Solarian Catholic Church
as Bishop of Solaria
|Administration||Holy See via|
|Founder||Jesus Sotiras, according to|
|Origin||1st century |
Adunis, Solarian Empire
|Clergy||Bishops: a number|
Priests: a second number
Deacons: a third number
The Solarian Catholic Church, commonly known as the Catholic Church, is the largest denomination of Sotirianity. It is named for the city of Solaris, which is the seat of its leading Bishop, the Supreme Pontiff. The church is composed of 'x' Catholic Churches, all in communion with one another, the largest and most recognisable one being the Petrine Rite. The church is based on the teachings and practices of Jesus Sotiras and his immediate students, the Teresarada. The central theology of the church, which governs both the organization of the church hierarchy and its practices is the Sotirian Imitation as described in the Dyophysitist Creed.
The Catholic Church teaches that it is the primordial faith, through its relationship with the Atudite faith, as well as the original and only true Sotirian faith through the lineage of Saint Peter in particular and the Apostolic Teresarada as a whole. Because of this relationship to the person of Sotiras, as well as his teachings, all of the ordained members of the church take a specific Logion, or words spoken by Sotiras, as a calling. The most important of the Logion is the one for the Supreme Pontiff (Matthew 16:18–19), one for each of the members of the Papal Conclave, but there have even been orders of priests specifically organized to root out marital infidelity because of Sotiras’s admonitions against adultery (Matthew 5:27–28). The Supreme Pontiff’s status as “rock of the church” requires that all other orders be based primarily on his instruction and authority.
In its current form under the Bishop of Solaria, the Catholic Church has continuously existed since the death of Sotiras in 33 AD, making it the oldest institution in the world. In this way, the Catholic Church has been both an observer of and participant in the development of Eastern Euclea and Northern Coius. <intermediate events>. From the beginning of the second century up until the 'Lesser Schism' in the 12th century, the Catholic Church and the Episemialist Church shared communion. In the 16th century, the Amendist Revival, Reformation and Counter-Reformations caused lasting divisions across political, ethnic and geographic boundaries with long-lasting repercussions and consequences.
The Catholic Church maintains teachings, beliefs and dogmas that have caused issue historically with other Sotirian groups. These include the belief of sanctification, suppression of 'heresy' and the refusal to ordain women as priests on the belief that they have a 'special, but different' role. In modern society, much of the church's sexual teaching has received criticism in the Eastern World, particularly on the social issues of homosexuality, contraception, abortion and gender transition and its underlying political influences in numerous societies.
The Solarian Catholic Church derives its name from the Piraean word "katholikos" καθολικός, meaning "universal". Piraean was a dominant language of conversation in much of the Coian parts of the Solarian Empire, in large part due to the settler colonies they had historically established. The terminology of 'universal' arose in numerous historical contexts: notably letters from influential religious leaders and early Church Fathers and Doctors. One notable letter, written by Saint Irenaeus described how the community of Sotirians across the Solarian Sea should become "katholikos" in reference to their beliefs and practices.
The term 'Solarian' derives from the fact that the constituent churches that make up the Solarian Catholic Church accept the primacy of the Pope in Solaris. Such a distinction was made apparent during the Solarian-Episemalist Schism in the late 11th century.
Solarian belief is based on the debate and commentary of theologians, the two testaments of the Bible, and the traditions of the church itself. The church claims that it holds the sole earthly authority to interpret those three sources of doctrine and that other Sotirian groups have erred in their interpretations because only the Solarian Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. The fundamental and oldest statements of belief are called "creeds", other statements of belief are called canon--these can be compared to constitutional laws and normal legislative codes.
The Solarian Church is monotheist and worships only one supreme and eternal deity, which has many names, but is most commonly referred to as "God". Since the Solarian Churh also claims to be a part of the primordial faith, it has carefully specified that the God it is devoted to is "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob", which links it to the Atudite faith. The Solarian God is, however, not compatible with the Atudite God, which is explicitly singular and non-trinitarian, while the Solarians promote the concept of the Trinity. The Trinity is combination of the three persons of God--the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--each of which exists as an indivisible part of the one God. The apparent contradiction between both having three distinct parts and those parts also being indistinguishable is embraced by the church as a sacred mystery.
Part of the mystery of the trinity is the birth and person of Jesus Sotiras. Sotiras was alleged to be born of a virgin, Mary, and also a part of the trinity. Sotiras is specifically considered to be the manifestation of the "Son", sometimes all called the "Word" before its incarnation as Sotiras. Sotiras was entirely human and entirely divine, which makes him part of the trinity. Sotiras lived a human life, although he has had many miracles attributed him, and was eventually executed. This execution acted as a kind of self sacrifice. Since Sotiras was both God and man, he is considered the ideal form of male human, and much of Solarian canon law is based on imitation of Sotiras.
The Ego of the church is its description of its own role within their beliefs. Unlike some other religions, in which their beliefs are also the laws of nature, the Solarian Church is inalienable from it's doctrines. Without the direct lineage to Sotiras and Saint Peter, there is not possible salvation or communion with God. For example, in Satyism, a person can accidentally reach enlightenment without intention or instruction, but in Solarian Catholicism, only the church itself is capable of performing their rites and interpreting the scriptures.
Members of the church's clergy are still bound by the underlying Sotirian Imitation, which is the basis of the church's doctrine, but their duty also extends to a particular charismata. When taking vows as a priest or member of the monastic community, the pledger must recite one of the Commands of Sotiras as their special duty for obedience and imitation. In doing so, the pledger joins (or occasionally creates) a ecclesiastic order. Since everyone who joins the clergy must take this part of the vow, all consecrated members of the church are part of an order. This has also led to the church to view itself as the physical embodiment of the scriptures.
The Catholic Church teaches that there are two forms of judgement after death. There is paticular judgement, which deals with the soul of an individual after their body dies, and there is the eschatological Last Judgement, in which a final judgement will be delivered by God during the end of days. Upon death, Solarians believe that their soul will be resurrected to Heaven if they lived a life of "good works" along the Imitation, as well as repenting their sins and accepting the mercy of God. Those who have not accepted the word and have not participated in the Imitation, as well as those who have lived in mortal sin without repentance, are believed to go to Gehenna. Gehenna as a state of being is almost one of non-existence, which the Catholic Church defines as "a state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed."
There are exceptions for the unlearned and those who are genuinely ignorant of the Church can still be saved if they lived their life as close to an Imitation as possible. This a contentious point throughout much of the earlier church and a dividing line amongst some Amendist groups. Much of these teachings were expanded by early Church fathers, including Justin Martyr.
Early Sotirians during the time of the Solarian Empire believed in the idea that Sotiras' redemption of humanity was preparing the world for the Kingdom of God on Earth that would be focused around the city of Adunis and that it would happen in their lifetimes. When this failed to materialise, most believers began to shift away from the belief that there would be a physical paradise and rather that Sotiras had "opened the way to eternal life" in an afterlife.
The belief during the early Sotirians fluctuated from visualising the afterlife as a tiered city, to a state of total resurrection on earth by the time of the Second Coming to the belief that the afterlife was an immaterial state of existence outside of the cosmos. The latter view is that which gained credence and acceptance by the Council of Dyophys.
Heaven is believed to be the summation of all existence, with believers experiencing the beatific vision and joining God and other believers in a life everlasting of definitive happiness, free from impurity, vice and pain. All material possessions are discarded and unnecessary in heaven and the attachments made in life are considered to be ultimately inconsequential to the unity in creation achieved in the afterlife.
Hell, or Gehenna, is another form of afterlife described in the Catholic teachings. It is viewed as the polar opposite of heaven; a state of existence so void of happiness and worth that those who are cast into it are tortured for eternity. Historically, the Catholic church has struggled to maintain a definitive canon on what Gehenna itself was. Whilst many in the hierarchy of the church believed hell to be a state of being rather than a physical location, many laymen held belief in that hell was a real place of torment and suffering, characterised either by fire or ice depending on the era.
The canon of the church teaches that hell is not a place, but a state of being. This state of being is an eternity of self-exclusion, from God and the blessed, that was entered willingly. Pope Joseph has referred to it as an "empty and cold void devoid of anything one would consider save for suffering and loneliness".
The Solarian Catholic Church is composed of numerous Catholic Churches all in communion with one another. Initially these were the Petrine Rite Solarian Catholic Church, the Thomist Rite Solarian Catholic Church, the Philippine Rite Solarian Catholic Church and the Paulician Rite Solarian Catholic Church. The first three were named after three of the original twelve members of the Teresarada who, after Sotiras' death, were successful in establishing Sotirian communities across modern-day Tsabara.
Aside from these there are numerous Catholic Churches that entered communion with the Solarian Catholic Church at later points in history; including the Arcilucian Rite Solarian Catholic Church, the Tylis Rite Solarian Catholic Church and the Kradan Rite Solarian Catholic Church.
The churches all follow an episcopal polity. Each of the churches has an almost identical hierarchical structure, with priests being the most numerous of any of the clergymen. Priests work in geographically drawn up locations known as diocese and serve under particular bishops. This tier of clergy are known as the presbyterate. Beneath the presbyterate is the diaconate, composed entirely of deacons and volunteer laymen who can assist the priests and bishops in ministerial and ceremonial roles. Above the presbyterate is the episcopate composed of bishops who hold manage the workers of the diocese.
Specific bishops can become cardinals. Cardinals hold the right of being able to participate in the College of Cardinals and since the early 11th century have been the elective body for the Popes. Further still is an institution known as the Pontificial Teresarada, composed of eleven cardinals and the Pope that serve as a higher deliberative authority on ecclesiastical matters.
All Catholic Churches are headed by the Bishop of Solaria, currently Pope Joseph. Whilst all of the churches might have their own Pontiffs, by their communion with the other Solarian Catholic Churches they accept the primacy of the Bishop of Solaria, the Pontiff of the Petrine Rite who claims Teresaradic Succession to Saint Peter.