Borders Drawn in Blood
The Papal Christian Church is based in Rome. It is currently led by Pope Gregory VII. The Papacy is at odds with Henry IV of the Holy roman Empire over the right to appoint Church Leaders. Henry has been excommunicated for the second time, and as a result the Church has been split into two factions; those loyal to Gregory, and those loyal to Henry. Leader of the opposition is Clement III, appointed Anti-Pope by Henry.
Every Town and city has a church, major cities will have several churches along with a Cathedral from which a Bishop will administer church affairs over a region.
Church Ranks are: Acolyte, Deacon, Priest, Bishop, Cardinal, Pope. Those following a monastic path are: Initiate, Monk, Prior, Abbott.
Churches command a great deal of wealth and political influence. As such the tradition has been that appointments to high church positions (even the Pope) were made by the current Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. This practice has been denounced by Gregory VII which is the root of the latest conflict between Church and Empire. Christian Clergy are generally the most educated members of the population. They are one of the few sources of literate authors. Each major church of a city or region is responsible for keeping a library. Academic research is especially prominent among cloistered monks. It is this pursuit of knowledge and scientific testing that has led many Monastic Orders to perfect methods for fermenting wines and ales. Monastic Alcohol is widely regarded as being superior to that produced by secular people and has resulted in the great accumulation of wealth on the part of successful Abbotts. In many regions Monastic grapes are valuable enough to be used as currency.
Most Priests choose to either remain among and administer to their own community or to enter politics. A few have been known to take up arms in the crusade to liberate the Holy Land. These militant priests are valuable members to groups of faithful crusaders or adventurers. Papal priests are forbidden to draw arterial blood, so they – as well as any henchmen they may employ – are forbidden to wield edged weapons and tend to gravitate toward maces and scepters.