Monks , clerics , and specialty priests in the Ilmatari faith were known as the Adorned. The clergy referred to each other as "Brother" or "Sister". Senior clergy were called "Revered", such as "Revered Sister". Those who were leaders of temples, monasteries, and abbeys were addressed as "Mother" or "Father", and "of the House" was added to their title, such as "Revered Father of the House". No other titles were commonly used.
The greatest of the faith were called "Saint", and often bore a unique title. Individual titles for important clergy were in use through the history of the church, such as "Archsufferer", "Exalted Sufferer", "Master Sufferer", and "Enduring Servant". The Adorned had a fairly loose and informal hierarchy, organized around the Revered Father or Mother of the nearest large temple, monastery, or abbey.
All Ilmatari in the region reported to this person, and were loosely ranked under them. The abbeys and monasteries, though usually located separately from the churches, were often linked to a specific temple, adding an extra level in this hierarchy. There was no overall leader of the faith or a governing council. Instead, a collection of senior clergy met on occasion in informal conclaves to make decisions.
One line of clergy were the Sage-Priests. The senior Sage-Priest was the official historian of the church, and they adopted individual titles such as the Spontaer and the Keeper of the Old Faith.
A martyred champion resists a whip. It was the only faith to have a saint known as " the Twice-Martyred ". Many Ilmatari hoped to follow this path, and the martyrs were highly revered, even venerated. As such, martyred champions —those who'd sacrificed themselves and returned to life—lay outside the church hierarchy, operating as free agents. Such people were heroes of the struggle against evil and suffering, and they were completely devoted to Ilmater's teachings.
The Church of Ilmater included several affiliated knightly orders consisting of paladins and other warriors, as well as numerous monastic orders of monks. Most Ilmatari monastic orders had a symbolic flower that had a particular importance to them. Traditionally, this flower formed the name of their respective monastery, but this was not a rule. Clerics of Ilmater prayed for their divine magic once per day, in the morning,   following a period of meditation. The clergy observed no annual holy days and celebrated no regular festivities. However, an Adorned could make a Plea of Rest to Ilmater requesting a special dispensation for time off.
The Rest was a tenday during which time they were freed from the rules laid out by Ilmater's faith. This was normally called for if the Adorned was emotionally exhausted by their work, but some exploited the time to perform deeds that Ilmater would normally disapprove of. Some church leaders depended on this tradition, using the Rest to send their best fighting or adventuring clergy out to perform deeds they could not normally do, such as covertly bringing down a tyrant instead of making an open confrontation.
Clerics of Ilmater were duty-bound to convince the dying to pray to Ilmater, in a ritual of the highest importance called the Turning. If a dying person turned to Ilmater, praying for his comfort, then they would receive his blessing before they died. However, this did not change their patron deity or alter their destiny in the afterlife.
Even in death, it was believed Ilmater's healing powers grew with greater veneration. A Suffering was a special occasion in which a priest of Ilmater willingly endured some manner of torment. From their First Suffering, an Ilmatari could go through a number of Sufferings in their life-time.
For example, soon after becoming leader of the House of the Broken God, Althea the Abased underwent her First Suffering, in which she had herself bound to a rack and dragged by mules as she visited temples and shrines of Ilmater all along the Sword Coast. Whenever the mules were rested, she was beaten once and hard with a consecrated threshing flail by a non-believer.
Priests of Ilmater reportedly regularly engaged in self-flagellation around DR , though this was typically a minor ritual. This and other similar rites were never intended to have any serious consequences or injury. An Ilmatran wedding ceremony emphasized that both partners would support each other through any hardship they might face. Clerics of Ilmater were able to turn undead like many other good and non- evil clerics. The Church of Ilmater commonly included among its ranks clerics , specialty priests known as " painbearers ", monks , and paladins.
A variant path of the cleric was that of the alleviator , followed by a faction of priests who focused on teaching others to cope with and endure their pain and suffering. Naturally, the church also included healers , divine spellcasters dedicated to healing magic. Ilmatari healers were, by and large, utterly dedicated ascetics, even more so than the traditional clerics and paladins. They almost never refused to help or heal a person, no matter how evil or tyrannical they or their kind were.
However, this did not mean that they supported their views or deeds. The Broken Ones monastic order numbered swordsages as well as monks among its ranks. These swordsages performed good deeds and righted bad ones, but they were also ascetics detached from the world, without zeal. Paladins of Ilmater dedicated themselves to defending the helpless and using their gifts to heal anyone in need. They preferred to stop and help someone in dire peril rather than pursue the wicked and leave that person to die. Otherwise, they were ready to battle evil.
Regular paladins cross-trained freely as clerics, divine champions , divine disciples , and hierophants. Crusaders of Ilmater were brave and fearless warriors, and staunch zealots of the faith. They were immune to magic that instilled fear, and were able to remove fear from their allies. They could not turn undead. The most prestigious and exalted agents of the church were the martyred champions of Ilmater , faithful who'd sacrificed themselves in accordance with Ilmater's teachings and returned to life to continue along the same path.
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They could arise from any branch of the Ilmatari, and could continue in the same vein, with added focus on resistance to suffering. The Ilmatari established their churches where they were most needed, in areas stricken with poverty or oppression. Temples to Ilmater were often located on well-traveled routes through the wilderness, where they could serve as waystations for tired travelers.
They were usually named after Ilmatari saints. Many were built like manor houses, surrounded by protective walls and containing a chapel, a chapter house, a stable, and garden. It was common for these temples to contain an area for treating the sick and injured. They could also include a library and quarters for monks or barracks for a knight order. By tradition, though not by rule, many Ilmatari monasteries were named for a flower that symbolized something important to the order.
In Calimshan , Ilmater was one of the most popular gods among the lower classes and slaves. Thus, almost every settlement had a shrine to Ilmater, whether formal or homemade, and a great many Ilmatari hostels, abbeys, and seminaries lay across the countryside outside the cities. The faith was also quite popular in neighboring Tethyr , which had a long history of suffering under the yoke of tyrants or at the mercy of the forces of nature, and which left their mark on the national character.
There were ten cloisters throughout the realm, placed such that one of the faith could travel from one to the next in a day's ride. The hardy Damaran people of the harsh and war-torn land of Damara and the neighboring kingdom of Impiltur particularly venerated Ilmater, as well as his champion, St. Ilmater was central to both cultures, and most Damarans regularly offered a prayer to the Crying God or one of his saints.
These lands were home to several Ilmatari orders, temples, and monasteries, and often ruled by paladin-kings of Ilmater, which made the Church of Ilmater the state church of both realms.
Damaran Ilmatari used the bloodstained rack symbol of Ilmater or the yellow rose of St. In Thay , the slaves and downtrodden lower classes actively worshipped the One Who Endures in a communal manner, hoping that their suffering under the Red Wizards would one day be rewarded. The wizards themselves suspected the priests of helping slaves escape and healing victims of state torture. Though there were no temples, there were number of shrines, mostly mobile, and the highest priest was a runaway slave who remained always on the move.
As far away as Semphar , Caliph Abu Bakr persecuted the followers of "Il-mater", fearing the faith could rally oppressed peoples against his rule. Like most priests there, they were considered eccentrics by the wider community, and were scattered and few. Even in the lightless Underdark there was the School of the Penitents , consisting of small groups of Ilmatari who chose to spread their faith to the subterranean world. From their enclaves, they gave aid to those who came to them. The greatest center of Ilmater's worship was the House of the Broken God , located in the center of Keltar , Calimshan.
It was also the biggest center for the manufacture of medicines. The Cloister of St.
Uzurr dominated the city of Uzurr in Lapaliiya , and the Abbot of the temple also ruled the city. Uzurr took Ilmater as its civic deity.
Church of Ilmater
These healers tended to the city's defenders, including paladins and recruits, as well as the sick and injured of the community and pregnant women. The Towers of Willful Suffering , a temple and abbey in the eastern Amnian city of Eshpurta , was notable just because it existed in a country that looked down on the faith as being of Tethyrian influence. The symbol of the church was the holy symbol of Ilmater. Originally this was a blood-stained rack, such as used to torture a victim by stretching.
This remained in use until the mid—14th century DR. However, by DR , a new symbol had entered common usage: a pair of white hands crossed and bound at the wrist with a blood-red cord. After the Godswar of DR , this was used nearly exclusively.
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The colors of the church, like those of the god, were gray and red. A priest of Ilmater wearing gray vestments and tabard , a red skullcap, a holy symbol of Ilmater on his chest, and a healer's kit at his belt. When out in the field or on missions, Ilmatari wore whatever was appropriate to the activity and the environment. However, over their clothes or armor, they often wore gray tabards with the holy symbol stitched over the chest by the left shoulder.
Attending clerics during a battle were recognized by the coarse furred shirts they wore.