The Archpriest/ess is the supreme head of the High Path, and ultimate leader of the priesthood of the Faith, which spans nations.
The priesthood of the High Path is divided into orders devoted to the major Magedar, or saints; each of these orders is lead by a High Priest/ess, The collection of these leaders form the Conclave of the Silent, the highest governing body of the Faith. From among their members they elect the Archpriest/ess, who traditionally then rules for life, over both the religion and the island nation of Deici.
Leadership of the FaithEdit
Elected for life, the Archpriest/ess leads the Conclave of the Silent, and therefore the entirety of the Faith worldwide. Much of this is accomplished through the Conclave of the Silent, which also serves as a sort of advisory council for the Archriest/ess. The Archpriest/ess is elected from among the Conclave members, but the specific Order from which the elected comes is often significant as well.
The Archpriest/ess is entitled to wear robes and vestments of white, as are the Conclave members, as they indicate the purity and oneness of both the office and of The One. Only the Archpriest/ess may accent this regalia with the color gold. The combination of gold and white is, therefore, strictly limited to the highest office.The regalia of the office include a staff topped by the symbol of the faith, or a single, smooth orb.
As leader of the Faith, the Archpriest/ess is the supreme earthly authority in matters of doctrine and theology. It is most common to allow debate and discussion within the Conclave on such matters, in search of consensus, but this is not always possible.
Theologically, the Archpriest/ess is believed to represent the presence of the One in the world, a single beam of light split into many by the prism of the Conclave and the rest of the priesthood.
Ruler of DeiciEdit
The city of Deici, as a major port, center of trade, and hub of global travel routes, is ruled, generally, by its eleven most prominent citizens, the Exalted. The Exalted owe allegiance to the Archpriest/ess, and usually govern the city according to the general guidance received from that office. The rest of the island, and its sacred sites, are administered directly by the Archpriest/ess and his or her staff.
The Archpriest/ess gains a great income from the taxation of trade and duty on goods on the island. In addition to this, the coffers of the Faith fill with contributions from the devout, which come from across the world. The Archpriest/ess therefore controls a mighty fortune in addition to a powerful nation and religion.
The investment of a new Archpriest/ess begins with his or election to the Pearl Chair of Aratar, at which time the newly elected is ritually bathed in waters scented and purified with specific herbs and oils. He or she is then dressed in newly made robes of white and gold, and the regalia of the office. These include,
1. The Cowl of Aratar: This is a white cloth draped over the Archpriest/esss head like a hood; it is trimmed in runes and passages worked in golden thread. It symbolizes the descent of knowledge, wisdom and authroity from the One to the leader of the Faith.
2. The Akasar: A sash, worn across the chest or around the waist as a matter of person taste. Traditionally, it is gold in colour, with writings and sacred passages worked on it in white. It is sometimes worked in another color combination; it has been seen with red or gold lettering on black, white on blue, and so on. It symbolizes the endless knot of the Faith, and the underlying oneness that informs the false seperation of the visible world.
3. The Urthas: A staff, usually of wood and topped with a knot, or a smooth sphere. It is usually white and accented in gold, and represents the unity of the Faithful, as a community under the One.
4. The Sareen: A shining dagger, the make of which is matter of taste. It is always carried by the Archpriest/ess and represents the sharp, cutting power of rationality, discernment, and logic.
5. Bukhar and Sa'atar: The piece of regalia passed from Archpriest/ess to Archpriest/ess, rather than being made anew. They consist of two stones, it is said each is black on one side and white on the other. Their use and meaning are a secret known only to the Archpriest/ess.
6. Finally, the new Archpriest/ess is given a sealed letter from his or her predecessor, containing advice and wisdom that remains between them; the letter is burned after its consultation.
Formally, the Archpriest/ess alone is qualified to perform the Acceptance of the Benediction, a ritual central to the Faith performed on Endless Day. A corresponding ritual, performed on Longest Night, is also the province of the Archpriest/ess alone.