The Ecclesiastical State, also known as the Church State, or the Lands of the Grandpatriarchate are a sovereign state directly ruled by the Grandpatriarch of the Church of Iralliam. It consists of the Holy City of Opios, the ancient cities of Khead and Thearak in addition and most of the Kiyaj valley below the vale of Triad. As of the year 910 the Church State is ruled by Grandpatriarch Xephathor III, a congenial man of 63 years.
Although the Church had de-facto ruled the region that would become the ecclesiastical state for some time. De-jure Church control was established in the early years of the eighth century as part of an unofficial arrangement between the Church and the Kothari Exatai in the wake of the Aitahist Apostasy and the growing conclavist heresy. In this arrangement the Church agreed to refrain from objecting to a Kothari conquest of the Kingdom of Kilar, in return for the Kothari Exatai suppressing the heresy in his lands and recognizing the Grand-Patriarchs temporal rule of the Kiyaj valley.
In the aftermath of this arrangement the Grandpatriarchate consolidated this governance over the fertile lands of the valley, generally remaining non-interventionist in regional conflicts and refraining from intervening in the internal affairs of neighboring states, with local patriarchs becoming increasingly secure in their formal role as administrators of local churches. This resulted in the temporal state of affairs remaining most unchanged throughout this time, with the Kiyaj valley remaining a bastion of peace and relative prosperity.
The state is ruled directly by the Grand-Patriarch, who exercises his authority through a council consisting of key officials. This council advises the Grand-Patriarch and conveys his orders to the ministries. Always included as members on the council is the head of the Vastunintyardinas, which keeps the records of the Grand-Patriarchate and is the chief advisory on matters of theology and law, the Provost of the Order of Faith, which acts as religious police and guarantor of internal security, and the Supreme Commander of the Grand-Patriarchal Army. Other members generally consist of heads of state departments, and representatives from the Exarchates of Thearak and Khead, and representatives of the ancient Liealb nobility.
The ministries of the Church State include...
The Ministry of Finances which deals with the state treasury and the minting of coins
The Ministry of Rites which deals with managing the religious practice of the state, relations with foreign states, and court protocol.
The Ministry of War which consists of the military hierarchy, with the exception of the personal guards of the Grand-Patriarch himself
The Ministry of Works which is responsible for public and government works
In addition to the ministries the Church State, courts of law exist under the direct auspices of the Church for both temporal and religious matters. The regional courts in Khead and Thearak are subordinate to the court of Opios which in addition to judging crime in the Holy City serves as an appeals court. The Grand-Patriarch himself acts as the final court of appeal
Local governance subsists in the Exarchs of Khead and Triad in those cities and their immediate surrounds. Opios is managed by a Steward who reports directly to the Grand-Patriarch and acts in his name and with his approval. Rural regions are governed through local temple fiefs via their high priests, or under noble estates. These High Priests, or local lords manage their affairs under the general oversight of the respective exarchate they come under, or the Steward of Opios. The prerogatives of these fieflords are governed by the laws of state, which regulate the mutual obligations that exist between the high authorities and the commons.
The society of the Church state paradoxically remains one of the most cosmopolitan, yet traditional societies in the cradle. Outside of Opios the land follows the pattern it has followed since the rise of thearak, with noble lords and temples dominating the landscape with the peasants following the cycle of the seasons. The people are predominantly liealb and speak the vernacular liealb language, eat liealb cuisine, and tell the ancient stories of that people. Elephants with gilded tusks parade through the fields and streets in procession on the new year as per ancient custom, medicine men with daggers of copper and powdered rhinoceros horn travel town to town peddling their cures as they always have.
However in Opios, and to a lesser degree in the port of Thearak, one might find a great multitude of people of many different nations coming in pilgrimage to the seat of the faith. Uggor, Satar and Dulama all mingle in the ancient streets of the capital bringing with them their food, music and knowledge. The city then is a tangle of noises, sights and smells. It is a place where ancient liealb chapels, still bearing the hieroglyphics of thearak on their walls might play host to a band of dulama, playing their flutes on its doorstep in honor of the god. In the marketplaces one might find tea from the west, and see men in masks, men in feathers and men in the white robes of the priest mingling and haggling over the price of spices. It is where the world of Iralliam becomes as one.
As has long been the case, the economy of the Kiyaj is based upon the dual pillars of agriculture and the funds derived from it via the land tax, church tax, and port fees, and the pilgrim economy. the funds that come from pilgrims paying tolls and lodgings, and donating to the Church have long been a key part of the Church's finances.
The Church state also possesses glassworks, a legacy of refugees fleeing from the multiple sackings of Gaci, and craft industries. Salt is to be had from the sea and is gathered at thearak for sale to those regions where salt is a rare commodity.
The Church state maintains an army for its self-defense and a modest fleet commanded by a master of ships, based out of the port of Thearak. These armies consist of a combination of monastic warriors, holy warriors vowed to serve the faith and the god of light against evil, and warriors of the noble caste who earned of old their dignity through the way of the sword. In times of war peasant levies may be raised to the Church's defense, although not since the Karapeshai Exatai brought an army to the gates of Opios has the need arisen.