Seeking information about the Church of St.Vito

Discussion of religion and the Immortals.
Post Reply
User avatar
Candelori
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:29 pm

Seeking information about the Church of St.Vito

Post by Candelori » Thu Jun 23, 2022 11:23 pm

I am seeking information about the Church of St.Vito that I hope will be considered within the realm of common knowledge. Some I have gotten answers to long in the past but would prefer to confirm that the answers have not changed. Any information on any of the following subjects would be greatly appreciated.
  • Traditional Church icons, relics, symbols, and garb. It would seem the old blazing sun symbol from CLOK has been replaced with the torch.
  • Any information regarding traditional roles and positions.
  • The role and prominence of the Ascetic Path in the Church.
  • Whether the Church has any particular view of Iarel the Serpent Queen. I ask because of her given role as creator of the Constantians who are known to have discovered the Inner Light.
  • Information on any prominent aengels who have specific relations or meaning to the Church and not merely the broader scope of Viali religion.
  • The stance of the Church on proselytizing. In the past it was said that the Church did not focus on conversion efforts, which I hope to still be the case.
  • The Church's opinion of and stance on nether in general.
  • Whether the Church is involved in ceremonies of marriage or any other civil matters.
  • Whether singing and music have a special place within the Church.
  • The Church beliefs regarding death, an afterlife, life before birth, the nature of the soul, and similar.
  • The Church's explanation of thaumaturgy and the Inner Light - what it is, what it is known to be capable of, and how it works.
  • Whether the Church has an official stance on how involved it may become in politics.
  • Traditional Church ceremonies.
  • Particularly noteworthy Church figures, such as St.Vito and St.Nicola. I will admit I am curious to learn if there are others beyond these two prominent figures.
  • Particularly noteworthy events in Church history.
  • Whether the Templar Code is still canon. If so, whether it is common knowledge.
  • What the Church has to say about the disbanding of the Templar by the King of Ivial.
  • How the Church of St.Vito views the offshoot Church of Light, if indeed the former acknowledges the latter at all.
You think to yourself, "I am tempted to henceforth refer to this as the Bicker Board."
You experience a sudden flash of insight, as though you have an increased understanding of who you are.

User avatar
Bonehead
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:47 pm

Re: Seeking information about the Church of St.Vito

Post by Bonehead » Fri Jun 24, 2022 8:28 am

I'll do my best to tackle these questions, but first I think it's important to ask ourselves what exactly is the Church of Saint Vito? Is it specific to Ivali, and those worshippers there? Or do you consider the Church of Saint Vito to be the entirety of any Cult or Group of worshippers who Honor Serafina and attempt to walk the Ascetic lifestyle with the goal of finding one's Inner Life? I believe that the Church itself is a very loosely run charity organization, and while there may be some stricter form of hierarchy in Ivali for the Viali, the various other Churches and Cults that may have similar beliefs and goals and Honor Serafina could be VASTLY different.

For example, the Hillfolk may have a very similar Church setup that the Ivali have. Or, they may believe that all that hierarchy nonsense is not needed at all, and that each community can have a Church as it believes is warranted. Due to their cultural differences, it may be called the Church of Saint Sifa, with more of a focus on what she did, then what Vito did.

Or, the Huecatn. We know they worship Serafina as the great six.winged dove of compassion. But what form that compassion takes may be VASTLY different then what others would agree with. Perhaps they take willing human sacrifices so that the spirits of the sacrificial victim may empower Serafina to bring peace and compassion to the world.

What I'm trying to point out is, with alot of these questions the specifics will be hard to answer because there is alot we simply do not know yet, even with In-character/Lore sources. But perhaps with enough interest in researching and trying to find out the answers, we'll be able to get there?

*Traditional Church icons, relics, symbols, and garb. It would seem the old blazing sun symbol from CLOK has been replaced with the torch.* - At least from what can be seen in Shadgard, the Torch and Candles seem to be used as part of the Iconography. There doesn't seem to be any relics on display, but that could easily be because no one has found any yet. As far as garb, the brothers of the Church seem to wear simple robes.

*Any information regarding traditional roles and positions.
The role and prominence of the Ascetic Path in the Church.* - I don't think any information has been shared regarding that yet, but who knows. I'm sure there is a one vague structure, at least with the Church in Shadgard, but it hasn't been made clear yet, at least to me.

*Whether the Church has any particular view of Iarel the Serpent Queen. I ask because of her given role as creator of the Constantians who are known to have discovered the Inner Light.* - None that I am aware of, but there could very well be followers of the Church who acknowledge and honor/worship Irael while serving with the Church!

*Information on any prominent aengels who have specific relations or meaning to the Church and not merely the broader scope of Viali religion.* - I would think some of the more goodly immortals would support the church in some fashion. There may very well be legends that speak of such! Alas, don't know of any yet.

*The stance of the Church on proselytizing. In the past it was said that the Church did not focus on conversion efforts, which I hope to still be the case.* - I don't believe they do that. It's still something they don't support.

*The Church's opinion of and stance on nether in general.* - From my understanding, they view it as a tool, Albiet a dangerous one that can be a risk to one's soul. It's not inherently evil in and of itself, but they acknowledge a simple truth, that evil things tend to happen around nether, and with people who study it overlong without self-control. At least, that's my understanding. One of the NPC's in the Church has a bit to share regarding his thoughts on the Nether!

*Whether the Church is involved in ceremonies of marriage or any other civil matters.* - I mean....maybe? I'm sure they have plenty of ceremonies one could choose to participate in. But then again, from the view of at least the Church in Shadgard....they are more of a Charity. Any ceremonies they may have might involve...feeding the needy. Or the ceremony of teaching a man how to fish.

*Whether singing and music have a special place within the Church.* - I'm sure it does. Singing and music tends to lift people's spirits!

*The Church beliefs regarding death, an afterlife, life before birth, the nature of the soul, and similar.* - I dunno! And like I said above, maybe the Church of Saint Vito might have beliefs, but does that match across the church across the land?

*The Church's explanation of thaumaturgy and the Inner Light - what it is, what it is known to be capable of, and how it works.* - I believe there is some debate on how exactly thaumaturgy works. I know an NPC you can speak to in the Chapel has their own theories, but I don't think they have a codified step by step explanation.

*Whether the Church has an official stance on how involved it may become in politics.* - At least for the Church in Shadgard, they probably take a very hands off approach.

*Traditional Church ceremonies.* - Who knows! The ceremony of fishing, could be one people could start. Teach a man to fish and all that.

*Particularly noteworthy Church figures, such as St.Vito and St.Nicola. I will admit I am curious to learn if there are others beyond these two prominent figures.* - Again.... How do you define the church? But that is another question I don't have answers to. Would Saint Sifa be considered a Saint for the Church in general, or is she Hillfolk specific? Do the Huec and Faewyr have their own Saints?

*Particularly noteworthy events in Church history.* - I'm sure when Serafina appeared before Saint Vito and offered to teach and guide him regarding his discovery of his Inner Light is one important event. Not sure about any others yet!

*Whether the Templar Code is still canon. If so, whether it is common knowledge.* - Dunno! Probably?

*What the Church has to say about the disbanding of the Templar by the King of Ivial.* - I suspect the Church in Ivali had nothing to say at all, if it wanted to keep sticking around. But Churches in other places might have been more open in their disapproval.

*How the Church of St.Vito views the offshoot Church of Light, if indeed the former acknowledges the latter at all.* - Given that the Church of Light is our little offshoot smack dab in the middle of the Lost Lands anyway, they probably view anything going on there as a Lost Cause, or a Hail Mary effort. Whatever works, works!


I hope I've been helpful in answering some of your questions. Sadly, at least from what I know, not alot of information is known yet. Hopefully, we can stir the RP pot and get some interest in learning some answers to some of these questions. Though, as with most things in Cogg, I suspect even the answers will lead to more questions!
Wut?

User avatar
Rias
DEV
Posts: 1448
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:06 pm

Re: Seeking information about the Church of St.Vito

Post by Rias » Sat Jun 25, 2022 1:18 pm

Traditional Church icons, relics, symbols, and garb. It would seem the old blazing sun symbol from CLOK has been replaced with the torch.
Yep, the torch (sometimes with feathered wings) has replaced the CLOK-era blazing sun symbol. The latter was back before much in the way of lore was established, and even predated the conceptualization of Vandin. When Vandin was added later (by another GM, as a fun fact) the whole "two major sun-based symbols" thing was always awkward. I was glad at the opportunity to change it for COGG.

As far as garb, I don't have anything in particular in mind beyond the Church generally promoting modesty and humility, so they generally try to avoid wearing fancy stuff. This is going to differ based on where you are. There are places in both Constantia and Ivial where humans will be humans and be unable to resist the idea of position = power = fancy duds, so there's going to be the occasional branch of the church where you'll see leaders wearing fancy robes and symbolic hats and the like, but that's not the norm. Generally speaking, the church tries to avoid any of that. I imagine the original orthodox church is going to have some occasions where people do that thing where they take something that's supposed to be done in modesty but somehow turn it into a "look at me, I'm so humble" type of thing. Again though, not the norm. Humans will be humans, but I like to think the Church of St.Vito does better than most at staying genuine. The local Church of Light branch in Shadgard keeps things real simple and modest. I imagine being in the Lost Lands makes that easier to roll with.

Those who are particularly into the more ascetic side of things are going to be the ones you see wearing little more than a simple modest robe and some sandals or something like that.

Relics and additional symbols, I'll have to get back to you on. It's something that's fun to think about, and I do have some specific relics in mind already, but I haven't really hammered the details out on those yet. Well, we can assume Vito's pitchfork is one such symbol/relic. There's a chapel in Constantia where the alleged physical pitchfork is held, and they're occasionally used as symbols to represent the church or adherence to Vito's ways. Farmer adherents particularly dig that, of course. Ones that want to make it clear it's a churchy symbol would probably put a little flame or a halo-like circle around the head of the pitchfork. I thought it would be a fun twist to have the pitchfork be a good symbol rather than an evil one, contrasting the whole devil's pitchfork thing that we see in real-world lore.
Any information regarding traditional roles and positions.
The big church branches like the original orthodox Church of St.Vito in both Constantia and Ivial have your western-churchy-sounding titles such as bishop, deacon, etc. modeled after the framework the Constantians were already familiar with in their prominent Church of the Holy Mother (Iarel). I don't have the nitty-gritty details on these titles and positions yet.

But as mentioned above, the church tries to promote modesty and humility, not only as general virtues, but as a means of preventing corruption (particularly after what the Constantians/Viali saw as particularly bad corruption in the aforementioned Church of the Holy Mother). As such, many smaller branches or offshoots try not to throw around fancy titles and the like. In many of these smaller branches (such as Shadgard's own local Church of Light), leaders are only selected from those who have committed to, or are willing to commit to upon accepting a leadership position, the strict ascetic path of willing poverty and denial of comforts for just that reason.

All of this is a common subject of significant contention in Ivial (to say nothing of Constantia), as the orthodox believers wish to stick to these titles and more hierarchical positions of authority while the more progressive believers try to do away with such things in the pursuit of avoiding ego and potential corruption.

Having said all the above: I do feel the need to make an author's spoilery note that no, the Church of St.Vito is not some corrupt power-hungry organization with the aims of controlling the sheeple in the interest of some corrupt and greedy leadership (or secretly run by cultists/demons/evil gods of evil, or other popular "church bad" tropes). It would be unrealistic to say that the church doesn't struggle with this kind of thing as an organization that has become large enough to be significantly influential over many lives, and there's certainly going to be degrees of power-corruption from time to time, but as a whole the Church of St.Vito and all its offshoots are generally good organizations made up of good people just trying to find peace and promote compassion and good will among mankind. Please do not include instances of corrupt members doing awful things as part of character backstories. In my fantasy world I have the ability to have an organization that is truly dedicated to doing (what I consider to be) good, and they're doing a decently okay job at it despite some inevitable hiccups and flaws that are unavoidable due to the human condition. Please don't try and turn it into something it's not meant to be. I'm not saying that *characters* can't think the Church of St.Vito and its branches/offshoots are corrupt or all that. Just please don't fabricate historical/backstory events and examples to try and back that up.
The role and prominence of the Ascetic Path in the Church.
I'll dive more into this later(tm), but the Ascetic Path is primarily for:
- Those in leadership positions in some of the church branches that require it, such as Shadgard's Church of Light.
- Those seeking to make a significant change in lifestyle, mindset, or discipline - even if it is just a temporary dedication to prepare them for change, or some form of willing penance.
- Those who find peace and contentment in a life of deliberate simplicity, poverty, and denial of common comforts.
- Those wishing to hone their ability to tap into their own Inner Light, which can range from a simple pursuit of increased empathy/discipline/conscience, to trying to manifest the Inner Light it in ways spoken of in those stories you hear about monks performing miraculous healings or Templar slaying nethrim with spears of light. (Note: Those seeking the latter tend to end up instead learning how to accept themselves and the state of their Inner Light as they are, and to deal with disappointment.)
Whether the Church has any particular view of Iarel the Serpent Queen. I ask because of her given role as creator of the Constantians who are known to have discovered the Inner Light.
Nothing official, I don't think. There are plenty of speculations about whether the Inner Light was given by Iarel as part of man's creation, or perhaps she created man in an attempt to set up beings that could tap into a force that she and her fellow Immortals could not, or maybe she found some way to utilize a naturally-occurring cosmic Inner Light in order to be able to create mankind in the first place even if she couldn't wield the stuff directly. Or maybe she had nothing to do with it and it was a completely unplanned development. There's no official agreed-upon church word on any of that even if there are various dubious claims based on unverifiable records and writings some have claimed to find that no doubt have caused some of the offshoot branches of the church. It's generally believed between virtually all branches though that no, Iarel cannot wield the Inner Light herself, nor can any other known Immortal other than Serafina, who has no official direct ties to Iarel (but plenty of similar speculative theories!).

The local Church of Light branch is happy to admit that they do not know if Iarel had anything to do with man having or discovering his Inner Light, but are always excited to explore the possibilities and will eagerly look into any presented evidence or theories. Miguel is particularly into that kind of stuff!

(Somewhat-tangent warning) There was a time in early Ivial where the Viali held quite a bit of bitterness toward Iarel, as the reason they fled Constantia was largely because of how so many horrible things were being done to them in Iarel's name. The teachings of Vito and the subsequent church formed around these teachings were considered a hard counter to the oppressive church of punishment and fear that they knew. As such, there was a good while where they deliberately kept Iarel out of things. Over time they (most of them, anyway) were able to come to the realization that their suffering (or at least that of their ancestors) was the fault of the people misusing the Holy Mother's name, and not Iarel herself. They've long since become comfortable honoring Iarel as their creator once again, and have their own Church of the Divine Mother dedicated to her as well that they've tried to keep more about Iarel and the nurturing of all her creations, rather than only serving those in power at the expense of the majority.
Information on any prominent aengels who have specific relations or meaning to the Church and not merely the broader scope of Viali religion.
Rain check. This is a really fun one, but it's all still rather scattered and just in my head at the moment. I've never actually written any of it down.
The stance of the Church on proselytizing. In the past it was said that the Church did not focus on conversion efforts, which I hope to still be the case.
Yep, they don't have any dedicated conversion programs or anything. Their stance is that they believe they have something beautiful that can help overall improve mankind, but they don't believe that their way is the only way. They're happy to share their ways with those who are interested, but don't see any need to aggressively cram it down the throats of the masses. That said, I'm sure there have been occasional individuals have gone around trying to spread the good word. This will have been an independent effort though, and it's more a message of "Let's all just be good to each other" than "We believe we have the exclusive means of saving your soul from some negative fate." Mankind and man's souls can be just fine and dandy without the Church of St.Vito, and many already are. The church just has some things that it feels it can do or teach to help increase mankind's odds of having a positive experience as a species, and offers some potential paths of seeking peace and happiness that might appeal to certain kinds of people. It makes no claim on knowing any One True Way or anything like that. Man could well do just fine without the church, but the church would still like to help if and where it can.
The Church's opinion of and stance on nether in general.
It is a strange substance of unknown origin. [Redacted because I'm not quite ready to open that can yet], but the old writings alluding to this are vague and uncertain. It is certainly dangerous, and it has a disturbing tendency to cause harm and to corrupt both souls and physical matter, and therefore should be regarded and treated accordingly. Given the means, they would assist in removing nether-corruption from the lands, but not with a mindless zeal or fury. Note that "nether-corruption" does not mean the entire existence of nether, but only instances where it is having some perceived negative effect. Admittedly, this seems to be most instances, but they do make an effort to avoid blind zeal against anything, nether included.
Whether the Church is involved in ceremonies of marriage or any other civil matters. [...] Whether the Church has an official stance on how involved it may become in politics.
The church considers marriage to be a civil matter. Members of the Church of St.Vito can be given the ability to perform them by the local authority just like anyone else, and the church probably has some particular ceremonies and whatnot that they would do that others wouldn't. I imagine a popular ceremony is one talking about how the bond of love is a powerful manifestation of man's Inner Light. But in general, the Church tries to stay out of civil and political matters as an organization.
Whether singing and music have a special place within the Church.
Yes, song and music can be powerful means of channeling many of the things the Church promotes such as feelings of compassion and charity, and the church incorporates many musical (and non-musical) chants and prayers and the like in pursuit of peace, clarity, discipline, and a stronger connection with the Inner Light.
The Church beliefs regarding death, an afterlife, life before birth, the nature of the soul, and similar.
Rain check. This has had a few small changes since the original conceptualization of the Church. They are certainly interested in understanding these things as best they can, but they don't claim to be experts.

==========

In fact, I think that's about as far as I can get for now! I'll get to the rest soon(tm).

Post Reply