OHS Dragon Age
Religion and The Chantry
The most powerful contemporary religion throughout Thedas is the Andrastian Chantry, a faith whose teachings are modeled after the sermons of Andraste, the prophet of the Maker. These collected teachings are called the Chant of Light, and its bulk consists of hymns and songs on a wide variety of topics including history and moral behavior.
The Maker’s Chosen
Andraste was a slave. She escaped from the Tevinter Imperium in the chaotic years following the death of the Archdemon Dumat, during the empire’s struggle to recover from the First Blight. Returning to the land of her birth, she rose to power as the wife of a powerful Alamarri warlord named Maferath. According to the Chantry’s modern teachings, Andraste sang of the world’s woes to the Maker, and to Andraste alone the Maker listened.
The Maker chose Andraste as His bride and entrusted her with spreading His words across Thedas. The Prophetess gathered a mighty army and set out to topple the forces of the corrupt mages of the Imperium. But at the brink of her success her mortal husband Maferath betrayed Andraste to her death.
The Maker, in rage and sorrow, turned once more from creation. Contemporary orthodoxy holds that when the Chant is sung in every corner of the world, the Maker will return again.
Exalted Marches are holy crusades declared by the Chantry against enemies of the faith. Andraste’s campaign against the Tevinter Imperium is considered to be the first Exalted March, so the concept predates even the founding of the Chantry. The second was against the elven Dales, and though the Chantry had many reasons to choose from the one most often stated by Chantry historians is the elves’ refusal to accept the Chant of Light or give up their pagan gods. The Andrastian Chantry declared four different Exalted Marches against the Imperial Chantry in Tevinter, though none succeeded.
The actual priesthood of the Chantry is made up entirely of women, on the basis that Andraste was a woman. At the head of the Chantry is the Divine, who leads from her seat in the Grand Cathedral of Val Royeaux in Orlais. Below her are the Grand Clerics who are the Chantry’s highest authority in a country or a region. After a Divine dies, Grand Clerics are required to travel to Val Royeaux for the Grand Consensus, a meeting where Chantry leadership unanimously elect the new leader of the Chantry. Beneath the Grand Clerics are the mothers, who are responsible for administering to the spiritual well-being of their flock. If a mother is in charge of a local Chantry, she is called a Revered Mother. Beneath mothers are the brothers and sisters, consisting of three main groups: affirmed, initiates, and clerics. Brother is the only rank that men are allowed to have. The initiates take vows and receive an academic education. Those who seek to become templars receive a martial education in addition. Clerics are the scholars of the Chantry and the most senior of them receive the title of “elder,” which is, however, beneath that of mother.