Varangian Orthodox Church
|Church of the North|
Symbol of the Northern Church
|Eternal Pope||St. Gregory the Great|
|Founder||King Penda the Iron Hand|
|High Sacerd||(Formerly) Sighere Samuel the Hawker|
The Church of the North, also known as the Dual Faith Church or the Northern Church, is the only church to represent and further the Norse Dual Faith. Its beliefs are rooted in Presbyterianism, Roman Catholicism and Ásatrú. Germanic and, to an extent, Celtic Christianity are emphasised, with Christ portrayed as a traditional Germanic hero. Beliefs are centred around spiritualism, ancestry, decreased authoritarianism and a friendliness towards women, nature, ancient heathens and an individualist discovery of spirituality to draw closer to God.
As in Roman Catholicism, but with some additions, the Varangian Orthodox Church adheres to the sacraments. The Virgin Mary is held in high esteem as are the Saints and, uniquely, the Æsir and Vanir (Ese) are grouped with the Saints. Importantly, these figures are not worshiped (however the Ese are seen as Guardians or Wardens of the Germanic Peoples), but are merely prayed to for guidance and inspiration. The Saints are only recognised for their titles and devotion, whereas actual miracles are not acknowledged other than those by the Godhead. All Christians are saints in accordance with the Varangian doctrine. The papacy holds no authority over the Church of the North and neither does any scripture that is not defined as such. In the Church of the North, God has absolute sovereignty, the Scriptures absolute authority and grace is administered through faith in Christ.
The Church traces its origins back to the non-violent introduction of Christianity to Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in the 6th century. Christianity in England was reinforced by both Celtic and Roman Catholic types. The Gregorian Mission played a key role, with Augustine of Canterbury baptising King Æthelberht of Kent.
Although at first Woden was equated to Satan by missionaries, the attitude eventually became one more palatable to Anglo-Saxons. Evidence of syncretism is found in the Nine Herbs Charm and the Dream of the Rood: as Woden masters the runes hanging from Yggdrasil, so Christ harnesses wisdom as he hangs on his tree, the Rood. Some of the settlers in 9th-century Iceland were Irish Norwegians and mixed their beliefs, worshipping Christ and Thor at once. In the Landnamabók, a character named Helgi is said to be ‘very mixed in his faith. He put his trust in Christ and named his homestead after him; but yet he would pray to Thor on sea-voyages, and in hard stresses, and in all those things which he thought were of most account to him.’
Until it was realised again as the Ásatrú movement, belief in the Æsir and Vanir was virtually wiped out by superstitions introduced by the Roman Catholic Church to enforce their rule over Europe. Ásatrú, however, is generally militant towards Christianity, which is seen as an alien religion, while those of the Dual Faith persuasion believe that Christianity is a genuine revelation and Ásatrúar unnecessarily discard generations of Germanic history.
The Church of the North is inspired instead by the modern English Folk Church, which believes that ‘our pre-Christian ancestors had a good perception and understanding of God’ and that the pagan gods are ‘immensely important spiritual beings akin to angels assigned specifically to our folk group as tribal guardian angels or wardens as they were once called’. Nevertheless, unlike the English Folk Church, the Church of the North is Trinitarian (Christ, God and the Holy Ghost are one; Christ is both God and man) and accepts the doctrine of atonement as well as original sin.
The Chruch of the North was formed by King Penda the Ironhand in 2010 (2260 RE), however at the time there was no appointed High sacerd or Archbishop, the King merely served as spiritual head of the Church (A position he retains in some form to this day) as it gathered adherents. At the time the Church of the North and the Dual Faith existed only within the Kingdom of West Germania. This led to the modern practice of the King of West Germania giving the title Bishop to religous leaders in the West Germanic Senate. When the Church spread to other areas the title of Abbot Prelate became the title equivalent to a mainstream christian bishop. In September 2011 (2261 RE) the King appointed a man then known as Samuel Krimmer to be the first High Sacerd of the Church. He took on the Germanic name Sighere Samuel the Hawker and set to work on the Church's Founding Law, which is yet to be finished.
The seat of the Church of the North lies permanently in the Kingdom of West Germania, where the Norse Dual Faith is the official religion, though the Archbishop and High Sacerd – who lead the Church – may reside anywhere. The West Germanic Government consists of a democratic Parliament, or Thing, and a Senate; the Senate is comprised entirely of Bishops of the Church of the North, whose responsibility it is to read and interpret Scripture, and apply this to West Germanic lifestyle. On this note, while the West Germanic King may appoint the highest leaders of the Church, he is not to be considered a religous official in his capacity as King of West Germania; he may, however, hold a religous position (e.g. Abbot Prelate) at the behest of the Church of the North.
It should be noted that the structure of the Church itself is Presbyterian in nature, with all elders being equal in status and accountable to one another. ‘Bishop’ is a title given by the King of West Germania to Church leaders who are also members of Parliament (the usual title held by a member of Parliament who are not also church leaders is ‘Earl/Countess’). Outside of West Germania, however, the title of Abbot Prelate is used to denote a position equivalent to the Catholic Bishop. So it can be said that the position of Bishop is both a secular and religous position, while Abbot Prelate is a chiefly a religous position. A priest is a member of the Church whose job it is to preach to a congregation, dedicate himself to life-long learning and handle charitable affairs. In the Church of the North, as in the early Anglo-Saxon Celtic-inspired Church, women may be ordained. All Priests must be ordained by a Clergyperson, however this can be vetoed by a higherranking official in the church.
The Church of the North adopts the Holy Stjorn, the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, the Athanasian Creed and the Creed of the Norse Dual Faith as the doctrinal standard. The Church subscribes to the five points of Calvinism:
- Total depravity, whereby, because of original sin, man is led by desires of the flesh rather than a whole-hearted love of God and thus inclined to serve his own interests.
- Unconditional election, whereby those chosen by God receive salvation by grace through faith, not based on merit or works but on mercy, and that those not chosen will receive just wrath for their sins.
- Limited atonement, whereby only the sins of the elect are atoned for by Christ’s death.
- Irresistible grace, whereby the saving grace of God is applied to the elect, who, by God’s timing, overcomes its resistance to obeying the call of the gospel. God will surely save everyone whom he intends to save.
- Perserverance of the saints, whereby the elect will remain faithful until death. Those who waver either never believed or still do believe and will come to acknowledge this again.