May it Burn forever.

Sanctorian Knights

Knights Creed

‘I will uphold the four cornerstones of the ethos Honor, Law, Order, and Justice to the best of my ability.

I will always work diligently at showing respect, honour and patience when dealing with others.

I will maintain my worship of the Holy Flame and will diligently assist in the defense of the Sanctuary City.

I will not worship any other god, or Immortal whose ideals and beliefs conflict with those of Holy Flame.

I will obey all Knighthood rules and policies.

I understand that violating any of the Knights’ Creed and the Laws of the Church of the Holy Falme shall result in removal from the Knighthood.

Missionaries of the Sacred Flame

Church Missionaries are PR people, pure and simple. They set up hospices, run by mundane staff. They make speeches in the market square. They proselytise, and they sermon. Thanks to the missionaries, rebellious sorts are viewed by wider society as being nothing less than destructive anarchists. Missionaries also act as investigators hunting for subversion and heresy, most especially the Inquisitors of the Sacred Flame – specially trained missionaries who act as an investigative arm. Inquisitors are feared, yes, but not hated. Society respects them and believes in their righteousness.

Sisters of the Hearth

A.k.a Hearth Nun, Hearth Trained

Originally the Sisters of the Hearth where created by the Church Elders to train Wives in their wifely duties. Sisters of the Hearth train young women both theology and the wifely arts. These include doctrine, child care, cooking, housekeeping, midwifery, first aid, wound sewing, and most (in)famously the 7 Sacred Fertility Rites.

Proverbs of the Flame 6:1 ” The best Wife is a Hearth Trained Wife: The Best husband is a Hearth Tamed Husband.”

Holy Writ or Logos – Transcendent Flame

Written by several disciples who each received a vision from the THREE or THEIR celestial servants, as well as a number of early prophets, this book is part sermon, part prophecy, with guidelines for proper behavior. The book covers the origin and tenets of the faith and provides letters and guidance from early members of the religion. Every cleric has a copy of this book and many are very old. They are kept simple or plain per the seven virtues.

Other holy books

Book of Prayers

Book of Faith and Morals

Symbol

The Church of the Holy Flame SymbolIt represents the cleaning of  life: birth, life and death. This symbol was originally adopted from a vision received by the Prophet Chasid, after speaking directly to the THREE.

 

Core Belief

The basic belief of all followers is that the THREE created all that lives within the world and placed the sun, moon and stars in the sky. They believe that this act of creation is the fundamental part of creation. They believe that the THREE is the one true God and there are no others. They believe that the Holy Flame is the manifestation of the THREE on Ebonyr. The Church believes that all the sentient races are descended from one single original ancestor. The division into separate races happened when man did not heed the clarion call of the THREE during the battle of the Shining City. The tenants of the faith are laid down in the Holy Writ or Logos – The Transcendent Flame

The 7 Holy Virtues

* Chastity – Courage and boldness. Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of thought through education and betterment.

* Abstinence – Constant mindfulness of others and one’s surroundings; practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation.

* Liberality – Generosity. Willingness to give. A nobility of thought or actions.

* Diligence – A zealous and careful nature in one’s actions and work. Decisive work ethic. Budgeting one’s time; monitoring one’s own activities to guard against laziness.

* Patience – Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. The ability to forgive; to show mercy to sinners.

* Kindness – Charity, compassion, friendship, and sympathy without prejudice and for its own sake.

* Humility – Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one’s own self.

Genesis

In the Beginning, there were THREE. And THEY dwelt in the Shining City, and THEY were alone in the fastness. THEY created first of all things the Celestial Host, beings of light and beauty, made of thought alone.  And they gathered about his throne and listened to the THREE as THEY spoke to them of time and matter.

And the world hung in the void, dark and still. “Now I will a great creation,” the THREE said unto them, “that shall be within Time, and its fulfillment.” And in the secret heart of each of the Host, the THREE spoke a tiny portion of THEIR design, for each understood best only that portion of the thought of the THREE from which he had sprung. And each member of the Host saw in his mind that the world of which the THREE spoke contained within it that which he loved best, and desired that it might be made real, that he might go and dwell thither. The THREE put forth THEIR hands, and spake the Words of Making, and raised up the land from the waters, and THEY hung the firmament above. And there THEY set the sun, and light shone for the first time on the world. And the THREE threw open the gates of the City.

And the THREE strove and spake again, and brought forth the trees and the herbs of the world, and THEY made all the beasts that swam or flew or crept upon the world. Then the Celestial Host entered Ebonyr became part of it, and it of them. Chiefest among them were five great lords who stood far above their fellows in might and knowledge and the understanding of the design of the THREE. And the names of these five were Azral, Amarnas , Rodein, Talana and Taurusk.

Amarnas turned his thought and will to the airs of Ebonyr, for he delighted in their tumults and in the beasts of the air. It was to water that Rodein turned, and the oceans roared in his voice. Talana took to the earth, and knew all things which crawled upon it or underneath it, and secret ways of mountain, field and valley were hers. Taurusk took up fire, for he saw in it the power of life and vitality.

But the greatest of the five was Azral, for he had a portion of the gifts of each of the others, and he understood more of the thought of the THREE than any of his siblings. Of all the Celestial Host, Azral alone had wandered far in the Endless Void, and there he learned much that was hidden from his brethren and, so he thought in his pride, from the THREE.

And last of all, THEY made the race of man, and set aside bountiful lands for them to dwell in. And the THREE went unto man, and said, “All this land and everything beneath it are yours; you and your subjects are to serve as stewards. You may enter freely through the gates of OUR City as you will, and you may drink from the Fountain that is found there. Know that the waters of the Fountain are life, and whosoever drinks from that Fountain shall not die. But you must swear fealty to US, and whenever WE call you to service, you must heed OUR call. And you and all men must stay within the lands WE have given you.”

And man swore fealty to THEM, and all of the men that were on the world also swore fealty to the THREE, and there was great gladness, for there was no toil or pain in those days. .

And the THREE charged the five celestial lords with guarding the gates of the City, and with watching the ends of the world, and the secret places in the earth. But Malbor was filled with a lust to possess all of Ebonyr, and he told his brethren “I am eldest, and thou knowest that I see farthest of we five. Therefore I shall be thy king, and order all things as shall seem fit to me!” Azral said he had overheard the THREE making the world, and thus they learned the Words of Making, and they grew prideful and covetous. Their hearts were poisoned with jealousy of the THREE and of man.

And the five lords sought to corrupt the work that the THREE had done, and so they went in secret into the world, and they went among many of their celestial brethren, and said unto them, “Lo, do we not also know the Words of Making; why should we not be rulers over this race of men?” And such was the cunning of the five lords that the host that heard these words agreed, and in their pride swore that they would no longer serve the THREE.

And the five lords stole into the City, and went before many of the Heavenly Host, and said unto them, “Look how the THREE favor these creatures called man over you, even though you have dwelt in the City since before the making of the world.” And the five said these words, and many guards in the Host were filled with great pride, and they too declared that they would renounce the THREE.

And it came one day that humans, Larith and Anem had strayed beyond the lands of man, and in that place there came upon them the five lords. Now in those days, all of the celestial hosts had armor s that glittered and shone in the sun, and humans were greatly amazed to see such a wondrous sight. And the five lords spoke to them with great guile, and said unto them, “Would you not lie with each as man and wife? Would you not wear your leader’s crowns, and dwell in their chambers? And would you not rule over all men?” Larith and Anem agreed that they would want these things to come to pass. And the five lords said unto them, “Return to the lands of men, and speak to your leaders, and tell them to heed not the clarion of the THREE. For if he should heed the call, surely he shall be destroyed” And Larith and Anem did this.

And there came one day war to the Shining City, and at the five lords bidding many in the ranks of the Heavenly Host rose up and took fiery arms against the THREE.

And the THREE sounded the clarion, calling the armies of men to battle. But the men answered not, but rather hid in their houses, and shook with fear. And the clarion sounded again, no man stirred forth, although the sounds of terrible battle could be heard even in the lands of men. And the clarion sounded a third time, but still no man went forth to heed the call.

And in the great battle, the five lords were brought low, and their army was trampled beneath the Host of the THREE. And so the five were defeated and thrown into the Eternal Pit. And those among the Heavenly Host that had rebelled were forced from service, stripped of all radiance and destined to ever after creep upon the earth. They lost their gleaming scales, and were made to lust without satience after precious metals and stones.

And the THREE were wrathful at the disobedience of man, and the THREE closed all of the gates into the City save one; the only way for men to enter through this gate was to die. And at this gate stood a great and loyal captain of the Hosts, which was charged with testing the worth of each petitioner. Those unworthy were turned away, and not allowed to drink from the Fountain.

And the THREE turned their heads from Anem and Larith, and they were made lowly, and forced to walk the lands of man until the end of the world. And their spawn, and the spawn of their spawn, were monsters.

Centers of worship

Holy city of Sanctuary

Church

Faith Hall

 

Religious Ceremonies

The Convocation (Ordination of Clergy)

Blessings

          Infant Dedication

          Ascension (Rite of Passage)

          Marriage

          Funeral Rites

Holy Days

Tithe Procession

Candlemas

Covenent Day

Creation Week

The Church does not engage in literal sacrifice. During the Creation Week, active adherents do not spend money or participate in trade, warfare, or hunting. Creation Week is a time of reflection, and participants fast, pray, meditate, travel to the woods, and attend services at the Steeples or Chapels. This is in reference to there having been nothing in existence during the time of creation.

Day of Repentance

Afterlife

The Shining City or Paradise, a place of complete peace and tranquility, awaits those who have call on the THREE for salvation. Conversely, the Eternal Pit, reserved for those who have rejected the THREE, is ambiguous and various traditions have their own interpretation ranging from liberal thoughts of its non-existence, to an ultimate obliteration of the soul, to an eternal torment of the damned, sometimes including lurid descriptions of eternal flames and various tortures by malevolent demons. Many such descriptions are rejected by more traditional Purist groups.

Views on marriage

  •        1. Marriage creates a permanent tie between souls. When people enter a marriage, they are bonding much deeper than the physical.
  •        2. Because of this incredible longevity, it is urged strongly that all be sure of their commitment before entering a church with the intent of entering such a deep relationship.

 

Famous Prayers

The Holy Flame prayer

The Holy Flame, Hallowed be his name.

As he watcheth over us all, we pray unto him.

We pray for forgiveness, as we forgive all those who sin and commit ill will against you.

We Pray for salvation from our sins and our mistakes as we bring salvation to man.

His will be done as it has always be done. Here on Earth, it will be done.

Power to him and onto the path of enlightenment so we me bask in the knowledge in the Church of the Holy Flame. Armen.

 

Cleansing prayer

The Corrupted Sinner shall be purged from within.

Enim Lupin Purnam Pravus Intus.

Enim Lupin Purnam Pravus Intus.

Enim Lupin Purnam Pravus Intus.

May our sins be banished from within.

Armen.

 

Smiting of those who plot against the Lord

Dear Holy Flame.

Grant us your strength and power and let us smiteth the foe.

For he plots and schemes our demise. Let us smiteth the foe of the path.

Grant us the power the fires of damnation and let us purge your creation of thier sin.

The power with you always.

Armen.

 

Last Prayer of the Divine Soul

Heavenly Holy Flame, grant us the strength,

the wisdom, and above all,

a measure of acceptance, however small

Armen