Twelfth-Century Christianity

It is impossible to separate the works of God from the works of man. No earthly affair can take place without God, through the saints, witnessing and approving such an act. Oaths taken by justices are sworn before God. Writs of possession of land are made in the name of the monarch, whose power has been bestowed upon them by God. In all things the Church has the right to adjudicate - and the power to punish. Pope Lucia II.

The Roman Catholic Church in England is rich. It owns one-fifth of the wealth of all the country, and lies claim to a tithe - one-tenth of the income of all Christians. While priests are not meant to charge for baptisms, marriages and burials, there is a strong custom of making large gifts to the local church on all these occasions. Those who own land are also expected to contribute to the upkeep of the local Church, and the levees can be heavy. However, the church funds are due to the monastery who own the church, who pay the local priest a stipend - usually a pittance - to run the services.

The priests of the Catholic Church recognise the Pope in Rome as their spiritual leader; however, following the Concordat of Worms, they also recognise that the monarch has the power to oversee the appointment of new bishops. In practice, this means the monarch has the right to choose the bishops they please.

Priests are meant to wear monochrome clothing, avoid taverns and tournaments, and never carry weapons. With England in the state it is in, most priests are choosing to ignore most of these rules. Wearing priestly robes sets you up as a rich target for robbers, and carrying weapons is a sensible precaution. Priests are also not permitted to marry; if a priest is found to have married, he must pay a large sum to the monarch. As no priest can legally marry, any spouses must be paramours and mistresses, and all children must be illegitimate.

Currently, the Church has come into funds: the successful suppression of the pagan cults and the claiming of their lands and goods has led to an excess of riches. These are being used to build glorious cathedrals to the Glory of God and the patron saints. Several more cathedrals are planned: Durham needs expanding, Norwich is barely started on, and York has fallen down again. Westminster Abbey is also looking shabby and needs work.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the supreme Archbishop in the land and reports only to the Pope. Any claims to the contrary made by the Archbishop of York are scurrilous lies.

Priests can marry, bury and baptise parishioners, and are permitted to perform Christian rituals. Priests can consecrate holy water.

Bishops can ordain priests, consecrate churches, and confirm the faithful. They are required to read Latin. Bishops can consecrate holy oil.

The Faithful

Most English people only attend mass on major feast days and some Sundays at their local parish church. They do not necessarily behave respectfully towards their priest or any saints except their own: they may shout, gossip, chat, or go to church as an excuse to meet their paramour. The priest is lucky to ever get a moment's quiet from the time the congregation enter to the time they hasten out of the door to get to the local tavern.

The general public are not expected to involve themselves in the services, except when it comes time to give money. Nor are they expected to understand the service, which is conducted in Latin.

Lay people are required to confess their sins once a year. The process required is contrition of the heart; confession of the mouth; affliction of the flesh through pain, physical self-denial, prayer, and charitable giving (to the church).

Most people are not literate and have not read the Bible. They might be familiar with some of the stories from pictures and mystery plays. The easiest access to doctrine is through the contemplation of religious symbols. In earlier days the Church took the symbols of the Old Gods and repurposed them as Christian symbols; now that it is difficult to tell if a devotional item is consecrated to a Saint or an Old God, some priests think this was a bad idea.

For a severe penance, or as an act of extreme devotion, making the pilgrimage to the relics of Saint James at Santiago in Spain is considered notable and will wipe out almost all sins from the pilgrim's soul.

The Religious

Those who choose to dedicate their lives to God join various Orders: the best known are:

The Order of Saint Edith

  • Committed to personal poverty, chastity and obedience to their superiors in the monastery, the great aim of the Order of Saint Edith is for her shrines to become as rich as possible. Having exhausted the pagan wealth, they turn to the Fae, and the tales of dragon hordes.
  • It is popular to become a devotee of Saint Edith on your deathbed, ensuring a swift passage into the afterlife. Unfortunately, some take the vows and then survive, and find that all their property is forfeit and they are being sent off after dragons with little training or experience.
  • The penalty for leaving the order is public disgrace and a large fine.

The Order of Saint Galahad

  • Human will is the enemy, to be targeted and broken. Monks renounced property, family, sex, greed, violence and self-will, and are required to submit to physical discipline. Monks who die and are found to possess personal possessions cannot be buried in the monastery cemetary.
  • Monks must take great care that all their utterances are purely to aid the worship of God through the mercy and devotion of Saint Galahad.
  • Most members of this Order were given to the monks as children. Many of them escape as soon as possible and vow to die before returning.
  • Anyone who enters the Order as an adult has their property go into royal custody and their spouse and children become royal wards, who can be married off as the royal sherriff sees fit. As a desperate attempt to start new lives, some join the Order for this purpose, then escape to make new lives elsewhere for themselves.
  • The penalty for leaving the Order is torture and death wherever the traitor is found.
  • The penalty for sexual intercourse while a member of the Order is a whipping and to be forced to torture your lover.

The Order of Our Lady of the Shadows


Concepts of the Holy


It is possible to use rituals to make items holy. However, the items used in a blessing ceremony elements need to be exorcised before they were safe to use in blessings as one could expect natural substances to harbour malign influences from the Old Gods. Holy water is the most powerful tool the Church is willing to see used on a daily basis. Holy oil is solely for the use of priests, for special occasions, such as the burning of a heretic. It is recommended that fonts be kept locked and sealed to prevent holy water from being stolen by cultists to use in debauched 'rituals'.

The Fae

The Catholic Church has no problem with any Fae willing to accept God as God and Lord of All and to renounce any ideals which are not those of the Church or the Saints. Ideally, Fae, like humans, should choose a patron Saint and dedicate their lives to the worship of that Saint. The Fae show their trust in humans by accepting our religion; we, in turn, show our trust in them by not crafting, blessing or using the harmful substance called Cold Iron. The cults of the old gods still lurk: it is the duty of the Church to wipe them from the earth and to bring down their heathen idols. If they Fae are willing to help us in these goals, they are valued allies to be protected from those malign, anti-Christian sects who wish them harm.


Cathedrals could offer asylum. Once they had reached a cathedral altar, a criminal could no longer be seized for execution or mutilation and need not come to court but could choose instead to 'abjure the realm' (leaving never to return). They lost their land and chattels but their body would be safe.

Breaking sanctuary (entering a church to kill or drag out a criminal) is an offence and is punishable at the pleasure of the local magistrate.


Check your local cathedral carefully. Look for traces of heathen worship, or spilt blood, or incorrectly performed rituals. Consecrate it daily. Keep the candles burning.

You can still perform rituals in polluted cathedrals and churches. These can have interesting effects. Look how many times they've rebuilt York Cathedral since 1066 - and it isn't standing properly yet.

Be on your guard.


Parish priests possibly can perform curses, but it requires some difficult Latin, or so you hear. The worst thing they can do is excommunicate you - right?

Divine Power

Those strong in their faith are able to ask the saints to intercede on their behalf and expect a response. This typically requires a ritual requiring the priest to sacrifice their time - or something else - in a specific fashion. The effects can vary from healing the sick through blessing the harvest or granting protection on a journey to summoning the spirit of Saint Michael the Archangel to assist them in battle against enemies of God.

However, there are some things that seem to be the explicit purview of the Heathen God's powers. In particular the following are not within the purview of any known saint:

  • Control over the raw elements of nature such as storms or fire.
  • Control of wild plants or creatures (civilized agriculture is Christian however!).
  • Personal Vengeance (though being the agent of Divine Retribution is a good thing).
christianity.txt · Last modified: 2015/10/06 16:47 by gm_jonathan
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