Steady as a rock, the Church of Eru has endured for over a thousand years. The Prelacy of the Church is based in the Peninsular City State of Tiberium, although the recent cataclysm that struck the region has made travel to and from the Holy City dangerous and uncertain.
The Head of the Church is called the Prelate, although he is technically also the Archbishop of Tiberium. The position, like all the traditional priesthoods in the church, are only held by men.
That is rapidly changing, however. Events have contrived to change the landscape of church politics and power, although it is too early to say whether the revolutionary forces in the church will endure or triumph over the conservative, traditionalist factions.
The Blessed Decade
The origins of the current crisis are currently attributed to a series of events beginning in 1181 J.R. First, Saint Alessandre performed her first miracle, hallowing the font in a small parish church in Venedig. The church later became known as the Church of the Holy Font.
The second event of consequence concerned the temple inquisitor Abhorson the Wrathful, who transformed a corrupt Reeve who appropriated the Holy Font into a flaming pillar of salt that endures still on the steps of that church.
Alessandre and Abhorson's miracles seems to have birthed a decade of strange and wonderful miracles, primarily from a group of women that has come to be known as the Seven Sainted Sisters: Alessandre, Marisa, Daniela, Monica, Alma, Buona, and Willa. Each of the Sisters represents one of the seven mercies: temperance, chastity, charity, diligence, kindness, patience, and humility, respectively. Each of the sisters is known to have performed many good works.
Abhorson, on the other hand, appears to have been one of a kind. Abhorson is commonly believed to be a manifestation of Eru's justice, law, and occasionally, His wrath. Church philosophers have interpreted Alessandre and Abhorson as a matched pair, God's right and left hands, and His reaction to increasing corruption in the Church. Their lives sparked a revolution.
Revolution in the Church
In 1190 J.R. the Prelate Henri I, who was himself the recipient of the Prelacy due to the actions of Alessandre and Abhorson, delivered a divine edict establishing The Sainted Sisterhood, an order of nuns and holy women to continue in the tradition of the Sainted Sisters themselves.
A certain feminization in the church followed as women were finally able to achieve a certain level of respect and responsibility, although to this day they still have not been widely successful in reaching the upper echelons of the church. Conservative male factions in the church have clutched tightly the reins of power, unwilling to concede anything even as large as a bishopric to a woman. The warrior orders of church knights are perhaps one of the strongest remaining conservative bastions, with neither the Templars or the Inquisition admitting women.
The Theurgic Council
Prelate Henri issued another divine edict in 1192 J.R. establishing an adjunct to the archbishops of the various kingdoms where worship of Eru predominated and to the inquisition. This body was formed to establish and enforce ecclesiastical law with respect to the use of magick. Thus was born the Theurgic Council, a group of male and female clerics of the church. Nominally a Council of equals that establishes law and judges offenders in a democratic fashion, the Council is actually headed by a cleric titled the "Prime Theurge," who has strong powers to set the agenda and decide which offenders will be prosecuted.
The Council wasted little time in proclaiming any magick not flowing from Eru to be heretical witchcraft or diablerie, punishable by death. The Council also requires magickal adepts to register with the Church so that they can be monitored. Failure to register can be punished by death or exile.
However, in reality these provisions are much more strongly enforced in the hinterlands of the Kingdoms than at their centers. The Prime Theurge has not had to convene very many ecclesiastical courts at all, because the inquisition tends to deal summarily with lawbreakers in the remote parts of the kingdom, while most other kinds of magick are tolerated in urban areas so long as they are subtle and not destructive of life or property.
As might be expected, knights of the Inquisition are tasked with rooting out heresy, witchcraft, and diablerie wherever it is found. Knights of the Inquisition are known to favor the scourge as a weapon symbolic of their purpose of expunging sin both from individuals and from the larger church.
Knights of the inquisition are generally disliked by almost everyone, including other parts of the church, who see them as a necessary but unpleasant arm of the Church's mission.
The Church of Eru has various other knightly orders that are collectively referred to as the Temple; a church knight is a templar. The most common purpose of a Templar is to defend a church or other holy site to his last breath. They are also responsible for the recovery, transportation, and protection of holy relics or personages. The Prelate never leaves his home without at least 20 of these doughty warriors.