The Temple of the Eastern Star, sometimes referred to as the Temple of Light, is a karmic, monotheistic faith and the State Religion of the Kingdom of Elysia.
The Temple began as the result of the synthesis of various Light religions observed by the ethnically diverse inhabitants of colonial Elysia. Prior to the first Novari War, there were a series of violent religious skirmishes among various ethnic groups that prevented the formation of an early Kingdom. The commonality between these faiths was the worship of the Eastern Star, the most brightly observable of stars during the solstice. The principle worship of this heavenly body was endorsed by a popular religious icon of that day and age known as Sirius Bolerophon. He had published several treatises on the Eastern Star, and had dismissed Sun Worship and Lunar Worship as the false idols of the Fae and other supernatural beings. Though benevolent for his day, he purported that the Eastern Star was the true source of the Luminous Path, a code of conduct set forth by the original texts of the Light Religion which is said to provide the adherent with spiritual purity.
Go Tell It Near Or On A Mountain Of Your Choosing
The Luminous Path consists of a short list of commandments, much having to do with prohibitions against "immoral" activities considered by most religions (murder, theft, rape, etc). It also makes some reference to various lifestyle choices, including sexual activity, diet, and the observance of certain rituals.
The Founding Tome is a series of texts of religious stories and speeches by religious scholars and saints. It is ordered into two volumes, the Book of the Light and the Book of Epoch, in chronologically reverse order. The first, the Book of the Light describes life for early Elysian Colonials, including the words of religious scholars, faith experiences, and notably, the inclusion of many modern Elysian landscapes and ruins into the Temple's ethos. Even some of the indigenous Yanaka beliefs have been included in minor ways, creating at least some common ground between the Colonials and Aboriginals. The second volume, The Book of Epoch, is a re-tread of many older religious stories from the long Light Religion oral tradition, usually set either in early Europe, or in northern Afrika where the creation myth takes place. It is considered allegorical by all but the most devout fundamentalists.
The Big Question Marks
The central focuses of the Temple's doctrines are spiritual purity from moral choices and the karmic consequences, positive and negative, thereof. Spiritual purity comes not only from moral and immoral actions, but also from the -degree- of true faith in the Eastern Star and it's Guiding Light.
There are conflicting beliefs about the result of one's existence after their death - some believe in reincarnation as another person (rarely so for non-sentient beasts), while some believe in the existence of Paradise for the virtuous and unpleasant Underworld for the wicked, apostate, and pagan.
Light is the central theme. Many well-wishes include mention of the "Light", i.e. " May the Light bless you" or " Light be with you".
The Holy Hierarchy of Ever-larger Hats
The Temple today is organized by a series of dioceses, each headed by a Bishop, Monseigneur or High Priestess. Beneath each Bishopric are numerous local Templar Priests, Monastical Orders (Monks/Nuns), and an order of Healing Mages known as Clerics, which often join Magister's Guilds after their seminary is complete.
Additionally, Peace Keepers, being traditionally considered holy warriors, and have been spiritual authorities that could be sought out for advice. Though they have been traditionally trained to administer this function, this responsibility has fallen by the wayside, the last straw being the introduction of Novari troops into their force.
At the head of the entire Temple See is a central Caliphate Pope, organizational leader of the church and spiritual highest authority. This spiritual place was once held by the Elysian Monarch, but the 1520 rebellion led by Maria Lamaste established the Papal Caliphate. Lamaste and her numerous followers felt the Royalty too corrupt to hold this place of spiritual leader, and meant to restore the separate throne of Pope established, they felt, by Sirius Bolerophon, AKA Sirius I. Xavier is still held as a senior religious icon, called St. Xavier Lama.
Onward Templar Soldiers
Over 80% of Elysia's people ostensibly belong to the Temple faith. This includes a number of Yanaka converts, and a small number of apostates and atheist former members of the Temple. (Most characters in EC will fall in somewhere here) The remainder of the population follow either Yanaka indigenous beliefs, or be foreigners with the faiths of their original countries.
Adherents are termed " Templars", and their culture of practice for their religion, and their tolerance of other faiths, is generally considered high. Many scholars believe that Sirius Bolerophon's original teachings had the strong message of Inclusion among the many sects of Light Worshippers. As a result there are many forms of Templar worship. There do exist some fundamentalist sects who favour more toward the dogmatic side, as well as radical cults that crop up on occasion.