The Church of God Awaiting, often simply referred to as the Church or Mother Church, was Safehold's all-powerful religious organization founded by Eric Langhorne and the other administrators of Operation Ark in the disguise of "Archangels."
Its teachings were designed around the Holy Writ, a collection of both religious and life-advisory texts that was originally created by Maruyama Chihiro. Its geographical center was the Temple of God in the holy city of Zion. (OAR)
Structure and Clergy
The organization of the Church of God Awaiting was heavily based on the ancient Roman-Catholic church of Old Earth, though there were some fundamental differences, most importantly that there was never a tradition of celibacy on Safehold; in fact, it was obligatory for priests to marry and have children in order to achieve a high rank.
The church was led by the Council of Vicars, which was officially supervised by the Grand Vicar, even though, by the Year of God 890, control of the Temple was largely in the hands of the so-called Group of Four, a cabal of the four most powerful vicars. (OAR)
- Order of Bédard
- Order of Chihiro
- Order of Jwo-jeng (disbanded)
- Order of Langhorne
- Order of Pasquale
- Order of Schueler
- Order of Sondheim
- Order of Truscott
- Order of Hastings
After the colony ships from Old Earth had reached the Kau-zhi System, the surface of Safehold was prepared by Pei Shan-wei and her terraforming teams; meanwhile, Administrator Eric Langhorne and his followers prepared a plan to remove the memories of the vast majority of the colonists, and lock the new human society into a primitive technological level permanently. The most promising way to reach this goal proved to be religion: by creating a powerful church with a mythology that was actually backed by eye witness accounts from the first generation of colonists, the Adams and Eves, the "Archangels," as the administrators chose to call themselves, were able to build a society that would completely limit itself to the status quo. The Proscriptions of Jwo-jeng, brutally enforced by the Office of the Inquisition, kept Safeholdians from seeking new ways of doing things for centuries; this was how the original Church of God came into being.
When Pei Kau-yung destroyed many of the original archangels after they had the Alexandria Enclave bombed and everyone there killed, the knowledge of humanity's origin was lost even to the rulers of the Temple. Still, the vicars and archbishops of the centuries following the Day of Creation vigorously enforced their ancestors' teachings and proscriptions, while always strengthening their own power over the world of Safehold. Upon the bombing of the Alexandria Enclave, the Church of God was renamed the Church of God Awaiting. (OAR, HFAF)
In the Year of God 892, the Archbishopric of Charis declared itself independent from the Temple, along with the Kingdom of Charis. Archbishop Maikel Staynair declared that his see could no longer accept the perversion of the Church by the Group of Four, which he accused of using what they declared to be "God's will" for political and personal reasons. (BSRA)
The newly founded Church of Charis rejected the Book of Schueler because of the text's premise of bringing violent punishment and torture to supposed heretics. The Temple in turn excommunicated both Emperor Cayleb and Empress Sharleyan. (BHD)
- Safehold's rough equivalent to the Catholic pope.
- One may assume that Charis thus rejected the legitimacy of the Order of Schueler.