High Phœnissa of Aurice

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The High Phœnissa is the priestly and ecclesiastical head of the Aurician Cult of the Golden Phœnice which is the state religion of the Noble Republic of Aurice. The cult was instituted by Grand Duke Stalcast Bijäl in the year 2576. The priestess of the dwarven cult of the dragon-phœnix was brought from the Jaggudorns and ordained Mekarna, wife to Stalcast, in 2576 to be the first High Phœnissa of Aurice. She then organized the first priestesses of the same in 2576, choosing principally from her daughters and the daughters of Stalcast's two concubines. The High Phœnissa serves for life, unless she is removed from office by the Noble Senate.

Succession

The Elders of the College of Phœnissæ enter conclave upon the death or departure from office of the High Phœnissa and select her successor from among their number. The Noble Senate has power to remove the High Phœnissa from office only for betraying the Noble Republic or for a serious crime. This has occurred only once in the history of the office. Otherwise, she is sacrosanct.

Duties and Privileges

The High Phœnissa presides over all observances of the cult. She approves candidates to become members of the College of Phœnissæ. She governs the College of Phœnissæ and appoints its members to various offices and functions pertinent to the cult. She also selects the man who will be the Captain of the Phœnician Guard who is usually her legal consort. She becomes a senatrice with the rank of hierophant by virtue of her station as High Phœnissa and may sit enthroned with the Noble Senate on the Mensary. The High Phœnissa is governess of the temple and can legally bar any person from entry including Noble Senators. By means of this, the High Phœnissa in the past has provided sanctuary for persons. She selects from the College of Phœnissæ women to be priestesses of the Temples of the Golden Phœnice throughout the Aurician Empire.

Jurisdiction

The High Phœnissa has exclusive jurisdiction over the Phœnissæ and the members of the Phœnician Guard for crimes committed by them within the templary dominion which means the cult temples of the Golden Phœnice, the Vestibule of the Phœnician Guard, and the Templary Palace. She has original jurisdiction over any person accused of a crime committed within the Templary dominion, unless that person has recognized and applicable diplomatic status. She formerly had joint jurisdiction over crimes committed by Phœnissæ or Phœnician Guardsmen within the Aurician Empire. In trials of sacrilege against the cult by persons other than the Phœnissæ or Phœnician Guardsmen, the High Phœnissa sits as judge with the rest of the Senate acting as jury. In practice, charges of sacrilege or blasphemy are only ever pressed against high profile persons, such as public officials, Senators, and aristocrats.

Conditions Applicable to Marital Status

After the Aurician Revolution, the Noble Senate upheld the officially recognized status of the cult. The High Phœnissa continues to be chosen from among the female descendants of Stalcast Bijäl by his wife Mekarna and his two concubines. She is always considered a senatrice in rank. By custom and later by law, she is not married to a husband, but to a consort whom she customarily selects to be the Captain of the Phœnician Guard. In law, she is regarded as an 'inactive' queen and consequently any man who would marry her as her social equal in rank would legally be the King of Aurice, that is pretending to the office of monarch of Aurice, such as a king or a grand duke. This could be legally construed as treason against the Noble Republic of Aurice on the part of the man.

See Also