Vayan Catholicism

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Vayan Catholicism
Type of religion: Christianity
Founded: AD 600
God(s): One God, three forms
Holy texts: Vayan Bible
Followers: ~580 million
Practised in: Typically non-human dominated nations, notably Vekaiyu, Listonia, and Vulshain
Pope: Severi II

Vayan Catholicism is a branch of Christianity that pertains to both human and non-human species, but addresses concerns for non-human species. Originating with the vulpine people of Vekaiyu, the religion has survived over a span of one thousand seven hundred years, changing fairly little since its separation from the Roman Catholic Church in AD 600.

Origins

Vayan Catholicism has its origins in the form of a single saint, St. Aiya, who in about AD 310 reportedly began having visions presented to her from what was initially a disembodied voice, but later visions displayed a more human messenger. These visions first occurred when she was just thirteen years old as a street child of Odul. Refusing to succumb to prostitution, the vixen instead chose to starve, but as she withered to noting more than "a tented frame of bones", she began to attract an audience who were intrigued at her and felt the gods were giving them a sign that the occupation of Vekaiyu by Nugala (present-day Dveria) would soon come to an end. These hopes were morphed when she began to explain her visions as something that transcended the foreign occupation. Her visions and sudden miracles were initially met with criticism, but as the crowds grew, she became more popular and more accepted. The first mass vision occurred on the seventh month of the year, and was reportedly seen by the town of Odul, pilgrims, and farmers from around the area. As it is written in Visions, one of the books in the Vulpine Addendum,

 
 
5And the heavens began to ignite in a ball of flames. Many people shouted, "Verveno is angry! We have betrayed him and his ways!" 6The moon became a torch in the midnight sky, and moved from left to right. 7But Aiya remained calm and told the people to be without fear. Her eyes did not gaze upon the heavens; instead, her eyes remained closed.

8A great voice suddenly cried out, and the heavens were cooled by a sudden rain. It was then that Aiya opened her eyes and said to the masses, "Today you are baptized in the name of the one true God."
 


 

During this vision, the vixen suddenly produced a book written in Unonian explaining an entirely different faith, written by "an unseen hand" on parchment. This book would later be burned in a fire in Eldura in AD 577, with only a handful of pages saved. Nevertheless, St. Aiya's fame grew as she traveled across the occupied lands, performing small miracles in the name of the one she called "Krist". She would eventually lose her life when her final vision instructed her to travel to the Nugalan King, Horos, and ask for the freedom of her people. She was killed and buried in Nugalan death traditions instead.

Over the years of Nugalan occupation, the Vayan Catholic Church, indivisible with the Roman Catholic Church after AD 420, expanded and grew across the Vekaiyun homeland. Over one dozen saints led the vulpine Catholics in the roughly three hundred years of occupation. Notable saints included St. Kabuu, St. Ignes of Provinsk, and St. Ives. After the vulpine state achieved independence in AD 585, however, the awkward incorporation of non-human species into the body of the church could be ignored no further. Problems arose when vulpines suddenly added seven books to the Bible - four letters by St. Aiya, two by St. Kabuu (including a historical account of St. Aiya's life), and one by St. Ignes of Provinsk - in what became known as the Vulpine Addendum. The Roman Catholic Church, however, refused to accept such manuscripts, and instead declared them to be "non-canon". The church offered to keep the addendum a separate book, something that only seemed to distance non-humans from humans in the Catholic faith. This was proceeded with the vulpine Catholics pushing for the canonization of St. Aiya among other proposed vulpine saints. This was met with mixed feelings across the religion. The pot boiled over at The Council at Pristina, where Cardinals declared vulpines and other "lesser" species to be placed on the same level as humans, but only at a 76% margin of vote. Vekaiyu officially withdrew from the Roman Catholic Church in AD 600, and chose instead to split and form Vayan Catholicism, electing their first Pope, the then-bishop St. Vinsent of Eldura, weeks later.

Differences with The Roman Catholic Church

Vayan Catholicism is deeply rooted in Roman Catholic Church traditions and customs. However, there exists a few fundamental differences between the two faiths.

Masses

Masses are heavily influenced by the older faith, but are instead given in Unonian and Latin, with larger cathedrals offering daily masses in both languages. The masses themselves last roughly one hour each day, but followers are not required to attend mass in order to obtain salvation. Their masses include lessons from the Bible and from various saints, chanting, recitations, and prayer. Central to masses is the Eucharist, in which the belief of transubstantiation is central to the ritual. All Catholics may receive the Eucharist. There are limitations, however. From the time between Good Friday to Easter, a Vayan Catholic is strongly encouraged to not sin during this interval. Depending on the person and the church, he or she may bar himself from receiving the Easter Eucharist if he or she commits a sin during such time.

Dealings with a Human-Centered Bible

In Vayan Catholicsm, the acceptance of a human Christ and Biblical figures are met with relative ease: the faith does not differentiate between species, citing that the souls of "mankind" transcend beyond skin and bones. It is accepted that Christ lived and died in a human form, but it is believed that this was a result of the realm with which he lived in - had he been born into Vekaiyu, he would have been vulpine, it is believed. To answer the stories of the creation of man, it is believed that since the realm in which the Jewish faith originated in had no other sentient species than humans, the scriptures overlooked the stories of other species' creations. Added onto the book of Genesis is a few chapters written by St. Ignes which attempts to explain the creation and the fall of vulpine kind. While the addition took nearly five hundred years to be considered canon, it is still understood that all sentient beings have original sin and, therefore, need to rely upon Christ in order to obtain salvation.

Saints

Vayan Catholicism has 79 unique saints, comprised of six different species. Many of the Roman Catholic saints are canonized as well, with the exception of nearly two dozen other saints, a number that has changed slowly over time. Notable saints canonized under the Roman Catholic Church that are not canonized by the Vayan Catholic Church during the 20th and 21st centuries include Joan of Arc and Padre Pio, though Padre Pio has undergone beatification. The fist Vayan Catholic saint canonized was St. Aiya in AD 605. One of the more peculiar saints canonized by the church includes a nameless saint known only as The Child of the Mountains, canonized in AD 655.

St. Aiya

To Vayan Catholics, St. Aiya is raised to the level as that of the Virgin Mary. While she is certainly not seen as a Motherly figure, her importance in the faith is unquestionable. She is viewed as "the first non-human Christian" and is therefore considered the First Sister. It is believed that she is a major intercessor between mortals and the Almighty in the act of prayer, and is arguably the most important saint in Vayan Catholic faith.

Love

The Vayan Catholic faith stresses an openness of love and concentrates on various definitions of love. In an almost eastern tradition, the creation of another being through intercourse is viewed as a sacred "art" - that is, intercourse is viewed as one of the most important gifts bestowed from the heavens to sentient kind. Many written works exists in the Vayan Catholic faith pertaining to love and its various forms, but all proclaim the love between God and man is the greatest love.

Muslim Similarities

One of the more peculiar aspects of the Vayan Catholic faith are Muslim traditions peppered into the religion. Many cities and towns that have a dominant population of Vayan Catholics contain either towers where a chanter is perched in or contain bell towers that ring at noted times of the day, in which Vayan Catholics are supposed to pray, similar to Salah. While it is by no means required by the religion, it is strongly encouraged. Fasting during Lent is treated with respect to Sawm in that they are to fast during the day, but may eat sparingly between dusk to dawn. Certain sects of the faith do not practice this tradition, however, and those who would be endangered from this practice are exempt. The reasoning for some Muslim traditions is not difficult to understand: as the Vayan Church attempted to establish an identity, it gleaned from the new religion traditions which it felt were important enough to incorporate into their own, as the two formed at roughly the same time.

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