Dark Heresy - Paths of Faith
“The Emperor is our Father and our Guardian, but we must also Guard the Emperor.”
The Imperial Cult is the official and only state religion of the Imperium of Man. It is devoted to the worship of the God-Emperor of Mankind as the ascended divinity and saviour of humanity. Those who believe in the Cult’s teachings hold that the Emperor is a living spiritual entity and the only true divinity of humanity. The Imperial Cult is lead by the Adeptus Ministorum, also known as the Ecclesiarchy, who devote their lives to spreading the Word of the Emperor and doing His will. Almost all variants on the Imperial Cult are tolerated by the Ecclesiarchy’s priests, but all worship of the Emperor must comply with certain Imperial values including, but not limited to: unquestioning political loyalty to the High Lords of Terra and the various agencies of the Adeptus Terra, diligence in carrying out the Emperor’s will, belief in the Emperor’s ultimate divinity, and conscious contributions to the Imperium’s overall well-being, even if this means nothing more than helping to improve one’s own homeworld or even just home city or town.
In the 41st Millennium the Imperial Cult has almost unrivaled power and influence within the Imperium. Heresy against it is punished severely. The religion is formally administered by the clerics of the Ecclesiarchy. The Imperial Cult is the Imperium’s state religion, and in many ways the religion is the state itself since it is the glue that binds humanity together in the service of the Emperor and the Imperium. The precepts of the Imperial Cult, called the Imperial Creed, include the belief that all of humanity must be brought into the Imperium whereever in the galaxy humans live, the absolute abhorrence of aliens as dangers to humanity’s rightful domination of the Milky Way Galaxy, and the realisation that the existence of unsanctioned psychic powers and human mutation is a dire threat to the human species which must be controlled. Aside from these central tenets of the Imperial Creed, there exists a great body of both sanctioned and unsanctioned additional dogma which varies from sector to sector and world to world and is the subject of constant debate within the Ministorum’s hierarchy. The subject and nature of the afterlife is one such regularly debated topic, with many teachings mentioning the form of an afterlife in which the faithful take their place beside the Emperor of Mankind for eternity. However, other elements of the Holy Synod maintain a different version of the afterlife, and the nature of the belief in an afterlife varies greatly depending on the culture and technological sophistication of a given Imperial planet.
Forces of the Ecclesiarchy
The Frateris Militia are the masses of the Imperial Cult’s most zealous faithful who have gathered to fight wars of faith against the enemies of the God-Emperor and Mankind. They constitute the unofficial and generally ill-trained troops of the Adeptus Ministorum who fight in the interests of the Ecclesiarchy. Although most such mobs consist of no more than faithful Imperial citizens drawn from a broad walk of life, some “Brothers” have had military experience in the Imperial Guard or a Planetary Defence Force (PDF). They make up for this general lack of military training with selfless fanaticism.
Sisters of Battle
The Adepta Sororitas, also known as the Sisters of Battle and formerly known as the Daughters of the Emperor, are an all-female division of the Imperial Cult’s ecclesiastical Adepta known as the Ecclesiarchy or, more formally, as the Adeptus Ministorum. The Sisterhood’s Orders Militant serve as the Ecclesiarchy’s fighting arm, mercilessly rooting out corruption and heresy within humanity and every organization of the Adeptus Terra. There is naturally some overlap between the duties of the Sisterhood and the Imperial Inquisition; for this reason, although the Inquisition and the Sisterhood remain entirely separate organisations, the Orders Militant of the Sisterhood also act as the Chamber Militant of the Inquisition’s Ordo Hereticus. The Adepta Sororitas and the Sisters of Battle are commonly regarded as the same organisation, but the latter title technically refers only to the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, the best-known part of the organization. The Sisterhood serves as the Ministorum’s only official military force because the Decree Passive laid down by the reformist Ecclesiarch Sebastian Thor held that in the wake of the Age of Apostasy of the 36th Millennium, the Ecclesiarchy cannot maintain any men under arms. This was supposed to limit the power of the Ecclesiarchy. However, the Ministorum was able to circumvent this decree by using the all-female military force of the Sisterhood’s Orders Militant.