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The encyclical to the clergy is a series of letters originating from an "accusation" of heresy and heathenism addressed by Ferenold Stormshend. The letters themselves were written to the Stormwind clergy as a whole and to the seats and priors of the Council of Bishops.

First LetterEdit

ENCYCLICAL TO THE CLERGY

Concerning myself, Ferenold Stormshend, recent accusations, and the right to liturgy...

I have recently been made aware by both personal and impersonal means, of the elevation of my person as an object of importance within the clergy. I will not embark upon false claims: I have been made a subject of discourse because I have been involved within a controversy.

Thank the Light, this controversy has not yet engulfed the entire clergy, and hence I find it suitable to outline briefly the disputes and unfolding of this controversy. If this account is found to be lacking in fact, then you may readily disregard all other contents of this Encyclical...

This controversy primarily concerns the prerequisites for giving liturgy and serving in ecclesiastical positions, including professorship in the clergy of canons. My right to give liturgy has been challenged primarily on the grounds of two charges: Heresy, and Heathenism. I shall briefly outline each of these terms to those uneducated in them.

HERESY refers to the conscious subversion of doctrine of the orthodox teachings of the Light, or otherwise spreading a faith, or belief, professing some fundamental relation to the Light yet also contradicting the established teachings.

HEATHENISM refers to a lack of belief in the Light.

The primary grounds for both of these accusations lay in my adherence to the pagan faith of Gilneas, but they additionally are supported by several conversations, speeches, and documents which have been, or may be in the future construed as heretical or heathenish.

It is best that a man committed to the Light and the church share the fruit of knowledge when a controversy arises. Indeed, this information is often necessary for the resolution of the controversy and its ultimate dissolution. As I am the object of this controversy, I would like to believe that I possess a level of knowledge of myself that will allow for me to shed further light upon the dispute. Of course, it is necessary to treat such manners in a thoroughly impersonal and analytical vein, and in the remainder of this encyclical I shall allow no emotion to overcome me.

One of the first charges of hereticism brought against myself was that I subverted the doctrine of the Light by wishing for the mortification and the suffering of the flesh. This accusation arises from the person of Father Gavriel Branas, who drew my despise of the flesh from a discourse that we had in Northshire Abbey some days ago. I will readily confess that I am partially guilty for this accusation: that is, I over-played the part of the poet, that part in me that has found a certain level of morbid fascination with the practices of certain monks that are certainly heretical. I did, knowingly and fully, argue for the rightness of this position.

But it is not the position that I hold in my spirit. It is the position that I took as a poet with interest in intrigue, and as a man that possesses a deep and abiding faith in the divine will that resides in this very world - from whence even such foul conceptions as that may have sprung. I additionally argued briefly for the necessity of evil and sin as a gateway to the good: while this may contradict the theological leanings of Father Gavriel Branas, it is not in any way inherently contradictory of the Light. And even if it may have been, it is not my position - I sought merely to play the part of the devil’s advocate in such a conversation.

As proof of this, I cite my ardent opposition to priests following the shadow - which I have been ridiculed for many times. As proof that I vigorously oppose the conception between flesh and spirit that leads to the disdain for the flesh, I cite my letter to the church with which Benegrim responded-...accusing me of formlessness! Which is, of course,  the very diametrical opposite of the austere distinction between flesh and spirit. It is still kept within the records of disputations if anyone wishes to verify my words.

I believe that His Holy Eminence, the bishop of Stormwind, may testify on my behalf in these matters. I have had many debates in which I have criticized severely the positions of Benegrim on the side of ‘formlessness’ - yet hardly to such a degree that I risk wandering into the realm of heresy. These are merely matters debated by the clergy’s philosophers and theologians...to throw accusations of heresy because of them would be folly. What is clear from these accounts is that my words spoken with Father Branas were those of a poet in reverie, rather than of a man attempting at proclaiming his own inner convictions...

I shall now front the charge of heathenry. Heathenry is not defined as the adherence to a pagan faith, but rather a lack of adherence to the Light. I wholeheartedly profess faith in the pagan religion of Gilneas, as well as belief in the Light. Father Gavriel Branas must thus charge that my belief in the Elder Ways somehow negates or sunders myself from the Light. As a man of priestly intelligence, he has done so by making the following charge:

“A man cannot have two masters.”

It has been proved otherwise. A military chaplain swears his allegiance both to the Light as well as the King. Any paladin that serves for the Silver Hand swears fealty to the Light, but also must serve his King as well. To profess disloyalty in the King would be treason, which is a high crime. Hence a man may very well have two masters - but even if he could not, his statement would still be inherently incorrect in its application to my person.

The ‘Elder Ways’ are not a master, and neither are the Light. Neither faith worships singular deities which is a personality so distinct as to be a ‘Master’ over a person. Thus the statement shows a lack of understanding for both the Holy Light as well as the Elder Ways.

Numerous people have also claimed that I do not possess faith in the Light. I shall not address these slanderous remarks with any evidence - the piety that lays within my heart finds little need for it.

I bear a deep love for liturgy, and I pray that is evident during the times in which I am moved to speak. While I will readily step down from the pulpit if the bishops decide myself unsuitable for liturgy, I will not see it done because of false, erroneous accusations made against myself.

With the blessings of the Light,

Ferenold Stormshend.

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Cathedral of Holy Light

First Letter of ResponseEdit

To Master Ferenold Stormshend
From the Desk of Bishop-Emeritus R.A. Sunwhisper

First and foremost, allow me to be the first to ensure you that the extent to which you poetically paint your controversy is unsubstantiated. From discussions with Father Johannes Moorwhelp and various other patrons within the Stormwind sect of the clergy, I am to understand that your so-called “elevated position” is nothing more than that of a visiting professor within the college of canons. In my years of service to the church I have not yet known of visiting patrons to be elevated to anything without first being indoctrinated into the order under which they are serving or choose to serve. In your position as a professor, you were entitled to instruct the clergy - at their discretion - in a scholastic capacity not a religious one. At the mercy of the ordinary are you allowed to teach your “Elder Ways,” not preach them. You are not an ordained priest of the church, ergo, it is by the same orthodoxy that you admit to being saturated with--

Of course, as a mere parishioner, I thought naught’ it my goal to question the orthodoxy of the church, yet so repulsed am I by the words that sprung from my tongue that down’trodden eve in Westfall, that I have found myself sitting here, alone, in solitude,composing this spontaneous outflow of emotion.

Penned by F.Stormshend (First Letter to the Stormwind Clergy)

--you would then come to the understanding that tradition is paramount. In tradition, a priest - be they ordained or simply a lay priest - is sworn to the Mother Church in word, will and deed. This same person sacrifices for such a holy enterprise so that they might be a beacon of purity that the congregation might follow.

Now, I feel that I ought to further clarify myself so that I am not taken out of context as far as my thoughts on the matter. I am in no way opposed to your professorship within the college of canons. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I believe that in learning the faiths of others we can come to understand the unity of our world. This does not mean that I believe our priests ought to be ushered into sharing the faiths of others but certainly learning to understand and tolerate them. To that end, I believe that the concept of the “Elder Ways” is heretical when compared primarily to the dogma and doctrine that has been provided. Orthodoxy commands that we follow these given traditions until such time that they are deemed worthy of change or omission. You - in your own words - have called yourself a heathen by right and by your own personal belief system. In essence, my challenge to your ability to give the divine liturgy is as follows:

You would have a hard time believing that one such as myself could teach the Elder Ways in the same regard I find it a mockery that you think to try and teach the fundamentals of the Holy Light.

Perhaps that is a bit harsh, but that is the view of it. I do not dismiss the facts or philosophies that you wish to share but I cannot in good consciousness condone the plausibility of allowing someone who has repeatedly admonished the clergy:

Why, when we have already indeed been given divine faith, do we seek to use a faculty, a worldly faculty that has wrought terror, to learn of the Light? From whence hath this unholy right arisen, and whom shall strike at the heart of this alliance between sacred and the corrupt?

...to suddenly take up the mantle that is meant for priests who have sworn themselves to the lifestyle of continuing these liturgies and continuing to uphold the sanctity of the orthodoxy and the Light’s will. As someone told you: A man cannot have two masters. I will clarify the meaning behind this since it seems that it had not been addressed.

A man cannot be mastered by his biological needs (passion, rage, lust, etc) and be mastered by his serenity (peace, strength, honor, valor, etc). He cannot hope to be able to comprehend the needs of both without risking rejecting the other. If he finds peace, ought he release himself to his unbridled, animalistic passions as you so vehemently addressed on the eve when battle was made on hallowed ground? If he wishes to find valor, should he give in to his rage and lust for battle, drink or women? Your views on allowing one to succumb to their primal urges tentatively negates the very fundamentals of the Light, primarily where the ideology of the priest is concerned.

When you write...

One of the first charges of hereticism brought against myself was that I subverted the doctrine of the Light by wishing for the mortification and the suffering of the flesh. This accusation arises from the person of Father Gavriel Branas, who drew my despise of the flesh from a discourse that we had in Northshire Abbey some days ago. I will readily confess that I am partially guilty for this accusation: that is, I over-played the part of the poet, that part in me that has found a certain level of morbid fascination with the practices of certain monks that are certainly heretical. I did, knowingly and fully, argue for the rightness of this position.

and yet say in the next motion that you do not hold this position in your spirit, I begin to question your stance on the remainder of the encyclical. If a man believes something in his spirit, why would he allow his passions and his ire to be sparked to where he speaks just the opposite of it? You admit to speaking such heresies simply because you have allowed yourself to fall into unbridled passions and poetry without first thinking. The tenets of the Light: Respect, Compassion and Tenacity do not simply fall away because we wish to challenge a discourse. When we speak, we must speak truthfully so that we are not taken out of context or place ourselves in questionable light. Because of your own actions, you must accept responsibility and accountability and attempt to rectify them with deed. You state in your own words you wished to play “the devil’s advocate” in the conversation. If such was being done, it might have been in your best interest for you to have made that clear to the person whom you were speaking to. We cannot hope to speak to someone we are unfamiliar with and have an expectation they will understand our habits in speech.

I additionally argued briefly for the necessity of evil and sin as a gateway to the good: while this may contradict the theological leanings of Father Gavriel Branas, it is not in any way inherently contradictory of the Light.

I would light to briefly enlighten you, Master Stormshend, that stating that in order to be good one must have sinned is infact heretical and against the known philosophies of the Light. Considering that a once excommunicated Paladin proclaimed those words which then led to a miscalculated judgement on his behalf, I am most certain that such ideals are not welcomed. I could argue the theology and reason that stands behind it; however, it is a discussion meant for a face-to-face discourse and not through a letter when so much still needs to be addressed. I would gladly have such a discourse with you at any given time that I am available.

Before I finish, I would like for you to consider the following from a book that has been written and used in non-secular teaching of priests who wish to stay in communion with the church:

Heresy is the deliberate altering of the philosophy of the Holy Light and the depature from the traditions of the Church. Heresy is not simply a different belief, but it is the obstinent cleaving to error and suppressiveness to the Church. Those who are proclaimed heretics most generally are not hunted by the Church of the Holy Light. The most severe punishment is excommunication, which is a lifting of the Church's protection, but not all heretics and schismatics incur such a penalty.

If you have any further inquiries, please feel free to ask.

Signed,
R.A. Sunwhisper


Second Response LetterEdit

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Council Collective by Rennali

Father Gavriel Branas, once Archimandrite to the monastics of the Thondroril Monastary, now Prior to the Council of Bishops, and Prefect to the Congregation of the Church of the Holy Light of Lordaeron; unto Master Fenerold Stormshend, to which my heart is most grieved to have to respond in such manner.

Allow me to say foremost that the heated discussion that the two of us had upon the steps of the Cathedral yestereve after the serving of the Divine Liturgy was not something that was becoming of either of us. It was a conversation that ought to have been taken behind closed doors, for as it is the tradition of the Mother Church that if there arises a dispute among the brethren, that it ought not to be aired to the general populace, for this shall only stir up a rabble – and the actions of those who came between us in our disputes are evidence enough for that. Yet, in speaking in the manner of brotherhood, I do find a reserve and wariness in my heart for calling you one of my brethren – that is, one of the faithful among the Holy Light.

I do not say this with the intention of rabble-rousing nor of spouting out hatred, merely observing the facts which are laid out before us in an objective manner. You have rightly defined heathenry as:

“a lack of adherence to the Light.” But then you move on to say:

“I wholeheartedly profess faith in the pagan religion of Gilneas, as well as belief in the Light. Father Gavriel Branas must thus charge that my belief in the Elder Ways somehow negates or sunders myself from the Light.”

It rightly does so, for as I told you before (though you paraphrase my words in your letter):

“No one can be a servant to two masters.”

You go on to spout such ridiculous rhetoric of how:

“A military chaplain swears his allegiance both to the Light as well as the King. Any paladin that serves for the Silver Hand swears fealty to the Light, but also must serve his King as well. To profess disloyalty in the King would be treason, which is a high crime. Hence a man may very well have two masters - but even if he could not, his statement would still be inherently incorrect in its application to my person.”

Allow me to educate you in the vestiture of the Divine Right of Kings. A monarch is so vested by the Mother Church to protect and guide the Kingdoms of the world to rule in a goodly, orderly, and faithful manner as to be a reflection of the relationship between the Congregation of the Faithful, and the Holy Light. If a monarch fails to execute his or her rule in these manners, then it is declared that such a monarch has fallen out of communion with the Mother Church and has thus, lost the right to the privileges of royalty; one of these being the loss of military chaplains and paladins to said King’s service. Thus, military chaplains and Paladins do not swear fealty to the Light AND to the King and that is the end; rather they swear fealty to the Light AS WELL AS the King because the King is within communion with the Mother Church.

Thus, the Master of the military chaplain and the paladin is the Holy Light alone, which beholds them to serve a faithful monarch.

You say that:

“(my) statement would still be inherently incorrect in its application to (your) person. The ‘Elder Ways’ are not a master, and neither are the Light. Neither faith worships singular deities which is a personality so distinct as to be a ‘Master’ over a person. Thus the statement shows a lack of understanding for both the Holy Light as well as the Elder Ways.”

Do you dare to accuse a Father of the Mother Church in failing to understand the most basic concepts and teachings of the Three Holy Virtues? Under the first virtue of Respect, we submit ourselves to a power beyond ourselves. And under the serving of the Divine Liturgy with the use of the Low Liturgy (especially under the Rite of Lordaeron), the first thing stated by the celebrant is:

“The servant of the Divine will go to offer praise to the Light.”

No, the Light is not a diety – a god, this much is true; neither are the Elder Ways, but to say that one cannot be a servant to a way of life yet be follower of that way of life is to contradict oneself.

You have also written:

“Numerous people have also claimed that I do not possess faith in the Light. I shall not address these slanderous remarks with any evidence - the piety that lays within my heart finds little need for it.”

If you had any piety within your heart, you would denounce these claims and accusations and address them and contend against your accusers, not simply brush them off as if they were beneath your notice. Doing thus as you have done has shown that you lack humility and are a brooding ground of arrogance.

Lastly, you write:

“I additionally argued briefly for the necessity of evil and sin as a gateway to the good: while this may contradict the theological leanings of Father Gavriel Branas, it is not in any way inherently contradictory of the Light.”

I begin to wonder just how long ago you have begun to study the Holy Light, for the foundation in the teaching that evil and CANNOT be used as a gateway for good is found within the Book of the Prophets!

“Hear my words, and let Light inside of you confirm the truth of them. Embrace the Light that is in you, my friends! Deny yourself all darkness.” (Prophets 1:13-14)

Thus is the reason why I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to teach and or preach the Holy Light. The College of Canons has given you license to teach the Elder Ways. Do so; I shall not attempt to disrupt you in doing that. However, you are not given license to teach, nor preach the Holy Light under the authority of the College of Canons. You are not an ordained cleric of the Holy Light.

I implore you to remain content with what you have been allotted and hopefully, one of these days, you and I may have a stimulating debate for simple food for thought. Until such time, do not attempt to ‘convert’ any such person to your own interpretation of the teachings of the Holy Light.

May the Light that is within you confirm the truth of my words.

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