Paternoster Ministry
Logo%20-%20Ministry%2C%20Paternoster.gif

Nature: Mage Organization
Faction: Pyramid
Status: Greater Ministry
Patron Exarch: The Father
Favored Prelacy: Doctrine
Arcanum Specialty: Prime
Responsibilities: Spirituality (and the corruption thereof), Religion, censorship, dogma, canon, heterodoxy, cults, beliefs, faith-based persecution, inquisition, crusades/jihad, fanaticism, "moral guardians"/"will nobody think of the children?!?", witch-hunts & suppressing occult knowledge
Soundtrack: The Plagues (Thus Saith the Lord) - The Prince of Egypt

It takes faith to manufacture faith, and devotion to deceive the devoted. Look at any religious scandal and you won’t see cynics at the top. The truly corrupt believe they’re so holy that the rules they preach to the masses don’t apply. Paternoster’s faithful — the hierodules — effectively enforce the Quiescence because their faith is strong enough to conquer moral contradictions. The Father’s elect believe that He mandates one religion for the Awakened, and many, many others for Sleepers. Let each kind keep to its religion and the world will abide in harmony. Sleeper religions are lies, true, but they’re holy lies, designed by the Exarchs to keep their children safe and passive.

.

Rote Skills

  • Academics
  • Occult
  • Expression

.

Philosophy

Hierodules are willing slaves of the Father. They manufacture religions in His name. They don’t believe that Sleepers should learn the Father’s doctrine because they are imperfect beings, consigned to the prison of flesh. They’d insult the true God if they prayed to Him. The Father only wants pure, Awakened worship. Sleepers should practice false religions – but not all false religions.

They can still blaspheme. If their false faiths include coded Supernal reality, or include tenets that hint of true, Awakened enlightenment, they presume upon the Exarchs’ dominion. Mages outside the Seers of the Throne could properly worship at the Father’s altar, but by opposing the Throne they reveal themselves as heretics. Convert them, or kill them.

Religions and myths still contain too much of it, however. These secrets emanate from the Watchtowers, Awakened blasphemers or ancient history, and worm their way into scriptures and sermons. Thus, hierodules are among the most dedicated occultists and mythographers. To conceal deep truths, you have to learn to recognize them, even when they hide inside metaphors and legends. The Ministry hoards myths, holy writings and grimoires to keep them out of impure hands.

They also use religion to enforce the Exarchs' divine will. Sleepers should divide themselves into petty, dogmatic sects. Tolerance is an arrogant disregard for the Father’s will. He wants squabbling cults - it’s the Sleepers’ ordained Path. The masses should learn morality from faith & habit instead of reason and evidence. Reason presumes to truth, but ultimate truth belongs to the Father.

The Ministry of Paternoster uses many Christian trappings, but it isn’t a Christian sect. Veritas stopped believing in Jesus as soon as he met the Father, but he still kept the altars, robes & sermons of his old tradition. His followers do the same, though they draw from all cultures now. Ironically, while modern hierodules scorn Sleeper religions, the Father doesn’t tell His servants exactly how to worship Him. They must rifle through the Lie for Supernal traces as much as other mages.

Over time, hierodules have constructed “pure” versions of several Sleeper religions, syntheses of multiple faiths, and cults of their own invention. These religions are not absolutely true but every element contains magically effective elements, so it draws adherents closer to God than the Sleepers’ superstitions. Besides, it’s as close to the Father’s reality as his priests can get.

.

Teachings

The hierodules’ beliefs can be summed up in the Roman Creed. Veritas composed it in Latin, but the Ministry permits very loose translations. This symbolically acknowledges that only the Father knows the ultimate truth. These variants lead to divergent core doctrines, but most pylons agree on the following basics:

We believe in the Father, ruler of the Supernal Heavens and the Ashen Earth, and the Exarchs, many yet indivisible, who are emanations of God;
The Ministry doesn’t worship the Father exclusively. He is first among the Exarchs. The Iron Seals are considered to be many in one. Hierodules liken it to the Holy Trinity or the Hindu religious concept that many gods are God; the Father is the face of God that mages are supposed to approach; Seers who follow the other Exarchs are not blasphemers, but they’ve chosen a less efficacious path to enlightenment. The Father is sometimes thought of like the Christian, Trinitarian Father, but there is no Son who intercedes; that’s a lie for Sleepers.

…who Awakened incarnate, Ascended into heaven, cast out demons and false gods and offered Atlantis in the first perfect sacrifice, for the purity of heaven;
The Paternoster believes the Exarchs were predestined to Ascend and thus, were already God manifest, even while they dwelled in Atlantis. They Awakened to purify heaven, whose realms were ridden with false gods, and whose powers were stolen by the heretical Atlanteans.

…who for us and our salvation, offered the second perfect sacrifice of mortal flesh to become the face and voice of God;
The Exarchs abandoned the flesh and Ascended to the Supernal Realms to become emanations of God, so that mages could worship them and travel the path to Ascension.

…who protect heaven from falsehood, and defend Creation from damnation;
The Exarchs alone are responsible for checking the Abyss and guarding the Supernal Realms. Heaven can never be annihilated, but according to the Paternoster, God will withdraw the Supernal Realms if the Fallen World’s blasphemy grows too powerful. This is the Paternoster apocalypse.

…and who have demanded of us, the Awakened, a 3rd perfect sacrifice, that we might Ascend.
Mages may worship the Exarchs and Ascend if they follow the Exarchs’ example, by providing the third perfect sacrifice: the Fallen World. They must cleanse it of sin, including Sleeper magical knowledge and Pentacle blasphemy. Every sorcerer is responsible for a fraction of the third sacrifice. The gravity and specifics of every mage’s duty is an open question, and the source of numerous arguments about dharma predestination and fate.

.

View on Sleepers

The Ministry of Paternoster desires a fearful populace, down on its knees, faces in the dirt. Such is the love of the Paternoster for the Sleepers that it bestows upon them the gift of certainty, devoid of the cruel burden of choice. Those positioned within theocracies or other religious hierarchies are favored by the Father’s Seers, though not exclusively. Anyone whose belief in a revealed religion can be used to bend her to the service of the Lie might be selected, and likely through a process that makes her feel “chosen” or “called.”

The most important thing is faith: any symbol in which a Sleeper invests a sense of his soul’s identity and his spiritual wellbeing can be exploited by Paternoster, to the express end of making him a holy warrior, campaigning proselytizer, or even lamb for the slaughter. Because people of faith come from all walks of life, this Ministry has perhaps the most latitude in choosing itself Sleeper agents and the most uses toward which to set them. While this occasionally dilutes the focus of Paternoster operations, it also makes them incredibly flexible for an organization founded, in large part, upon profound intolerance.

.

Ultimate Objectives

The Ministry of Paternoster wants Pentacle mages to convert or die. Hierodules don’t act out their wishes in wild killing sprees, of course. Holy war is a calculated, organized activity predicated on practical as well as spiritual benefits. Conquest purifies enemy territory, but it’s also conquest — it puts more of the world under the Throne’s heel, and offers spoils to the victors. Crusades can be lucrative, so Paternoster’s Templars don’t always pay as much attention to converting heretics as the Father’s doctrine says they should. Many hierodules aren’t as callous. They’d rather bring order mages into the fold. The rule is “Convert, but verify.” The Ministry monitors turncoats for signs of backsliding, and Seers might apply a bit of mind magic to help new Soldiers keep their commitments.

.

Hierodules

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License