Ecclesiarchy Texts

Key texts of the Ecclesiarchy

The Imperial Creed, unlike many other religions, lacks a key central source defining its religious teachings. No one single work informs or guides the masses as to the teachings of the Ministorum.

Rather, over millennia, a vast library of often contradictory tracts has created an unbelievably complex web of Imperial scripture, contained in literally millions of volumes of religious thought.

Authors ranging from saintly but near-illiterate peasants to learned sages and even Inquisitors have contributed to the mass of works for the Church of the Emperor. The Ordo Hereticus devoutly examines all religious writing for the taint of heresy, and those brave enough to embark upon authorship of such a work takes his life into his hands.

There are, however, certain texts which have reached a far wider readership than most. These are “classic” scriptural tomes, to be found in most mperial Shrines. Over the millennia they have contributed to the religious development of the Holy Imperium, and many clerics march into battle against the Heretic or Xenos wielding a copy of one of these works.

The Vulgate

If a book can be said to define the Ecclesiarchy, it is this one. Massive, sprawling, inconsistent, rambling and the work of many hands, it is probably the single most common book in the Imperium.

In its classic “Ecclesiarch Pious XXXVII Version,” the Vulgate is over 3,000 pages long, and is almost impossible to lift one handed. Indeed, it has often been used as a murder weapon, as it is capable of bludgeoning even a strong man to death in the right hands.

Divided into 47 separate “books” of varying length, the work describes in broad allusive terms the ascension of the Emperor to the Golden Throne following a great battle against the forces of darkness. The constant attentions of the Ordo Hereticus over the centuries have ensured that any specific references to the Horus Heresy are absent, but the work is in fact a broadly accurate account of that conflict, albeit using the most oblique language. Anyone unfamiliar with the Horus Heresy would never know that Horus existed, rebelled, died, but the uneducated reader will know that the Emperor died to save mankind, yet lives on, immortal. The casual reader learns of the perils of the warp, unclean spirits and the threat of the Xenos, but cannot learn any specific details of these terrors.

Written by numerous early religious figures around the time of the Horus Heresy, many of the authors are unnamed, and much debate continues over who actually created the work. Some rumoured authors include the mysterious Captain Garro of the Adeptus Astartes, and some primarchs, including Rogal Dorn and Lion El’Johnson.

Initially coherent and beautifully written, with a tragic and mournful atmosphere, and musings on the theme of sacrifice and divinity, the book’s style becomes wilder and more incoherent towards its final chapters. The latter third of the book contains apocalyptic and powerful imagery, but makes no prophesies or predictions. There is no “ragnarok” or final battle promised by the Vulgate, simply a call to arms and eternal vigilance in the here and now.

The work is hugely influential, though it is castigated in many quarters for being too explicit regarding the events of the Horus Heresy, and in others for being too oblique. Whole sectors outlaw the book, whereas in other sectors it is the only text Imperial Citizens are allowed to own.

Game effects: reading this work in its entirety (which takes about 1-2 years) will provide the player with the Common knowledge (Imperial creed) skill. The book can also be used as an improvised blunt weapon or improvised shield with an armour value of 1.

Imperialis sanctis

Sebastian Thor, a key reformer in the Ecclesiarchy, is the most widely known and revered human Saint. Whilst he produced few written works, he was an outstanding orator: many of his speeches are gathered together in this work, which continues to spread his teachings nearly four thousand years after his death.

This moderately sized volume contains 352 of Thor’s speeches, and a handful of his famous letters. They form a surprisingly coherent whole, unified by the theme of the importance of faith in the Emperor in dealing with tribulations, whether large or small. Simple, pure and direct in style, these sermons not only changed the Imperium of the day, and moved billions to arms, they continue to inspire orators and confessors to this day.

Historically, they also continue to guide senior High Lords over the separation of powers between the Administratium and the Ecclesiarchy.

Game effects: reading this work and adopting Thor’s style provides a +10 to any one oratorical skill, but only where the player already has the basic skill.

Spheres of Longing

'To have faith is to have purpose, and purpose in life is what defines a man, and makes him steadfast and resolute. Faith keeps him true, and even in the darkest hours, illuminates him like a candle flame. Faith guides him surely, from birth to the grave. It shows him the path, and prevents him from straying into the lightless thickets where insanity awaits. To lose faith is to lose purpose, and to be bereft of guidance. For a man without faith will no longer be true, and a mind without purpose will walk in dark places.'
-The Spheres of Longing, II. ix. 31.

This work by Gideon Ravenor is a selection of poems and essays musing on key spiritual themes. It approaches religion and spirituality through the metaphor of a puzzle to be unlocked through the application of attention to duty and sacrifice.

Whilst by far the most recent key text here presented, it is a monstrously successful “best seller” as it is seen by all figures in the Ordo Hereticus to be spiritually pure and thus safe for the masses. It is a spellbinding and beautifully written work that has been known to reduce the toughest to tears.

Game effects: a player who has read the book may, if the opportunity arises, make an intelligence test to correctly quote a relevant Aphorism. If this is done successfully, the player receives a +10 fel bonus when dealing with Imperial servants familiar with the work.

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