User:Rasarr/History of Vorinism

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(to be added to Vorinism someplace)

Note: It's probably too essay-ish, and I'll happily take suggestions on how to rename subsections. Also, the first subsection might not be entirely correct. Will work on both.


Origins and Old Vorinism[edit]

Though the origins of Vorinism are lost to the Shadowdays, it's known that the name Almighty was used to refer to Honor even back during the Desolations - in fact, it might predate human arrival on Roshar, as the term was used even by the Heralds themselves.[1][2] The Vorin religion came about around that time, basing itself on writings of a currently-unknown, but highly influential writer whom it was eventually named after.[3] Nohadon was another important figure during that time, and The Way of Kings he penned was one of Vorinism's early holy texts.[4]

Back in the early days of the religion, now called Old Vorinism, the Knights Radiant were an important part of the faith, and the First Ideal was a religious doctrine. The primary tenet of the faith, as far as can be ascertained, was that how one lived was far more important than what one had accomplished. Religion premeated every aspect of life, allowing the ardents to own land and property.[4]

Hierocracy: Rise[edit]

Following the Recreance, the attitudes towards the Knights Radiant changed drastically, with them being seen as traitors rather than heroes. The focus shifted from the First Ideal to other texts, chief among them Arts and Majesty, leading to the gender divide among the Vorins that exists until the modern day. In spite of that, the lighteyes-darkeyes divide likely began during the same time, with pale eyes becoming the symbol of Almighty's favour despite their previous association with Radiance.[5]

As time went on, ardents took over more and more segments of society, claiming divine mandate to rule.[6] Ultimately, this led to priesthood holding near-absolute power over large swathes of land and populace as they sought to bring Vorinism to the whole of Roshar.[7]

The Hierocracy, as it would come to be called, saw the ardentia go to great lengths to control its subjects through access to information.[8] The priesthood claimed to have the sole authority to interpret the holy scriptures and the will of the Almighty; the commoners were to follow them blindly as they were told what their Callings were and what their god had planned from them. Knowledge of the Knights Radiant was heavily censored, and what remained was heavily altered and mythologized to fit the doctrine.[9] Yet even as their powers were discredited and deemed to be mere tricks, ardents themselves claimed to be able to predict the future through visions and prophecies.[10]

Hierocracy: Fall and Aftermath[edit]

As with many empires, Hierocracy's greatest weakness was its sheer size.[11] It grew larger with time, but so did the fractures within, and those fractures allowed Alethi warlord Sadees, later called the Sunmaker, to make war on it. The resulting conflict, known as the War of Loss, saw the ardentia fractured into devotaries, and the ardents themselves stripped of much of their power. No longer were they allowed to hold land or own property; no longer were they even free men. Rather, they became slaves to lighteyes.[12]

Moreover, as Sadees conquered their strongholds, he interrogated them and their correspondence, and claimed to have learned that the so-called visions were little more than fabrications made to keep the people in check. This marked yet another shift in Vorin doctrine: now, prophecy was an evil thing, of Odium and the Voidbringers, and to pursue it was heresy.[10] Yet more changes were made to free the church from ardentia's grip: rather than holding ultimate authority, they became merely advisors, and each man and woman was supposed to find the faith's meaning for themselves.[10]

Present and Future[edit]

Though Sadees' war of conquest stretched as far West as Azir, Vorinism did not find foothold there.[13] On the other hand, the states formerly under Hierocracy, now known as the Vorin kingdoms, retain the faith to this day.[14]

Despite ardentia having few privileges remaining from the days of Hierocracy, their social status has been slowly climbing back up over the past decades. The curates retain their right to excommunicate members of the Church without consulting with any political authority, and though they are forbidden from amassing wealth, some of it still finds its way into their hands.[15] In addition, ardents are increasingly often used as yet another political tool by the lighteyes.[16] Some people -- not only ardents, but even laymen -- seek the return of Hierocracy, chief among them the Sons of Honor.[17][18] Other groups, like the Envisagers, desire to go even further back, to the age of Old Vorinism.[19]

With the coming of the Everstorm and the return of the Knights Radiant, the future of Vorinism is unclear. Many of its tenets, chief among them that the Aharietiam was the final desolation, have been proven wrong, the Heralds are quite mad, and the leaders of the largest anti-Odium faction are a heretic and an atheist.[20] For now, the church strives to retain control through hamfisted means like excommunication, although this might not be sufficient, as there are some who believe that now is the time to break free from Vorinism.[15][21]

(the following is kinda iffy right now - not sure if this deserves a separate structure, since a lot of it will be covered in the Priesthood section - in fact, I just copied the whole Devotaries subsection from there to here)


In its modern form, the Vorin church is rather decentralized. While the Holy Enclave in Valath stands as the ultimate authority in all matters of faith, the rest of the ardentia is divided into a number of devotaries, all of them with little to no connection to the others, and several actively competing for followers.[15][22]

Within a single Vorin kingdom, the church is led by a lighteyes noble; typically a national leader, but it may also be a different high-ranking figure. Though they stand above all ardents, in the matters of the spiritual, they must follow the declarations from the Holy Enclave.[15]


The Vorin devotaries are sects devoted to different aspects of Vorinism. Devotaries come in different forms: some, like the Devotary of the Mind, are monastic, sequestered away from civilization to devote themselves, while others permit their members to remain in touch with the rest of the world.[23][24] This being said, ardents are generally not allowed to marry outside of their orders, though at least some orders allow them to marry each other.[25][14] Overall, their chief purpose is to aid in nurturing the believers' Callings. Known devotaries include:

  • The Devotary of Purity is dedicated to wholesomeness and honesty. Members of this devotary are expected to keep their thoughts and actions 'pure'. A member's talents are expected to be dedicated to purity as well, such as an artist depicting only religious topics.[22] Shallan Davar is a member of this devotary.
  • The Devotary of Sincerity is dedicated to seeking truth in all things. Members believe that there is always something to learn, and everything is subject to scrutiny, even their own religion. No question is rebuked. It is the smallest devotary.[26]
  • The Devotary of Insight is not described. Many ardents from the Devotary of Insight are seen exchanging dulled lamps from the Palanaeum and putting infused ones in their place.[22]
  • The Devotary of Denial seems to emphasize the denial of desires to the point of asceticism.[17]
  • The Order of Talenelat is related to the Herald Taln and, likely, the attributes ascribed to him by Vorinism. Those dedicated to this particular devotary are said to have a dislike for theological debates. It is viewed by some as an order for lesser people.[16] The Order of Talenelat maintains a presence in western Kholinar, adjacent to the temple of Talenelat.[27] Dalinar Kholin was a follower of this devotary prior to his excommunication.[16]
  • The Devotary of the Mind is a monastic devotary with its home at the Jokasha Monastery on the western slopes of the Horneater Peaks. It is devoted to historical and linguistic study, with the focus on literature.[23]


  1. The Way of Kings chapter 19 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_19#
  2. Prelude to the Stormlight Archive Summary: The Stormlight Archive/Prelude#
  3. Skyward Atlanta signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-17#
  4. a b The Way of Kings chapter 53 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_53#
  5. The Way of Kings chapter 73 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_73#
  6. Oathbringer chapter 34 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_34#
  7. The Way of Kings chapter 26 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_26#
  8. Words of Radiance chapter 3 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_3#
  9. Words of Radiance chapter 6 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_6#
  10. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 18 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_18#
  11. Oathbringer chapter 19 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_19#
  12. The Way of Kings chapter 45 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_45#
  13. Oathbringer chapter 65 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_65#
  14. a b The Way of Kings chapter 8 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_8#
  15. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 100 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_100#
  16. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 54 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_54#
  17. a b Words of Radiance interlude I-12 Summary: Words of Radiance/Interlude_I-12#
  18. Words of Radiance chapter 88 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_88#
  19. Words of Radiance chapter 71 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_71#
  20. Oathbringer chapter 122 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_122#
  21. Oathbringer chapter 107 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_107#
  22. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 33 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_33#
  23. a b Oathbringer interlude I-2 Summary: Oathbringer/Interlude_I-2#
  24. The Way of Kings chapter 7 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_7#
  25. The Way of Kings chapter 42 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_42#
  26. The Way of Kings chapter 48 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_48#
  27. Map of Kholinar