- If you're looking for more information about older variants of Catologism: Ancient Catologism.
The religion grew over time and knows many variants. Those ancient variants are, since the move of the Catologian Church to Apollo City in 5141 ASC no longer seen as the True preachings of the Faith. Based upon the old South Batavian teachings, together with new revelations by the priests who had contacted the Gods, the Shiro-Catologian Faith came into existence.
The Shiro-Catologian Faith exists around a few basic Pillars, which together form the basics of Catologism. The believe in the Tetrarchy - the four Gods who rescued the universe from total chaos - is without doubt the most important of those Pillars.
The Pillars of the Faith
Catologism is a faith, based upon some principles (also called the Pillars).
Council of Gods (Tetrarchy)
The first Pillar is the believe in the Council of Gods, also known as the Tetrarchy: these are the four Tetrarch Gods who once rescued the Creation during the Chaos War, bound most minor gods to the new status quo and locked up the more dangerous and powerful gods who still resisted the Tetrarchy. Those who still resist the Tetrarchy were called Baishens and seek to start a new celestial conflict which no doubt would destroy large parts of the universe.
The Church officially refers to the Tetrarch Gods as the only gods worthy worshipping, as these are the only ones who can reach the fullest potential of their powers, as Cato can link their powers to the Source of Life.
They are, de facto, raised above all other deities. This situation leads to a dangerous situation, as many gods are jealous and seek to take over the Council (some gods would have united into a dark union, which in the past had lead to the Kaiming Emperor of South Batavia going mad and killing himself). Within this pillar there is an important rule that should never been forgotten: Cato is above all gods, as He oversees the Council and is King of the Gods.
The Gods, not even those of the Council, are not omnipotent, despite of having the power to influence the world and people around them significantly. To avoid universal conflict and a repeat of the almost disastrous outcome of the Chaos War (in which the existence of time itself was almost threatened), the Gods decided to try not to directly intervene in the human world (what didn't mean that they couldn't use their lesser minions).
The second Pillar is the Heavenly Mandate, granted to a ruler on Micras to represent the Gods on this world. It is the believe of Catologians that the Mandate protects Micras against the evils of the world and therefore is granted certain powers by the Tetrarchy. While helped and blessed by the gods, it makes the one who has received the Mandate a target for envy by other gods who want to overthrow the Council. For this, the ruler who was granted the Heavenly Mandate should be worshipped as a demigod during His or Her life. Through history, the Batavian Kings, the Heavenly Lights of South Batavia and now the Kaiser of Shireroth, have been granted the Heavenly Mandate.
Wheel of Life: the Afterlife
The third Pillar is the belief in the Wheel of Life. Catologians believe that when they die, their spirit stands before Germania, who uses the Wheel of Life to see what the deceased future will be. There are several possible outcomes: reincarnation (not always into human form), based upon how virtuous the person was in his life, is a possibility. But some dead become ghosts, so they can protect their former living place (or take revenge for something that happened), or even become demigods. Others, who have to be punished for their deeds or haven't lived life to the fullest potential, end up in the Mines of the Afterlife. Just a few reach what is called Myxosea: a world for the spirits to come to rest.
Like a lot of religions, stories exist to inspire or warn the followers of the faith. Through the ages, priests tried to gather information that was given to them through ancient sources, or by messengers of the Gods. Because it's accepted that the Gods try to shape a better image for themselves (that not always has to be positive), it isn't uncommon that they try to influence the writers of the story in Their advantage.
Each God has His/Her own story, but there are certain myths that are universally accepted as the basics of the Catologian Faith.
- The Miracle of Life: about the start of time, the creation of the Gods and the creation of the universe through the Source, which still affects the world on daily life.
- The Chaos War: The big conflict between the Gods which is remembered for the destruction of several universes and lifeforms. In the end, Micras became the most important battlefield. There is a lot of uncertainty of which Gods started the War, but the goal - becoming the most powerful God and user of the Source of Life - was much more clear. The conflict ended when three important, but neutral, Gods were swayed by the relative young and unknown god Cato. It saw the destruction of six of the Eight First Gods (their names erased from the memory of both Gods and humankind), the rise - and ultimately the fall - of Haruk and the creation of the Tetrarchy. While unknown for how long the struggle took, the destruction was immense and those who did not bow for the Tetrarchy were locked up. To avoid further destruction of lower lifeforms, the Tetrarchy ordered the Gods to retreat to the Celestial Planes. From then on, no minor deity is allowed to directly meddle in Micran affairs without approval.
- The Mikron War: Long after the Chaos War, some of the Gods - the Baishens - wanted to overthrow the Tetrarchy. To do this, they ignored the rule to directly meddle into Micran affairs. The Baishens created creatures, called Imperials in Jasonian sources, who should destroy the Mikron race. However, the conflict got out of hands when several Gods started to meddle in it and the War spread to the celestial world. For the second time in the existence of the Tetrarchy, Cato used his connection with the Source of Life to gather enough power for Himself and His fellow Tetrarch Gods to lock up the last resisting Baishens. Indirectly they helped the humans and Mikrons destroy the Imperials. The Mikron race came heavily damaged out of the War and was almost totally wiped out by a plague. Their descendants were called Microns.
The Council of Gods (Tetrarch Gods)
The Catologian Faith recognises the existence of many minor deities. It, however, denies that all those gods are worth worshipping. In total their are only four Tetrarch Gods who together protect the stability of the world. Those Tetrarch Gods are part of the pantheon, which is called the Council of Gods.
Central to Catologism is the believe in Cato, a wise and sly god who in the beginning was just a minor gods in the shadows of many other creatures, but eventually rose to power.
After several Wars between the Gods, which He survived, His worshippers became more fanatic and spread the word. He oversees the Council of Gods and grants deities membership to the Catologian pantheon. He's also the God who is best connected with the Source of Life and can therefore grant Himself and His fellow Tetrarch Gods a certain 'temporary' boost when the need is greatest. It is said that, in his early years, he impregnated Lumina, after which Malarbor was born. This could, of course, just be rumours.
Lumina is the Goddess of Light and perhaps even best known as mother of Malarbor (of which Cato would be the father, according to some temple sources).
She's probably one of the more considerate Catologian Gods and therefore extremely popular with worshippers. Her connection with Light has also given Her a status as Goddess who brings life.
Commonly depicted in Kildare as a woman with angel wings, holding the sun in her hand.
The Goddess Germania, originally a goddess of a cult that wasn't part of the Church, became well known as Goddess of Death and Life and Ruler of the Mines of the Afterlife (where those who had to be punished or hadn't lived their life to the fullest potential were forced to work). By many she is also seen as Goddess of Justice, as She os the final judge of those who have lived.
When the Catologian Faith started to spread through Kildare, it came into contact with the Cedrist belief and the admiration of the Kildari for the Squid God of Time, Sakat. The Catologians didn't know if Sakat was a God worthy to join the Council of Gods, so they begged Hieronymus for wisdom and guidance. Hieronymus took their message to Cato, who promptly invited Sakat for a fishing trip. Impressed by Sakat's power (within no time he had emptied the lake of fish), Cato welcomed Him in Their middle.
This list is composed of some of the more popular gods. They are part of the Council but have no real influence on affairs.
Hieronymus Erasmus emerged from the crowd and became the Prophet of Cato. In Catologian believe, he became the Messenger of the Gods (which makes Him popular with seers and priests who try to reveal more knowledge).
In His task as messenger of the Gods, He is known to visit Micras in His ghost form. He's assisted in bringing messages from the human realm to the celestial realm by those who are called Saints (as people have the habit to often use the Saints as a way to communicate with the Gods).
From the old Southbatavian stories was the one of Sisera, who once was the Heavenly Light of the Southbatavian Empire, seen as the most impressive. Her aggressive stance towards enemies (and sometimes even allies) made Her worthy in the eyes of Cato to become member of the Council of Gods. She became the Goddess of War and Destruction.
In Catologism several 'groups' are distinguished in the hierarchy of Life and Death.
Above all there is the Council of Gods (with the Tetrarch Gods holding real power), which formed after the devastating Chaos War between Gods. This Council, established by Cato, who used the power of the Source of Life for Himself and the three other Tetrarch Gods with who he had formed an agreement. Cato saw it as necessary to have a Council of powerful deities guarding the universe, as the Chaos War had proven that some of Them would not be scared to destroy the whole universe when it benefited Them.
Beneath the Council, there existed hundreds, and even thousands of gods that, in the eyes of the Council are of minor importance. However, from time to time, there is one of those gods that shows enough potential to get included by Cato in the Council.
In that group of deities, most are content with the role that was given to them in the Hierarchy of the Universe. But some, who are called Baishens, seek a way to weaken the Council and destroy or lock up all the other gods that are in their way. From the point of view of the Catalogian gods, the Baishens are pure evil, as they seek the destruction of their hierarchy. It is however said that for humanity, that they don't immediately would pose a threat and would just like to replace the Council Gods. However, the chaos that would come out of the destruction of the Council, would bring forth chaos and anarchy in the world. For this reason, priests and clergy oppose the Baishens in each way possible.
Demigods, ghosts and demons are also recognised by the Church as servants of the Gods and Baishens. While their powers are limited, they help their masters with fulfilling the tasks they are ordered to do (mostly because meddling directly in the human world is seen as not done). It was the spirit of Hieronymus who warned Magister Miguel for the coup d'état by Yuan Windsor on the South Batavian Throne (the death of the Kaiming Emperor and Yuans ascension to the Throne were all part of the Baishens plan to weaken the Council's power on Micras). For bringing this message and helping the Gods, Hieronymus would later be promoted to 'Messenger of the Gods' and receive the deity-status himself.
Saints are those who have fought in name of the Gods for a better life for others, or to protect the Church and its Gods. They are meant as examples for society.
Microns, whose ancestors the Mikrons, were seen as victims of the Baishens during the Mikron War. The Plague that spread through Micras forced the surviving Microns to live in enclaves, hidden from the rest of the world.
Of course, within each hierarchy stands humanity. We listen, we serve, we pray. And while so little and weak in such a powerful hierarchy, we are seen as the cornerstone of stability that could make the difference in the conflicts between higher creatures.