Ekelan Church

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Romanish Icon from the 16th century depicting St. John the Baptist

The Ekelan Church (Eganian: Eklisa Ekelanê; Maurit: Eqliciaya Ekelana; Romanish: Biserica Eklanică or Бисє́рикa Єкʌáникъ; Surian: Екеланая Церковь) is the third largest Christic church and one of the oldest current religious institutions in the world. "Ekelan" comes from the name of the Eganian Eastern historical region called Ekelenin.

The Ekelan communion is organized into several regional Churches, which are either autocephalous ("self-headed") or lower ranking autonomous (the Eganian term for "self-lawed") Church bodies unified in theology and worship. These include four autocephalous Churches, which were officially invited to the Pan-Ekelan Council of 2016, as well as a number of autonomous Churches. The four autocephalous Churches, which were officially invited to the Pan-Ekelan Council of 2016, are:

Among the autonomous Churches there are:

Each Church has a ruling bishop and a Holy Synod to administer its jurisdiction and to lead the Church in the preservation and teaching of the apostolic and patristic traditions and church practices.

History

An early form of Christicism arrived in modern Egani in the second century, during rule of the New Ionean Empire. At the same time, a theologically and liturgically related branch of the religion arrived across the Sea of Uthyra in Mauretia. The maritime distance and nuanced cultural differences caused the two branches to begin drifting apart. The influence of Sathrian Christics in the southern part of the New Ionean Empire along with the collapse of Romantish control over Mauretia played prominent roles in this drift. Gradually an official schism occurred in the fifth century. During the schism, a pair of Christic twins left for Egani and Mauretia with the hope of bringing reconciliation and cooperation between the two branches of the faith. One arrived in Krisoaral and the other in Salda. Although some theological differences remained issues at various points, these two women caused the two branches to accept one another as "separate but cooperative" until the time the outstanding matters could be worked out. This relationship, spurred by these two saints, allowed for many cultural, social, and technical connections between Egani and Mauretia in spite of the religious differences.

The religious reforms caused by the schism and new links with Mauretia helped usher in a series of social events that made the newly created Sathrian Empire struggle with its southern regions. At that time, Egani officially gained its independence. As a thalassocracy, Egani was sea-oriented and began colonizing.

The southern Slevic culture has later been assimilated to the Ekelan Church and the Hellanesian culture, as Hellanesians have colonized big territories in Central Uletha (today's Antharia, Niscavo and southern Suria) and many Hellanesian merchants have moved to the new colonies over the time. Still today, Ekelanism is the biggest religion in Egani and its former oversea territories Vatofarê and Niscavo, as well as one of the biggest religions in Antharia and Suria. Although officially separate from the Mauroi church in Mauretia, it retains close ties and strong cultural links.

Church Buildings

Floor plan of a usual Ekelan church building in Antharia built between the 16th and the 20th century

The church building has many symbolic meanings; perhaps the oldest and most prominent is the concept that the Church is the ship in which the world is saved from the flood of temptations; therefore, most ancient Verecletic Churches especially in Antharia and Suria are rectangular in design. Another popular configuration, especially for churches in Egani, is cross-shaped (cruciform). These churches have in general four same-sized naves, located around the central "crossing".

The end of an Ekelan church, which has the altar, for symbolic religious reasons, is traditionally on the east side of the church. However, frequently the building cannot be built to match liturgical direction. In parish churches, liturgical directions often do not coincide with geography; even in cathedrals, liturgical and geographic directions can be in almost precise opposition.