Chantry of Alstin
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Chantry of Alstin
|Scripture||Bible (King Richard Version)|
|Archbishop of Alstin||Michael Whitforth|
The Chantry of Alstin, also known as the Chantric Church, is the established Christian church in Alstin.
Established as a refugee offshoot of the Ænglish Church, the Chantric Church is a global Christian communion with a presence in three continents. It is the largest extant Christian body which adheres to the historic theology and practice of the Ænglish Church.
Most historians believe the name "Chantry" began as a nickname. The most widely accepted version of the origin of the term relates to the Blandford Cathedral Choir and the arrival of Bishop John Hewald to Alstin upon its foundation. Historical records suggest the Blandford Cathedral and Hewald employed a high liturgy with one of the most skilled choir in the Ænglish realm, and that the tradition of high quality sung chant continued in the churches established by Hewald. Accordingly, the chant-oriented liturgies would have been referred to as "chants" in common parlance as of the 1590s, with the term "chantry" becoming a slang term for churches first attested to in 1610. The term entered increasing formal usage soon after, and the first official reference to the "Chantry Church" and "Chantry of Alstin" are from the 1640s.
The head of the Chantry of Alstin is the Archbishop of Alstin, who serves in an administrative capacity as well as chief advisor for ecclesial affairs to the Government of Alstin. The episcopacy, established by Bishop John Hewald on order of Alstantus Ryefield, lead the Chantry during its initial formation, and has retained prestige and authority ever since. After the formal establishment of the Church in 1632, the King of Alstin was head of the Church, although the de facto headship of the Archbishop of Alstin remained in place. Following the proclamation and establishment of the United Republic in 1689, the Chantry has since been governed according to episcopal polity with its own system of canon law.
Social and cultural issues
When Alstanus Ryefield arrived and settled the city of Alstin in the 16th century as a Pharisedom, he was accompanied by three clergy from the Ænglish Church - the Bishop of Blandford, John Hewald, and two accompanying Ænglish priests. The Bishop was quickly decreed by Ryefield to be the Bishop of his new city, and the three churchmen soon began to reestablish church functions in their new homeland. Bishop Hewald and Ryefield worked together to build five churches, which would become the "five canons of Alstin", the oldest and most prestigious churches in the country. Alstin's economic growth and prominence gave it preeminent status among the Protestant refugees settling the islands, and the Bishop of Alstin was soon recognized by most colonies as the seniormost religious figure on the islands. Hewald soon ordained several additional priests among the colonist population and by 1570 had consecrated the two priests that came with him - Charles Horik and William Wardric - as Bishops of Wheatley and Plainsboro respectively. Hewald died in 1585 and chose Horik to succeed him, and Horik passed away in 1599. Horik selected Ewald Miller to be his successor, and Miller was the first Bishop born in Alstin.
The three first Bishops of Alstin - Hewald, Horik, and Miller - grappled with significant theological and practical questions. Many had believed God abandoned the Ænglish Church following their persecution in Levantia, and the three Bishops imparted on the believers in the young nation that God had, indeed, blessed them with this land. The three Bishops affirmed the Book of Common Prayer and traditional Ænglish Church liturgy as those to be used in the new Alstinian Church, and reaffirmed the Acts of Godwin as the fundamental theological underpinnings of the Church. In 1604, Bishop Miller asked King Douglas I to invite Protestant scholars from abroad to create a new Ænglish language translation of the Bible to replace the Latin vulgate still in use and widely available at the time. The process was started and stopped several times resulting product, finished in 1622, became the King Richard Bible, which became the most commonly used English translation of the Bible for Protestants used worldwide.
Establishment and reorganization
Prior to 1632, the Chantry of Alstin occupied an unclear position within Alstinian society. Although nearly the entire population of the new country were adherents of the Chantry, it was not officially established as the state church of Alstin. The Chantry also remained organized on a mostly ad hoc basis as had been the case since the establishment of the church by refugees. King Julius I, in 1632, proclaimed the official status of the Chantric Church as the state church of Alstin, and convened the first official convocation of the Chantric Church in September of 1632. The practice of convocations had originated in the Ænglish Church and was reaffirmed at the Convocation of 1632. The Convocation itself gathered to create a new administrative and teaching structure for the Church, departing from the provisional basis from which the Church had been operating on since the late 16th century. The Convocation formally approved the King Richard Bible that had already been in use for a decade, reaffirmed the traditional Acts of Godwin and historic teaching of the Ænglish Church, and created a uniform system for the ordination of priests and the consecration of new bishops. The Convocation of 1632 proclaimed that the King of Alstin was the formal head of the Church (as had been the case with the Ænglish Church), but it controversially and narrowly approved a measure that would give the King of Alstin the right to appoint bishops, albeit with the advice of the Bishop of Alstin. The Convocation also formally elevated the Bishop of Alstin to Archbishop, making it primus inter pares among Chantric bishops.
The Chantry as established by the Convocation of 1632 existed for approximately six decades until the Alstinian Civil War. During this period, lay investiture of bishops by the King of Alstin was always controversial and contributed to popular and ecclesiastical unrest with respect to royal rule. During the Civil War, Church leaders were greatly divided between the various factions, and as such the Church hierarchy as such ceased to function as an institution throughout most of the 1680s. The various factional leaders and monarchs installed rival slates of bishops in various geographic areas, causing significant disruption to Church function. The Civil War resulted in the abolition of the monarchy and establishment of the United Republic. These changes to Alstin's government and society - as well as the division in the Church - required significant revisions to be made. Accordingly, on the request of the Republic's new President, the Church convened the Convocation of 1691. The Convocation's first order of business was to confirm the various ordinations and consecrations made by rival groups of bishops throughout the 1680s and to generally reconcile the Church, which it accomplished by these confirmations as well as by recognizing rival slates of bishops as legitimately sharing offices until their death or resignation, after which time single bishops would succeed them. With the reconciliation largely achieved, the Convocation next had to significantly revise its own structure to account for a republican Alstin.
18th century and global spread
Although the liturgy and beliefs of the Chantry are established by the church as a whole, some local variation and practices are prevalent. "Insular Chant" refers to the mainline, orthodox established practices and liturgy of the Chantry as is practiced on the main island of Alstin itself and its close outlying islands. More significant variations can be found in its more outlying territories in Crona, especially where Chantric religion is not as well established or was subject to inculturation by local customs and mores.