Church of Elwynn

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The Church of Elwynn is the successor and continuator of the religious tradition of Treesian Unorthodoxy with a specific focus upon the eponymous goddess whose name has become indelibly linked with the land between the two rivers.


Ancient Elw religion was a dualistic religion between two neither fully good nor fully evil powers, Elu and Aqar. Elu was the god of the Elw (and those west of them), and Aqar the god of the others. Elu is related to Hebrew El (the Elw would therefore be a brother people to the ancient Ashkenazis), and Aqar is related to a Semitic word for "the other".

The Treesian Unorthodox Church came to Elwynn through missionary Hereton, who established the church here. When Shireroth became independent from Tymaria the church in Eliria was elevated to cathedral, with the whole of then Shireroth as diocese. Elwynn was after all the only place in Shireroth where TUC got a hold.

The Church spread well in Elwynn during the coming years. Churches were established all over the duchy, and the Church became associated with the ducal administration (as it helped with taxation, keeping of records, etc).

When the Babkhan Grand Vizier, Ardashir Khan, became baron, the Church of Elwynn faced a crisis. Babkha and Treesia were, at that time, locked into a long-running and bitter war. Treesia itself had been reduced to the status of an occupied territory, administered as "Babkhan Prinitica" (Prinitica being the contemporary name of Apollonia). The ecclesiastical hierarchy, faced with a victorious Ardashir at the end of the Elfinshi War and his successors after the War of Vengeance were confronted by a difficult decision. Baron Ardashir in particular had sought to appease the various native religious communities by granting concessions and favours to their priests in return for their political support. The most notable of these, "The Donations" of Eliria and Vijayanagara to the cult of B'Caw being a grand example to gain support from Shirekeep. This made it difficult for the Elwynnese clergy to remain in communion with their Treesian parent church. In exchange for administrative and local political power, the priesthood was obliged to remain loyal to the Baron.

So the Church of Elwynn was born. Eliria's bishopric was elevated to an archdiocese, with dioceses being set up in the new cities. A few years later, the archdiocese split, following the ancient Elw principle of the rule of two, with the Diocese of Ardashirshahr elevated. Traditionalist adherents of the Treesian Unorthodox Church stayed within its structures and, after the final passing of Treesian rule from the Fifth Isle, became eventually known as the so-called Remnant Church.

Over time the Church took on more of the ancient dualistic tendencies and began to consider the gods of the Treesian pantheon, like those of the Cedrist religion to be distinct attributes of the dual nature of the divine. While keeping the Treesian liturgy, the actual theology became more dualistic, with Elwynn and Lest taking on the role and identity of Elu and Aqar respectively. Often, offshoots of the religion were eschatological, awaiting the union of Elwynn and Lest to bring about an end of the world as we know it.

The shift in theology brought the Free Elwynnese Church, which was at the beginning a pious but anti-liturgical movement in the Church (similar to pentacostalism in Christianity). However, as years passed by, the FEC became more mystical in its tendencies than the CoE. Of course, in Roqpin, the FEC camps are always a lot wilder than the CoE ones.

A major crisis for the Church came in the independence era. The Church was too associated (guilt by association) with "Free Elwynn" to be accepted in the East, and its churches and organisation was taken over by the Remnant Church until reunification when most congregations voluntarily returned to the CoE. However, the Remnant Church is still much stronger in the east than in the west (where it's almost unheard of).


After the fall of Treesia, the TUC lost most of its power. There are some communities in Alexandria that are still Treesianist, and in Treesia. The CoE are in communion with these -- in that the CoE recognises the rites of these churches. Given that the Free Church does not have rites, there are no exchange of recogntion of rites. Relations between the two churches are generally good and cooperative.

But as the Church has in the latter century depersonalised the gods, an acceptance that other gods may exist outside of the pantheon has been given credibility. The first the religion to do so was the Babkhan Orthodox Church, the Zurvanist church, where Elwynn is associated with Zurvan, and Lest with Ahriman. In the BOC, the Treesian gods are the same as in Zurvanism, just with different names. From CoE's point of view, it's similar but not quite. It is generally held that Zurvan is associated with one of the four major gods (which one, however, remains under theological debate).

The Froyalanist faith is quite similar to the CoE. For some, it would be seen as a natural evolution of the syncretic nature of the Elwynnist faith to also assimilate the Froyalanders' gods. However, given the very corporeal nature of the Froyalan gods, it is almost theologically impossible for the CoE to reconcile its objection of gods as physical beings with the Froyalanders' insistence that they very much are corporeal. As such, relations between these two churches are strained.

Relations with the Umraist community are very difficult considering the conservatively and militantly monotheistic nature of that community in Alalehzamin. With the Amokolian Orthodox Church (Nazarene church) and with the Dozan Bovic Church, relations are more cooperative but only on a social/community level, never on a religious one. Though the apotheosis of Elijah in the Bovinism has leant support for his sainthood in the CoE as well.

Conception and Representation of the Divinity

Just as one cannot speak of a truly unified Church of Elwynn, one cannot speak truthfully on one consistent and unified position on the depiction of Elwynn.

Generally, there are two broad schools of thought; Treesian Allegorical' and Democratic Realism.

The Treesian Allegorical tradition is strongest in the precincts of Feudal/Eastern Elwynn where the Remnant Church took root during the independence era; it regards the depiction of Elwynn as a human form to be an example of crass anthropomorphism (to quote one latter-day Sagart: "If those damned fools and lackeys of the Eliria Clique were horses, they'd no doubt daub their crude images of the Highest Divinity in the form a brood mare"). Depictions of Elwynn in the religious art of the Remnant Church tend therefore to depict to focus on the symbolic, typically stylised arrangements of white orchids (sometimes intertwined with black orchids to remind of Lest and the essential duality of the faith). Some depictions can be highly abstract (think variations on the theme of Ying and Yang or some of the more innovative forms of Islamic calligraphy where words are placed in intricate arrangements that form shapes).

Democratic Realism on the other hand gained popularity in the West during the latter days of the independent union-state and the subsequent coordinated state when the Goddess was conflated with the spirit of liberty and the cult of constitutionalism when the Constitution was declared too holy to be viewed by mortal eyes and could only be interpreted by the Augur of Democracy. Elwynn is then depicted presiding ethereally over some morally uplifting depiction of virtuous human progress or noble struggle (think of a socialist-realism or Minerva as the personification of liberty, other variations would include art-deco, or neo-classical depictions of the same. Emphatically not high-fantasy or elvish as the Froyalanish images depict).

In both traditions the depiction is seen as metaphorical rather than a representation of the actual. The faithful may regard Mount Yaanek as a sacred site and receive the prophetic utterances derived from that place with more faith/credulity than would be usual, but they still tend to look askance (albeit politely and quietly) at the tendency of the present royal family to rope the goddess into their crown ceremonial (there is usually a game of 'guess the actress' which spikes on the Elwnet every-time a royal event is carried on the networks).