Dintin Aug 18th, 2014 (edited) 171 Never
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- It depends on which god they're devoted to. The Temples to Pani, for instance, have an organized church hierarchy with complex rules and associations and a single church head. The head of Pani's Church is a powerful advisor to the Shah who guides him on internal policy. Thus, monastic orders are often founded by the church to house and train their acolytes.
- Surya's temples, by comparison, are a far more loosy-goosy affair. For one, there aren't very many of them. That's why you were so awe-struck walking into the massive temple devoted to Surya in the ancient fort. Worship of Surya is relegated almost strictly to soldiers, veterans, and their families. Blacksmiths will also frequently give homage to Surya. Usually Surya's priest will simply set up a shrine near the barracks or, if traveling with an army, give sermons without any shrine at all.
- Monastic orders devoted to Surya are often set up by wealthy generals who adopted the religion while on campaign or when they joined the army. They're far more reclusive than Pani's monasteries. You're treated like dirt for the first few weeks while they try to break you down and rebuild you in their image. The hierarchy is much simpler in Surya monasteries, starting with those simply known as 'Penitents'. They're new members, or members who haven't been able to attain advancement.
- Once they attain a certain level of martial and magical skill they're promoted to 'Herbad'. This translates roughly as 'priestly teacher'. At this level of experience a monk may not perform any rituals but instead devotes themselves to scholarship, memorizing the sacred text as well as reading up on history, mathematics, engineering, and any other topic of interest they wish. After a time, they may advance to Mobad, but most do not.
- Mobad is a term used to describe the head of a monastery. It would translate roughly as 'high priest'. These monks may perform the sacred rituals of Surya and perform funerals. The most important ritual within Surya's church is the reading of the sacred text, which must be done every morning. It takes roughly two hours, three if the priest is long winded, and culminates in the burning of the sacred Haoma plant. The fragrant smoke will fill the room and impart upon those present it's beneficial qualities.
- The highest rank attainable in the modern church is that of Dastur. This also translates as 'high priest' but is ranked above Mobad. A dastur is often the administrator of several different monasteries and determines the doctrines taught at those monasteries. He may perform rituals, and often does, but his role is primarily that of a steward. In the past, there was a rank still higher. That of the Moabadan-moabad. This was a Dastur appointed as the head of Surya's church by the Shahanshah, allowed to declare doctrine for the entire faith. Unfortunately the title has fallen out of favor with the fall of the Hiacian Empire.
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