Anystesseanism

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The Saint Gessia and Infant Anystesses is a common motif in Anystessean iconography. Here the pair are wearing imperial regalia.

Anystesseanism is a Nelrimic religion that is native to the region of Greater Sillas. Its followers, who are referred to as Anystesseans, worship the eponymous Anystesses the Redeemer (b. 19 BS, d. 1 AS), who is believed to be the True God, as well as the Messiah prophesied by the Book of Prackyob. It is one of the world's largest and most widespread religions. It is derived from Sillenistic Ulm, a syncretism between Orthodox Ulm and Sillenic polytheism, with numerous contributions from Sillenic philosophy. It experienced a turbulent early history, with both Ulmians and pagans alike initiating sporadic persecutions of Anystesseans due to the belief that their refusal to honor the gods would bring bad luck. Despite this, it grew rapidly – perhaps at a rate as high as 3–4% per annum, until the persecutions of the late tenth century. Anystesseanism, nevertheless, became the state religion in the eleventh century; after receiving the patronage of Constantina the Great.

Anystesseans believe that Anystesses the Redeemer, an Eastern Ulmian of native Sillenic dissent, was the physical manifestation and embodiment – but not the incarnation – of God, and also the awaited Messiah (or the "Anointed One") prophesied by the Book of Prackyob. Furthermore, it is believed that she was born of a virgin and was resurrected three nights following her death – instructing her disciples and other witnesses to establish the Anystessean Church and to spread its beliefs to all nations prior to ascending to Heaven. She first gained prominence after famously lifting the Siege of Sillas just three days following her arrival; several additional swift victories led to the suppression of the Sillenic War of Religion (also known as the Cassanderian revolt) within three months. However, she was captured by rebel forces (an event which she had predicted), after which she was placed on trial on a variety of charges – most prominently, heresy, crossdressing, and lesbianism. She was readily declared guilty and sentenced to death by the burning on the stake, dying at just nineteen years of age. In between battles, she preached orally using parables, engaged in healings, and administered sacraments on both Ulmians and gentiles alike. Anystesseans believed Anystesses will return in the end of times to dissolve the physical realm and bring all worthy creation – alive and dead – to a higher plane of existence, in which there is no suffering and only mirth and prosperity. However, the exact events that will occur prior to this (which is described by the Book of TBD), is different depending on the sect.

Anystesseanism is empathically monotheistic; early Anystesseanism, however, did not explicitly deny the existence of other gods. It rejects the dualistic cosmology of Ulmism, and instead emphasizes a distinction between the immaterial (spiritual) and the material (physical); the latter is viewed as corrupted and evil, while the former is viewed as pure and good. Anystesseans believe that the ultimate goal of human existence is to escape the cycle of reincarnation through the act or process of acquiring sanctity (i.e., being made, or becoming holy). This is done by partaking in acts of mercy, which include but are not limited to: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, instructing the ignorant, and counseling the doubtful. In addition, there are four acts of piety: ablution, prayer, attendance of mass, and fasting during the month of the winter equinox; observance of these are indicative of one's faith. Similarly, there are three recognized sacraments: anointing with oil, the profession of faith, and the confirmation of faith; these are viewed as symbolic gestures representative of one's union with the church. Despite an emphasis on correct conduct and display of virtue, Anystesseanism is considered to be ultimately an orthodox religion, as virtue is believed to arise from correct belief – all virtuous individuals are viewed as following the will of Anystesses, with or without their knowledge.

The religion's scriptures are known simply as the Canon. It is divided into two sections: Old Canon, and New Canon. The first section is the Sillenic translation of the Ulmian scripture (which was heavily influenced by Sillenic philosophy), while the second section is divided further into two general types of texts: sayings attributed to Anystesses and her disciples, and the latter apologetic texts (often epistles) directed to early anti-Anystessean authorities. Traditionally, the liturgical language of Anystesseanism is Ecclesiastical Sillenic, though nowadays religious services are usually conducted in the vernacular. Anystesseanism is a highly-centralized faith, having endured centuries of abortive schisms and various instances of infighting. It is divided into two major bodies: the Western Ogahollean Church, and the Eastern Sillenic Church. While they are considered part of the Anystessean communion, they are autonomous and differ slightly in religious doctrine; however, they both recognize the Archbishop of Sillas (also referred to as the Pontiff), as wielding religious primacy. Anystesseanism has played a crucial role in the development of global society and culture – especially within the realm of ethics, morality, and philosophy.

History[edit]

Sillenized Ulm[edit]

Origins[edit]

Main article: Sillenized Ulm

Anystesseanism was rooted in Sillenized Ulm. Sillenized Ulm was a syncretic religious movement, incorporating Ulmian theology, Sillenic pagan rites, with input from Sillenic philosophy. Sillenized Ulmians considered themselves to be part of the Ulmian World, rather than a distinct sect of it. The religion of Ulm itself was introduced in the late fifth century. Its founder, Saint Andronicus, is viewed as indirectly responsible for the manifestation of Anystesses and the fulfillment of Prackyobic prophesy. Thus, he is venerated within both Sillenized Ulmian and Anystessean tradition. Despite having its roots within Irrulmianism, it was never recognized as a distinct religion within Sillas. Ironically, Irrulmianism was rejected – even within the Kaloman Exhulan minorities – for its veneration of Hcctaal deities as aspects of God, alongside the assumption of several religious rites deemed non-scriptural. Sillenized Ulmians believed in the general Ulmian scriptural canon. However, they also followed six new books: the Wisdom of Andronicus, the First and Second Epistle to the Sillenes, and Books of Prayers, Rites, and Psalms. They also practiced traditional Ulmian rites such as anointing with oil – however, this was done with locally-available oil such as that sourced from coconuts. Constrastingly, they also practiced what could be deemed by Orthodox Ulmians as heretical: veneration of the dead, iconodulism, female ordination, a more influential priestesshood, and tolerant attitudes to homosexuality. In addition, Sillenized Ulmians generally believed that the God of War (Batalia), the Supreme God of the Sillenic Pantheon, and the “God of the Azourians” (the deity the Ulmian Canon was addressed to), were the same entity. This was influenced by the trend towards monolatrism within Sillenic polytheism. With the development of these significant theological differences, it was evident that Sillenized Ulm based in Sillas, and Orthodox Ulm based in Azoz, would inevitably have a schism. Under the discretion of the Sillenic imperial government, Sillenized Ulm established its own church, which was given patronage over the Western Church. Despite initial opposition from the Orthodox Church, the latter eventually sanctioned the move as long as the newly-found body was in communion with it.

Ulm grew rapidly due to its desirability and compatibility with Sillenic social mores. It was most popular within urban and coastal regions, which saw the most foreign trade, and therefore, the most foreign influence. This spread was also facilitated by conversion of the scholar–gentry, who largely emulated Empress Vandena following her famous conversion in 640. In 480, Ulmians numbered in the few hundreds – by the dawn of the eighth century, they surpassed 100,000; 6 to 8 percent of the total population. They were comparatively wealthy, and literate. However, as the urban population achieved an Ulmian plurality (20–40%), the pool for potential converts decline. At the eve of the Sillenic Wars of Religion, the Ulmian population as a proportion of the total peaked at 9%, and stayed stable.

Sillenic Wars of Religion[edit]

Main article: Sillenic Wars of Religion, Anystesses of Sillas

After the death of the tyrant Vandenian, who zealously protected Ulm, the orthodox minority – emboldened by the arrival of Cassandra the Azourian – initiated a large-scale revolt leading to the Sillenistic Wars of Religion. It saw warfare between three sides: the Sillenized Ulmians, the Orthodox Ulmians, and the Sillenic polytheists. Despite only lasting a period of three years, it saw the population decline as far as ~25% – though some of the decline could be attributed to the breakdown of the census system. Part of this widespread killing was due to widespread moral panic among the pagan majority. The Orthodox Ulmians, for example, started rumors of devil worship among Sillenized Ulmians, which the pagans have come to interpret as the reason for ill climate patterns that decade.

The conflict ended with the arrival of Anystesses of Sillas, who had famously lifted the Siege of Sillas in nine days. Within a span of three months, she ended the conflict. However, during the smaller Nine Day’s Revolt, she was captured and sentenced to death by Orthodox authorities.

Beliefs[edit]

Cosmology[edit]

Nature of God[edit]

Anystesses the Redeemer[edit]

Salvation and Paradise[edit]

A 29th-century Romantic painting depicting the souls of the deceased leading the faithful into Paradise.

Scriptures[edit]

Main articles: The Scriptures, Anystessean canon, Development of Anystessean Orthodoxy

Anystesseanism, like most other religions, is divided into many different sects and denominations – each with varying beliefs, practices, and interpretations of Anystessean religious canon. The main religious doctrines of Anystesseanism is highlighted in the Scriptures. It is further divided into two sections: the Old Canon (which is comprised of Sillenic interpretations of Ulmian canon), and the New Canon. The first and most extensive book of the New Canon is the Hagiography of Anystesses, which recounts the events of Anystesses' life from her death to her resurrection, based on the accounts of Saint Gessia with contributions from her disciples. It is viewed as a companion piece to the Analects, a compilation of sayings and beliefs attributed to Anystesses during her ministry. In addition to the aforementioned texts, approximately half of the New Canon is comprised of epistles, which are letters primarily addressed to Ulmian or paganistic authorities condemning early Anystessean proselytization. The authorship of the majority of these is ascribed to Saint Calaquiano, regarded as the second-most influential person in the development of Anystesseanism with the exception of Anystesses herself. Initially, Anystesseans viewed the Old and the New Canon to be equal in importance; or in other words, complementary to each other. The Council of Marecina in 1013, which outlined the basic tenets of Anystessean orthodoxy, asserted that only the knowledge of the New Canon would be required to be conferred God's grace. Instead, knowledge of the former is only required for aspirants to the clergy. The Scriptures are viewed as having been written through divine inspiration. The Old Canon, as well as the majority of the New Canon, is believed to have been written by human authors that received and interpreted the word of God. However, it is only the Analects that is believed to be inerrant, as its authors are believed to be in direct correspondence with God through Anystesses; other texts are accepted as having a limited degree of error (on matters such as history, geography, or science) but still infallible in regards to its purpose – that being a guide to salvation.

In antiquity, there were two schools of exegesis that had developed in Macate and Sillas, being established by Apostles Sisumana and Catrina of Sillas respectively. The former school asserted that scriptural texts must be analyzed in an allegorical, rather than a literal, manner (whilst the latter believed in the opposite). The rift between the two schools of thought was exacerbated by the introduction and widespread circulation of various apocryphal works associated with the neo-Aposicist movement. The dispute persisted until the Council of Marecina, which rejected the inclusion of any apocryphal books (in conjunction with epistles of dubious authorship) and condemned its continued circulation as sowing the seeds of heresy. The Sillenic Universal Church teaches the different books of The Scriptures, depending on their context, should be interpreted in two senses: literal and allegorical. The literal sense is usually associated with the Old Canon, as its constituent books are usually concerned with proper ways of worship and ritual, and church structure – contrastingly, the spiritual sense is almost exclusively associated with the New Canon. In particular, the contents of the Analects is subject to many interpretations, as Anystesses usually taught in parables. The Universal Church teaches the following doctrines in regards to scriptural exegesis: the historicity of the Hagiography of Anystesses and the Analects must be absolutely and constantly held, the Scriptures must be interpreted within the context of holy tradition, and revisions to church dogma is subject to the discretion to the successors of Catrina – the Bishop of Sillas and according to Universalist tradition, the first Pontiff of the Universal Church.

Books of the Scriptures Classical Sillenic name Conventional English name
Old Canon
내리모 NERIMO Wisdom of Nelrim
레비아노 LEVIAN Wisdom of Levian
一리산더人們 I LYSANDERIANAS I Lysanderians
二리산더人們 II LYSANDERIANAS II Lysanderians
二니코시아人們 NICOSIANES Nykosians
드록싣人們 DROXIDEROS Drokkites  
프랐으녹人們 FRASNOCIANS Frasnoqians
死亡文랜드루的 PATSEAN NE LANDREU Martyrdom of Landrew
앤드로니쿠 ANDRONICU  Wisdom of Andronicus
一椅子人們 I SILLENES  1 Sillenes
二椅子人們 II SILLENES  2 Sillenes
祷告文們 DASALANAS  Prayers  
仪式們 RITUALES  Rites  
诗篇 SALMAS  Psalms  
New Canon
아닜으테싰으 ANYSTESSES  Hagiography of Anystesses  
论语 ANALECTAS  The Analects
레오너 LEONOR  Wisdom of Leoneor
法案인們 GOVENOS  Acts
死亡文칼라키아노的 PATSEAN NE CALCIANO Martyrdom of Calciano
三椅子人們 III SILLENES  3 Sillenes
一퍼업쯔人們 I FORBESARIANAS 1 Forbesarians
二퍼업쯔人們 II FORBESARIANAS  2 Forbesarians
一多椰子人們 I MACOQUERIANES  1 Makukuans
二多椰子人們 II MACOQUERIANES 2 Makukuans
반덴市的們 VANDENOPOLITANAS  Vandenopolitans
牡蛎人們 PUNAVIANOS  Punauians
廣泛人們 CAMOCALLENAS  Chamokalese
一닸으마人們 I DASMARINEÑAS  1 Dasmarinians
二닸으마人們 II DASMARINEÑAS  2 Dasmarinians
올메어人們 OLMEROS  Ulmians
的 文男人文오 NE CALCIANO  Calciano  
的 子年糕아 NE SISUMANA  Sisumana  
的 卡特里娜, 該 三椅子人, 一 NI CATRINA, A SILLENA I  1 Catrina the Sillene
的 卡特里娜, 該 三椅子人, 二 NI CATRINA, A SILLENA II  2 Catrina the Sillene
Revelations
更宣布 的 프라키요베 PAHAIA NE PRACIOBO  Apocalypse of Prackyob

Practices[edit]

A painting depicting the supposed events of Realisations (the third chapter of the Hagiography of Anystesses), written by Saint Calciano of Alabania; initially skeptical of her divinity, he later became one of the leading disciples of Anystesses and the most influential – having authored more than half of the New Canon and being the first to have preached throughout the entire span of the Sillenic Republic.

Communal worship[edit]

Sacraments[edit]

Anointing with oil[edit]

Liturgical calendar[edit]

Symbols[edit]

Prayer[edit]

Criticism[edit]

Anystessean apologism[edit]

Relationship with other religions[edit]

Ulm[edit]

Aposicism[edit]

Enulmism[edit]

Irrulmism[edit]

Yannian polytheism[edit]