Greyhawk: Return to the Classic
Pelor is the god of the Sun, Light, Strength, and Healing. He is known as the Shining One, and the Sun Father. He is known as the creator of much that is good. His holy symbol is a face in a sun. A Flan deity, Pelor is worshiped throughout the Flanaess, and on other worlds as well. He rides a mighty ki-rin (an aerial creatures that dwell amongst the clouds, of the highest intelligence and completely lawful and good) named Star Thought, summoning eagles and destroying evil with bolts of light. He is depicted as an older man with wild golden hair and beard, dressed in robes of shining white.
Pelor was known as Sol by the early Oeridians. The Solnor Ocean is named for him.
Among the Bakluni, Pelor is known as Al’Asran. Al’Asran is said to have granted the legendary Cup and Talisman to Al’Akbar.
As of “The Complete Divine” two more domains were added to Pelor’s Jurisdiction: The Community and Glory Domains. Both can be found, with description and domain spell breakdowns, in The Complete Divine.
A number of Pelor’s followers have achieved deity or near-deity status, the most popular being Mayaheine, demigoddess of Protection, Justice, and Valor, and Saint Bane the Scourger, patron saint of those who hunt the undead. Another saint, Saint Jalnir the Gentle, was a half-orc priest. Saint Benedor of the Ashen Hand, patron of the Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom, was a famous Pelorian paladin and remains greatly revered by the Sun Lord’s faithful. Above all is Saint Marius the Glorious, the first and one-hundredth High Sun Keeper of Pelor who officially changed the worship from Sol to Pelor.
Among the other gods, Pelor is allied most closely with Heironeous, and very closely allied with Saint Cuthbert as well. Pelor’s other allies include Mayaheine, Rao, Trithereon, and Zodal. Pelor is friendly to good-aligned nonhuman deities such as Corellon Larethian, Moradin, and Garl Glittergold, and is especially friendly to those with an agricultural or solar aspect, as Yondalla has.
Pelor opposes all evil deities and his followers avoid neutral deities with teachings counter to Pelor’s. Pelor particularly loathes Tharizdun, having played a role in the Dark God’s imprisonment, Nerull, and Vecna.
Pelorians believe that the life-giving sun is the best cure for all of Oerth’s ills. Justice and freedom are brought about through charity, modesty, perseverance, and self-sacrifice. Pelor’s priests teach that the truly strong don’t need to prove their power. Pelorians strive to perform so many good acts that evil has no room in which to exist, though they will fight if necessary. Pelor is wrathful against the forces of evil, and is especially opposed to the undead. However, Pelor urges his followers to remember that excessive attention to things of evil can blind one to the truly important things: compassion and goodness. These are what must be emphasized above all.
Pelorian dogma has it that the energy and power of life originates in the sun.
- The Light of Pelor is the most common Pelorian holy book, beginning with Pelor’s creation of the sun and telling of how Pelor instructed the first mortals. How in a time of great evil and darkness Pelor shown his light on the Rock of Pelor and gave his message to Marius. Some versions portray Pelor as the sun ( Liga) itself, rather than its creator, and tell of Pelor’s attempts to win back those who have strayed from his light. The Light of Pelor only has minor variations in it, and all are considered canonical, despite these small discrepancies. The book is often enchanted to glow with a soft solar radiance when it’s closed, and some versions are gilded.
The Five pillars of the faith are laid out in the Light of Pelor:
Shahadah is professing the glory and power of Pelor. This message is formost in the church, it does not claim that Pelor should be the only god simply that he is the most important god, both practically and metaphysically. During their lives a worshiper of Pelor must proclaiming the following with full understand and acceptance saying in Pelorian:
“Pelor is the first among equals, without his light nothing is possible”
“Deus est primoris inter par, vacuus suus lux lucis nusquam est venio”
The second pillar of Pelor is Salat, the requirement to pray 5 times a day at fixed times during the day. The time of day to pray are at dawn, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon, and sunset. Each salat is performed facing towards the west in the morning and east during the afternoon, the prayer at noon is done to the west in summer and spring and to the east in fall and winter. Salat is intended to focus the mind gifts which Pelor is giving us each day; it is seen as a personal communication with Pelor, expressing gratitude and worship. According to the Light of Pelor, the benefit of prayer “restrains [one] from shameful and evil deeds”. Light of Pelor 29:40
Salat is compulsory but the body and clothing, as well as the place of prayer, must be cleansed.
All prayers should be conducted within the prescribed time period (the vicis) and with the appropriate length of time (tempus). While the prayers may be made at any point within the vicis, it is considered best to begin them as soon as possible after the call to prayer is heard. That comes from the bells on a tempel.
The prayers are essentially expressions of adoration of Pelor, but the worshipper may add his own personal request. The most commonly repeated prayer is the short first verse declaired my Marius after his revolation, ‘Praise be to Pelor, Lord of the Sun, the compassionate, the merciful’. Laus exsisto ut Deus , Senior of Sol solis , pius , misericordaliter Light of Pelor 3:01
Zakat or alms-giving, is the practice of charitable giving by Pelorians based on accumulated wealth, and is obligatory for all who are able to do so. It is considered to be a personal responsibility for Pelorians to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality. Zakat consists of spending a fixed portion of one’s wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travellers. A Pelorian may also donate more as an act of voluntary charity (sanctimonia), and all are incouraged to do so if able.
There are four principles that should be followed when giving the Zakat:
- The giver must declare to Pelor and his Priest his intention to give the Zakat.
- The Zakat must be paid on the day that it is due, traditionaly the last day of Raaping. If one fails to pay the Zakat, people think he is refusing to fulfill God’s wishes.
- Payment must be in kind. This means if one has a lot of money then he needs to pay 2.5% of his income. If he does not have much money, he needs to pay in a different way. For example, if he has a lot of cattle, then he pays in cattle instead of money.
- The Zakat must be distributed in the community in which it was taken from. This is a recent command on the Zakat placed by Sun Keeper Maxius Rellius Vespis II.
Keeping the Fast during Reaping
In the Pelorian faith the month of Reaping is known as Pia Pium Oris Sane the Holy Month of Rationing. Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during this month and Pelorians must abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins.
The fast is meant to allow Pelorians to seek nearness to Pelor, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, to atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy. During the Oris Sane, Pelorians are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Pelor by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, harsh language, gossip and to try to get along with people better than normal
Fasting during Oris Sane is obligatory, but is forbidden in some cases, for several groups for whom it would be dangerous or excessively problematic. These include pre-pubescent children, those with a medical condition such as diabetes, elderly people, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Observing fasts is not required for those who ‘already spend their lives longing for food, for they observe the sacred fast year round’ Light of Pelor 37:29. Other individuals for whom it is considered acceptable not to fast are those who are ill or travelling. Missing fasts usually must be made up soon afterwards, although the exact requirements vary according to circumstance.
The Peregrinus is a pilgrimage that occurs during the month of Patchwall to the holy city of Winterhaven to be timed to arrive on the twelth day the Vulus Soaeaxnitas the festival of All Equal Peoples. Every able-bodied Pelorian is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Winterhaven at least once in their lifetime if they can afford it. When the pilgrim is around ten kilometers from the high tempel in Winterhaven, they must dress in Ihram clothing, which consists of two white sheets. Both men and women are required to make the pilgrimage to Winterhaven, as the Peregrinus is mandatory for both males and females. After a Pelorian makes the trip to Winterhaven, he/she is known as a peregrinus/peregrina( one who made the pilgrimage to Winterhaven). The main rituals of the Peregrinus include walking seven times around the High Tempel, touching the Rock of Pelor under the Sacred Light.
The pilgrim, or the peregrinus, is honoured in their community. For some, this is an incentive to perform the peregrinus. Pelorian teachers say that the peregrinus should be an expression of devotion to Pelor, not a means to gain social standing. The believer should be self-aware and examine their intentions in performing the pilgrimage. This should lead to constant striving for self-improvement.
A pilgrimage made at any time other than is called an Umrah, and while not mandatory is strongly encouraged.
Pelor is a popular deity, much-beloved by the commonfolk. He is particularly revered in the Bright Lands (as Aurifar), among the Rovers of the Barrens, in Dyvers, Geoff, the Free City of Greyhawk, Nyrond, Perrenland, Sterich, Sunndi, Tenh, and Urnst (both the Duchy and the County). In his Baklunish aspect, Pelor is one of the major deities of the nation of Ekbir. He is worshiped on at least one other world, the homeworld of Mayaheine. The Prelacy of Almor was founded by a paladin of Pelor after the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, and though the nation became ruled by an ecumenical council, it remained the greatest center of Pelor’s faith until Almor was destroyed during the Greyhawk Wars.
Although Pelor’s church has a few heresies and schisms, the head priests of his powerful temples are in contact with one another and with the religion’s overall leadership. If the secular leaders of one nation place an onerous tax on Pelor’s temples, word will spread through Pelor’s hierarchy. Other nations might be persuaded by their Pelorians to apply diplomatic pressure to get the tax repealed.
Pelor’s clergy heal the sick, bless crops, help the needy, and destroy evil and the undead. They are caring and nurturing, with backbones of steel. The Pelorian priesthood attracts many naive youths to his service, but training is rigorous enough to send many of them back to their farms. Pelor’s elite priests are called Radiant Servants. Pelor’s favored weapon is the mace (heavy or light). Vestments are typically yellow or gold. The church of Pelor has a very exact listing of rank and title for thouse who belong to the church: Acolyte, Priest, Deacons, Vicar, Bishop, Archbishop, Primate, Cardinal, Patriarch and High Sun Keeper.
A new initiate into the church, one who has declared their intention to become a priest of Pelor. Until one is fourteen they cannont become an acolyte or enter any formal priestly training; once they start down the path it will take them a minimum of six years and in many cases eight to ten years, to complete their training.
After one is finished with their training as an Acolyte they become a Priest; while not all priests are clerics, all clerics are priests. Priests fill a multitude of rolls: they may serve in a church under a Deacon or Bishop, they might be assigned to monastic orders do to special skills, or they may be given permission to become a wandering shepherd walking the plain guided by Pelor’s will. Whatever a Priest does in servos to the Shinning One they are the most commonly interacted with member of the church.
A Deacon is a priest that has been granted a diocese, perish, church, or a grove that is his to tend and maintain. He reports directly to his Bishop and is responsible for the spiritual health and to a certain extent the physical health as well, of those who are in his charge. One cannot become a Deacon until the age of twenty-six; special dispensation can be made by the Bishop of up to one year but no more. Any further exception of this time constraint must come directly from the High Sun-Keeper.
Vicar is a priest or deacon who has been selected be become the personal aid of a Bishop, Archbishop, or Cardinal. This position tends to be a stepping stool to higher positions in the church. A Vicar is given access to greater church information and resources and considered to be the mouth peace of the ecclesiarch that they represent. In the earliest days of the church vicars would serve as messengers from one part of the resistance to the other, and would be the only people aware of where any two parts of the resistance where at one time. This tradition of the highest confidences being placed on them lives true to this day, while they are no longer used for espionage it is a still a position of great honor to be the moth for their superior.
A Bishop might be considered equivalent of a feudal lord or major in an army, the deacons and priest in their area report to them and must abide by their ruling. They are responsible for teaching the faith and ruling the church. The Bishop or Eparch of any see is the center of unity for his diocese or eparchy, and, as a member of the College of Bishops, shares in responsibility for governance of the whole Church. They report to the Cardinal who appointed them, however Bishops serve more as deputies to the Cardinal rather then a direct subordinate.
The title of archbishop is held not only by bishops who head metropolitan sees, but also by those who head archdioceses that are not metropolitan sees, those of deep spritual signifanace to the church. In addition, it is held by certain other bishops, referred to as “Titular Archbishops” who have been given no longer extant archdioceses as their titular sees – many of these serve in administrative or diplomatic posts, for instance as Sol Solis Costidos Nuncios, who serve as diplomats for the church, or secretaries of Curial Congregations, who seves as assistants to Cardnals. The bishop of a non-archiepiscopal see may be given the personal title of archbishop without also elevating his see (such a bishop is known as an archbishop ad personam).
The title of Primate has in some countries been granted to the bishop of a particular (usually metropolitan) see. It might involve authority over all the other sees in the country or region, or simply involve no more than a “prerogative of honor”. Primates are usually designated to an archbishop or bishop who serves with the first diocese created within the country, or an archbishop/bishop who serves with the oldest diocese within the country. Primates who serve in hostile countries such as the Empire of Iuz, or the Shield Lands still hold authority over all other sees in those countries as there will be no Cardinal assigned to those lands.
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official of the Church of Pelor. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new High Sunkeeper. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and making themselves available individually or collectively to the High Sunkeeper if they request their counsel. Most cardinals have additional duties, such as leading a diocese or archdiocese or running a department of the Curia of Pale. A cardinal’s other main function is electing the High Sunkeeper whenever, by death or resignation, the seat becomes vacant.
The right of electing the High Sunkeeper is reserved to the principal clergy of Pale and the bishops of the nine suburbicarian sees, the nine sees inside the country of Pale. During the sede vacante, the period between a High Sunkeeper’s death and the election of their successor, the day-to-day governance of the Church as whole enters a vaccume period as the College is only empowered to elect the High Sunkeeper during this time. The right to enter the conclave of cardinals who elect the High Sunkeeper is now limited to those cardinals who are part of the college and those Patriarchs of other faiths. On exceedingly rare cases a guest of a Patriarch may be granted the right to enter but only under a unanimous vote. The election of a High Sunkeeper has never taken longer then the two days allotted before the Light of Pelor would become extinguished. The exact proceedings of the College are a closely guarded secrete of the church but it is known that the election of a High Sunkeeper must be unanimous.
This title exists to grant recognition of the heads of other faiths, and grant them standing inside the Church of Pelor. While they cannot not give orders to priests of Pelor, and so too do not follow the orders of the High Sunkeeper, the church created the title as a symbol of respect to the heads of the other gods of Pantheon. It was felt by the church that, as Pelor is the head of the Pantheon, those who head the faiths of the other gods must be shown their proper respect by the clergy of the Sun Lord. This also serves to clear up any confusion as to the proper display of etiquette when a Cardinal meets with a head of faith to another god.
High Sun Keeper
The High Sun Keeper of Pelor is referred to as the Vicar of Pelor and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church of the Sun Lord. The honorary title prefixed to the Sun-Keeper’s name is “(His or Her) Holiness”. They may sometimes also use the less formal title of “Servant of the Servants of the Lord of the Sun”. The High Sun-keeper is the only Cleric in the Flanaess that can cast commune and receive direct commands from Pelor himself. Thus the church has organized itself in a manner that gives that individual the most influence. The charge forces on them an awareness that they, even more than other bishops, are “tied”, bound, by an obligation of strictest fidelity to the teaching transmitted down the centuries in increasingly developed form within the Church. The Sun-keeper have also, sice 399CY, surved as the sovrign of Pale.
In Pelorian theology, the bishop who is the successor of Saint Marious in the episcopal see of Wintershaven is viewed as the head of the College of Bishops, as Saint Marious was the chief teacher of Pelor; and communion with him is considered essential for the existence of the College of Bishops and their right of Magisterium. He has direct authority over the whole Church.
In certain limited and extraordinary circumstances, this keeper’s primacy involves the infallibility of the keeper, i.e. the definitive character of the teaching on matters of faith and morals that they declare solemnly as the visible head of the Church. In any normal circumstances, exercise of this authority will involve previous consultation of all Pelorian bishops (usually taking place in holy synods or an ecumenical council) or at least the College of Cardinals.
The Pontiff of Pale, head of the college of bishops, enjoys a form of infallibility in virtue of their office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms their brethren in the faith – they proclaim by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals… The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Marious’ successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,’ above all in an Ecumenical Council. These are two ways in which the priests of the Church exercise the charism of infallibility with which Pelor has endowed them for the purpose of guarding from deviation and decay the authentic faith of the definitive covenant Pelor established with his people. In other words, they are two ways of ensuring that "the gates of the Hells and the Legions of Darkness will not prevail against the Church " (Light of Pelor 16:18).
The High Sun-keeper resides in the City of Wintershaven, within the Theocracy of Pale. The body of officials that assist the High Sun-keeper in governance of the Church as a whole is known as the curia of Plae. The term “Holy See” (i.e. of Pale) is generally used only of High Sun-keeper and curia, because the Code of Canon Law, which concerns governance of the Palian Church as a whole and not internal affairs of the country of Pale itself, necessarily uses the term in this technical sense.
A High Sun-keeper is elected buy the College of Cardinals buy unanimous vote. Upon election they are invested with all the rights and responsibilities of High Sun-keeper. Their High Sun-keeper has the option of resigning. The two best known cases are those of Ulysses Janus Justus Poteius in -312CY and Fabia the first, who resigned in -109CY after the concuring of Pale by the Great Kingdom and Julis the Strong.
Pelor is served by a small number of druids, who behave in ways similar to his clerics, but with a greater emphasis on the care of plants and animals. They usually associate themselves with settlements rather than living as hermits, aiding the community with their hands, spells, and animal companions wherever they can. They are considered to have priest status within the Pelorian church, though they have a separate hierarchy. Pelor is also worshipped in the Old Faith, where he is considered the god of summer.
Pelorian paladins, known as Crusaders, are rare, having appeared in large numbers only since the Greyhawk Wars. They are about as common as Mayaheine’s paladins, though the demigoddess’s church is much smaller than Pelor’s. Pelor’s paladins see themselves as the burning light of the sun which scours away darkness and evil and brings strength and comfort to the innocent. Though uncommon, they can be found in nearly every nation in the Flanaess, their dress varying according to the local culture. They are most common in Nyrond, the Urnst States, and the Sheldomar Valley.
Crusaders believe that laws are helpful, but that they are at best a secondary goal and must be tempered with mercy. Their slogan is Equity for the Meek with Perseverance and Strength.
When not in formal dress, Crusaders favor light-colored tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or grays. Some dress in commoner’s clothing, especially when serving as community healers or in disguise. On formal occasions, they wear a black cloak emblazoned with the symbol of the sun. They blend into the darkness, only the shining symbols visible to their foes.
An ancient order of Oeridian paladins predating the Great Migrations, the Lords of Sol, are now extinct, but their history is closely bound to that of the Aerdi tribes who founded the Great Kingdom. By the time of the Migrations, Hextor and Heironeous had gained greater popularity and largely subsumed the traditional roles of the Lords of Sol.
Pelor’s services involve communal prayer, the singing of hymns, and the distribution of alms. Prayers to Pelor are often affirmations in the first person, for example, “I am merciful, just as the Sun of Mercy shines on me.” Weddings and rites of passage often take place at the beginning of a new season. Farmers often request a ritual known as the Blessing of the Sun-Kissed Field.
Pelor’s temples are tall, with large windows; many are stained-glass cathedrals. They are arranged so that the sun shines into most of the rooms during the day, and many feature large courtyards. They tend to be airy and blindingly white. Temple trappings are typically yellow or gold. They are always kept clean. Many Pelorian temples have hospital wings.