As I mentioned in the other thread, the Wiki doesn't really talk about it much, and neither does the comic. In the earlier parts of the game I believe Orthodox priests mostly showed up as foils with attitude problems, and while the Reformist heroes often decried the hierarchy, only a little has been said about how it actually works. So I'm going to summarize what I've seen so far and make my own suggestions as to how it ought to be. It seems to me we're free to make it any blessed way we want, but I think what I'm saying here fits what we've seen so far. Some of it comes from my own posts in the past and my interpretation of Graybeard's posts. I'm writing this to help answer Jack's questions and to invite everyone else (Jack included) to do the same.Jack Rothwell wrote:OOC Are there any details about the Church anyone could send me? Organisation, order of rank, numbers, usual method of advancement, etc? Pretty please?/OOC
For all the parts of the game I've seen, the rank structure has been kind of loose - for example there are "abbots" even though there are no monastic orders, and the "nuns" act a lot like female priests...this fits the comic as well, since I believe there were some high-ranking females around Jeramel during the big fight between Ian and Luminosita.
"Brothers" are junior priests and "Fathers" are senior priests, and above them are bishops, archbishops, and cardinals (in that order; cardinals lie right below the Patriarch). "Abbots" sometimes go by "Father" and I recommend that this term (which after all comes from a word for "father") to be treated simply as an extra honorific added to a senior Father after extensive good service. Maybe it's conferred by a bishop or archbishop and signifies "the man who will serve as acting bishop if the current bishop drops off the twig." Novices - like Audie - are priests in training and do not have the spiritual powers of a priest.
The Council of Cardinals, from which the Patriarch is always drawn, issues pronouncements on theology with the Patriarch's blessing, and any pronouncement issued by them becomes binding on all Orthodox. (Rose has in the past hinted that the College is decidedly factional - with distinguishable "parties.")
Inquisitors are a separate branch - they have church rank but do not have ordinary priestly duties. They serve as a combination Inspector General's Corps/ideological police, with a special mandate to monitor the "unorthodox" sects to make sure they don't step over the line into punishable heresy. Presumably they carry an extra "fear factor" beyond what their formal ranks suggest - that's why Tim always referred to Blaise as "Inquisitor Blaise" instead of "Father Blaise" (though this has also been seen) - he might not rank with a bishop but bishops would've been afraid to draw his attention, I mean, even if they thought he was just like any other inquisitor.
Tim has made occasional reference to "Church Advocates" - my notion is that these are learned theologians who present arguments before the ecclesiastical courts and also serve as "devil's advocates" (in the old Catholic sense of the word) when the Cardinals are deciding an important question of theology - presenting alternative arguments to ensure that the issues are thoroughly explored. My notion is that they carry the rank of bishop but do not preside over bishoprics.
Most churchmen give up their family names upon joining the church (I got this from an old Graybeard post), but the ones who simultaneously hold military rank (such as Tim and Rose) keep their family names for that purpose. (This was part of my inspiration for Tim's discourse on why Orthodox priests are celibate. Mind you, he was drunk at the time, but I think he got the idea mainly right.)
Other notions in no particular order:
(1) Veracia is a theocracy, where the church is the state. There is no secular aristocracy (and since the priesthood is celibate, there is no hereditary one within the Church itself either; in fact, Tim has explained the rule of celibacy as designed for that very purpose). Thus, Church appointments and promotions are entirely a Church matter; there is no secular political system to placate.
(2) There are no monastic orders or other "separate hierarchies" -- except for the Inquisition and, arguably, the Ensigerum (whose existence is of course entirely secret). Unorthodox sects do have their own hierarchies, but they carry the same ranks and - at the lower levels - have the same powers and duties as other Churchmen. But their highest-ranking members also issue opinions that are binding on their particular sects (for example -- this is my memory from a discussion Rose had with Tim -- if the highest-ranking Reformists are one archbishops and a bunch of bishops, they have the power to settle questions of theology for Reformists - and I think Rose said they take a more "collegial" view of this, as far as who gets a say in presenting questions to them, than the Orthodox).
(3) Promotions...I think any Bishop should have the power to promote a Brother to a Father, but are slow to do so as they are mindful of their own reputations and prospects for promotion, and carelessly promoting the wrong man would be bad for a reputation. Promotion to the higher ranks should require a recommendation from the next step above the rank being sought (i.e., you aren't considered for a bishopric unless an archbishop recommends you, or for an archbishopric unless a cardinal recommends you), and a confirmation by the Patriarch or the Cardinals.
Presumably they have an appropriately
Of course, you couldn't be promoted to a bishopric or higher until the previous occupant dies or a new one is created. And I believe there was a "trap" in the comic where a churchman was supposed to be hiring the Gewehr to make such a position open up a little early, or knock off a rival for one that just had.