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The Levin Church,[note 1] also known as simply Levin,[note 2] was an organized polytheistic religion existing in the Third Period. Based on the practices and teachings of the prophets to the faith's gods in the Magic Kingdom Levianta, it eventually became the largest religion in Evillious.
After Magic Kingdom Levianta excavated the ark Sin from deep within the earth, the humans capable of hearing the twin gods Levia-Behemo spread their teachings across the kingdom as the dragon's prophets; building a temple for the ark and recording the prophets' teachings into a holy book, the Leviantans worshiped the twin gods, creating the Levin faith. Over time, Levin developed into two distinct sects, the Levia sect becoming the dominant faction within the Magic Kingdom.
The faith spread to the neighboring Heldogort region and sparked a cult sect worshiping the earth god, Held. The Held sect's followers were branded as heretics by the Magic Kingdom and were persecuted for their beliefs; eventually, the region separated from the Magic Kingdom and the new nation of "Elphegort" continued worshiping Held as their patron god.
Change in Power
Around BT 005, Queen Alice Merry-Go-Round prophesied the nation's destruction due to Sin if the twin gods weren't reborn as humans and allowed to cleanse it. Levianta established Project 'Ma' to produce the countermeasure but were met with successive failures. With the Levianta Catastrophe in EC 013, the Magic Kingdom was destroyed and the Levia sect was virtually decimated, allowing the Held sect to gain momentum.
Eventually, the Held sect became comparable in size to that of the Levia sect. During that same period, the Behemo sect was persecuted for its demon worship. It continued to decline and eventually only became tolerated in small parts of Asmodean. Around that time, one organization within the Behemo sect gave its support to one of the few surviving mages, I.R.
During the rise of the Beelzenian Empire, Levin became the state religion. Following the end of the Venomania Event in EC 136, the Held sect branded Duke Sateriasis Venomania as a "demon" and persecuted the women, their spawn, and their relatives. In EC 301, "Holy Levianta" was established at the Magic Kingdom's ruins and made the religious capital of the Levin Church. Around this time, studies of the Tasan Empire's destruction led to the ban of eating the "demon" pig, baemu.
After acquiring the Twin Blades of Levianta, the blades were kept with the church in the Lucifenia territory of Beelzenia. In EC 325, Elluka Clockworker attempted to retrieve the blades from the Church and was given a fake pair instead. As time progressed, the followers of Levia gained a political foothold in the Kingdom of Lucifenia, leading to the Levia sect becoming the mainstream religion again by the turn of the 5th century EC. In the late EC 490s, a friar of the Held sect established a monastery on a hill near the Lucifenian coastline.
In EC 508, some unyielding reformers in Levianta resisted violently against the church and repeatedly collided with them. At the same time, church leader candidate Mikhail Asayev came into contact with the die-hards and formed the political group Neo Apocalypse, causing repeated acts of terrorism throughout the country. Calling out to other nations to cooperate in efforts to suppress the terrorists, the church received one unit from Marlon's Lucifenia territory for help. After the Four Horsemen Incident, the organization was eventually put down. Due to this, Levin's influence within Levianta diminished.
Around the EC 530s, the Sisters of Clarith was established and began performing good works and campaigning against discrimination across Evillious. Around that time, the Millennium Tree worshiped by the Held sect died and was replaced by a new tree. Soon after, a church was established outside the Millennium Tree Forest to monitor traffic through the woods in order to protect the new Millennium Tree.
The Levia Sect[note 3] was one of the major sects within the Levin Church. Originally the dominant faction of during the Magic Kingdom Levianta's era, the faction dwindled in the wake of the Levianta Catastrophe. Following the establishment of Holy Levianta, the sect grew to become the dominant faith again. The faction commonly persecuted other Levin factions that held heretical doctrines to their own faith. Levia sect followers emphasized worship of the twin-headed dragon gods, Levia-Behemo.
The Behemo Sect[note 4] was one of the major sects within the Levin Church. Due to its practices, the faith was persecuted to near extinction; as a result, it had few followers and was largely unaccepted in most areas. The faction established a following in Asmodean and it became the only country the faith was openly tolerated in. Behemo sect followers and their practices were commonly associated with demon worship.
The Held Sect [note 5] was one of the major sects within the Levin Church. Originally a cult sect spawned in Heldogort, the faction was heavily persecuted by the Levia sect. It later grew in followers in the wake of the Levianta Catastrophe and became the dominant faith. Following the establishment of Holy Levianta, the sect dwindled again. Held sect followers emphasized worship of the dragon god Held who had incarnated as the Millennium Tree. Following the original tree's death, Held continued to be worshiped as the new Millennium Tree.
A minor cult faction within the Levin Church. The faith had few followers and, due to its beliefs, was heavily persecuted by the Levia sect. Several radical believers rebelling against their persecutors became part of Neo Apocalypse. Many followers of the faith lived in the town of Calgaround. Followers of the cult emphasized worship of Meta Salmhofer as the virgin mother that birthed the Twins of God.
Organization and Structure
The Levin Church was headed by the established pope, who, during the days of the Magic Kingdom, also functioned as Levianta's monarch; under the pope were religious leaders selected from candidates among the group, as well as at least one archbishop. Under the leaders were priests ordained within the Church and sent to administer over individual church parishes across the region, guiding followers in religious ceremonies. Aside from this, missionaries also existed within the Church, travelling around the world and spreading the faith to potential converts.
The Levin religion itself was divided into distinct sects based on the worship of different chosen gods; each faction was essentially the same at the core of their beliefs but unique from the others in terms of practices and worship. Although originally considered a cult faction, the Held sect eventually became accepted as a denomination of the main faith. In contrast to this, the Behemo sect remained unaccepted in most countries due to its beliefs containing demon worship. Due to the conflicting factions, there were also radical church members who believed in using violence to promote change within the faith and often persecuted other factions for their beliefs.
The Church maintained several buildings of worship, some of which included churches, cathedrals and monasteries. Said buildings were often used for prayers, confessions or joyous ceremonies such as the birth of royalty. There were also several religious organizations outside the Church hierarchy that focused on promoting social justice, including religious convents typically led by nuns or friars. Following the establishment of Holy Levianta, the Church headquartered itself there and made it the religious capital.
Levin's beliefs centered around the worship of one or more gods, a majority of factions venerating Levia-Behemo while the Held sect gave reverence to Held. The religion's teachings and beliefs were based on the bible compiling the words of their prophets, detailing the time before their world's creation up through its predestined end.
As part of the faith, Levin followers believed the world was created by the four surviving gods and their sixty-eight kin before a quarrel erupted in heaven, the sun god casting out the twin gods and the six kin who followed them and sealing them in the ark Sin before returning to the sky while the earth god slept with the remaining kin in the earth.
With the creation of the Levin Bible's New Testament, Levin adherents likewise believed the world was bound to end in one of four ways, heralded by a "master" to lead the ultimate ending: the Master of the Graveyard would bring death, consuming all into her stomach; the Master of the Court would bring judgment, judging all for their sins and deciding their final destination; the Master of the Hellish Yard would bring hell, all being damned to hell forever unforgiven; the Master of the Heavenly Yard would bring atonement, leading all to a new, utopian world.
Among its philosophies, the religion taught the value and equality of all life. Practitioners similarly believed in the immortality of the soul after death and therefore an afterlife for those who died, those deemed virtuous entering the Heavenly Yard. In contrast, they believed the wicked were damned to the Hellish Yard, presided over by the Master of the Hellish Yard.
However, the Behemo sect's beliefs were tinged with demon worship, eventually becoming largely unaccepted by the other sects as a result. One cult faction within the Church also venerated Meta Salmhofer, believing her to be the virgin mother of the Twins of God. As part of their beliefs, followers of the faction considered Meta's birth to have prevented Levianta's foretold destruction. Likewise, they believed the Levianta Catastrophe was due to the Leviantans slowly turning away from the teachings of the Twins of God.
Because of their values concerning life and death, desecrating the dead or their tombstones was frowned upon. Necromancy was similarly considered taboo and the reanimated were viewed as monsters. Among its superstitions, the baemu pig was regarded as a messenger of demons and that calamity would befall those that ate its delicious flesh, making the consumption of one similarly forbidden among believers.
Polygamy was also outlawed in Levin and believers were discouraged from having more than one spouse. In Levin lore, Duke Sateriasis Venomania was considered a "demon" who had raped multiple women through supernatural means, impregnating them with his children.
Prayer and worship to the respective deities was the basic practice for any of the Levin sects. In the Held sect, idolatry was forbidden and religious buildings were minimally decorated compared to those of the other sects. Held believers also made pilgrimages to the Millennium Tree Forest to give veneration to the earth god. Held followers also regularly performed the "Prayer to the Forest", which involved putting one's hands together and kneeling on the ground towards the nearest forest to pray. Aside from this, the use of rosaries also became common among some followers.
A major holiday of the religion was the Nativity Festival, celebrating the birth of the Twins of God at the turn of the year. Held on December 27, the festival was considered a seasonal event and bright, sparkling decorations were commonly ornamented throughout entire cities by Levin followers. The festival was associated with giving presents and good will to others to spread joy and happiness during the holiday season.
Baptism was also included among the religious orders and was employed when admitting nuns to their religious service.
Funerals were often held after the deceased's passing and believers typically wore black to symbolize their mourning. The church's funeral service was presided over by a priest who would pour consecrated water upon the coffin before reading a passage from the holy bible. The dead were often buried by Levin followers in cemeteries with grave markers to determine their identity; the cross was a common symbol in the faith and was often used for tombstones and in architecture.
Conceptualization and Origin
- The Hebrew surname "Levin" is derived from the Levites, the biblical tribe led by the patriarch Levi; the Levites' duty in Jewish tradition focused on religious and spiritual duties concerning Judaism.
- Many of Levin's beliefs, practices, and church characteristics mirror that of the real world religion of Christianity and its many denominations.
- Held is worshiped as a dragon god incarnated as the Millennium Tree, when his original form was actually humanoid.
- According to Michaela, the belief that the spirits created magical stones was nonsense likely crafted when a follower mistook a trauben fruit a spirit dropped for a stone.