On the Archcanon's Secret Service
The Church Hierarchy
Great and terrible clerics, the archcanons govern the affairs of their dioceses as a temporal lord would rule a fief. Indeed, in many cases, the archcanons are more severe than any noble ruler might be, in that the archcanons extend the limits of their rule beyond the governmental and into the realm of the spiritual. They are the king-priests of their domains, unchallenged in their mergers of divine and secular law, and they brook little unorthodoxy under their rule.
The Council of Archcanons, made up of seven of these exalted priests, is the highest ruling body of the Church of the Redeemer. Each wielding the power of a king, few are surprised to learn that the council is rife with treachery and politics both high and low. Historically, the archcanons have literally gone to war against one another, mobilized armies and summoned supporters both celestial and infernal to aid their causes. Cynics suggest that corruption goes hand in hand with power, and with the great power the Church accords the archcanons, they are practically baptized in solecism from the first day they attain their positions.
Of course, for every detractor critical of the archcanons, a legion of supporters steps forth to trumpet the successes of their holiest leaders. Over the course of years, the archcanons have borne witness to paragons of the faith, in its many incarnations. Heroes of the Redeemer’s virtue have turned back tides of demons, just as blackhearts swearing fealty to the Adversary have beheaded scores of heretics against their own monolithic policies.
Colleges of the Church
The Church of the Redeemer is far too vast an entity to carry on its affairs without some degree of structure. To that end, it has constructed several colleges within itself, each a distinct branch of Church policy. Needless to say, sometimes the duties of various Church factions overlap — a Templus member and a soldier of the Orthodoxy may find themselves paired at Church behest to root out a nest of heretics suspected of occupying noble ranks.
The college of the Church that discusses Church policies and beliefs is known as the Doxology. These members of the Church debate the Holy Writ, interpret passages of that book and their application to the lives of men everywhere, and explain the ways of the divinities to the lay folk. Communities’ vicars, for example, often belong to the Doxology, as do evangelical adventurers and even professional pilgrims. The Doxology is the largest college of the Church of the Redeemer, and is somewhat the “default” college in which those who affiliate themselves with it are grouped, until such a time that they choose to specialize in one of the other colleges’ realms of duty.
Members of the Templus college concern themselves with canon law, the laws of the Church. In many places, aristocratic law comes in conflict with or overlaps Church law. The Templus advise on and adjudicate these disputes. Their plead their cases, ply diplomacy and in severe cases “quiet” dissenters or those who refuse to bring a conflict to a decent conclusion.
Officers in charge of the Church’s coffers, the Raviccionarri are often perceived incorrectly by ignorant folk as bean-counters and pencil pushers, stingy clerics who hold the keys to the Church treasury. In truth, their duties are significantly more broad, and the Raviccionarri range far and wide across the Holy See, gathering tithes, protecting Church moneys if they ever need to travel, recovering “lost” funds, and the like. More cynical whispers attribute the Raviccionarri’s true calling as one of silencing the enemies of the Church, with its fiduciary functions being a mere front for its bloodier work.
Likely the most militaristic body of the Church, the Orthodoxy takes the role of enforcers. Those who breach canon law and evade the Templus may well find themselves facing the Orthodoxy, as might unyielding bands of heretics. Orthodoxy marshals lead Church armies when the archcanons muster them and the Orthodoxy handles most armed actions and duties of conquest for the Church. Its duties also include inquisitorial forays against heresy and breaches of dogma.
The college known as the Siculorum specializes in maintaining the Church’s reliquaries and mystical knowledge. Its members collect artifacts in the name of the Church, confiscate items deemed detrimental to the communities in which they are found and sequester items from other faiths that would harm the Redeemer’s community. A combination of temple raiders and archaeologists, the Siculorum frequently suffers a negative public reputation, as many people claim it abuses its powers in the interests of increasing the Church’s already considerable wealth as well as that of less scrupulous individual members.