Regio dela Verde
|more than 305 million|
|Septon Valerius d'Léon|
|Regions with significant populations|
|The Republic of Isla Verde||193,044,337|
|The People's Republic of Isla Dorado||56,351,044|
|The Democratic Republic of Isla Plata||27,687,046|
|The Free Republic of Davidos||13,077,653|
|The Socialist Republic of Capisaria||13,077,653|
|The Confederacy of Lesser Verdean Islands||7,474,192|
|The United Nations of Finorskia||2,777,081|
|The Cuarzan Confederacy||319,121|
|The Septonate Brotherhood of Isla Diamante||154,653|
|Especia||Unknown, estimated to be more than three million.|
|Other Greater Meridon||Unknown, estimated to be more than one million.|
|Syncretic Modernism, Parisism, Liberationism, Imperial Regio, Syncretic Traditionalism, Traditionalism|
|Lejendalia, Códices para Liberación|
|Classical Verdean, Vulgar Verdean|
Regio dela Verde (Classical Verdean: Reign of the Jade Queen) is a religion native to the Verdean Archipelago, founded by a group of Sacrementist clergy looking to reform their original faith, centralizing divine power into fewer deities. Over time, the beliefs of the Regio heresy diverged significantly enough that the heresy had become radically different from the parent faith. Valerius d'Léon and the heretical clergy on Isla Verde near Corazón del Río, declared the Septonate Brotherhood and cut all ties to Sacramentist believers, and established formally a separate Regio faith in AI 1330.
Over the multiple thousands of years of the Verdean hundreds of various sects, churches, and heresies split off of official Septonate doctrine, however sects can generally be divided into six broad categories, some of which are historical, and some extremely modern, with breakdowns being tied to traditionalism versus modernism, and snycretic and anti-syncretic Regio faith. Generally however, core Verdean nations tend to be anti-syncretic whereas diaspora communities, Verdean minorities overseas, and non-Verdean practitioners being more Syncretic in outlook.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History and Spread
- 3 Universal Concepts
- 4 Structure
- 5 Theological Movements
- 6 Holy Sites
- 7 Common Rituals
The term Regio dela Verde is Verdean for the Reign of the Jade Queen, and is made in reference to the traditionalinterpretations of the faith of the deities as being members of a Divine Royal Court. From their, the head deity was dubbed the Jade King/Queen. During the Imperial Period this was changed to Emperor/Empress. In the modern period, most Regio movements assert the dominance of the feminine aspect of the Jade Deity, permanently changing the name to Reign of the Jade Queen instead of Jade One. The term for the clergy of the Regio is a Septon, in reference to the Seven deities.
History and Spread
The Regio faith was originally the result of a centralist heresy of Sacramentalist religion established in the Archipelago roughly four thousand years ago. After the end of the dark age, Sacramentist teachings became formally established with a priesthood and organized church which slowly spread from Isla Lapis to the rest of the Archipelago. Over the course of Sacramento's spread, clerical disagreements over the nature of the gods resulted in sectarian divisions. A group of priests on Isla Verde formed a creed based around seven central deities as patrons of each of the Verdean Islands, as opposed to the hundreds of deities of more traditional Sacramentist sects.
The Septevate sect of Sacramentism grew more powerful on Isla Verde throughout the second millennium AI, however, Traditional Sacramentist aggressively worked to limit power of the Septevate sect. While initially liturgical and peaceful in nature, religious conflicts would break out into physical violence and persecution as the traditionalists engaged in mass executions of the Septevans and Septevans attacking the temples of the traditionalists. In AI 1830 (BCE 1330), conflicts would come to a head when a group of Septevate heretics led by Valerius d'Léon would in a religious conclave establish the tenets of the Regio faith, proclaiming the divine rulership of the Jade Deity and founding Regio de Verde.
Regio cults during the 19th century AI (BCE 14th century) were influential in the area around the city of Core de Rie on Isla Verde. It was during this time that the elite Parisus family, practitioners of the Regio, would come into political prominence. Under Alexias Parisus the Parisus family would seize control of Core de Rie and the Kingdom of Bayan in AI 1819 (BCE 1319) and launched a campaign to seize the whole of Isla Verde. Over the course of twelve years his conquests would bring the entire island to heel under the Kingdom of Bayan. Alexias would declare the Kingdom of Isla Verde, and as a Regio faithful made Regio dela Verde the official faith of the Kingdom, spreading the faith farther in twelve years than it had in the decades previous to his ascension. Sacramentalists and traditional Animists remained numerous outside the core regions of the island until after Alexias' death in AI 1798 (BCE 1298).
Alexias' successor, Andreas would be far more active in proselytizing the Regio faith to the Island. However, after many Septons were killed attempting to spread the faith Andreas would back these missionaries with the force of the state, executing apostates en masse. Though violent resistance would continue for many years, and indeed it is suspected that Andreas was assassinated in response to his cruelty, conversions to the Regio faith would increase steadily throughout the 18th century AI (BCE 13 century). Missionaries would spread the faith to other islands as well, with their conversion attempts backed by a zealous series of Verdean monarches, overthrowing Sacramentists throughout the Archipelago and establishing religious hegemony by the end of the century. The resultant conflicts resulted in the establishment of the Regio over the Verdean Archipelago as the Sacramentists fled to mainland Meridon, spreading their faith to the mainland.
During the unification of the Verdean Archipelago, the Diamnean queens of the Parisus and Santiago Dynasty, who also captured Corazón del Río in AI 501 (BCE 1), formed a symbiotic relationship with the Septonate of Corazón del Río. During the ensuing unification wars, the Santiago-Parsisus queens would receive the formal religious backing of the Septons for their conquests, which provided much needed legitimacy for the conquest. In exchange most Septon temples would receive protection from the Queens during the conquest. This informal sanction would be crystallized into the Mandate of Heaven, a divine sanction of right to rule for the Verdean monarchy, with the establishment of the Verdean Empire in AdI 1 (CE 500).
For much of the early Imperial period, the Septonate and the Empire would remain seperate but allied power structures in the Verdean Empire, with the Septonate providing legitimacy for the crown and stability within the empire and the Verdean crown providing military protection for the Septonate, and in some cases expanding the faith through conquest and colonization on the Meridonian mainland. This relationship would come to an end during the late 4th century AdI (9th century CE), when after Corazón del Río burned to the ground in a great fire, the Verdean monarchy refused to allow the establishment of a New Grand Temple away from the city while themselves relocating. Combined with the installation of a noble of a prominent Verdean dynasty, the relationship between the two organizations would fray for several decades, with the nobility of the Empire using the crown and the Septonate as methods of staging palace coups to seize control of the other. This would come to a head when Andrea de Bastille, a leading member of the Septonate seized the throne, favoring the Church in several matters. At the conclusion of the Imperial Civil War, the divide between the Regio Septonate and the Imperial Throne was restored in order to prevent further usage of the Septonate to establish party coups with nobles largely being forbidden from high level positions in the Septonate.
During the High Imperial Period, a time marked by exploration and colonization of the Especian Continent by the Verdean Empire, the Regio faith would spread somewhat to Especia. Efforts convert the native Especian populace however would prove much more challenging than that of the Meridonian continent. Relations between the Septonate and the Crown would become more tense as several Septons would "go native" with regard to native Especians, with many Septons siding with the natives against the throne even during native uprisings. Broken relations would lead to the publishing of a series of essays under the name El Caso del Libertad in AdI 1042 (1542). El Caso condemned the Mandate of Heaven and created a treatise of universal rights which would become the basis of liberalism and further anti-monarchist tendencies in the future, though the Regio establishment would remain in support of the crown in the immediate future.
Though relations between the Septonate and the Crown would recover over the 12th and 13th Imperial centuries (16th and 17th centuries), the crises of AdI 1299-1300 (1799-1800), notably the Great Plague of AdI 1300, and inability of the Emperor to deal with it, would finally put an end to the Regio-Imperial relationship. After a conference early in the year, the Septonate of Diamante and the Septonate of Corazón del Río would firstly formalize the Declaration of the Rights of the Commons (first postulated in El Caso), and then jointly declare an end to the Mandate of Heaven, tacitly supporting a revolution brewing in the Empire. With the overthrow of the child Empress and execution of her Lord Regent, the First Verdean Republic was established.
During the 19th century (1st century DI), practice of Regio dela Verde would go into decline as did many other Meridonian religions due in large part to the enlightenment and the spread of liberal, secular views. It was also during this time that the two most important Septonates, Corazón del Río and Diamante would diverge in ideology. The Diamnean Septonate, in an attempt to fit into the post-enlightenment world would adopt more liberal positions, collecting liberally aligned theological essays into a second liturgical canon a companion to the older Lejendalia. Corazón del Río would remain more traditionalist in outlook, adopting older theological positions more similar to the pre-Imperial faith.
As Mariana Ortega's works fostered the spread of socialism throughout Meridon the division between Corazón del Río and Diamante grew. These theological tensions would come to a head when in DI 110 (1910), the Diamnean Septonate would establish the Liberation Doctrine and publish the collected works of various Septons promoting more modern values as the Códices para Liberación. As a result the Septonate of Corazón del Río would formally break away from Diamante and establish the Traditionalist movement of the Regio Faith. This division would ripple through Temples to the faith with various Syncretic and non-Syncratic temples falling on different lines largely dependent on their location. Temples within the Verdean Archipelago were however much less likely to cleanly break and religious violence exacerbated ongoing political tensions in the Archipelago, and would continue well into the collapse of not only the Second Verdean Empire, but also the fragmentation of the Second Republic.
When the Verdean Archipelago was occupied by Capisaria starting in the DI 140s (1940s), the practice of Regio was periodically persecuted by the Capisarian occupational authorities as many Temples, especially Liberationist ones were strongly opposed to the occupation of the island. This became especially true when in 1950 the Capisarian occupational authority sold Isla Diamante, and its Grand Temple to the Cloud Nine Travel Agency, which converted the religious building into a tourist's hotel. Anti-Capisarian sentiment and the capacity of now disparate Regio Septons to respond to the needs of local flocks resulted in something of a religious resurgence, as anti-occupation groups and Septons allied themselves in resisting the Capisarian occupation. The revolutions that rippled throughout Capisaria and its sphere of influence saw the return of the Diamnean Septonate to Isla Diamante and the restoration of the Grand Temple of Isla Diamante. In the 21st century the Regio has become far more decentralized as the dissolution of the Corazón Septonate, and lighter touch of the Diamnean Septonate has seen the fragmentation of the faith away from centralized organization towards local Temples. A particularly popular local movement arose around the contentious adoption of Mariana Parisa as a "living Saint" by Verdeans which has grown to become popular on the island, but particular to that island. Syncretic values have also spread as local minor deities from traditional and foreign faiths start being adopted in the worship of local temples.
Certain concepts are relatively universal to the Regio faith with consensus being relatively universal among these concepts. Texts and concepts that are generally accepted in all modern Regio sects are collected into a liturgical tome known as the Lejendalia (Treleini: The Legends). There however is divergence over interpretations of universal concepts.
The Seven Deities
The core Verdean pantheon is based around Seven deities, named for gemstones and precious metals. These deities represent high concepts and fit certain roles in the pantheon. Uniquely to Meridonain religions, deities possess both masculine and feminine aspects that are treated as simultaneously separate entities and parts of a whole. Regio deities have names associated with them, and are sometimes used as their names that are considered to some extent sacred, and are usually not given at birth, but chosen by faithful practitioners upon induction into the faith. Traditionally, the Regio deities are presented as being part of an imperial court, this interpretation has fallen from importance in recent years. The deities are as follows:
- The Jade (Verdean: El/Le/La Verde), also known as the Jade Queen/Empress or King/Emperor: Often considered the head of Regio Pantheon, the Jade Deity represents aspects pertaining to rulership, leadership, and grace. In Traditional Regio Literature, the Jade deity is depicted as the monarch of the Pantheon ruling the Divine Court. In the modern era, the Jade Deity is depicted in the feminine aspect. The names associated with the Jade Deity are Julio or Julia.
- The Silver (Verdean: El/Le/La Plato/a), also known as the Silver Champion: A deity whose place in the pantheon has proved somewhat contentious over the years as the meaning of the role has changed. The Silver Deity represents martial prowess, martial honor, the hunt, and the forest, often being depicted as being the Champion of the Divine Court. The Silver deity is usually depicted in the masculine, though the feminine has been getting more common in recent years. The names associated with the Silver are Jorge and Villa.
- The Gold (Verdean: El/Le/La Dorado/a), also known as the Gold Maester or the Gold Scholar: A deity associated with the more intellectual classes of the world, the Gold represents such concepts as knowledge, arts, crafts, and is usually associated with the sky. Most often depicted in the feminine the Gold deity serves as the Scholarly presence in the Divne Court. The names associated with the Gold are Alejandro and Alejandra.
- The Diamond (Verdean: El/Le/La Diamante), also known as the Diamante Priest/ess: A deity that associated most strongly with the divine in its purest form as well as representing the sun and moon, the lights in the sky. The Diamond deity is most often associated with the masculine duality. The names with the Diamond are Victor and Victoria.
- The Ruby (Verdean: El/Le/La Rubí), also known as the Ruby Seneschal: A deity associated with justice, vengeance, the sea, earthquakes, and storms. The Ruby is most commonly depicted in the feminine, representing a Senseschal in the Divine Court. The names associated with the Ruby are Eva or Evo.
- The Sapphire (Verdean: El/Le/La Zafiro/a), also known as the Sapphire Cupbearer: A deity that represents aspects of community, protection, family, love and the hearth. The Sapphire cupbearer is most commonly depicted in the masculine, serving as a Cupbearer in the Divine Court. The names associated with the Sapphire are Isabel and Isias.
- The Lapis (Verdean: El/Le/La Lapis), also known as the Lappis Jester: A strange deity to say the least, the Lapis represents a subversion of concepts established in other elements of the Lejendalia as well as both glory and humility. The Lapis is depicted as an androgyne deity. The names with the Lapis are Vacío or Vacía.
The deities of the Core Regio Pantheon are generally associated with, and believed to be the source of modern names for the islands of the Verdean Archipelago, however there is significant debate in Regio communities about what the connection is, with some believing the association incidental, whereas others view the islands as the various phyiscal domains of the deities, and certain theologians believing the islands to be the bodies of the gods themselves, though this view has become increasingly uncommon since the middle Imperial Period.
Divinity and Taint
Central to the Regio faith is the concept of Divinity and Taint. According to the Regio, Divinity and Taint both exist as universal forces that a present in, and bind all things in the world together. Divinity represents the essential essence of an object or a living thing, which is represented as the perfected weave of a thing. Taint conversely is a force that un-weaves that essential nature creating imperfections in the weave. If something existed which was composed of divinity and was without taint it would be the ideal form of the object, but no object is without taint, not even the deities themselves are truly without imperfections, without taint. If a thing was composed of taint without divinity it would crumble instantly as taint is an entropic and not a creative force.
While neither Divinity nor taint can be considered truly morally good or evil, overcoming taint is a necessary action for anyone seeking to live a moral life. Its inherently destructive and corrupt nature, while not truly evil must be resisted as it prevents one from getting closer to their ideal life. It is widely believed that cleansing oneself of taint completely is an impossibility however, it is possible and indeed necessary to try and overcome one's imperfections and flaws, and to attempt to correct the imperfections of the wider world. Indeed the primary moral imperative of Regio practice is to foster the divinity of oneself and of the wider world while compensating for taint, in effect it is one's moral duty to better their world. What is considered fostering divinity or overcoming taint is the one of the core disagreements between sects of the Regio faith.
The concept of Duality is sacred in the Regio faith starting even with something fundamental as the nature of Divinity and Taint, duality is present. Similar is the duality of Masculinity and Femininity which are present in the deities have aspects of both halves of the sacred duality in themselves. Other dualities exist, such Knowledge and Strength, Compassion and Fury, Creation and Entropy, or Enlightenment and Zeal. It is said in fact that every single facet of existence is necessarily part of a duality and that the continuance of the universe relies on the balancing and co-existence of duality. Without the duality it is said that the universal weave would unravel everything including the world, all living things would fall into void.
The Great Cycle
Everything in existence is part of a Great Cycle of creation and entropy, of Divinity and Taint. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Everything begins as an ideal that is brought into the world, woven into reality. As part of this creation process that thing is introduced to taint, and even in its conception begins to subjected to entropy. So the cycle begins, rocks are created, worn, and pulverized, people are born, grow, age, and die, even the stars in the sky are created, burn, and eventually die. When something comes to an end however, its essence is returned to the void whence it may be woven back into reality. Even the seven deities themselves are not immune to this as they themselves are but a continuance of this eternal cycle having been born in the past and having lived will die. Some Temple have established the belief the gods are indeed already dead and the Regio faithful await their return, in the flesh, to this world. Those seeking to disrupt this cycle, to create something that will last not only for an extensive time, but indeed truly forever are seen either as fools engaging in hopeless folly, or even as dangerous to the workings of the world, as some Sects of the faith believe that if the cycle were to stop everything would be unmade.
The Regio dela Verde is an organized religion, and even since the fracturing of the faith, every major movement within the Regio has maintained some form of formal organization no matter how much import is placed on the organization. Organization of the Regio faith generally involves two elements, the local Temples and Septon councils.
Groups of lay practitioners of the Regio will usually congregate in the local temples to the Regio deities. In the modern era, and within diaspora Regio communities, local temples will often be pantheistic in nature with all the deities of the Regio Pantheon, and other locally worshipped divinities placed under a single house. Local temples will often be operated by a small group of Septons, or even a single one, who tend to the needs of the local community, and usually officiate rituals for locals. Often with groups of Septons, ritual delegation will occur as Septons divide responsibilities, often along with deific lines with different members of the clergy responsible for servicing different deities.
Usually composed entirely of the clerical class of the Regio faith, Septon Councils are groups of Septons within a Sect or Regio movement that meet on a semi-regular basis to engage in discourse about theology, and establish theological guidelines for Temples within the Sect. Septon Councils generally meet in a large Temple, usually one in an Urban Area for this council, whenever it is deemed necessary for a council to deliberate on liturgical matters. After the recessing of a Council, the Septons within it take their rulings back to their local flock. In modern years, some Septon Councils encourage the active participation of lay followers and do allow for lay followers to participate in Septon Councils, though this practice remains extraordinarily rare.
Though traditionally, the Regio was comparatively free of sectarianism, the fragmentation of Verdean society in the decades following the fall of the First Verdean Empire had the indirect effect of fragmenting the faith far more even than its spread to lands not traditionally settled by ethnic Verdeans. Conflicts arose on several issues, though separate theological interpretations were not always cause to establish sects. The two most impactful divisions came at two key points in the history and spread of the faith.
The earliest divisions were caused moreso by approach to proselytization of the faith. Some of the Septons wished to preserve the traditional structure of the divine pantheon, others, particularly missionaries, or those far from traditional centers of Regio power, wished to incorporate foreign gods, household gods, and other figures of worship into the pantheon, either as clearly inferior, or in more extreme cases as equals to the traditional Verdean gods, with the Seven acting as Primus inter parum a grander divine pantheon. During the Imperial Period, a compromise was reached that allowed for the incorporation of other gods as "divine spirits" worthy of worship, although not at the same capacity as "true gods". While the Empire adopted this theological method of consolidating faith, and indeed many non-Syncretic Septonates continue this policy, many other Septonates actively adopted a more equal approach to the faith breaking away and forming syncratic approach to the divine.
Later, after the fall of the First Empire, divisions began to arise in the approach to the faith. Septons more loyal to the old order wished to avoid the incorporation of modernist values into the Regio whereas other Septons sought to modernize the faith and make it more relevant in a world that had changed drastically over the course of 1,300 years. The split between these factions came to a head with the publishing of the Códices para Liberación, the two main Septonates would break the faith with those adopting the Códices becoming the Modernists, or the Liberationists, and those opposing the reform being dubbed Traditionalists.
Aside from these two primary points, there are many smaller theological issues that are currently handled at the local level resulting in dozens, perhaps even hundreds of minor sects, Septon councils, and other schisms in the faith. Overall however, these sects can be grouped into six major categories.
Perhaps most similar to the earliest forms of Regio, Traditionalism limits its teachings to the parables found in the Lejendalia and from strictly, or nearly strictly "originalist" interpretations of the text. For much of its existence, Traditionalism traced its primary center of power to the Septonate of Corazón del Río on Isla Verde, after the fracturing of the Corazón Septonate during the occupation of Isla Verde by Capisaria, Traditionalist sectarians would lose a centralized power structure, and as a result minor septs were increasingly responsible for the interpretations of text and as a result dozens of regional sects were formed under the banner of Traditionalism. While regional disagreements remained Traditionalists can generally agree on the following principles:
The Role of the Deities
Traditionalist Regio generally accepts the Old interpretation of the deities as being part of Divine Court using the noble titles in the name of the deities to differentiate them. In this way, people are expected to obey the tenets of the deities and through them the teachings of the Septons without question. The Deities are considered to be currently alive, and their lifespan is tied to the continuance of the universe, in effect they are immortal as their deaths would come at the same time as the end of the current universe. Traditionalist Sects generally limit their worship to the Seven traditional Regio deities, though some regional Septonates and local Temples allow for a limited form of Ancestor worship, or acceptance of foreign gods as Divine Spirits, or agents of the Seven.
Divinity and Virtue
Traditionalists believe that divinity is itself subject to regionalist interpretations, that the fostering of divinity is an based on regional values. As a result interpretations as to what is considered virtuous can vary significantly depending on the liturgical interpretations of regional Septonates. Generally however, obedience to authority is considered virtuous and therefore divine, whereas sowers of discord, those who violently oppose established order can be considered to be fostering the spread of taint, their own destructive acts contributing to the unraveling of the universe. Hard work is considered virtuous, laziness is considered tainted. Living within traditional family structures is divine, breaking down structures is tainted. At a broad level, support for the status quo, and tradition contributes to the stability of the universe, and therefore engaging in virtuous activity. Conversely opposing tradition breaks down stability and spreads taint.
What Happens After Death
Traditionalism espouses not only an absence of an afterlife, but even rejects true reincarnation after death. When somebody dies, how their cycle is continued is based solely on memory. It is believed that when somebody dies their existence continues in memory with those who had lived a virtuous life being remembered for a long time, maybe being immortalized to nearly the same extent as the gods, but those who had lived tainted lives being relegated to the void, forgotten forever.
Traditionalists lean heavily on the importance of religious rituals and festivals. It is believed that participation in these traditions is vitally important to the fostering of divinity, and indeed without certain rituals it is believed one simply cannot live a life truly in line with the teachings of the Regio. The focus on ritualism additionally has the effect of empowering Septons in society as many rituals require their participation or consent to happen at all, reinforcing the notion for societal traditionalism and maintenance of power structures.
Traditionalist Regio, though far less influential than it had been previously maintains an active following throughout Tara. It is believed there are roughly as many as twenty million Traditionalists, primarily in the Verdean Archipelago Isla Zafiro's Septonate of El Sacramento being the most powerful Traditionalist Septonate.
Syncretic Traditionalism is generally tied to the first diaspora of the Regio faithful to other nations. Developed as an adaptation to the native religious groups far from the Regio homeland. Syncretic Traditionalists draw primarily from the Lejendalia, but many are willing to incorporate legends from other holy texts into the local canon. Due to the very nature of syncretism, centralization of the Septonates in Syncretic Traditionalism was nearly impossible. Several Septonates would become influential, with the Septonate of Rosalínea being prominent until the Carlosian War, and other Septonates in Roslinburg, San Lumen, Los Cuarzos, and Puerto Libertad being important to the Syncretic Traditionalist sects. Regionalism is inherent to the nature of the Syncretic sects, but Syncretic traditionalists agree on the following:
The Role of the Deities
Traditionalist Regio generally accepts the Old interpretation of the deities as being part of Divine Court using the noble titles in the name of the deities to differentiate them. In this way, people are expected to obey the tenets of the deities and through them the teachings of the Septons without question. The Deities are considered to be currently alive, and their lifespan is tied to the continuance of the universe, in effect they are immortal as their deaths would come at the same time as the end of the current universe. Where Syncretic Traditionalists and other Traditionalists diverge however, is in the nature of foreign, or personal deities. Syncretic Traditionalists actively incorporate foreign deities into the Regio Pantheon either folding foreign deities into expanded roles for the Seven, or deities in their own right as "Peasant Gods", potentially even incorporating important foreign deities into the Divine Court with the Seven regarded as primus inter parum. Household deities are rarely afforded this status, but are considered worthy of worship.
Divinity and Virtue
Traditionalists believe that divinity is itself subject to regionalist interpretations, and Syncretic Traditionalists believe this even moreso. What is considered a virtuous life is, as a result, extremely reliant on regional interpretations. Generally however, obedience to authority is considered virtuous and therefore divine, whereas sowers of discord, those who violently oppose established order can be considered to be fostering the spread of taint, their own destructive acts contributing to the unraveling of the universe. Hard work is considered virtuous, laziness is considered tainted. Living within traditional family structures is divine, breaking down structures is tainted. At a broad level, support for the status quo, and tradition contributes to the stability of the universe, and therefore engaging in virtuous activity. Conversely opposing tradition breaks down stability and spreads taint. With Syncretism what is considered traditional is regionally divergent with concepts being as radically different as having different family structures being valued, and some even incorporating elements of more modernist interpretations.
What Happens After Death
Syncretic branches of the Regio are most likely to have alternative notions of what happens to the dead. Some maintain Traditionalist interpretations. Others, particularly on Mainland Meridon have adopted concepts of an afterlife or incorporating reincarnation into the post-mortem existences of people. Syncretic Traditionalists do generally tie virtue into the continuance of the dead, with the virtuous having better outcomes than the non-virtuous.
As Traditionalists, the Syncretic Traditionalist movement do value ritualism, its stability, and its support for the status quo. Syncretic Traditionalists it could be argued place an ever greater emphasis on rituals in order to consolidate different religious beliefs under the Regio. Foreign Rituals are appropriated and made into Regio rituals for the purposes of religious unity.
Syncretic Traditionalism is more common than mainline Traditionalism with faithful inducted into Syncretic Traditionalist Temples estimated to be roughly thirty million, with most living on Mainland Meridon, particularly in the Finorsk nations, and in Especia.
Imperial Regio is an old, and in the current era, nearly extinct form of the Regio that was formerly extraordinarily powerful as the state religion of the First Verdean Empire. Imperial Regio was tied to the propping up of the Imperial Power Structure and many aspects of its religious doctrine were intended to promote Pro-Imperial sentiment and activities. The Imperial Regio firstly established its center of power at Corazón del Río, during the reign of the Empire moved twice. First to Isla Diamante during the High Imperial, and then in the final decade of the Empire to Castille as the Emperor moved to re-centralize power in Castille. After the fall of the Empire, pro-Imperial Septons would struggle to regain power, and were essentially broken at that point. The Imperial Regio is perhaps most unified of the Major Sects, but that is due to its comparatively small number. Imperial Regio is known for the following beliefs:
Role of the Deities
Much like Traditionalists, the Imperial Regio supports the interpretation of the Seven as being members of a Divine Court with the Jade Deity at its head. Unique to the Imperial Regio however is the idea of the Verdean monarch as the Jade Deity incarnate, with both having an impact on the other. The other deities are not given this treatment with Imperial Septons acting instead as a more abstract incarnation of the Divine Court. As with Traditionalism, the role of the Deities as authorities to obeyed is central to Imperial interpretations of the deities.
Divinity and Virtue
Divinity to the Imperial Regio is much like mainline Traditionalism in its support for the status quo, traditional power structures, and the values of the majority. Imperial Regio however, has a further goal. The Verdean State, historically the First Empire, is viewed as the most divine nation in all of existence, and its furtherance is considered the most divine activity for a person to commit to, in effect creating religious mandate for the support of the Verdean State.
What Happens After Death
The Imperial Regio is relatively unique in that the Imperial Regio is the only Regio faith to believe in a defined afterlife. For the virtuous, death is an end to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, the virtuous who die a noble death are transported to a paradise world to be with the Divine Court until the end of the universe itself. Those who fail in this objective are instead reincarnated, and reincorporated back into the cycle to try again.
The Imperial Regio is inherently supportive of an Imperial Monarchy, one that reigns over a united Verdean people in a single Verdean Empire. To the Imperial Regio this monarchy is the only state that can realize the proper glory of the faithful and its perpetuation, or in the modern era, recreation is the single most important goal of the Imperial Regio. Republicanism in all its forms is to be rejected. It is for this reason that the Imperial Regio is nearly extinct.
Imperial Regio is the smallest major sect of the Regio, with perhaps as many as a million followers in local Regio temples scattered throughout Greater Meridon, and a regularly shrinking base of power.
Liberationism, or Modernism is a movement with its roots in the spread of liberalism, and later socialism and its interactions with religions of the time. Formally codified around the publishing of the works of Mariana Ortega and the establishment of Ortegan Socialism, the Septonate of Isla Diamante published the second holy text of the Regio the Códices para Liberación, fracturing the Regio along the Traditionalist and Liberationist line. The Diamnean Septonate was the central power of Liberationist theology until its dissolution in DI 150 (1950). The Liberationist movement would lose its centralization until the liberation of the Verdean Archipelago in the DI 180s (1980s), re-establishing itself around a number of powerful Septonates including a reconstituted Diamnean Septonate. Though regionalized heavily, Liberationists can agree on the following principles:
The Role of the Deities
The Deities of Liberationist Regio are interpreted less literally than in traditionally. Rather than living entities that take an active role in the world, the deities are either represented as abstract, ideal forms of divinity, or if personified, as having died in their original forms the ancient past, and are reincarnated in times of great societal change to guide the world before returning to the void once again. Deities are to be respected as ancestors or as inspirational figures. This translates to a less hierarchical church structure with many liberationists Septonates requiring less obedience and more active engagement with the theological debates of the church and fewer formal clerical hierarchies.
Divinity and Virtue
Liberationism is defined in large part by its notion of active virtue. In earlier interpretations of the Liberationist theology, religious virtue was very similar to liberal ideas of civic virtue, more radical Liberationist theology demands even more active participation in one's society. Fostering divinity requires not necessarily obedience to authority but the betterment of oneself and one's society, correcting injustices and fighting injustice. Divinity itself is the presence of justice, and a perfectly just society is the ideal of society; taint is that which is unjust and the tainted are those that engage in injustice, or in more radical interpretations, even tolerate injustice. Thus living a life of conscience is to be considered more important than maintaining peace and order.
The Liberation Doctrine
Central to Liberationist Theology, and especially radical Liberationism is the Liberation Doctrine. Put simply, the Liberation Doctrine places not only the moral acceptability but indeed the moral imperative to rebel against unjust authorities, and overthrow systems that worsen the community in which a practitioner believes. Fighting for justice is to be considered the highest virtue to aspire to. What is considered to be just and unjust is, however, largely dependent on one's interpretation of the Códices and particularly the theological essays on the Rights of Man.
What Happens After Death
Mainline Liberationism subscribes to the notion of reincarnation. Liberationist theological interpretations of the Lejendalia and the Códices instead of placing Divinity on the individual, believe societal divinity is most important, and that individual lives and the Great Cycle are vehicles for fostering the betterment of society. Each individual upon death is therefore, eventually reconstituted in another form to live once more and foster divinity. It is believed that the Great Cycle and reincarnation will only come to an end when the ideal society is achieved, at which point this universe will transcend reality, leaving a blank state for the next universe to be born.
The Role of the Faithful
Rather than a strict focus on ritualism present in the Traditionalist movement. Modernists and Liberationists encourage the faithful to become active participants in the faith, debating the merits of theological positions, serving the community, serving the Temple, and partaking in the fostering of divinity. Festivals and rituals are to be viewed less as strict religious ceremonies and more as times where the community comes together to exchange ideas and work as groups towards their goals. In this capacity Septons are seen less as divine authorities and more as moderators and facilitators of group cohesion and theological discourse.
Liberationist Sects are the second largest in Tara with a widespread following in the Verdean Archipelago, and a smaller, though active following overseas. Roughly fifty two million Regio practitioners have identified with the Liberationist movement, with Dorado, Plata, and Verde being host to the largest communities of the Liberationist movement, and the Diamnean Septonate being the most influential single Septonate.
Syncretic Modernism arose nearly jointly with the Liberationist movement, as it does indeed borrow heavily from Liberationist principles. Due to conflict natures regarding cultural notions of justice and injustice, and its impact on the ethics of the Códices, the Syncretic Modernist movement is generally more moderate then the sects of the mainline Liberationist movement, particularly in its calls for action. There is no single authority on Syncretic Modernist theology, however several powerful Septonates dominate regional interpretations of the faith with the Septonates of Rosalínea (A rival to the more Traditionalist Septonate in the same city, Roslinburg), La Llava, and South Weissburg being the largest Syncretic Modernist Septonates in Greater Meridon. As a syncretist movement, many regional variants exist, however there is general acceptance of the following principles.
The Role of the Deities
The Syncretic Modernist movement generally rejects the role of the deities in the divine court, but does, usually personify the deities, often along different lines than stricter interpretations of the deities found in mainline Liberationism. Indeed interpretations of the Regio pantheon are the loosest in the Syncretic Modernist movement of any Sect or theological movement in the Regio. It usually accepted that the core deities of the Regio pantheon are the chief deities in any divine organization, being first in importance among equals. Foreign deities are either absorbed into interpretations of the Regio pantheon, or are accepted as lesser deities. Syncretic Modernist theology promotes the idea of the deities as figures of inspiration, rather than authority, favoring more egalitarian engagement with the faith.
Divinity and Virtue
The nature of the divine in Modern Syncretic Regio faith is a more moderate form of that encountered in Liberationist theology. Like Liberationism, Modern Syncretist Regio promotes a form of active rather than passive virtue, with engagement in the community being valued as virtuous. Most Modernist interpretations of the Códices however lack the moral imperative to fight for justice that Liberationist theology has, or a more watered down form. Most Modernists do not fully adopt the Liberation Doctrine, even as certain elements of it are incorporated into Modernist teachings.
What Happens After Death
Much like mainline Liberationism, Syncretic Modernists believe in reincarnation and continuance of the Great Cycle. Modernists usually follow similar interpretations of reincarnation in that Syncretic Modernists believe that all persons will be reconstituted until the world itself is made perfect, and transcend existences.
The Role of the Faithful
Like Liberationism, Syncretist Modernist Regio requires the active participation of the flock, and de-emphasizes the role of ritual, and the hierarchical importance of the Septons in a local Temple. Modern Syncretic Temples also incorporate local religious and cultural ceremonies, festivals and rituals into practice, often with Septons leaning on lay members of the flock to play important roles in these ceremonies.
Syncretic Modernism is the largest and most widespread of the Regio movements with about one hundred fifty seven million practicioners spread throughout the Verdean Archipelago and in diaspora communities throughout Tara.
Parisism is a movement within the wider Liberationist tied to the modern mythology of Verdean liberation from Capisarian occupation. It is largely defined by the veneration of Verdean Revolutionary, Mariana Parisa not just as a great historical hero but as a divine figure. Parisism is often referred to as the the "Church of the Living Saint" for this exact reason. Parisism generally accepts the theology of Liberationist, but does in fact incorporate Syncretist attitudes to the deities, and indeed this is necessary for the quasi-deification of Parisa. Parisism is limited in its following largely to Isla Verde, but does possess a sizable following in Verdean temples with about forty five million practitioners.
There is a large degree of regionalism in the Regio, in large part due to the wide spread of the faith throughout Tara. This results in regional interpretations divergent from even the core tenets of the main Regio movements. Most modern Regio movements acknowledge theological differences over vast distances and have allowed regional Septonates, down even to local Temples to engage in divergent theology while operating under the banner of the movements within the faith. In this way, even smaller movements within the Regio have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of individual interpretations to the Lejendalia and the Códices.
There are many sites that can be considered sacred to the Regio as a whole. Prominently among these are the Grand Temple of Corazón del Río, the Grand Temple of Diamante, which represent not only holy sites, but centers of the faith and religious scholarship for many of the religious peoples of the Regio. Other holy sites can be found at the Valerian Obelisk in Salvatuche, Isla Dorado, regarded as the birthplace of Valerius d'Léon, the peak of El Toro on Isla Verde, and indeed the Verdean Islands themselves are considered sacred ground to the Regio. Outside the Archipelago, there is a single Holy Site universal to the Regio outside of the islands, that is the Landing at Rosalínea in Roslinburg in South Valden. Each movement has further sites considered holy to their movements alone, which can number in the dozens.
La Entraluz and La Iniciación
The first part of one's life within the Regio, the Entraluz and Iniciación are two parts of essentially the same process. The first, Entraluz, is a ceremony officiated by the local Septon, often of the Sapphire if one is available, where the inductee is immersed in a pool of running water before cutting a lock of hair from the head of the inductee (to be made or incorporated into jewelry), and the painting of the symbols of the deity on the face of the inductee. Iniciación is the second part, confirms the inductee as a full member of the flock. Usually conducted after the completion of the Entraluz, and after performing service to the community. The inductee will then select one of the deities to embody, adopting the name associated with that deity, and memorizing their creed (which varies by Sect). The ritual itself involves recitation of this creed, and reading of passages from the Lejendalia and a short prayer, after which the praciticioner is accepted as a full member of the community. Historically Entraluz was performed shortly after birth, and Iniciación near adulthood. Liberationist, Modernist, and Parisist communities however, due to a greater importance being placed on the willingness of practitioners makes these rituals much closer in sequence with Entraluz occuring near adulthood as is the case with Iniciación.
El Mison, or the Mission, is an extended period of service for lay practitioners who wish to serve the faith after being confirmed into it. Practitioners on mission do good works for their community, or for less fortunate communities while, when appropriate, proselytizing the faith to unbelievers. For those wishing to become Septons in almost every sect, service on a Mission is a mandatory step along the way to their ascendancy.
Marriage is a rite that is practiced by two people who have decided to spend their lives together. At its most basic level, the couple goes to the local Septon, who blesses the union, and offers a brief prayer of protection over the couple. Many local practices have sprung up in relation to marriage, often involving family members, additional festivities and the like. Traditionally, the marriage rite was to be performed only a couple consisting of a man and a woman, however, ever since the Late Imperial Age (roughly AdI 1250), the rite has been opened to couples of the same sex, as marriage has shifted more from celebrating the pairing of a mating couple, to a celebration of the uniting of two intertwined divinities. In the modern era, Septons have become more selective about who they agree to bless, as divorce rates have skyrocketed. Many Septons opt to put off the ritual until they believe firmly that the couple will last, and most offer counselling for married couples having relationship troubles.
The death of a practitioner of the Regio is not, strictly speaking a time of mourning. Indeed as everything is dualistic in nature, so too is death a duality. Funerals like death a practiced as two distinct ceremonies in traditional Regio fashion. The first part is the called "Mourning the Lost", wherein the funeral party, in a dirge, walks to the site of the funeral ceremony. The funerary rites are given, invoking the Diamond, and offering prayer for the lost. The body of the deceased, if available, is cremated, traditionally on a pyre, and in modern times in a conventional crematorium, or alternatively buried at sea. It is at this point that the ceremony turns, with the deliverer of Rites invoking the Lapis, and the tone of the funeral switches from mourning the lost to the "Celebration of Life" wherein participants reflect on, and celebrate the life and achievements of the deceased.
Le Descansamiento or the Day of Rest is one day of a seven day week, which is expected to be reserved as a period of rest and reflection by practitioners. On this day (Sacadia or Wednesday in other words), practitioners are expected not to go to work, to cover their mirrors and other reflective surfaces in their home, and to reflect on divinity, their works over the past week, and to foster a greater sense of connectedness with the divine. For those who need spiritual guidance, visiting the local Septon is not out of order. Fasting is not a universal feature, but is quite common, and at sundown practitioners who do participate are expected to break the fast by participating in a large meal with family.
Feasts and Holidays
There are several feasts and holidays common to almost every Sect the Regio faith. These days are followed on the Verdean Calendar.
|1 de Mesjula||New Year's Day
(Dia del Año Nuevo)
|First day of the year in the Verdean Calendar (coincides with New Years Day in the International Calendar).|
|26 de Mesjula||Feast of the Jade Queen
(Banquete dela Verde)
|A religious feast celebrating the head of the Verdean Pantheon, the Jade Queen.|
|23 de Mesorge||Champion's Feast
(Banquete dele Plato)
|A religious holiday celebrating the Verdean divine Champion.|
|30 de Mesjandra||Maester's Festival
(Banquete dela Dorada)
|A religious feast celebrating the Verdean deity known as the Golden Maester.|
|46 de Mestor||Feast of the Diamond Priest
(Banquete dele Diamante)
|A religious feast celebrating a deity of the Verdean pantheon, the Diamond Priest.|
|47 de Mestor||Feast of the Saints
(Banquete delos Sanctos)
|A religious feast celebrating the sanctified persons of Regio dela Verde.|
|15 de Meseva||Festival of the Seneshal
(Banqueta dela Rubí)
|A religious feast celebrating a deity of the Verdean Pantheon, the Ruby Seneshal.|
|45 de Mesisa||Festival of the Cupbearer
(Banquete dela Zafira)
|A religious feast celebrating a deity of the Verdean pantheon, the Sapphire Cup-bearer.|
|14 de Mesvacío||Festival of the Jester
(Banquete del Bufón)
|A religious feast celebrating a deity of the Verdean pantheon, the Lapis Jester.|
|Last three days of year||The Year's End
El Fin del Año
|A three day, religious and civil festival broken into three parts. The first day, a feast to celebrate a year gone by. The second, a Day of atonement and reflection to pay penance for the year's past misdeeds. The third, a day celebrating the granting of mercy, and the granting of a clean slate to begin the coming new year.|