The Sectus

Sectus.jpgThe Universal Sectus of the All-Maker is largest religious organization in galactic history with over 2000 years of history. It was formed after the death of the Prophet Zeth by Phaedrus Synon. Within the church are five main groups who vie for power with each other. Beneath them are many minor sects. In some forms the Sectus is authoritarian and uncompromising in others it is charitable and compassionate.

Major Sects

Ersetu Orthodox
Monk Militas
Celaric Order
Temple Idristi – Idristites
Sanctuary Aegis

Minor Sects

Trempynos Monks
Alien Sectus thingy
The Sectus-sanctioned alien race that’s important ??? branch of the Universal Sectus.

Remnants of prereflective posthuman faiths
Order of the Mother All-Maker
Astrali Chorus
Choral group that uses the power of song to perform miracles.

Sectus Hierarchy

Sectus ranks from highest to lowest are Patriarch, Archbishop, Bishop, Priest, Deacon, Canon, and Novitiate.

The Patriarch is supreme head of the Universal Sectus (female Patriarchs are called Matriarch) and usually Orthodox, rarely Agean. The highest ranked bishop on a planet is the archbishop. The archbishops of certain planets have a special status. The highest ranked archbishops of certain groups of planets are called metropolitans; the archbishops of the worlds where the capitals of each Noble House resides are are metropolitans, for example. The archbishop of the Sectus’ primary homeworld is always Orthodox and serves as the chief deputy to the Patriarch.

Members of the various sects of Trempynos monks or Contemplators usually can attain a Sectus rank no higher than priest.

Patriarch
Until the coming of Emperor Chryselios, the Patriarch was undisputedly the most powerful individual in the Galactic Imperium. Still, he wields a tremendous degree of personal power. In addition to the ability to excommunicate individuals or groups and to issue fixed-duration Patriarchal bulls, the Patriarch has the rarely-exercised ability to act as a theological final court of appeals, issuing a ruling on any disputed issue. The Patriarch can call a Holy Synod and has full veto power on any change of Sectus doctrine originating from a Synod or from lower in the Sectus hierarchy, and can himself issue decrees changing Sectus doctrine irreversibly with the approval of the College of Principals. Mindful of the possibilities of schism, Patriarchs have almost always ensured the acquiescence of their cardinals before issuing substantive bulls, but they do have a tremendous degree of influence nonetheless.

The personal staff of the Patriarch includes a small group of Adepts known as the Red Guard- each member of the Red Guard has sworn an oath of absolute loyalty to the Patriarch, and they will perform suicidal actions on behalf of their master at the blink of a Patriarchal eye. In recent years, the Red Guard has become increasingly distant from the rest of the Sectus. In addition to the Red Guard, the Patriarch’s staff includes a rather extensive network of spies who are not formally acknowledged but whose existence is known.

The Patriarch also has the cardinals of the Patriarchal planetary sees report directly to him.

Ranks

Cardinal: A planetary see (powerful cardinals would be metropolitans or have comparable positions in the central Sectus hierarchy)

Archbishop: An archdiocese (equivalent to a duchy and surrounding lands)
Bishop: A diocese (equivalent to a county and surrounding lands)
Priest: A see (equivalent to a viscounty and surrounding lands)
Deacon: An ecclesia parochial (equivalent to an earldom or marquistae and surrounding lands)
Canon: A parish (a barony)
Novitiate: A lesser parish (a village or other small parish)
Acolyte: A lay attendant to priests.

Sectus Organizations

Synecullum
Protects the temporal interests of the Sectus. This is the internal and external secret police force of the Sectus. It is responsible directly to the Syneculla, the right hand of the Patriarch.

The College of Principals
The College of Principals is a council appointed by the Patriarch intended to act as a check on Patriarchal authority, though it has rarely provided any sort of resistance to the will of the Patriarch and is derided as a rubber-stamp body. The College of Principals has the power to approve or reject permanent changes to Sectus doctrine, and it also coordinates the activities of the lesser bodies in the Sectus hierarchy. The Inquisitorial Synod, the Penitential Synod, the Curia and all temporary synods beneath the Holy Synod are under the aegis of the College of Principals. The College of Principals is traditionally a mix of cardinals from the Sectus homeworld Holy Ersetu and those from Amatsukami space, but it is usually quite loyal to the Patriarch.

The Inquisitiorial Synod
The Inquisitorial Synod, responsible for protecting the Sectus from threats of a spiritual nature, reports to the College of Principals. A council largely dominated by members of Idristites, the Synod nonetheless has a significant Orthodox minority, and if it often acts more zealously than the Patriarch might wish, it is still a mainstay of Sectus power and quite beholden to the rest of the Sectus. In addition to chasing down heretics, the Inquisitorial Synod also appoints deputies to oversee the Sectus’s libraries, archives, and reliquaries to ensure that security protocols are in place which keep forbidden lore fully hidden. One of the Inquisition’s duties is also to determine exactly which lore is deemed heretical, and this requires a great deal of reading and occasional theological discussion. Of course, the Inquisiton also licenses a number of pilgrims to purge the Imperium and it’s extended influences of sin as well. The Inquisitorial Synod was originally intended to serve as a regulatory body ensuring that the Noble Prolimetri Houses maintained their allegiance to the Universal Sectus and to serve as a gentler way of regulating technological excesses that the nobility still committed than Idristites threatened. The Synod issued a credo which laid out its mission in more detail. The Synod, largely a regulatory and administrative body charged with ensuring continuity of religious services and instruction over the Imperium, was a success at securing the allegiance of the Prolimetri to the Universal Sectus, but it did not fully defuse the tensions Idristites were causing.

The Benedicari
Investigators of the supernatural and occult.

The Benedicari are the offcial occult investigators and demon hunters of the Sectus. They started as an independent occult-obsessed group during the 39th Century by a noble from a minor house. They were declared an official Sectus agency and thereafter were associated with certain elements of the Ersetu Orthodoxy and the Contemplator Order. Though Universal Sectus clergy from any sect can join the Benedicari, it’s agents are at least 95 percent from the Orthodoxy. Benedicari agents often travel undercover, and usually have training in theurgy (religious magic).

The Penitential Synod
The Penitential Synod is a semi-permanent body created to oversee the disposition of penance through the Sectus. While a great deal of the Synod’s time is spent on revising and communicating the guidelines governing penance for the Sectus hierarchy to follow, the Synod is best known for the psychic penitential abbeys it runs and the Penitent Legions it sponsors. The Synod reports to the College of Principals, although there have been past scandals in which individuals appointed by the Synod colluded with members of the Synecullum to employ unauthorized psychic spies.

The Curia
Also falling under the authority of the College of Principals, the Curia is the collective term for the highest rank of the Sectus hierarchy. The Curia officially includes all of the metropolitans, as well as the cardinals of each of the Patriarchal worlds and each of the autocephalous worlds. Thus, the heads of Sanctuary Aegis, the Celaric Order, the Idristites, and the Sectus of other very important worlds may all be members of the Curia. This gives them the distinction of being curates, though they are still technically cardinals. The Curia is a factious group of priests that does not meet formally except when called to do so by a Holy Synod. However, the approval or at least acquiescence of the majority of the Curia is generally sought by the Patriarch in any attempt to change Sectus doctrine on a permanent basis. A great deal of the more vicious politicking within the Sectus takes place within the Curia, as the cardinals all advance the interests of their respective constituencies, often at each other’s expense.

Temporary Synods
Temporary Synods are gatherings of Sectus authorities. They are invoked at all levels of the Sectus hierarchy, from the Holy Synod occasionally called by the Patriarch, to metropolitan synods, planetary synods, and regional synods. All synods beneath the Holy Synod are under the authority of the College of Principals, and although the College of Principals does not need to approve of every synod that is called beforehand, if the College disapproves of a synod, it cannot be called. Synods are deliberative bodies including a great deal of debate and a fair amount of sub rosa political maneuvering. A synod is always called to address a certain issue, and if a synod comes to a definitive verdict (which happens about 75 percent of the time) that verdict is binding on all bodies over which the synod has authority- a planetary synod can decide on affairs for that planetary see, for example. Any synod besides a Holy Synod can be overturned by the College of Principals, but other Sectus authorities cannot overrule a synod. A metropolitan, for example, could not overturn the ruling of a planetary synod, even one on a planetary see within his metropolitan see, without appealing to the College of Principals.

The Syneculla
The Syneculla is the Patriarch’s deputy and only member of the Sectus who can never become Patriarch.

The Intercessor Superior
One of the more important deputies of the Syneculla is the Intercessor Superior, concerned with maintaining relations with the various non-Orthodox entities under the rubric of the Universal Sectus. Representatives of the Celaric Order, the Idristites, the various Contemplator groups, and other monastic or knightly orders within the Sectus all officially report to the Intercessor Superior. The Intercessor Superior acts more or less as the diplomatic corps of the Patriarch when dealing with all other sects. In the case of some groups groups the Intercessor Superior’s role is more formal, as most contact and cooperation occurs between those orders and the Inquisitorial Synod directly.

The Intercessor External
Another important deputy of the Syneculla is the Intercessor External, who handles relations with all non-Sectus bodies such as the Imperium, the Prolimetri, and the Shoqëri Guilds. The Intercessor External works very closely with the Syneculla, and many Syneculla have not even bothered to have the additional position of Intercessor External, seeing to these duties themselves.

The Bursar
The Bursar is the Synecullar deputy responsible for collecting tithe monies on behalf of the Patriarch. The monies flow up through the Sectus hierarchy and large portions of them are retained at every step along the way, but the Sectus still receives tremendous amounts of wealth at the highest levels, and it all flows to the Bursar in the end. Needless to say, the Bursar wields a good deal of sub rosa power in the Sectus, and while pressure from the Syneculla ensures that he uses the money for the good of the Sectus as a whole, many Bursars have skimmed tiny amounts from the tithes that they are responsible for, enriching themselves to obscene degrees.

The High Vindicator
The High Vindicator of the Universal Sectus reports to the Syneculla, and oversees the Patriarchal Legions, the Patriarchal Fleet, and the Adepts of certain important worlds. The High Vindicator has been a powerful Amatsukami lord for the past 220 years, with one interlude when a warrior-priest from the Holy Ersetu took the post. The Adepts of some worlds follow their own organization and report, in the end, only to their own hierarchies, but ultimately, even those report to the High Vindicator. Some members of the Adepts of core Sectus worlds are called upon to leave the order and join the Red Guard or the Benedicari, but apart from this, all members of the Adepts are loyal, through their hierarchies, to the High Vindicator.

Standing orders mean that ruling regional priests often have the ability to direct Patriarchal forces in the field, but such forces are all under the ultimate authority of the High Vindicator. Penitential forces are, interestingly, technically under the authority of the Penitential Synod, which is not even under the authority of the Syneculla, but the Penitential Synod always gives complete battlefield authority to the Patriarchal legions, and only handles the discipline of the troops.

The Patriarchal Legions
Each Legion (commanded by a Legatus Legionis) is divided into 5 Cohorts, which are each about half the strength of a duke’s army. A cohort, commanded by a Centurion Superior, is made up of 3 Centuries, which are about equal to the armies counts can field. A century (commanded by a centurion) is made up of 10 maniples. A maniple, commanded by a princeps primus, can field a little more than half the force a viscounty could muster. A maniple is itself divided into 2 or 3 congresses martial, led by a commander. A congress martial, commanded by a lieutenant commander, is about the equal to the force an earl could muster. Congresses martial are themselves broken up into 10 companies. A company is about equal to the forces a baron could muster, and is commanded by a captain. A company is broken up into a variable number of phalanxes, which are led by lieutenants and are 50-100 men strong (divided by 2 for cavalry or 4 for air cavalry). Phalanxes are themselves broken up into squads, which are led by sergeants and are from 10-12 men strong (divided by 2 for cavalry or 4 for air cavalry- cavalry or air cavalry units are always led by at least lieutenants). Sergeants are not officers and do not need to be nobles, but all of the other command positions are officers, and thus must be filled by nobles.

The Order of Amycus
Named for a Dodecatheon myth related to an ancient Centaur who fought and slew a demon in the mists of antiquity, The Order of Amycus is a knightly order of demon-hunters. Although it only takes knights of known valor, it is not as secret or selective as bodies such as the Inquisition, the Benedicari, or the Order of St. Orion. It is, however, greatly admired among young and restless nobles, who vie to be proven worthy for membership, and it turns away huge numbers of applicants every Holy Ersetu new year. The Order sends its members far and wide to let the All-Maker guide their steps in their search for demons. The standards of infernality that members of the Order tend to apply are not extremely selective. Desecrated creatures, changed creatures, and hostile animals are all valiantly opposed by Knights of Amycus, and on more orthodox worlds or the Amatsukami worlds, people with serious deformities or eccentricities of behavior have been persecuted by these knights. Each Knight of Amycus carries a theurgical seal which he can break to deliver to the Order the tidings that he is beset by demons. It is rare that aid arrives swiftly even in the direst cases, but at least authorities are notified.

Warriors of Alectryon
Use specially developed powers to fight the Desecrated.

Heretical Sects and Movements
(more to come)

The Sectus

Silver Age Beyond brightwyrm