Church of Laelia

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Overview

The dominant church of Mysticus worships Laelia, the mother goddess, and, nominally, her three sons, Jove, Sergius, and Crispinus. The founding of the Church predates the unification of Mysticus, itself, though its present organizational structure was created at that time. The populace generally worships at the various churches throughout the kingdom, each run largely autonomously by a local priest, albeit with doctrinal oversight from the regional bishop. A Triumvirate sets the direction of the Church, deciding on doctrinal issues, issuing proclamations, and resolving disputes between bishops. As a rule, the Church is apolitical, seeing its role as above the concerns of principalities, but living up to this ideal is sometimes difficult -- especially during the reign of King Horatius.

Structure

The Triumvirate of three Holies rules the Church, issuing proclamations from the holy city on Mt. Sanctus. It is unclear how consensus is reached within the Triumvirate, but the three always rule together in unity. When any one of the three dies or steps down, a new Holy is elected by a college of bishops. Anyone with the rank of priest or higher is eligible, though the bishops usually choose from among their number.

Each city has a presiding bishop who maintains order within his or her district. Individual priests guide their own churches in day-to-day matters. Other, non-ordained clerics typically operate under the guidance of the local priest. Additionally, there are monasteries scattered throughout the kingdom operated by monks who are unaffiliated with any diocese.

Paladin Army

The Church supports paladins who pledge allegiance to Laelia (or, occasionally, one of her sons). An individual church body may financially and spiritually support a paladin or two, at most, though a bishop will often support a handful. Paladins are widely viewed as a symbol of purity and righteousness by the populace, and regional paladins are usually household names. This culture of paladin sainthood has been carefully cultivated by the Church and acts as its bulwark of integrity. This has led to an unparalleled transparency in the operation of the paladin army, and even when a bishop or a priest is not well liked, or is perceived to be corrupt, the perception of a pure Church is preserved in the lives and acts of the paladins.

Paladins live their lives performing holy tasks and quests at the direction of their benefactors. Naturally, they are prohibited from accepting any politically-oriented tasks, or from taking explicit direction from the ruling nobility, as this could impugn their activities.

Even in the time of the highly-politicized Horatian Triumviriate, the Church has been careful to keep its paladin army separate.

Relationship with the Cult

The Cult of Cornelia Agar, daughter of Laelia, is at moral odds with the Church. Historically, the cult has been suppressed by the government with the sanction of the Church, but the remaining chapels in northern locations along the Doom Keeper remain secure and followers of Cornelia Agar are unmolested, practicing their religion openly. The Church condemns the religion, but rhetoric is softened in the north.