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The Order

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The Order (since LY 902 also known as "Orthodoxy") is the first religious organization on the Land. It was founded in LY 404, and in the same year that it was organized, it also founded a new village, Monab. (After the establishment of the Second Order in 904, many people began referring to the Order as the "First Order," in an attempt to avoid confusion.)

To truly understand the origins of the Order, one must actually look back to the very creation of the Land itself, on Day One, Year 1, as well as at several points throughout the ensuing centuries. Of course, from the very beginning, Connor and Brigid, the first two people created by God on the Land, understood who and what He was. They were like His children, and became His friends; but this didn't mean they didn't also worship Him. He taught them many things, including how to read and write, and so we have a history which has been recorded since the dawn of our world. They even kept track of the passage of time, putting the date and year on everything they wrote. However, we also know that in spite of their reverence toward God, neither they nor their children had a proper concept of religion, per se.

It was not until the year 100, when Lucifer first appeared to Brist, that the idea of religion was introduced to the world. (The introduction of religion is generally considered to be this world's version of The Fall, an occurrence which happens at some point in every world's history, though it comes in a different form on each world... but almost always as a direct result of Lucifer's words or actions.) It has, naturally, always been assumed that Lucifer caused our own Fall as some move within the eternal game he's playing against God, and therefore the existence of religion on the Land must ultimately serve some indiscernible purpose of his. However, Brist and the majority of spirit-talkers who have come after him have considered themselves servants of God (though Brist himself did converse with both God and Lucifer throughout his life). The term "spirit-talker" was coined by Brist, quite simply, to refer to someone to talks with spirits. He immediately began writing down details of his conversations with God, Lucifer, and other spirits; he also began talking to people about religion, though for the first few years he garnered few followers. It wasn't until 105 that various spirits began talking to a few other people. These new spirit-talkers soon joined Brist in preaching, each taking a different district of First Village (which was at the time the only village on the Land). They also began having weekly meetings at Brist's house, and they all exchanged notes on the conversations they'd had with spirits. This small group of spirit-talkers were the first to give a name to the collection of writings, which they called the O'Gas (short for "Of God and spirits"). More people began to grow interested in religion, and by the end of 105, a church had been built in Brist's district. More would be built in the coming years, especially when other villages began to be founded.

The next major step that would lead to the creation of the Order came in 390, when Talon invented the printing press. (Though he was not a spirit-talker, he had read accounts of such a device on other worlds, accounts which had been provided to spirit-talkers by spirits. Naturally, no information was given about the actual mechanics of the device; that, Talon worked out entirely on his own.) At this point, there were 12 villages on the Land, and the spirit-talkers in each village had handwritten copies of the earliest books of the O'Gas, including the Book of Connor & Brigid. They also had copies of the writings of local spirit-talkers, but little if any knowledge of the writings of spirit-talkers from other villages. But now, Prittian spirit-talkers were encouraged by the invention of the printing press, which would allow much faster and easier production of copies of these writings. They sent out representatives of their local church, along with apprentices of Talon, to distribute printed copies of their village's writings, as well as to teach inventors from other villages to build their own printing presses, so that eventually every village's writings could be shared with every other. It was because of the efforts of spirit-talkers to produce and disseminate copies of the O'Gas that the printing press reached the entire world as quickly as it did, and soon it was being used to print many other things as well, from newspapers to fictional novels to history books, and more.

In spite of this important advance, the spirit-talkers of various villages still had relatively little contact with one another, which was the case with pretty much every segment of the population. And just because it was becoming easier to obtain copies of all these different writings, didn't make things any less disorganized. It was difficult to keep track of everything, or to decide in what order to print new books in the O'Gas, or even what passages should be included (as it would have been impossible to include every conversation any spirit-talker ever had with a spirit, throughout history). They realized they needed to start working on organizing religion, but it wasn't until 404 that they actually decided upon the name "the Order" for that religion. It was at roughly the same time that they decided to form a hierarchy within the Order, with an Arch-bishop at the top. He or she would be the spiritual leader of the entire world, while each village would have its own bishop. Under each bishop would be vice-bishops, and below them, simply spirit-talkers (though that term still applied as well to members of every level within the hierarchy). The origin of this terminology had actually derived from the very first conversation Brist had had with Lucifer, which itself harkened back to the time God had spent with Connor and Brigid in the first half century of the Land's existence. God had, fairly early on, introduced a game from Earth, called Chess, which included a number of types of playing pieces, one of which was called a bishop. It was Lucifer who had later made a pun based on the game, when Brist wondered if Lucifer wanted to use him as a pawn (another piece from the game). It took a little while for Brist to grasp the pun, when his subword sense provided him with understanding of a secondary meaning for the word "bishop" (though presumably on Earth, that was the original meaning, which the game later borrowed). And so, Brist had considered himself a bishop, and there had been a bishop of each new village that was founded, though this was essentially an honorary title, granting no real power over other spirit-talkers. It only became an official position when the Order established its hierarchy in 404. (Some chose to retroactively refer to Brist as the first Arch-bishop, though that was itself merely honorary, as the term can only truly be applied to a spirit-talker who presides over multiple villages, whereas there was only the one village in Brist's time.) The actual first Arch-bishop of the Order was a spirit-talker named Malcolm, who served in that position until his death in 435.

However, this desire to become organized was not the only thing that led to the creation of the Order. Another important part involved something called the Prophet Movement, which lasted from 399 to 404. More will be said of that in its own article, but it was something which Malcolm and many of the other spirit-talkers of his day were very much opposed to. It was actually comprised of several different groups, some of whom were spirit-talkers themselves; and most of these groups were at odds with one another, as well as with the larger body of spirit-talkers. It was the effort, led by Malcolm, to put an end to the Prophet Movement that in large part led to the official establishment of the Order and the founding of Monab.

Once that Movement had been ended, and Monab founded, the Order quickly established new routines for itself, most famously the annual Pilgrimage, which takes place in the month of Su'gin, when every village sends spirit-talkers to attend a conference in Monab. Among other things, this conference would involve discussions about what writings to add to the official compilation of the O'Gas. Also, it was at this time that We'ginday was established as a weekly day for services held in churches, for the community to gather and fellowship with each other, as well as talking to spirit-talkers about any spiritual matters of interest to them. (We'ginday being the day of the week on which Brist's Day falls, the day religion was first conceived of on the Land.) Of course, since the earliest days of spirit-talkers, they had served as spiritual guides for their communities, and people were always able to come to them with questions or seeking comfort, or for whatever reason, at any time of the week. And this was still the case, though it should be noted that once the Order was established, bishops and vice-bishops had little time for such unscheduled matters. It should also be noted that there are, to this day, spirit-talkers who don't take an active part in the organizational aspects of the Order (or whatever religion they adhere to). Many simply talk to spirits as friends, or seeking guidance for themselves; though they may also help friends or family who come to them for advice, even if they don't make spirit-talking a profession.

As the Order became more and more orderly, they continued to hope that the secular world would follow its example, and become more orderly itself. In particular, they hoped for greater interaction between villages. Of course there had always been traders and adventurers, among others, who traveled between villages, and contact increased now that spirit-talkers were traveling more frequently (not just in Su'gin, but throughout the year, to a lesser extent), as well as with the distribution of new copies of the O'Gas and other publications. But the majority of people still stayed in one place all their lives, being content to read or hear stories about other villages from travelers. And to be sure, every village tended to its own affairs, and didn't try to influence any other village. For now, the Order contented itself with whatever small increase in communication they might be inspiring, but of course that contentment wouldn't last forever, as obviated by the eventual Coming of the Order (LY 897-903).

In 902, the Protestant Movement was started by Bishop Therman of Plist, in dissent against The Plan of Bishop Kizin of Monab. Since that time, Protestantism has come to be seen by some as a separate religion, distinct from The Order. However, followers of The Order and Protestants alike actually practice the same religion (as do Independents). Therefore they are technically considered different denominations, rather than different religions. While the term "the Order" was once synonymous with "religion," on the Land, that is no longer quite accurate. There is therefore now no universal name for the single religion practiced on the Land. But to avoid confusion, followers of the Order are often said to be practicing "Orthodoxy," to distinguish themselves from Protestants. So there is now one Orthodox Arch-bishop and one Protestant Arch-bishop, as well as both Orthodox and Protestant bishops in each village.

See alsoEdit

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