Imperial Church of the Light

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The Imperial Church of the Light
Type of religion: Naturalistic/Symbolistic
Founded: Imperial Reckoning 15
Deity: The Light
Holy texts: Book of the Light and The Names of the Stars.
Followers: 6+ billion
Practised in: The Divine Imperium
Patriarch of the Light: Gabriel VII

The Divine Imperial Church of the Light is an ancient religious organisation, evolving from the traditional naturalistic beliefs of the Roanians. It is the state religion of the Divine Imperium of Roania, and the only religion citizens may follow.


Shortly after the fall of the Empire of Shadow, the various nations united to form the Divine Imperium under the leadership of the Commander of the Forces of Light, Lord-Emperor Joseph the Great. Secular organisation was thus quickly secured; however spiritual organisation was nonexistent.

One of Joseph's generals, Azriel Mauhn, had long recognised that traditional Roanian beliefs were tainted by the ShadowLords. He thought through all of the Roanian beliefs, and finally settled upon a direct worship of the force he believed lay at the heart of all worship, the Light.

Azriel's Vision

Azriel began to preach a vision of a universe freed from magic, freed from the shadow that such powers created. A vision of a new 'god', the Light. "In the beginning was the Light, and in the end all shall be Light once more." Drawing as it did from ancient Roanian spiritual beliefs, still strong despite the best efforts of the Shadowlords, those needing something to fill their spiritual void quickly flocked to the banners.

Then Joseph and the newly ennobled Duke Leopold Darquis both converted after hearing Azriel Mauhn preach at the city of Valens, in the land now known as Adytum. With the two heroes of the war as members, first Roan and Derricks subscribed, and then the beliefs spread throughout all of Rudan Prime.

Azriel became the first Patriarch, and was later declared a Servant of the Light. By the end of his long (some spoke of him as 'blessed by the light', though the current patriarch and his predescessor have both reigned for nearly twice as long) reign of nearly 120 years, the Church was firmly established, to the point where he could be acclaimed a Prophet of the True Faith, an intercessor with the harsh Light to make itself known to humanity.

Shadowlord Azriel

Occasionally, rumours are spread by heretics that Azriel was one of the 13 Shadowlords himself, who turned traitor upon the defeat of his allies becoming evident. The Church views these rumours harshly and severely punishes all those responsible.

The First Imperial Civil War

The Church continued to grow in power for another 200 years. Then, in IR 199 a terrible schism occured, with a section of the Church being corrupted by power and withdrawing to form the Temple of the Eternal Darkness. Merrech's spirit had reached out from beyond the Veil of Shadows to take possession of King Lisfer II of Agua, inspiring him and many of his soldiers to abandon their self-control and embrace the darkness within. A broad section of the Aguan Church turned with the ruler, and Lorodecrast was scoured of life. The armies of the darkness marched almost up to the walls of Valens itself. The city would have fallen right then had it not been for the courage of a member of the garrison, Sir Luciel, who stitched a sunburst to his sleeve and led an assault in the name of 'Prophet Azriel, And the Lord-Emperor!'

This surprise attack drove the invading armies back for long enough that the Imperial Legions, which had been struggling with mass revolt elsewhere, could come to the city's aid. Alas, it was too late to save Luciel, who fell in combat. The King of Agua and all his family were eventually captured by loyalist Aguans, who brought him before Lord-Emperor Alexander I. In a 24 hour period, the entire family was eliminated. Alexander I Commander later spoke of it as "a clean day's work."

The Council of Blackport

After the Civil War, the weakened Church called a council in the town of Blackport, while reconstruction of the newly renamed Adytum commenced. Also attending the council in the name of His Divine Imperial Majesty was the newly ennobeled Duke Cassius Drakharn, who had served with distinction in the fields of Roan and recaptured for the Imperium New Bristol.

The key question was the future defence of the Church, and the Imperium as a whole, from other such dangerous heresies. While the Imperium had always had its own intelligence service, the Shadow Angels, granting religious authority to them would distract them from more important duties. Therefore, Duke Cassius, in the name of the Imperium, granted the church permission to form its own private army, provided it was made up of no more than one 10,000 members. It is believed that Emperor Alexander was infuriated at this, however his advisors quickly convinced him that it was the best option for the safety of both the nation and the safety of his throne.

Thereafter, the Church became recognised almost as a national body in itself, placing its military on a seperate but equal ranking to the Altaran Riders, the Derricks Guard, and the Alaitoc Rangers. The Aguan Marines had been absorbed into the Roanian Legions, thus officially creating the Imperial Holy Legions. The remaining national defence forces were also absorbed into the Imperial Military within the next 300 years, leaving the Order of the Light's Sword the only non-Imperial military force in the Divine Imperium's borders.

That was far in the future for the council, which had the immediate problem of training and arming such a body. Luckily, many of the former Aguan Marines had left the military rather than serve with the victors, and using Sir Luciel's name as a call-to-repentance they were able to gather a large enough force to reach their quota within 10 years, though in future the newly named Order of the Light's Sword would become far more selective. A Book of Martyrs was drawn up, and the very first name placed within it was that of Sir Luciel, posthumously declared a Lord Inquisitor in the Light's Name.

Almost unnoticed during the formation of the 'Inquisition', so called because of the titles its membership recieves, was the standardization of the Imperial Belief System and the creation of the Book of the Light and 'The Names of the Stars'.

The Second Imperial Civil War

The Second Imperial Civil War was primarily a secular conflict, with Warlord Despan using his twisted beliefs to justify the utter obliteration of Roania's elven community, and then launch a 'crusade' against the government and church for daring to oppose him. It ended with the interference (for the second time; the first was shortly after the foundation of the Divine Imperium when Imperial Forces acted without orders to launch a crusade against all elves) of Menelmacar, whose military aided the governmental forces and then declared the Divine Imperium to be a protectorate for 500 years, assisting the nation in its slow adaption to the outside galaxy.

During that time, the religious works were codified further, and the Church began to become more of a force for stability than progress.

The Church Today

Today the Church is everywhere. And while on the outside many Roanians might appear less fervent in their belief than perhaps citizens of Iesus Christi, this is a product purely of ubiquitousness. The Church and Roania are one. The average Roanian might visit a religious center once or twice a year, or every week. They might never. But they remain followers of the Church, as to be a Roanian is to be a member. It is a defining trait, and everything every Roanian does is coloured by this fact. The church provided comfort and solace during the long years of tyranny under Alexander II Dark, when people began to speak of a second Age of Shadow. When one of the Imperial Colonial Worlds was hit by a severe solar-storm, it was the Church which donated the most and provided the most material support. When a problem occurs in a Roanian's life that family, friends or the government cannot help, it is normally the Church that they turn to, and they will always find a listening ear.

Because of this strict indentification with the Roanian people, the Church is generally considered unwilling to accept outsiders. While this has a grain of truth, the message of the Church as such can be accepted by anyone, even if they still worship their own faith. As Patriarch Azriel said, "True belief is a choice. No one can tell you how to worship the Light. All we can tell you is what the Light wants. Trust in yourself and your own strength, the strength of your friends, and in the strength of your people. It is only in this strength that redemption can be found."

Doctrine of the Church

The Church's doctrine is quite simple. At its core is a simple premise. All magic is evil, and must be destroyed. The Church defines magic as 'The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural', though its definition of supernatural is both narrow and at the same time general, embracing:

  • Everything.

The list of what's not magic is the generally used source. Magic includes divine power, elemental power, healing energy, cross-dimensional travel without a starship or other proven scientific apparatus, the localised, sudden, creation of energy without use of a machine, psychic communication which does not have a physical organ to account for the ability, bringing the dead back to life, etc.

The methods of 'purification' vary. Ideally, the Church would convert everyone to its way of life, and force them to abandon magic. This is the preferred way of dealing with people such as Elentari Sirithril and other elves. Conversion can be done both by showing people the benefits of science, and by replacing magic with scientific tools that perform the same function. The only exception is Necromancy, the practitioners of which are considered abominations and are not to be negotiated with. This harshness is due in part to the Roanian belief that every corpse must be burnt for the energy within to attain to the Light, and whilst the Roanians could take the stance that necromancy is the fault of others for burying their dead, they magnaminously take it upon themselves to pursue the undead with all their strength whenever one is encountered. A Roanian Inquisitor will not speak with a vampire, will not bargain with a mummy, and will return to the grave every undead he encounters in the course of his duties, no matter how benevolent the creature might seem.

Apart from its stance on magic, the Church stands for a very ordered form of morality. The Church does not concern itself with such incredibly trivial matters as homosexuality and 'the creation of the universe'. All the Church is devoted to is the attainment and perfection of an ordered society. So, eating another citizen or sleeping with animals is against the Church's (and the state's) laws. But one man sleeping with another man is considered such a minor thing that it isn't covered in any of the main texts, and when Roanian clergy run across countries where this is an active debate they tend to quietly mock the natives amongst themselves.

Similarly, there is no straight-out 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'. The Roanian Church has rulings against the senseless murder of innocents. However, there is also a very long list of circumstances where murder is not just permissible, but also commendable. Thus, there is no moral conflict for a Roanian over killing an enemy soldier, or a witch. Indeed, there would be little moral outrage over the destruction of an entire civilisation, provided it was deemed 'worthy' of such a fate by being completely devoted to the darkness, as defined by the Patriarch of the Light. Said definition being surprisingly flexible, in experience.

Good and Evil?

The Roanians have no word for 'good' and no word for 'evil'. When translated into Galactic Standard, the metaphysical words for Light and Dark (Ai and Mnynu) might be rendered such. More correctly, the reference is to Order and Chaos. Roanians and their allied races are in the main highly ethical, yet not moral in any recogniseable human sense. To a Roanian, there is a right way, and a wrong way, of doing anything. And if the right way happens to involve the death of millions of (non-Roanian) sentients, it is an unfortunate (or not) neccessity.

Paganism, to the Church, is the application of 'human' characteristics to the Light. While not approved of, the Roanians are simply warned not to fall into that trap themselves. The Roanians consider the Light to be beyond human, indeed sentient, concepts and understanding, and believe that any attempt to understand the light is fundamentally flawed and foolish.

However, the Church has in the past taken many stances which could be considered 'good', as when church pressure forced the Divine Imperium to interfere in New Sparta and Phalanix under Lord-Emperor Edward.

Segments of the Church

The Priesthood

The Priests and Priestesses are the base of the church, with at least one in most communities. They lead prayer-services, officiate at feasts and funerals, and hear confessions. Both male and female priests can marry, however the further up you travel in the church hierarchy, the less likely you are to find a married priest. At the top of the priesthood, and the church itself, is the Lord Patriarch. While in the past there have been Matriarchs of the Light, generally the post is held by a male. The most recent Patriarchs are mentioned below.

  • Patriarch Demeter IV (IR 1200-1700)
  • Patriarch Gabriel VII (IR 1700-Present)

Beneath the Patriarch is the Council of Ecclesiarchs, which consists of the major 'Bishops' from across the Imperium. Then there are the bishops themselves, their own councils, and beneath them the countless priests and officers of the Church.

The Clerisy

All Clerics are Priests. Not all Priests are Clerics. A Cleric is what might be termed a wandering priest, a member of the orders that travel between communities that aren't large enough to have their own church. Clerics also are stationed in military bases to assist in the spiritual needs of the soldiery.

A few of the older clerics have studied alternative religions out of curiousity, and owing to what might be called their 'non-partisan' worship of 'God', they can provide limited spiritual support to foreigners. Most commonly the faith is Christianity or Islam, though many in Altara are known to have wandered amongst the Buddhist and Hindu nations such as Celeborne.

Clerical Orders include:

  • Order of the White Rose
  • The Traveller's Light

The Travellers in particular are well known for wandering, and are most sympathetic to foreigners. Many of their Order halls are opened to outsiders who require assistance or support.


The ten million members of the Custodian Corps maintain the fallen cities and memorials of Lorodecrast. By Imperial Law, they are the only citizens permitted to live within that shattered land's confines. Many of them dwell in small villages just outside the cities, though others live in Adytum and along the bridges.

The Order of the Archangel's Sword

The Order of the Archangel's Sword is the Church's single Militant Order. Devoted to safeguarding the Church and its tenets, they act primarily as bodyguards for Church officials and the Clerisy. Dressed in the finest armour in the Imperium, and equipped with a variety of weaponry, they are a force to be reckoned with.


By law, the OAS's mission is to protect and preserve the Imperial Church of the Light. Indeed, when it was established under Lord-Emperor Alexander the Commandant, its numbers were specifically limited at 10,000, which Duke Cassius Drakharn considered enough for internal policing purposes and bodyguard work.

Over time, and without recourse to Imperial Law, the Church has expanded the mandate for its members. They are frequently used now to force recalitrants into line and also to dispose of wizards and witches who happen to be in a position of weakness. This has led to conflict between the OAS and the Imperium's own Security Forces, which view the 'Inquisition' to be a troublesome and dangerous influence.



Inquisitors make use of the Ruby Pattern of Powered Armour. While not as sleek as recent models of Legion Armour, tbe red cloaks and gleaming neo-chain disguise a highly advanced shielding and targetting system. The chain itself is in reality a very strong alloyed mesh, almost impervious to most weaponry. Finally, each armour is purity-sealed, making the occupant nearly impervious to magic, above and beyond the normal resistance that Roanians themselves possess.

Inquisitors carry an Imperial Pattern GemBlade, a blade crafted by artificiers using the highest technology available. Each blade is unique, and replacing one that is lost is a time-consuming process. Further, each blade is in a way bonded to the armour, and so to its wielder. For ranged support, Inquisitors carry OAS-Pattern Force Pistols. These have just one setting (Cleanse).


  • Grand Inquisitor Cassius Varro
  • High Inquisitors
  • Lord Inquisitors
  • Inquisitor Captains
  • Inquisitors


Ever since the formation of the Inquisition, the Roanian government has struggled to gain some control over the organisation. Occasionally a parliamentarian will rabidly denounce the organisation, though none so far have been willing to organise the plebiscite that would be required in order to change the law on the Inquisition.