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Přvdanism is a religion based on the life and teachings of Mislav Mršič, a prophet born in modern day Ostrovia in 342 CE. It is a small religion, with a majority of the faith's 29 million followers living in Ostrovia and the Ostrovan diaspora in neighbouring countries. Přvdanists believe in one god, Svjobog, his six intercessory angels, and his prophet Mislav Mršič. Přvdanism has played a key role in the Ostrovan national idenitity and in the development of its culture.
Přvdanism arose during a period of strife in the Principality of Bjeligrad, as bad harvests and plague led many peasants to forsake Alydianism and turn to new preachers who attempted tp explain the current circumstances. One such man was Mislav Mršič, a miller's son who claimed to have recieved the guidance of Svjobog, the one true deity. According to the Svitke Kosta, the collection of sayings and actions ascribed to Mislav Mršič, he had gone to sleep drunk after a night of debauchery in which he had committed adultery and several other sins. In his sleep, a great presence guided him across the town of Bjeligrad and revealed to him the effects of the sins he had committed. Mislav Mršič recieved several other visions throughout his life, which he recorded in the Meni, the holy book of Přvdanism. The faith spread quickly among the Ostrovan peoples and neighbouring lands, but was subject to persecution for much of its history. Despite centuries of foreign occupation, Přvdanism survived in texts, songs and in the remote monasteries of the Velizubi mountains. During the Ostrovan Republican Wars and again in the Srednian Civil War, Přvdanism played a key role in Ostrovan nationalism.
Přvdanist theology is summarised by the Dogma of Intercession, a statement of faith that affirms the centrality of Svjobog, the power of his intercessors, his six commandments and the punishments for failing to obey them and the duties of a Přvdanist. Several supplimentary creeds exist, which affirm the validity of sacred texts and to certain paths. The life and sayings of Mislav Mršič are collected in the Svitke Kosta, named for the bones and scraps of parchments that the original recordings were made upon, a canon of accounts that have been validified by the Kostal Tribunal.
Due to its small nature, Přvdanism has not experienced the sectarian divisions present in other faiths. When contact has been made with other faiths, a concilitory approach has been held which has regarded earlier prophets as rightly guided but that their teachings have been warped. Theological disputes between leaders are settled by a debate, where both sides must convince the Hexarchy of their point of view using the sacred texts. In the modern era, 95% of Přvdanists follow the accepted version of the faith with 5% following heresies.
- 1 Beliefs
- 2 Worship
- 3 Structure
- 4 History
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Přvdanist Culture
The beliefs of the Přvdanist faith are derived from the Meni, a text written by the prophet Mislav Mršič in 342.
A key part of Přvdanist theology is monotheism. Přvdanists believe that there is only one god, referred to as Svjobog or "the One" in addition to several other honorifics, who is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Eternal. This is a central tenet of Přvdanism, which is affirmed by both the Meni and Svitke Kosta. They hold that, despite Svjogog's omnipotency, he does not have full dominion over the material world due to the power of The Great Serpent who limits his powers, thus necessitating the six intercessors to carry out his will. The power of Svjobog and its limitations is a divisive topic in Přvdanist theology, with disagreements over the extent of his power on earth disputed by scholars. The position that Ksenija Butorac, a prominent theologist, laid out in her 1320 ad magnum opus "Treatise on the dominion, its extent and its limitations" has been maintained as the orthodoxy since its release. It states that:
Our blessed lord is, without a possibility of doubt, the greatest being and master of all that has, does, and shall ever exist. He is without rival, and yet he has need for intercessors? Such questions have been at the heart of a furious debate among our faith for centuries... The matter is not as convoluted as it has been painted. A weaker force can, indefinitely, hold up that of a greater force. The great deciever, may he be damned, while his power is that of an ant compared to the One, is able to limit our creator's power. He cannot stop him in his entirety, as if a dam of sticks upon a mighty river, but he can delay the inevitable. Our creator, may his name be lauded, can exert his influence but he, at least for now, hold the dominion of a ruler upon a resistant populace. They are ordained to follow him, yet through the outside influence of another do not.
Přvdanists reject all forms of polytheism and have been outwardly hostile towards the depiction of god exhibited in other faiths, Mislav Mršič himself writing several critiscisms of Alydian theology in his "Criticism of the peddlers of falsehoods", maintaining that their beliefs were an insult to god:
Our nation has, before these blessed revelations, been enslaved to the whims of a class of charlatans who have robbed our nation of its dignity before the eyes of our Lord. They deny the hands of him and his intercessors in the happening of the world, decrying his perfect plans as luck. They forget that time itself is a boat that shall cross from the shores of creation to those of ending. This boat cannot propel itself, only Svjobog, let his name echo in history, can do this. He wills that we now turn against this detestful pestilence they call Alydianism at once and return to his cleansing light.
I will not tolerate those who compare me to "Saint" Alydian, may his sentencing be long, the arch-magus of the Alydian cult. My message is that of the creator, the most blessed, the one who was, who is and who shall always be, and is purer than the concoctions of that conjurer of cheap tricks. A thousand plagues upon the sinners who would insult their father in such a way. If they do not wake up from the slaughter they are being shepherded onto, they shall rot in the gaols of the hereafter.
Přvdanists believe that Svjobog is a Transcendent physical being, who, despite being separate from the material world is able to influence every aspect of it. In the Meni, it states that Svjobog "resides in a palace of incredible splendour, outside of our universe, where his dominion is completely unchallenged. Here, he is clad in the full splendour of the most regal of kings, and yet that does not befit his glory". He is depicted in a variety of ways. The most common depiction is as a regal king, with full beard and a disk of light surrounding his head. This depiction stemmed from Svjobog's description as "the most regal among kings", which resulted in a depiction of the ideal statesman. Other depictions include as a golden ox, from his description as "the strongest of all beings", and as a large worm. This final depiction comes from his description as "the all-consumer and all-renewer", as worms were seen to consume all but to then contribute to the growth of new life.
The Intercessory Angels and their role in the enforcement of Svjobog is another central aspect of the Přvdanist faith. According to the Meni, there are six higher beings referred to as the "Intercessors", who are tasked by Svjobog to carry out his will and enforce his indirect dominion over the earth. This role was established in the Meni, ljst 3:21-23, where it describes the intercessors as:
21: They are the conduit of our Creator, may his name echo throughout history, who are closer to him than a man's hands. They live to serve him, to facilitate his desires and plans upon a world that he is blockaded from. 22: He created Sřča from the light of the newly born universe, then with her sired the rest in the period before time existed. 23: Each of them has powers and dominion in their own right, but they are not gods. They scorn those who would elevate them to the same status of their liege.
To complete this role, the intercessors have been given supernatural powers dependent on their assigned roles. For example, Glogabgal, the paragonal intercessor of knowledge, has knowledge of every single truth in existence, while Sřča is able to bring life into the world. They act as a vessel for Svjobog's will, allowing him to affect that which he cannot directly because of the blockade. They also intercede the other way, between man and God. They record every one of the prayers made by humans and dispatch them to Svjobog, who can then act upon them either directly or through the intercessors. While the intercessors are described as having free will and self-awareness, they are unable to resist the commands of Svjobog, which is attested in ljst 3:24-25:
24: Their lives exist solely to serve as his tools, to fashion the world into that which he desires. They intercede between his will from the palace and the world we live in. 25: They carry the words of humanity to its Lord, allowing him to dispense a most just and merciful response in accordance with his plan.
The intercessors fulfil two key roles in Přvdanist theology, acting as the paragons of the six paths as well as the agents of Svjobog. As the paragons of the six paths, they provide mankind with an example of how to live their lives. They are believed to intercede personally, upon their own volition, in order to aid others in following the paths they have laid out. The intercessors are also tasked with providing mortals with guidance, which is usually considered to be through visions and omens. This guiding role, while secondary to their namesake role of interceding between Mankind and Svjobog, is very important in Přvdanism as it is through this that many believers obtain religious guidance.
Najstarija is the paragon of the path of the priest and chief among the Intercessors. He is responsible for guiding priests in their worship and is often depicted as a man with the head of a raven. Often seen as the most powerful of the Intercessors, he is sometimes worshipped directly by those hoping to obtain more religious knowledge. As he is often associated with birds, priests who wish to gain an omen from him sacrifice sparrows and other small birds to read their entrails or watch the movements of flocks of ravens.
Glogabgal is the paragon of the path of the scholar and patron of scholars and academics. He is responsible for writing down the thoughts and actions of every human, so that when they die their good and bad actions can be weighed up against each other before the gates of Svjobog's palace. He is depicted as a old and hunched man, clad in robes of darkness and bearing a sack in which he stores his scrolls. Glogabgal is widely worshipped, with most academics maintaining a small shrine to him in their houses. His visions and omens often concern new knowledge, which his gives to humans when he sees fit or when Svjobog instructs him to.
Sřča is the paragon of the path of the mother, wife of Svjobog and patron to mothers and women. She is considered to represent the ideal woman, herself being the mother of the other Intercessors. Despite being their mother, due to their creation and birth during the time before time they are all considered to be the same age. She is depicted as a woman with full hips and breasts and long white hair and is the most widely revered of the Intercessors due to her importance to the family. She is responsible for keeping families together and is seen to intercede to guide women on how they should act.
A key part of the Přvdanist faith is the afterlife. According to the Meni, when people die their souls are led up to the Palace of Svjobog by the patron of their chosen path, or by the Great Serpent if they are not pledged to a path, where their actions are weighed against each other. Should the weight of their bad deeds be heavier than that of their good deeds, they are clasped in chains and led into a dungeon by the Great Serpent, where they reside until their sentence is completed and they are allowed to leave prison and enter the palace. For those whose good deeds outweigh the bad, they enter into the palace and are greeted by Svjobog. In the palace, they live for eternity in comfort, each night feasting at the grand banquet hall. Believers who die in battle join a celestial host, which acts in support of the Intercessors when needed.
One of the more important facets of Přvdanist practice is the recitation of certain dogmas. These are concise expressions of faith recited at times of religious significance such as at holidays, which contain the core principles of the religion. Dogmas are canonized by the Hexarchy, with a list of canonical dogmas released each year. Dogmas are recited by Dogmatiarch, specialist priests, at both sunrise and sunset. This recitation is broadcast across loudspeakers, encouraging believers to pray.
The most well-known one, the Dogma of Intercession, is recited when one converts to the faith, during funerals and birthdays, and at the start of Tuesday prayers. The dogma of intercession, translated to English, reads; "I believe in Svjobog, who is unparalleled in power and mercy. I believe in his Intercessors, who serve his every will, and the powers they too command over our world. I swear to follow upon one of the paths that he has set out for us. I shall be the island in a sea of disbelief, the light of truth in the cave of darkness. I shall close my ears to the temptations of the Great Serpent. Let Glogabgal note down my transgressions of this statement."