Oracleanism

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Oracleum Maior, headquarter of the Oraclean faith in the city of Fincosia, Forlini
Oracleanism, or Religio Oracleus, is a monotheistic, plural and mystic religion based on a book deemed sacred called The Holy Dominuli, considered by the followers of the faith to contain the verbatim word of God as well as the verbatim word of the founder of the religion, Vriziri. The religion originated in what was known as Great Minore, or the modern-day Forlini. Its adherents are called Oracleans.

Oracleans believe that God is one and unequaled and that the purpose of existence is to reach enlightenment of the human mind, guided by the divine grace and permission of God, in order to spread peace and harmony to all lands through the teachings of Prophet Vriziri. Oracleans believe that the Prophet Vriziri was ordained by God to lead several groups of people from various lands throughout the world to a promised land called Viminacia and Forlini. The area includes the modern-day Empire of Forlini and its Dominion, the Dominion of Kronavia and the Dominion of Viminacia.

Oracleans believe that the purpose of the exodus that god commanded unto the several groups of people called “wayfarers” were to set the people free of tyrannical rules, and to set an example for all humankind to strive for better conditions.

Religious concepts and practices include the professions of the creed which are basic concepts and acts of worship and following the Twelve Primordial Laws of God, observing what is good, preventing what is evil and prospering the community.

Nowadays, Oracleans are an extreme minority group in Forlini. In a recent census conducted by the Forlinian Government (2013), the number of Oracleans reported were 12,800. At least half of them resides in the city of Fincosia and the rest in Mianna.

Etymology and meaning

Oracleanism is the english word used to describe the religion that is natively called as “Religio Oracleus”, translates to the “religion of Oracleus”. Oracleus means God or “divine” in ancient Fincosian language.

History

The First Major Sustenance

The nutritia, or sustenance, of God is the central concept of Oracleanism. It is a concept that God is, essentially in His truest nature, a Sustainer of the world. In fact, Oracleans view themselves as bound to God by a series of Divine Sustenances. The Vrizirian Sustenance was the first and one of the major sustenances. Given by God circa 1300 B.C to His Prophet Vriziri, born in the ancient city of Memphis (in modern-day Egypt), the first sustenance specifically favoured various tribes of the Old World, from the Middle East to Europe, with a right to settle in what is now the Dominion of Thelassia located in the Atlantic Ocean, a land known by the time as “Terra Ferrus” or the wild land.

Prophet Vriziri was born to a Persian expatriate family residing in the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis during the reign of the infamous Pharaoh Amenhotep IV,famously known as Akhenaten, who embraced monotheism and worshipped the Aten, a solar deity. Contemporary scholars such as Mary Hellensford Montclair has argued that the revolutionary shift of the ancient Egyptian religion to the teaching of Akhenaten may have influenced Prophet Vriziri in his teachings later on.

The First Sustenance, was given by Oracleus or “the God” to Prophet Vriziri in the city of Akhetaten when he was 21. God commanded him to gather the people and free them from oppression from their earthly governments. The Prophet Vriziri managed to gather “three tribes from Egypt, each amounting to twelve families, seven families from Gaza and Jerusalem, two families from Tyre, twelve families from Uruk, eighteen families from Susa, twenty families from Troy, twelve families from Athens, four tribes from Tarvisium, each amounting to thirty families, eight tribes from Albintimilium, each amounting to twelve families, and twelve tribes from Gavrinis, each amounting to twenty families” along His journey to what is now Forlini. These people were given the name “Believers of the Truth” or Twelmin tal Versch by Oracleus, through a revelation of a verse that makes up the Holy Dominuli.

According to the Holy Dominuli, it was by God’s decree that the Believers of the Truth first settled in Viminacia. During the journey across the ocean, God revealed to Prophet Vriziri that a chosen daughter belonging to a family of the first believers was to become their earthly leader, and she was to be called Lavia.

This embodies one of the concepts of Oracleanism, which is just and fair rule by an earthly leader guided by a prophet of God, bound by rules and laws of God. Violating the rules of God would endanger the link that ties humanity with God through His Divine Sustenance. When this divine link is broken with God, humanity risks facing His anger and sustenance is not given. Though God is according to Oracleans, ever-merciful in His nature, nevertheless He alone has the right and authority over the universe and He may, to show rebuke upon humankind, impose tribulations on earth as a way to remind humanity of the evil they carry out.

The Second Sustenance

On making landfall in Viminacia, it is said that God revealed to Prophet Vriziri that the safety and security of His people are a sustenance from Him. God also set out rules in building a community that is favourable to Him. Upon their settlement in the land of Viminacia, Oracleus revealed to Vriziri that the message of the oneness of God, of everything Good, remains the same forever and that He has sent and will send His messengers “of those alike to you, Vriziri” to every nation on earth so they may know the one Divine Truth until a final, pure and complete revelation is spread by a final messenger, whose name was not revealed to Vriziri. As a sign of Gratitude, Vriziri vowed to lead the people in worship until the end of the world.

The Second Sustenance therefore provided the people of the time with safety, security and knowledge of God’s ever continuing revelations to humankind, spread over lands and nations through different messengers.

The Period of Learning

Shortly after the initial settlements of the believers in Viminacia, it is said that God decreed to Vriziri that a period of learning was to be commenced. During this time, God revealed knowledge and wisdom for the “goodness of the world”. Verses of the Holy Dominuli revealed during this time often incorporate themes of nature, agriculture, hunting, governance, law, love and jurisprudence.

According to the Holy Dominuli, during this period a revelation was divulged commanding the people to cross their way to mainland Europe in order to spread the knowledge to other nations. At this time, their leader Lavia was 19 years of age. She sailed off along with several people to spread the teaching to the tribes in Europe; many historians in Forlini argue that Lavia may have been the first ruler of the Forloran tribe, whose members inhabited what is now Forlini.

Among the verses revealed during this period was Sacra 21:1, commonly known as the verse of monotheism:

Before Me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after Me. I am ever present and All-Knowing, to you are the sustenances that come from My Kingdom in heaven. Therefore do not beseech any god than Me, for there is no god but Me.

The Holy Dominuli, Sacra 21:1

Sacra 21:2-8 deals primarily with resource exploitation and fair labour:

Now if you obey Me fully and keep My rules, then you are among those I favour and evil will evade your presence. Although the whole earth is Mine, all that is on earth I have made to sustain you and your people. Therefore, reap the earth of its produce, all that is in the sea, on earth and in the sky are permissible for you to harvest. Yet reap responsibly, for those who harvest in vain are among the lost. When you employ others to work in the field, treat them as if they were your family. Do not treat them unjustly, for I despise those who do injustice.

The Holy Dominuli, Sacra 21:2-8

Beliefs

God

Oracleanism is based on a strict monotheism and a belief in one single, indivisible, non-compound God. The “Hatav” prayer, one of the most important prayers in Oracleanism, encapsulates the monotheistic nature of Oracleanism: “Hatav Da Nasvah, Hatav Shok Varai” or “the Lord is our God. The Lord is One.”

God in Oracleanism is eternal and ever-present and is not bound to time or physics. The Oraclean view is that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. He is viewed as a personal god who responds whenever a person in need or distress calls him, but may choose to prolong the emergence of His aid for a greater good reason that is beyond human comprehension.

A simple formula describing God’s nature was delivered to the people by Vriziri during the period of learning. The formula encapsulates the basic understanding of God and His role in the universe:

"Oracleus is the greatest God; His power is supreme, universal, and eternal. Because He is omnipotent he needs no subordinates. No other being can countermand his wishes. Events that harm his creations are orchestrated by nature, which is given permission by Him to work in its character as a driving force of the world. Though he is omnibenevolent, he may also give tribulations to remind people of the evil they carry out. Both the evil and good of the world are part of his plan. There are no other gods but Oracleus."

The Twelve Primordial Laws of God

The most famous sustenances of God is the Twelve Primordial Laws or the Duodecanomos. The Duodecanomos comprises the most fundamental rules of humankind. It prohibits the worship of other gods or the illustration of God in physical form; it says that each week the believers must observe a sacred day of worship, the Adhradh (Monday in current calendar); and it prohibits certain actions, such as murder and adultery.

In addition to the Duodecanomos, the Holy Dominuli includes numerous laws that God is said to have conveyed to the believers indirectly through His verbatim conversation with Vriziri, both in Viminacia and Forlini, among other occasions. These laws also form part of the Divine Rules, of which the Duodecanomos is also a part of.

The following is the Duodecanomos in Viminacian and English:

  1. Tasch Manata Varai, ta HaTav (I am Thy Lord, Thy God)
  2. Den latarevonacht al loHTav a Tasch (Do not worship other god than Me)
  3. Den veleis na sach otiadoxhte eidoleacht i otiadosxhte imitarri ti otias emfanisialacht pu avidunamacht se Tasch, to einai ston urana evtanacht i osa eineamacht schti gli cata i osa einai sta nera cata pu ti gi (Do not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of which appearance you attribute to me, that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth)
  4. Den mineacht klepsea o tineacht do enai dica sacht (Do not steal what is not yours)
  5. Den spreagtar fuath i mo ainm (Do not incite hate in My Name)
  6. Comi̱theíte trofiacht moschta (Remember My Sustenance upon you)
  7. TonOracha do matair ach athair (Honour your mother and father)
  8. Den Mahrach (Do not kill/murder)
  9. Den namacht improidi an finnei bréagach (Do not bear false witness)
  10. Den namacht fochail do harsacht (Do not trespass your neighbour)
  11. Sciochana Paich (Spread peace)
  12. Sciochana Iolas e schemarocha (Spread knowledge and prosperity)

According to a calculation in the Varachnaschta Dominuli (priestly interpretation of the Holy Dominuli), there are a total of 800 rules in the Holy Dominuli. They address many aspects of the believers’ life. Some compose what we would now consider civil law, describing systems of government, regulating property and ownership, and setting rules and guidelines for dealing with cases of murder, theft and great vices, among other matters. Others concern ordination of clergies and their roles.

Still others govern the behaviour of individual believer, particularly instructing them on matters encompassing what they may
 eat, to the fair and generous treatment of other people of other beliefs. Generally, the Divine Laws aimed to establish a society that was just, by the standards of the day, and distinctive in its service to God and knowledge, according to Oracleans.

In theory, Oracleans consider the Divine Laws perpetually binding. However, the laws have been subject to centuries of changes, and many are no longer applicable in practice. For example, certain laws concerning the sacrificial rites have not been practiced by Oracleans since the Monarch is no longer an Oraclean. One of the basic requirement of being an Oraclean is to believe that there were prophets sent to other nations before them and there will certainly be other prophets in the future, sent to other nations; all of them teaching the same Divine Truth. As a result of this, Oracleans were open to many new foreign religions, often replacing or renewing the Divine Laws, as long as they teach the same basic teachings. Ironically, as a direct result of this, the number of Oracleans remaining in the faith only amounts to around twelve thousands.

Prophets

Oracleanism explicitly teaches the existence of God’s prophets. A prophet is one inspired by God either directly or indirectly, through His angels to deliver a message for a specific purpose. God's calling as a prophet is not to elevate the individual in question for their own glory, but for the glory of God and to turn people to him. In the whole teaching of Oracleanism, God does not mention the names of other prophets beside Vriziri, but clearly revealed that other prophets are also sent to other nations through the course of time until a final prophet is sent to “seal” the sequence of prophethoods. Many Oracleans nowadays believe that the final prophet of God had already been sent with the advent of Islam, but some have maintained that the sequence has not yet been sealed.

By the 15th century, Supreme Proxy Galvanius IV in his encyclical “Te Deum Gloria” compiled a list of known prophets beside Vriziri, identified by their extraordinary nature. This included Abrahamic prophets as well as those from other civilisations such as Akhenaten, Gautama Buddha and Almira of Syracuse.

There are several types of prophets mentioned in the Holy Dominuli, each having different rank and missions. The highest of all is the Messenger Prophet. The following is a list of types of prophets:

  1. Messenger Prophet: The highest rank of prophethood. Messenger Prophets were given the task to deliver humankind to salvation. They were each given a Holy Book and were sent to various nations on earth. They had a duty to proclaim the message from God and to lead their people into the worship of God.
  2. Prophet: Prophets were given the task to deliver a group of people to salvation, through Divine teachings. Though not given a Holy Book, they nevertheless taught Divine teachings that were most likely recorded by their disciples/followers into scrolls called canticles. Notable canticles include the Canticle of Prophet Lavhairdia and the Canticle of Prophet Schilodia.
  3. Seer: Those who have the ability to speak with otherworldly beings, e.g angels. Current teachings of Oracleanism do not consider seers as prophets. It was told in the Royal Chronicles that one famous seer called Urima helped Queen Amadala avoid a civil war that was to break in Helvet, in modern-day Forlini.

Revealed books

Oracleans believe that God has, over time, revealed and sent down holy books to all the nations on earth and that the process would continue until the arrival of the last prophet of God who, upon his advent, would seal the Sequence of the Prophets. The Oraclean dogma does not specifically mention the names of the revealed books other than the Holy Dominuli but Oracleans generally believe the Abrahamic books and those of other monotheistic religions from around the world to be the revealed books.

Saints

Organisation and demographics

Oracleanism is led by clergy who have received the Priestly Mandate, customarily at the end of their seminary period. There are four levels of clergy, the Procuriate (Proxies, but contemporarily referred to as Oraclean Bishops), whose members are usually given a geographical area to lead called Tracta Procuria; the Auxiliate (Priests), meaning helper in Latin, who usually help and assist the Proxies by leading local Tractas; the Infrate, who serve the Proxies and Priests in a variety of ministerial roles; and the Saecularate (Secular Clergies), who usually serve as Clerks of most Oracleums, carrying out day-to-day administration works. Ultimately leading the entire Oraclean organisation is the Procuriator of Fincosia, called the Supreme Proxy. In parallel to the Tractan structure are a variety of religious orders and institutions that function autonomously, often subject only to the authority of the Supreme Proxy, though sometimes subject to the local proxy.

The office of the Supreme Proxy is known as the Supreme Procuriate. The Oraclean doctrine holds that Prophet Vriziri mandated the Supreme Procuriate to ensure the continuation of the religion. His jurisdiction is called the "Holy Tracta”. Directly serving the Proxy is the Procurian Council, the central governing body that administers the day-to-day business of the Oracleum Maior, the headquarter of the Oraclean Organisation. The Supreme Proxy is also the Chief Prefect of the City of Fincosia. But since the death of Proxy Cyneric IV, the Supreme Procuriate has been vacant due to the insufficient number of the faithful residing in the City of Fincosia as well as the inadequate amount of the entire Oraclean clergy; there needs to be least five distinct Tracta Procurias for the Supreme Procuriate to function.

The position of Archproxy is a rank of honour bestowed by Supreme Proxies on certain clergy, such as leaders within the Procurian Council, Procuriators serving in major cities and distinguished theologians and even scientists. For advice and assistance in governing, the Supreme Proxy may turn to the College of Archproxies.

Currently the highest occupied position in the Oraclean organisation is the Archprocuriator of Ralegianum, traditionally leading the Tracta Procuria of the same name over the modern-day city of Raleigh and also first among peers in the College of Archproxies. As of 2014, the College of Archproxies is occupied by only two Archproxies, Monsignor Adalan, Archproxy of Ralegianum and Monsignor Jovan, Archproxy of Mianna. It used to consists of eighty Archproxies at the peak of Oracleanism in 1582.

Since the death of Proxy Cyneric IV, no Oratorias have been celebrated inside the main Oratio chamber of Oracleum Maior in Fincosia but several minor chapels inside the complex are regularly attended by religious orders such as the Order of Prophet Vriziri and the Order of the Truth.

Worship

Daily prayers

Traditionally, Oracleans recite prayers three times daily, Aurora, Meridia, and Trathnona with a fourth prayer, Noctem added on Adhradh and holidays.

Most of the daily prayers in a traditional Oraclean service can be recited in solitary, but communal prayer or the Oratoria is mandatory every Monday. Communal daily prayer requires a quorum of five adult Oracleans, called an Exigenti.

In addition to prayer services, observant traditional Oracleans recite prayers and benedictions throughout the day when performing various acts. Prayers are recited upon waking up in the morning, before eating or drinking different foods, after eating a meal, and so on.

Oratoria

In addition to daily prayers, several acts of worship must be celebrated communally at an Oracleum. This includes the Adhradh Oratoria, celebrated every Monday to commemorate the Divine Sustenances that Oracleans have received. An Oratoria is led by at least one priest and one celebrant. Several types of Oratoria exist, each specifically celebrating a particular divine mystery. However, the Oratoria can be celebrated outside the Oracleum during journeys, preferably outdoors with a requirement of at least one priest.

The Oratoria is "one single act of worship", but consists of different elements, which always include "the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God for all his Sustenances, above all the gift of knowledge; the consecration of food; and participation in the banquet by receiving the Holy Nutritia“.

Oracleum

The building in which Oracleans celebrate the Oratoria is called Oracleum. It is central to Oraclean life, as most religious rites are performed therein. There are several forms of Oracleum, the Basilica, which is a type of Oracleum with special ceremonial rights given by the Supreme Proxy and a distinct architectural design; the Antethrona, which houses the seat of a Procuriator (bishop); and the Adtransire, which is the most common form of Oracleum and features basic components of one.

Structure

An Adtransire Oracleum generally consists of an Atrium(fn) (courtyard), Antechamber, main chamber, a raised altar and a sanctuary separated by a wall and a door. In addition to those, a more complex structure is present inside Antethronas and Basilicas usually with a very large and open atrium, a logia, a throne room for Procuriators, annexes and a garden.