The Church on Yathrib
The Church has a powerful presence on Yathrib - the Most Holy Archbishop of Revelation is the planetary archbishop, an autocephalous see called sometimes 'the Apocalyptic See'.
The planetary synod of Yathrib - a collection of its bishops and senior priests - is divided into factions on various political questions.
- Synod Allies: High Church, Compassionate
- Synod Rivals: Exodus, Crusade
- Other Allies: Curia lords, rural populace
The Old Guard are the priests and bishops of the traditional fiefs on the west side of Akko; these are the spiritual lords of the Known Worlds' established lands, and like the Curia they tend to be cautious about risking too much, seeing the protection of their flock as an important spiritual duty. Since recontact, the Old Guard's ranks have swelled with priests from other worlds who are similarly tied to the land.
- Synod Allies: Crusade, Compassionate
- Synod Rivals: Old Guard, High Church
- Other Allies: Exodites, League
The Exodus faction draws many priests from the Exodite and Pearl Cities communities; with their strong clerical tradition, they make up many of the administrators in the Church, and their family ties to the League give them friends among the merchants. Like the Crusade faction, they seek an aggressive return to Revelation, but they have a deep distrust of the nobility and the upper echelons of episcopal power that tends some of them towards radical populism. To that end, they have been joined by hesychasts, certain apocalyptically minded Eskatonics and others who see Yathrib as a dawn of a new age.
- Synod Allies: Exodus, High Church
- Synod Rivals: Old Guard, Compassionate
- Other Allies: Crusader captains
The Crusade faction is strongly filled with those priests who have come from off-world to take back the Holy City from the Kurgans. Many of its members are hungry firebrands, seeking land and glory, and warrior-priests are common adherents to the faction's philosophy. Unlike the Exodus faction, the Crusade faction is more deeply enmeshed with the established hierarchy; they rever the Patriarch and the nobility deeply, even if they are sometimes more rash.
High Church faction
- Synod Allies: Crusade, Old Guard
- Synod Rivals: Exodus, Compassionate
- Other Allies: Swords of Lextius, Patriarch
The High Church faction is full of priests who see Yathrib as a natural candidate to expand the Patriarch's temporal power. This is a holy world, and it ought to be ruled by holy men. This is an old trend on Yathrib, where prince-bishops once ruled large swathes of the planet, and so the High Church faction contains many on- and off-world priests.
- Synod Allies: Old Guard, Exodus
- Synod Rivals: Crusade, High Church
- Other Allies: Refugees, Amaltheans
The Compassionate faction counts many Amaltheans among its members and sees the Church as the shepherd of the poorest and weakest amongst the people. Some of them share the populist tendencies of the Exodus faction, but Compassionate clerics focus more on improving the lives of the needy and seeking some peace and compromise for the future. They see war as the scourge of virtue, and while they are not pacifists per se they represent a 'dove' faction in the synod.
The Archbishop of Revelation
Archbishop Clovis is an 88-year-old man who served his novitiate in the Basilica of the Revelation in the Holy City itself. As a boy of twelve, he accompanied Archbishop Diocletian's legate Father Stanislaus to the meeting that resulted in the Statute of 4925; when Diocletian was martyred and Stanislaus became Archbishop, Clovis stayed close to him, and when Stanislaus was killed in battle in 4950 Clovis was elected Archbishop at the age of 38. He will have his fiftieth year as Archbishop this year, and while he was once a strong and vocal advocate for the crusade and for the Exodite and refugee communities in particular he has slowed, particularly after enduring captivity in Kurgan hands during the Betrayal. Now, some say his uncertainty has left the Church rudderless, though others say he is walking a careful tightrope between appeasing radical preachers, an influx of liberal theologians from offworld and a whole new Church hierarchy not imagined in a millenium.
The Archbishop's cathedral is formally the Basilica in the Holy City. A striking, almost miraculous looking building, it has been shelled and fired and yet still retains its graceful lines. Now, though, it is in no man's land between Kurgan and Imperial forces, and the Archbishop instead sits at Exodus Cathedral in Pilgrim's Landing.
A strong-voiced man in his 30s, Deacon Cain occupies a far loftier position in the Church than his rank suggests. He is one of the Archbishop's personal secretaries, but what he truly is is a gifted preacher. Born to an Exodite family, his soaring rhetoric calls for a return to the Holy City, and he has sworn not to take priestly ordination until it is from the Holy Font in the Basilica. Some say that given his vast popular appeal he is guaranteed to shoot quickly through the episcopacy as soon as that occurs.
The Brother Battle
The Master of the Rock and Bishop of Akko
Master Theobald Greyshanks - Master Theo to almost everyone - is the Master of the Rock and ex officio the Bishop of Akko. He was a foundling at the Monastery at the Ford, rising to become its prior before he was elected Master, and he blames himself for the Betrayal. As prior, he knew Rutger Mortimer well, and he wonders if he had not taken up the mantle of Master if he could have prevented the Mortimer's treason. A warrior in his 50s, Theobald was a surprising choice as Master, with expertise more in logistics and organization than the front-line battle fury of his three immediate predecessors. Since recontact, he has had many conversations with Claudius de Moley on De Moley, and some say he may be promoted to be Grand Master if Claudius dies.
Amaltheans on Yathrib
While the Eskatonic Order and the Temple Avesti were founded after Yathrib lost contact with the Known Worlds, there were Amaltheans on planet from before the Fall. During the many years of the long night, the Amaltheans kept their separate identity and traditions but receded in prominence to be almost a monastic order, one with little political presence. In contrast, the Sanctuary Aeon in the larger Known Worlds continued to vocally strive against the Orthodoxy to bring a more compassionate vision to the Church.
This has created some friction in the last five years. While Yathribi Amaltheans did not approve of the somewhat martial political maneuverings of the Orthodoxy, they grumbled in quiet, not publicly crossing the Orthodoxy when they would exalt knights who committed atrocities against Kurgans or Sathraists or remaining silent when the Orthodoxy would look the other way when nobles engaged in excesses against their own people. Now, though, there has been an influx of missionaries from Artemis and Grail, and these new Amaltheans have no such tradition of deference. They have been speaking out against Orthodox excess, and many of the local bishops have found this new voice from their white-robed brothers and sisters rather upsetting, something that has continued to create strife between the Amaltheans and the Orthodoxy.
In addition to their new social causes, the Amaltheans have other issues. Many of the merciful technals used by the Sanctuary fell into disrepair on Yathrib, and the constant war meant there was a continual shortage of medical supplies. The arrival of the Crusades has just exacerbated that, and the Kurgans and Sathraists know that medical supplies are sorely needed - and so they target ships carrying medical supplies to the planet, since they have such immense value. As a consequence, many hard choices are having to made about triage, while other Amaltheans have been speaking up encouraging that the recovery of stolen supplies be a priority for the Crusader State. This is made even more pressing by the Kurgan habit of kidnapping Amaltheans themselves; whole convents have been taken prisoner and reportedly are forced to labor healing the Kurgans behind enemy lines.
The Sanctuary Aeon's base on Yathrib is an Amalthean Mission in Exodus Square, near Exodus Cathedral, though there are hospitals in other places. The headquarters of the Sanctuary on Yathrib was traditionally in the Healers' Ward in Revelation, but that section of the Holy City remains in Kurgan hands.