Alydianism

Alydian before the burning bush which revealed the word of god

Alydianism, also known as Ardentism, is a religion which emerged in Arabekh around two thousand years ago by the eponymous Saint Alyde. Its adherents are known as Alydians and they believe in a single, omnipotent God who has appeared to many people throughout history. In ancient times, this God appeared to the first prophet and gave mankind control over fire. Thousands of years later, God appeared to Saint Alyde in the form of a burning bush and entrusted him knowledge of all things. Saint Alyde traveled around Arabekh teaching people what he knew and those teachings were later collected by Alydians and compiled into the Caudex, the principle scriptures of the religion.

Alydianism began as a sect of the state religion of the Fiorentine Empire in the province of Aramatheria between the second and first centuries BCE. Alyde’s seven disciplines and their own disciples spread his ideals, which they compiled into the “fides”, along with their own commentaries and thoughts. Their additions to the Fides were compiled later in the form of the “Breve”. The Fides was spread throughout the Arabekh region of the empire and eventually attracted the attention of citizens in the central provinces of the empire, especially among young people who felt that they lacked a spiritual connection to their native faith. The attraction of Fiorentines looking for something different from their ethnic henotheism exerted pressure on Alydianism to innovate and distinguish itself from its origins. Several Fiorentine emperors saw this shift as a challenge to their authority and attempted to suppress it.

The Emperor Minucius secretly converted to Alydianism at some point during his youth and, soon after his assumption of the throne, purged his government of traditionalists and replaced them with Alydians before announcing his acceptance of Alydianism. Alydianism became the state religion of the Fiorentines and later scholars reorganized their dating systems to reference that change. Over time, Alydianism came to dominate much of central Asura, though undergoing a decline in the immediate aftermath of the empire's collapse, Alydianism remained strong within its core territories. The crusades of the High-Middle Ages also allowed the faith to expand significantly, retaking territories in northern Arabekh and pushing into areas such as Vaellenia and Alemmania. Additionally, Asuran discoveries overseas led to the spreading of the faith into continents such as Vestrim, Rennekka and Catai.

Alydianism has many sects around the world with a great deal of variety in each sect’s interpretation of the Caudex and other sources. Most of them agree, however, on the sacredness of fire as an instrument of God’s will, on the verity of the information in Caudex, the person of Saint Alyde, and the need for salvation. The largest denomination is the Orthodox Church. The second largest branch of Alydianism is the Puritan church which established itself in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. A number of other smaller branches of the faith exist, though with far lower numbers than the main branches. Most of those who follow these minority branches reside either in Vestrim or Rennekka.

Beliefs

The beliefs and traditions of Alydianism come primarily from the Caudex (the written account of Saint Alyde’s life), commentaries on the Caudex, and the succession of the saints.

God

According to Alydianism, there is one supreme God in Alydianism and he is assisted by eight great spirits, each of which was created to care for a particular aspect of the world and human spirit. The division between single God and plurality of spirits is unclear and extends to the human spirit, which is supposed to be unified with God in a manner similar to the octet. Generally speaking the great spirits are considered helpers who should be entreated for aid, but worship and praise should be directed to God. This is why there are no churches devoted to spirits, although there are many shrines. Enforcement of the hierarchy of the higher spirits has been an important work of the church.

Church

In Alydianism, churches teach that it is the only path to salvation since it holds the two keys; spiritual enlightenment and physical purification.

Purification

Purification is the lifelong process of preparing to be unified with God. Perhaps the most important step is cremation, in which the body is literally burnt away and allows the soul to reach God instead of being confined to the natural cycles of the world, especially decaying and becoming food for other creatures, which is an especially arduous experience.

Saints

The saints were historically important individuals who have played an important role in the transmission of divine truth to mankind. Special status is afforded to Saint <Adam or Enoch type figure> who gave mankind fire from God and later Saint. Alyde, who gave mankind enlightenment. These two saints are called the Prophets.

Practices

Ardention

Ardention is the ritual burning of wood, especially cedar, and occasionally other material to evoke the wisdom and spirit of God. This ritual takes place both in the home in the form of tapers (thin wooden rods), in houses of worship as braziers and torches, and in the large stoves and bonfires kept constantly burning by certain monastic communities. Fire represents God's relationship with people, both as an important gift that is essential to mankind and as an enlightening flame that has brought truth and meaning to the world.

Cremation

Cremation is the last rite of Alydianism and occurs both as a symbol of unification with the divine and as a physical realization of the same. Saint Alyde, as his last request in the last book of the Caudex, ordered that his own body be burned to be reunified with God. Alydians believe that the soul is bound physically to the body and so, if the body is not purified with fire after death, the dead person’s soul will have to endure the experience of their body slowly rotting and might never actually be able to leave the world, unless the deceased’s friends and family entreat God for mercy.

In a cremation ceremony, the body is taken to a sacred stove, which is kept burning constantly. Especially pious individuals seek out the longest burning stoves for their eventual cremations, often making large donations to a particular church for the right to be purified in their stove. The body is bathed and prepared by a priest before and then laid on a large tray which is inserted into the stove. After the remains have been reduced to ashes, the tray is removed and the ashes are cursed to ensure that the soul has truly departed. After this the ashes are returned to the family or, if the deceased was wealthy enough to afford a place, their urn is kept in the crypt

Scriptures

Copy of the Fides Caudex, printed in the 1450s

Saint Alyde’s writings, along with those of his followers, constructed at some point within the Third Century BCE form the basis of the Caudex, the primary canonical text of the Alydian faith, from which the philosophy and creed of Alydianism are derived. The first section of the Caudex to be completed was the Fides, or 'the belief'. The Fide was believed to be directly written by Alydian and his contemporaries and details the core nature of Alydian worship and belief. Included within are the nature of the world, its creation under god and gods interactions with humanity. Historians also suggest that elements of the section book of the Caudex, the Breve were initially already included within the Fides, though were moved to a separate text by Alydian's successors.

Several years later, it is believed that the second book of the Caudex, the Breve, or 'the writ' was written. The second book details the philosophy of Alydianism as the way of life a pious Alydian must follow in order to achieve peace in Aeia and in heaven. The Breve itself is derived from the commandments of God outlined within the Fides, acting as an extrapolation of God's word and what exactly it means to live by his creed. The Breve was quickly added to the Caudex soon after its completion and remains an integral part of Alydian theology and philosophy in all branches of the faith.

The final section of the Caudex, the Suerit, or 'the guardians', sometimes referred to as the Hagiographa, is a series of writings from many Alydian philosophers, theologians and preachers over many generations. The Suerit has seen multiple revisions and additions over the years, with its first publication believed to date back to the First Century BCE. The Suerit is generally composed of canonical commentaries on the Caudex, detailing the implementation of its teachings and the ordained role of the established church in maintaining the purity of the faith.

Denominations

Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy, which are the beliefs promoted by the Orthodox Church, are focused primarily on the succession of clerical authority through the ages and the traditions that emerged during that process.

Agnopraxy

Agnopraxy, commonly is the denomination commonly associated with the Puritans, is a sect that emerged in the 14th century CE in reaction to the strict dogma of Orthodoxy. Agnopraxy comes from ἁγνός, meaning pure, and πρᾶξῐς, meaning activity.