A Proclamation of the nature of good and evil in the hearts of the apostate, so that all men might know them.
Nileas, the Pontifex, Servant of the Servants of God, to his beloved sons, the heads of state or rulers, ministers and citizens established in the states and districts of Gotha, Capacionne, Rogalia, Hestralia, and Imperial Njordr, and beyond the corners of the Throne to all hearts of mankind, salvation and an apostolic benediction.
To root up from the midst of Benalian people the weed of heretical wickedness, which infests the healthy plants more than it formerly did, pouring out licentiousness through the offices of the enemies of mankind in this age, we must take great and certain action.
Desiring, then, that the sons of the church, and fervent adherents of the orthodox faith, rise up and make their stand against the artificers of this kind of evildoing, we hereby bring forth to be followed by you as by the loyal defenders of the faith, with exact care, these regulations, contained serially in the following document, for the rooting-up of the plague of apostasy.
In what we gave to your community in sanctified writings, amounting to regulations that we wrote for your legal codes, never at any time to be repealed, making war according to these regulations against all heresy, which rears its head above this holy church, you have gone forward without stint.
Yet we find ourselves suffering new heresies, unimaginable by faithful and disciplined minds yet seductive to the weak at the edges of the civilized Throne, in a thousand guises that are no less harmful to the soul and offensive to God than those perpetrated by the anathema who venerates the unholiest Antigods. Thus necessity has found it prudent to issue these bulla for the eradication of heresies everywhere, that all might know that which is now and forever forbidden by God, Church, and Throne.
The Laws and Regulations then are as follows:
We decree that the head of state, whatever his rank or title, in each dominion, whether he is so situated at present, or to be so in the future, in Gotha, Capacionne, Rogalia, Hestralia, Imperial Njordr and all further corners of the Throne of Mankind present and future, must unequivocally and unhesitatingly swear that he will inviolably preserve, and during his entire term of office see to it that everybody, both in his Diocese or administrative domain and the lands subject to his power, shall observe, both what is written herein, and other regulations and laws both ecclesiastical and civil, that are published against heretical wickedness. And the oaths concerning these precisely-observed regulations and laws are to be accepted by whoever succeeds to the monarchical or gubernatorial dignity. Whoever defaults in this regard shall lose the character of head of state or governor. Heads of state and rulers so acting will lose absolutely all guarantees of non-aggression from other governments. No one is obliged to offer fealty to such persons, or ought to do so, even if, afterwards, they submit by swearing the oath. If any head of state or ruler refuses to obey, each and all, these statutes, or neglects them, besides the sin of neglect, and the disaster of eternal infamy, he shall undergo the penalty of seeing his dominion lose its borders, which penalty shall be imposed on him irrecoverably; the country will be converted to common use, because, specifically, a man forsworn and infamous, and, in effect, a protector of heretics, his faith compromised, has usurped the dignity and honor of governmental power.
It is to be known by every child of the Lord Most Holy that upon the sacrament of baptism he enters into a holy pact with God, wherein he swears his immortal soul in allegiance to Him, foreswearing all former lords of the soul and forever denying the authority of all that might come after, which may only be broken by his own wicked hand. Such as this is, those that would break this most holy vow, be it by willingly accepting the false gift of shared ritual with a heathen, or by turning one’s back on God and commending his soul to another destination other than His Holy Majesty, will be branded with the baleful chain of apostasy, being one who has turned from the holy light.
So it is said by the Shepherd Benalus himself, as he strode through the river Narithis and spoke to the heathen armies of the Black lakes, saying “All those who follow me shall follow me always or not at all. Join me and join all of humanity, but leave my side but once and I shall visit you only once more.” So it is that the apostate, being that they have left the side of Benalus and refused his teachings, will find his soul is not that of a man but of a heretic. It will be as the cloth irreparably stained by the highest sin of eternal heresy, and will find no lustration but that by the destruction of the cloth by the final fires of Sepharian, who in His grace might command the soul to renounce its false oaths of fealty and return to God in bodily death so as to avoid the death of the soul. So it must be for all apostates, with no measure of leniency to be had, lest our laxity in the face of their wickedness inspire others to turn from God as well.
Upon the discovery of an apostate any man regardless of rank or office, or the state of his soul, save for that of Sepharian’s Holy Inquisition, must decline to speak to him or listen to his words, or to read any writings they might publish in any manner, regarding faith or otherwise. Should one come to realize by process of reading that he has read a text that is written by an apostate, advocates apostasy, or details the nature of heathen faiths, he should put it away from his eyes and deliver it to the bishop of his Diocese, that it may be reviewed by inquisitors and handled in the appropriate manner.
And upon the discovery of an apostate any man regardless of rank or office or the state of his soul must decline to permit an apostate to live if it is in his power to kill him. It is best, for the love of God and all that is Holy, that the apostate be captured alive and delivered, gagged and with his hands bound behind his back as well as his ankles, to the bishop of the Diocese of which he is a part, that he might be found guilty of heresy and subject to the grand fires of the holy inquisition. Should this, the ability of a man to capture the apostate without sacrificing his own life in turn, be put into question or brought into doubt, he may rightfully choose to end the wicked life of the apostate and not find himself reprobate in the eyes of the church or the Lord. Yet should he strike the heretic and be struck dead in turn, and his deeds end in the capture or killing of the heretic he will be seen as killed in hatred of the faith, and will be as a martyr in the eyes of God, and beloved for it.
And upon the discovery of an apostate any man regardless of rank or office or the state of his soul must refuse him any welcome into his lands or his home, or open his arms to the apostate. Nor should he meet any request made by the apostate with a willingness to aid, or express or act upon his willingness whether asked of him or not. And he should not in any way call the apostate his brother, share meals with him or offer him hospitality, nor should he respect the hospitality offered by an apostate, save for to create an opportunity where the apostate might be captured or killed. He should do none of these things, let he put his soul at risk of suffering the stain of eternal heresy, and make himself a wretch before the Lord, which might make him cured of his self made affliction only by the mighty fires of the holy inquisition.
Finally, in every Diocese wherein heretics are known to have been about there is to be appointed one of the Inquisition or one selected by the Inquisition for this purpose, that is to direct the Diocese and its men in matters apart from the bishop of that Diocese, and is to be called the Archon of the Faith. He may not be removed from his position by any man save for an Inquisitor of higher rank than himself, the Emperor, the Pontifex, or himself by his own resignation. In matters regarding the combating the heretics in a martial capacity, if not a spiritual one should he lack the holy ordination and having taken the covenant of Sepharian, he is to be regarded as preeminent and always have a place in the court of the Sovereign. He is to be allowed and given funds to muster a force, seen or unseen by the citizenry or the nobility of the domain which he manages, that may not be limited to be lesser than the cities militia guard in size and level of equipment or training, that he might better ensure the protection of the citizens against villainous heresies. Where the matters of the law and punishment of men fall to the business of the Marshal, so should the matters of ecclesiastical law and the punishment of heretics fall to the business of the Archon, and he shall wield full powers in this matter. Should the man in taking this office without swearing the covenant of Sepharian find he has held it for any length of time greater than a year, he must find himself ordained or relinquish his position that it might be filled with one more knowing than he.
Given at Holy Lethia, December 16th, in the 29th year of our pontificate, Lion Age 602.