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The Faithful Iluvatarism, or alternatively Orthodox Iluvatarism and also Dorwinine Iluvatarism is a branch of Iluvatarist belief that split from it in recent times, mainly due to a mixture of political and religious debates.


Denominations[]

Although its official name is simply Iluvatarism, this name isn't used much even by the followers of this cult, that call themselves "right faithful Iluvatarists" or "faithful Iluvatarists". The name of Dorwinine Iluvatarism is used mainly by the "western" Iluvatarists: High Elves, Wood Elves, Dunedain and Rohirrim. In near Harad, Dale, Rhovanion and Lothlorien it goes by the name of Eastern Iluvatarism, but for the Illahvatarism both the western Iluvatarists and the Dorwinine ones are "kuffar" (disbelievers). The name that the worshipers of Sauron and Melkor give them is unknown.

Origins[]

The ancient Iluvatarism quickly spread, thanks to the work of the Avari elves and of some of the Teleri, in middle-earth, remaining united in its doctrine for long. Though, already in the first age some cults split from it, because the Dwarves worshiped mostly the vala Aule, and the Ents worshiped his wife, the valie Yavanna. Their cults spread early, alongside the ones of other single valar, although Iluvatarism as a belief remained one whole thing at least until the end of the Third Age.

During the Fourth Age, the cult of Yavanna, the cult of Varda and the cult of the moon spreaded to many peoples among the free folks, expecially in Rhovanion, Rhun and Forodwaith, and sometimes they were even given very peculiar and independent traits: for example, the first church to substantially split from Iluvatarism was the so-called "Lossoth Valarism", a religion of the natives of the Bay of Forochel that merged spiritic cults with the Iluvatarism imported by the Dunedain.

Though, the origins of the Dorwinine Iluvatarism can be mainly considered political, although they were born from a strong popular belief. When, in VA 195, the Empress of Dorwinion disappeared after rowdy years of political pressure in Rhovanion, many in Dorwinion and Dale thought she was dead, and rumors of a tragic end of hers started to spread. Although these rumors were soon proven false, the popular admiration and veneration towards her kept existing, and even rose when the causes of her departure became known. Soon, praying for Arenelyya Dagothar-Engoria became a political mean to protest against the lack of power in Dorwinion and the oppression of the Rhovanine throne, causing minor troubles to the local administration.

In VA 198, a priest of Iluvatar from a village near Mirulond, Michail Tsonos, built the first Church of Hagia Arenelyya in Dorwinion, where a piece of clothing stained with her blood was kept as holy relic and became an object of veneration by the faithful. This caused a conflict inside Iluvatarism, that will be explained further down in the text, and the definitive Schism between the Western Church of Iluvatar and the Dorwinine one.

Although it's often named merely Dorwinine Iluvatarism, it's widely spread also in Dalish Rhovanion and in the lands of the Avari north of the Sea of Rhun. Particularly, the Patriarch of Bardhaven is often considered superior to the other priests and has jurisdiction over the dalish faithfuls of this branch of Iluvatarism, although he still gives the "primacy of honour" to the Patriarchy of Dorwinion.

Faith and religious principles[]

The faithful Church of Iluvatar considers itself the "only true Iluvatarist church", and heir to the teachings of the first elves. Sources of the teachings are:

  • The compendium of books of the history of Arda, from the Noldolante to the more recent works of the Third Age;
  • The writings of Arenelyya Dagothar-Engoria about faith;
  • The holy writings of Michail Tsonos, first of all the "Glorification of the Saints" prose book;
  • The documentation of the Council of Odessa, where the Dorwinine church officially split from the western one.

Let's analyse the points of the belief in detail.

Iluvatar and the Valar[]

For the Dorwinine Iluvatarists, Iluvatar exists in the same three aspects the western Iluvatarism believes in, called Neldie: Ainatar, Elpino, Airefea, respectively "the creator", "the incarnate", "the creative spirit". Though, there's a strong distinction between the Neldie and the Flame Imperishable: the Flame is in fact considered not part of Iluvatar, but as a fourth "uncreated divine energy". Any faithful Iluvatarist has as ultimate target the "admixture", which is the end of the process of "reaching the deity" during their life. This process allows them to begin to understand the nature of the Flame, although Eru's mind will always stay concealed to any of his children. On the other side, the Valar are considered created by Iluvatar, and are angelic creatures meant to lead elves, men and dwarves to salvation.

Hence, on this aspect the main differences with the western Iluvatarism is that, for the latter, the Flame isn't uncreated, but was created by Iluvatar; though, the Children of Iluvatar have no way to understand the essence of the Flame (while for the Dorwinine doctrine they can).

The Saints[]

For the Church of Dorwinion, a Saint is a person that has ended their life and enjoys Iluvatar's light, independently by what the Church itself does with them. The only exceptions are Saint Maglor and Saint Arenelyya, the only people being made Saint while alive (or presumably alive) in Middle Earth: the first because of the holy writings he left and because of his suffering, that repayed the evil and pain he caused, and the latter because again of holy poems and because of her martyrdom (that, though, left her alive). Saints can be proclaimed in an official way by the Patriarch, or recognised after a time where they're venerated as such by several communities of faithful. It's important to notice that western Iluvatarism never officially recognised or made saints, so they're a peculiarity of the Dorwinine cult: moreover, Iluvatar is worshiped, the Valar can be adored, but the Saints must be venerated, so adoration or worship are not accepted, for cults of the Saints, because they're an attribute of Iluvatar and the Valar, and not of the other Children.

Sacred Texts[]

Except for the ones shared with the western Iluvatarism, the sacred texts of the Dorwinine cult are mainly used to explain the differences between the two religions, and a proof of this is the fact that even the documentation of the Council of Odessa is part of them.

The Afterlife[]

The western Iluvatarism believes simply that, either by boat or by "death", the elves return to Valinor, and there they live and may reincarnate, but says nothing about humans' fate, defining it as "unknown". Yet, Dorwinine Iluvatarism tries to give an answer to this ultimate question. According to Michail Tsonos, the Elves reach Valinor because they were always meant to be nearer to the Valar than to Iluvatar, and the Valar had to help them in mediating with Eru's mind. On the other side, Men are born far from and Iluvatar and the Valar, but during their life they can work on themselves through admixture, managing to reach the comprehension of the Flame. After their death, the souls of men go to Iluvatar and the Flame, and are nearer to them the nearer they went to the completion of admixture. Also, men cannot come back, as sometimes elves do, but the Saints can sometimes make holy apparences to the believers to sustain their faith.

Notable worshipers[]

  • Michail Tsonos [player: caranthir00]
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