|Holy Flock of Agdarr|
|Hauliġ Flaukke ahf Agdarr (Rhumisc)|
|Schaert-ahf-Maan||Sigefraed var Maereltsyn II (Current)|
The Holy Flock of Agdarr (Rhumisc: Hauliġ Flaukke ahf Agdarr), also known as the Holy Flock or Agdarrism, is the historic faith of the Rhumish and Gnibelen peoples. The faith is not enforced by law, but there is an air of purity and abosultism in Rhum, and descendants of the Rhumish, around following the faith and opposing potentially harmful, or subversive religions which oppose the fundamental values of the Rhumish people. The Flock is ceremonially headed by the Shepherd of Man, who has always traditionally been the eldest male descendant of Theuderik, and therefore the title of Serene Prince of Aakhan. The Flock realistically is adminstered by the so-called "Aelraes-Aertschaert" or (supreme bishop) who acts as the bishop of the Palatinate Cathedral in Aakhan, the most important temple in the Faith. Below the Aelraes-Aertschaert are a number of "Aertschaerts" - or bishops - who have administrative control over an "Aertschaertric" - or a diocese. Below the Aertschaerts are the standard members of the clergy, the Schaerts - or priests (literally meaning shepherds) - who have administriave control over a "parish", a number of which make up an Aertschaertric.
The religion follows principles and laws established through their holy scripture, the Chronikaen (Chronicles) as well as additional books created after the ancient Chronikaen.
The Holy Flock worships Agdarr - who takes the form as a Ram or Sheep - as their sole God and creator, and persecutes followers of Jodunn, Agdarr’s brother, who embodies destruction, death and darkness. Important symbols and messages in Agdarrism include respecting nature (this is embodied by the Aerdeboume - the tree which produces apples for Agdarr to create life) and viewing life like a Shepherd - each person his their own Flock to tend to, be it their family or their profession.
The Flock’s principal ideas and ways of life originate from the Ten Commandments of Agdarr and His Five Virtues for living. The Chronikaen is split up into three books: Entstaehung (Creation), Gesets (Law) and Geraechtigkyt (Justice). Creation depicts the creation of the Universe, humanity, nature and all other life as well as the War of the Giants, the Great Sin of Man and the Banishment of Jodunn to the underworld of Cyllum (where all unworthy and sinful souls are sent) while Agdarr creates the ancient Rhumish (Rhōmae) to guide Man and then ascends to his heavenly realm of Empyrien with the Aerdeboume to await the Day of Justice. Law depicts the final moments before Agdarr’s ascension to Empyrien where he imparts on His only son - a human by the name of Aeor - to lead the tribe of Pyrrhos and gives him His Commandments and Virtues. Justice depicts the prophecy of the end times, where after the world has been united under the faith for thousands of years that Jodunn will return and wreak havoc before eventually being destroyed forever by Adgarr, upon which He would return to Aerde and build a new Kingdom on the planet free of sin.
The Holy Flock is founded on the principles of Shepherding. To the Agdarrian each hierarchy in life is like a flock: the Shepherd watches over and protects their Flock. This is the same in all different areas in life, and so has lead to an extremely hierarchical view of the world. The Schaert is seen as the Shepherd of their Parish and Lohschaerts, the Aertschaert is seen as the Shepherd of their Aertschaertric and all below it, the Aelraes-Aertschaert is seen as the Shepherd of the Aertschaerts, the Schaert-ahf-Maan is seen as the Shepherd of all of Mankind, but Agdarr is seen as the Shepherd of all of Existence.
To be a part of the Flock is to be in communion with Agdarr, be in direct spiritual contact and connection with Him, and to be recipient of His blessings or His challenges.
Council of Aakhan
Establishment of the Aelraes-Aertschaertric
Establishment of Knights Orders
Agdarr to Agdarrians is the sole creator of all of Existence, he is given a long list of titles, epithets and praises to signify this:
- The Living God
- The One True God
- Lord of the Universe
- Lord over Life and Death
- The Gilded Ram
- The First and Last
- The Beginning and End
- The Father
- The Supreme Being
To Agdarrians, there is no other Deity than Agdarr, He is the sole Creator of all things, and His antithesis is His brother, Jodunn, who seeks to destroy all of His creations. Agdarr is represented as a Ram with pure white wool, representing His purity and cleanliness, with golden horns and adorned with a crown of light that is usually represented as a halo. Agdarr is sometimes depicted as either a goat or sheep, but the main interpretation of the Flock is that the Lord is a Ram.
The principles of the Holy Flock are built up strict hierarchy and the concept of Shepherding. Each member of the clergy is a Shepherd over others. The only exception to this are the Lohschaerten (Monks), who are Shepherd over each other, and act as a brotherhood of equals. Priests are seen as Shepherds of their Parishes, Bishops over their Bishoprics, the Aelraes-Aertschaert over the clergy, and the Schaert-ahf-Maan as the Shepherd of all of humanity, and the world, protector of the Faith. (edited
Schaert-ahf-Maan (Shepherd of Man)
The Schaert-ahf-Maan (Shepherd of Man) is the direct eldest male descendant of the House of var Maereltsyn. The House of var Maereltsyn is descended from Agdarr, his son Aeor, and his son Theuderik and the Rheimaiden Lorelaey. When arriving in [CONTINENTNAME] a prophecy was told to Theuderik by Agdarr that his descendants would rule all nations when they found a river inhabited by nymphs bejewelled with gold. Upon finding the Rhei river after forty years of nomadic lifestyle the Rhumans settled on its banks and Theuderik married Lorelaey, the eldest and most beautiful of the nymphs. Their descendants have ruled the city of Aakhan and have been viewed as the rightful rulers of a Rhuman nation which has not yet been created, as the principalities are divided across all of the Kouhdhyr. Despite this a major unifying factor of the Rhumans is their faith, of which the Serene Princes of Aakhan are the heads of. The Schaert-ahf-Maan leaves most of the administrative duties of the Church to the Aelraes-Aertschaert and usually only serves in a ceremonial role, however, has intervened in the past when the Aelraes-Aertschaertric has been corrupted by unfit individuals. The Schaert-ahf-Maan over the past decades has seem to be increasing their activity within the Church as the var Maereltsyn Princes seem to be more and more interested in the expansion of the faith and the unification of Rhum.
Aelraes-Aertschaert (Pontiff / Bishop of Aakhan)
The Aelraes-Aertschaert (literally Highest Shepherd) is an individual who is the pontiff and lead bishop of the Holy Flock. They are appointed from the Aertschaerts by the Schaert-ahf-Maan (Shepherd of Man) who is the descendant of Agdarr, Aeor and Theuderik and the head of the house of var Maereltsyn. The Aelraes-Aertschaert administrates the Holy Flock in the name of the Schaert-ahf-Maan from the Agdarrikan in Aakhan and is also known as the Aertschaert of Aakhan. In their duties the Aelraes-Aertschaert performs functions similar to the other positions such as baptism of the var Maereltsyns, and holding special ceremonies in the Agdarrikan. The Aelraes-Aertschaert raises Lohschaerts to the position of Schaert, Schaerts to the position of Aertschaerts, establishes new Parishes or Aertschaertrics. They also can appoint Aertschaerts with additional titles to help organise the Church with duties such as building, archiving or organising festivals. Aelraes-Aertschaerts are usually appointed for life though some have been dismissed and excommunicated by the Schaert-ahf-Maan for abuse of power and trust in the past.
The Aertschaert (literally Higher Shepherd) is the collective name and title of the bishops of the Holy Flock. Aertschaerts oversee a cathedral directly as well as the wider area known as an Aertschaertric. Within an Aertschaertric there are multiple Parishes who have Schaerts and who answer to the authority of the Aertschaert. The Aertschaert performs all the ceremonies that a Schaert would but also special ceremonies that a Schaert wouldn’t. The Aertschaert are sometimes given additional titles by the Aelraes-Aertschaert in helping the Church with activities such as coordinating building, archiving or organising festivals. Aertschaerts are appointed by the Aelraes-Aertschaert and they answer to him and the Schaert-ahf-Maan only.
The Schaert (literally Shepherd) is the collective name and title of the priests of the Holy Flock. Schaerts oversee a church and its surrounding areas called a Parish. There are multiple Parishes in an Aertschaertric (diocese/bishopric), and the Schaerts of the Parishes answer to their respective Aertschaert. The Schaerts perform regular daily and weekly ceremonies in their church, as well as special ceremonies such as baptism or confession. A Schaert can become an Aertschaert when an opening is made with either the replacement of an Aertschaert, or the creation of a new Aertschaertric. Upon becoming an Aertschaert they will leave their Parish to a newly appointed Schaert and begin their duties in the Cathedral of the Aertschaertric.
The Lohschaert (literally Lower Shepherd) is the collective name and title of an Agdarrian Monk training on their way to become a Priest - a Schaert (literally Shepherd). The Lohschaert act as assistants to Schaerts or Aertschaerts (Bishops) and learn through experience while also studying the Chronikaen and other sacred texts which will prepare them to run their own churches. Lohschaert are ascended to the position of Schaert by the Aelraes-Aertschaert (Pontiff) when an opening is made and either a church needs a new Priest, or a new church is established. For a Lohschaert to be ascended to the position of Schaert they must prove their knowledge of the scripture and practices of the Flock, and undergo a Rite of Ordination.
In the holy book Gesets inside the Chronikaen, Agdarr sets out His Commandments of Law to his son Aeor. In these he says:
- I. In front of Me, you shall worship no false idols, you shall worship Me, and Me alone, for I am the Lord thy God (Gesets 2:1).
- II. On the first day of each week you shall rest as I did (Gesets 2:2).
- III. You will not consume the flesh of sheep, lamb or ram, for they are made in my image, to do so is a great sacrilege (Gesets 2:3).
- IV. Work alongside nature - not against it, in your settlements build large parks and allow for trees to grow along your roads, do not destroy nature where not necessary (Gesets 2:4).
- V. You shall not murder your fellow believers in Me, only when they have broken My law or the law which you create is their life forfeit (Gesets 2:5).
- VI. Drive those who refuse to believe before you and slaughter them without mercy, for I shall give you the strength in your arm and the power in your sword to deal unto them utter destruction (Gesets 2:6).
- VII. In My sight you shall not commit sins of the flesh, adultery and polygamy shall be served with death (Gesets 2:7).
- VIII. Honour your fathers and ancestors, for among them were the greatest and wisest of Man (Gesets 2:8).
- IX. You shall establish an everlasting Church that shall honour Me and this Church shall be led by the descendants of My son, Aeor - shepherd of Man - forever (Gesets 2:9).
- X. You shall follow the conventions and rituals that I set out for you and stay obedient to their wording forever (Gesets 2:10)
From these spawn a series of laws and rules which remain in place in the Agdarrian world today, including the laws against other religions, closing shops on each Monday, the calling of eating mutton as "Vaerboden" (Forbidden), various construction laws and anti-adultery and polygamy laws, among others.
Following the Commandments, Agdarr dictates His Virtues for living a good life in the His eyes. In these he says:
- I. You shall show honour and respect in all fields; regard those who stand up for themselves as good and honourable (Gesets 3:3).
- II. You shall be strong and brave; use your strength for means of peace and stability, a people cannot thrive if they are not both strong and brave enough to use that strength (Gesets 3:4)
- III. You shall be wise and merciful; you shall not let emotions guide your decisions too much, and mercy upon your fellow believers in Me, and those who are willing to believe (Gesets 3:5).
- IV. You shall be proud and just; I have granted you wisdom and strength, use your pride as a sharp sword against My enemies, be just and do not rest while the wicked scheme (Gesets 3:6).
- V. You shall extol faith and hope; through faith all things are achievable, faithfulness and obedience to your betters and to Me is the gateway to Empyrien and cannot be obtained without hope (Gesets 3:7).
The Virtues are taught and enforced institutionally through most Agdarrian polities in the world, as the Agdarrian Faithful strive to live virtuous and good lives, as defined by the Lord. These Virtues are particularly upheld by the various Knightly Orders (Kynectohrdnunen) around the Sprakruimte, the greatest among which is the Knightly Order of the Holy Pome. Some individuals dedicate their lives in pursuit of the Virtues, while some international theologians question the conflicting nature of some of the Virtues with some of the Commandments such as Commandment VI and Virtue III. These questions have been officially answered by the Aelraes-Aertschaertlik in decades past through Shepherdly Councils, which have determined that the Lord meant for us to be wise and merciful, but to not show mercy upon non-believing intruders and invaders who refuse to answer His calling time and time again, as they are spawn of Jodunn and not deserving of His love.
Churches and Communion
Agdarrians take mass in churches or temples of different shapes and sizes. The common denominator between these different churches is that the layout is extremely similar. At the far end of the church, often under a dome or surrounded by stained glass is the Agdarrian altar, where the Chronikaen is read from by the priest, and the Pomes are sorted. Behind the altar stands an apple tree, in remembrance of the Aerdeboume, and within this tree is carved a wooden altar containing the Pomes - apples - which Agdarrians will consume in communion. When you enter an Agdarrian church you step out of time, and space, and directly into the moment when Agdarr created the Universe, and when He created life through the Holy Pome. This is represented through the designs in churches, many of which are named and dedicated to Agdarrian Saints, canonised through the Aelraes-Aertschaert or the Schaert-ahf-Maan.
Agdarrians believe that Agdarr is present in all churches, in both the form of the Pomes, which are stored in the Haarhgboume and later consumed in communion, as well as physically within the altar. When the Pomes are consumed it is believed that an individual is in direct communion and on the same frequency as Agdarr, as he hears their prayers.
Holidays and Festivals
In the Summer the Aeydahr (Praise) is celebrated marking the Agdarrian version of Christmas. It is believed that the world was created in the days of the warm Summer. The festival is held on 21st June, the day of the Summer Solstice, as this is believed the day that Agdarr took rest under the Aerdeboume, over the next six days festivals and celebrations continue. Rhumish celebrate the event with prayer, attendance at church and with large feasts held outside during the early afternoon into mid-day, and parties into the night.
In the Autumn the Schaedna (darkness) is celebrated to mark the coming end of Autumn and the beginning of Winter. It is believed the first Schaedna was celebrated by Man in the months after Agdarr had created them as they felt the cold growing in the air and dying of nature as the Giants began their war against the Lord. The importance of this festival is about producing enough food, preparing livestock and gaining fat for the colds of the winter months. It is held on the 21st October.
In the Winter the Vraetha (Vengence) is celebrated very solemnly to mark the attempt by the Dark One and the Giants to exterminate nature, humanity and the Aerdeboume before their judgement by Agdarr. The holiday is based upon silent reflection of life by Rhumish in church. Each House holds a personal celebration called the “Last Hunt”, as many Humans believed that the cold and snow of the first Winter would kill them all off. The holiday season lasts throughout the entirety of December, but the main festival day is held on the 21st December, the Winter Solstice, as the day Agdarr destroyed the giants. Rhumish houses are decorated with a Vraethaboume (Vraetha tree) - a spruce - and decorated to commemorate the attempt to destroy the Aerdeboume, with many apple-based dishes being served.
In the Spring the Gydaehyrn (Rebirth) is celebrated and looked forward with much anticipation by Rhumans as the festival of rebirth and fertility. Rhumans believe that the main festival day, March 21st, was the day that Agdarr banished Jodunn to Cyllum and restored life and order to the world (thus the receding of winter into spring) where all life was reborn. Gydaehyrn is celebrated all throughout March with feasts, church and large public celebrations including a lot of alcohol. Since the festival is also about fertility, many Rhumish children are born 9 months after the festival.
Agdarr as the Ram or Sheep
Bomaer or the Aerdeboume
The Holy Pome or the Elder Apple
The Shepherd's Crook
There are a number of Agdarrian Saints, many of which are immortalised in stories and mythos, and most of whom established long-lasting traditions or families throughout the Rhumish Spreikruimte.
- Saint Theuderik, the patron saint of rulers, power and of Aakhan
- Saint Lorelaey, the patron saint of fertility, childbirth, children and mothers
- Saint Amphaelus, the patron saint of the hearth, the Gnibelen, Goblins, mead and homemakers
- Saint Fraesian
- Saint Dearac Ehl, the patron saint of Vanadia