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Adeptus Ministorum (Ecclesiarchy)
Adeptus Ministorum Symbol.jpg
Headquarters Ecclesiarchal Palace, Terra
Leader Ecclesiarch Eos Ritira
Governing Body Holy Synod
Armed Forces Sisters of Battle
Death Cults
Frateris Militia
Established Early M32

The Ecclesiarchy (officially the Adeptus Ministorum) is the hierarchy of the Imperial Cult.[1a] It maintains and spreads the Imperial Creed, the only official religion of the Imperium. Although the interpretation of the Ecclesiarchy's rites and dogma varies throughout the Imperium, any serious deviance from its strictures is considered heresy and dealt with severely. The Ecclesiarchy is based on Terra, its urban palace covering nearly all of the southernmost continent.[1c]


The bulk of the Ecclesiarchy consists of the Frateris clergy, the Preachers, Confessors and Cardinals, who see to the spiritual needs of humanity.[1b]

The Ecclesiarchy is not part of the Adeptus Terra, but a wholly separate organisation. At its head is the Ecclesiarch, who, by tradition, is always one of the High Lords of Terra. Below him are the Cardinals, of whom there are several thousand. Below the Cardinals are the Ministorum Priests: Bishops[18], Deacons, Abbots, Pontifices, Confessors, Missionaries and Preachers. Many of these posts are aided by a host of subservient functionaries: Logistoras, Quire Masters, Reliquindus, etc.[1b]

Other specialist ranks and duties include Cenobites, Relic-Keepers, Drill Abbot, Banisher, and Chapel-Masters.[11][12][1b] A new senior rank, the Militant-Apostolic, was recently created by Roboute Guilliman.[6]

The Ministorum's ruling body is the Holy Synod, comprised of the organisation's Cardinals. The Ministorum in turn divides the Imperium into thousands of dioceses, each generally encompassing an entire Imperial world - an exception being Terra, which has several dioceses. A diocese is further divided into parishes centered around a shrine. Each diocese is headed by a Cardinal, while each parish is headed by a Preacher. Ranking between these individuals are Pontifices whose authority extends over several parishes and preachers within a single diocese.[1b]

The Ministorum also includes an administrative bureaucracy, the Creed Temporal, headed by Arch-Deacons, who control all secular business. Arch-Deacons are the administrative counterparts to Cardinals, responsible for the temporal affairs of an entire diocese. Their servants deal with the money entering and leaving a specific diocese or parish, regulate the construction of new shrines and temples and deal with the other physical requirements of the organisation.[9b]

The Ecclesiarchy directly rules several types of worlds of the Imperium, most notably Shrine Worlds[13] and Cardinal Worlds.[14]

Other Bodies

Adeptus Ministorum Organization[1b]

Adepta Sororitas

Main article: Adepta Sororitas

As the Ministorum's power has grown, a number of sub-organisations have developed within its compass. An interesting example of this is the Adepta Sororitas, a penitent order of women. The Sisterhood, as it is generally known, is expected to maintain a close watch on all servants and departments of the Imperium.[2] Its Militant Orders, the Sisters of Battle, act as the military arm of the Ecclesiarchy.[1c]


Missionary work is an important institution of the Ecclesiarchy; its purpose is to bring rediscovered human worlds into the fold of the Imperial Cult. For this purpose, Missionaries always accompany Imperial exploratory vessels in case human worlds are rediscovered.[1g]

Missionaries also run charitable Missions, which are schools or hospitals on newly discovered or primitive worlds. When human worlds are rediscovered Missions are usually immediately established. Part of the purpose of these Missions is to further the worship of the Emperor and Imperial ideals. They are also vital in evaluating populations for signs of psychic and genetic mutation.[3]

Schola Progenium

Main article: Schola Progenium

Schola Progenia are the orphanages run by the Ministorum specifically to raise and train the sons and daughters of Imperial servants who have given their lives in service. The orphans receive a strict orthodox Imperial cult education, and soon come to regard the Emperor as their spiritual father. Their upbringings will have made them loyal and devoted adherents to the Imperial cause and instilled in them a selfless ambition to serve the Imperium and humanity. These qualities make them well suited to service in many of the organisations of the Imperium - the schools of the Schola Progenium providing a good portion of Imperial Guard and Navy officers, Commissars, Assassins, Arbitrators and Inquisitors. Female progena often enter the Adepta Sororitas. Other progena become members of the Ministorum clergy.[1f]

Known Sects

Ecclesiarchy Priests[9a]

Armed Forces

Sisters of Battle

Main article: Orders Militant

The Sisters of Battle act as armed wing of the Adepta Sororitas and the current standing army of the Ecclesiarchy.[1c]

Frateris Templar

Main article: Frateris Templar

The Frateris Templar were the original, all-male army of Goge Vandire. They were destroyed by a Warp storm while en route to Dimmamar to pacify the rebellious Confederation of Light. The storm became known as the Storm of the Emperor's Wrath. They have since been disbanded, and their roles have been assumed by the Sisters of Battle.[1c]

Frateris Militia

Main article: Frateris Militia

The unofficial armies of the Ministorum, the religiously-motivated Frateris fight wars of faith against the enemies of the Imperium.[1b]


The Adeptus Ministorum is known to operate its own naval vessels. These include Missionary Ships.[7] Individual Cardinals are also known to operate Cruiser-class vessels.[9]


The Ecclesiarchy maintains a variety of types of miscellaneous warriors, such as Crusaders[20], Black Priests[19], Death Cult Assassins[20], and Arco-Flagellants.[10b]



During the Great Crusade, many different cults appeared throughout the Imperium worshiping the Emperor as a god, each with their own subtle variations and differences. These forms of worship appeared first in those primitive planets that had strongly regressed during the Age of Strife. This culminated in the worship of the Emperor as a god by the Word Bearers, resulting in the authoring of the Lectitio Divinitatus by Lorgar. Despite the Emperor's ban on worship, the cults continued on in secret by such figures as Euphrati Keeler, Kyril Sindermann, and the Lightbearers[8]. The numbers of these cults multiplied immensely with the Emperor's ultimate sacrifice to mankind and subsequent incarceration upon the Golden Throne. Most of these cults would gradually fade away, while others prospered, eventually absorbing the weaker ones. The more successful ones spread their forms of worship to other planets.[1a]

The strongest of all of them was the Temple of the Saviour Emperor. This cult had the advantages that it was based on Terra, and that its leader had been a successful and respected officer of the Imperial Army who had fought at the Battle of Terra, defending the Imperial Palace. This leader had re-named himself as Fatidicus and had begun to preach his teachings to anyone who would listen. This faith spread among the members of the Imperial Guard and Navy, but also to lowly scribes and minor adepts of the Adeptus Terra. The faith was spread by these individuals to other planets. When Fatidicus died at the age of 120, the Temple had more than a billion followers on Terra and untold numbers of the faithful throughout the Segmentum Solar.[1a]

In the wake of the chaos and anarchy of the Horus Heresy, the Temple of the Saviour Emperor provided a message of reunification through a common faith. Cults who rejected being absorbed, or who couldn't be absorbed, saw themselves being persecuted by fanatical mobs. Officially, the Temple rejected this violence performed in its name. This development culminated in M32 as almost two-thirds of the Imperium followed the teachings of the Temple, the exceptions being the Space Marines and the Adeptus Mechanicus, who had their own form of worship. The Temple's importance, influence, and power rapidly outmatched any other Imperial cult.[1a]

The Adeptus Ministorum

In the early 32nd millennium the Temple became the state religion of the Imperium. It also became an official organisation of the Imperium as the Adeptus Ministorum. A few centuries later Ecclesiarch Veneris II received a seat amongst the High Lords of Terra, and after 300 years this seat was made permanent. The power of the Ecclesiarchy continued to grow, increasing its hold over the Imperial citizenry. Those who would not follow its teachings were declared unbelievers, ostracised, and on occasion even executed. The vast territories of the Imperium were organised in dioceses led by Cardinals. These powerful figures were responsible for Missionaries and Preachers on hundreds of worlds. Lavish shrines, impressive temples, and majestic cathedrals were built throughout the Imperium.[1a]

The Confederation of Light

The only threat to the Ecclesiarchy was the Confederation of Light. Based upon the planet Dimmamar, this penitent faith's ideals of poverty and humble living clearly contradicted the teachings of the Ecclesiarchy, whose view was that sacrifices of wealth and money were for the citizens. The Confederation was too difficult to infiltrate, and the Ecclesiarchy turned to violence, supported with the unanimous vote of the Senate of the High Lords of Terra, declaring the first War of Faith. The entire Confederation was declared heretical and the forces of the Imperial Guard, the Imperial Navy, and thousands of fanatical zealots were unleashed upon it, bent on its destruction. Only a few cells and hidden shrines of the Confederation managed to survive and the power of the Ecclesiarchy was made complete.[1c]

The War of the Beast

During the War of the Beast in mid-M32, the Ecclesiarchy was overseen by Ecclesiarch Mesring, who went mad as the conflict ground on. After he pledged allegiance to The Beast, the Ecclesiarch was executed by Lord Commander of the Imperium Koorland. Koorland went on to strip the Ecclesiarchy of its seat on the Senatorum Imperialis and revoked their Tithe privileges.[5] However Koorland ultimately met his end on Ullanor[16], and following The Beheading his reforms were undone. The Ecclesiarchy regained its seat on the Senatorum Imperialis during the reign of Drakan Vangorich.[15]

At the end of the 33rd millennium every Imperial world was furnished with its own cathedral and the coffers of the Ecclesiarchy were filled with the offerings and tithes of billions of faithful. This wealth was squandered in building more and more larger and lavish temples and to fund more Wars of Faith to secure the Ecclesiarchy's power.[Needs Citation]

Age of Apostasy

Main article: Age of Apostasy

The Apostasy was one of the most destabilising events in Imperial history after the Heresy, beginning during the long struggle between the Ecclesiarchy and the Administratum for power over the Imperium. Goge Vandire, the 361st Master of the Administratum, was a power-hungry tyrant, eventually gaining direct control over the Ecclesiarchy by usurping the position of the Ecclesiarch. This made him the most powerful individual in the Imperium. His rule became known as The Reign of Blood, consisting of massive purges of the Ecclesiarchy, and the killings and assassinations of countless perceived traitors and conspirators. This period was eventually ended by Sebastian Thor's Confederation of Light. The Apostasy resulted in a reformation of the Ecclesiarchy, including the Decree Passive which banned the Ministorum from maintaining men under arms. Some time between M36 and M41, the Ecclesiarchy circumvented this by raising the Sisters of Battle.[10a]

The Plague of Unbelief

Main article: Plague of Unbelief

The Plague of Unbelief is considered part of the Age of Apostasy, although occurring several decades after Sebastian Thor's ascension to the position of Ecclesiarch. The main perpetrator of the Plague of Unbelief was Cardinal Bucharis.[1d]

Dark Imperium

The return of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman and his subsequent seizure of power in the Imperium proved a difficult issue for the Ecclesiarchy. The Ministorum frequently venerated Regent Guilliman as a god, a role he spurned. At the same time, Guilliman often displayed the belief that the Emperor was not divine, seemingly contradicting the entire Imperial Cult. However Guilliman recognized the need of the Ecclesiarchy to maintain the Imperium's authority and unity on its million worlds, and as a result created the rank of Militant-Apostolic to both better coordinate with the church and allay their fears that Guilliman may attempt to undermine their power.[6] However Guilliman is still cautious of the Ministorum's agenda, and carefully monitors their activities and plans.[6a]

Notable Members of the Ecclesiarchy

See also


Modern Imperial Organizations
Adeptus Terra Adeptus Administratum (Adeptus AstartesDepartmento MunitorumAstra MilitarumOrdo TempestusImperial FleetImperial NavyMerchant FleetPraeses MercaturaNavis NobiliteOfficio AssassinorumEstate ImperiumTemplars PsykologisOfficio SabatorumOfficio MedicaeOfficio AgricultaeOfficio LogisticarumDepartmento ExactaAstra CartographicaLogis StrategosDepartmento ColoniaDepartmento ProcessiumDepartmento of Final ConsiderationDepartmento ContagioDepartmento GradioQuestio LogisticusRogue TradersImperial Commanders) • Adeptus Astra Telepathica (Sisters of SilenceLeague of Black ShipsScholastica Psykana) • Adeptus AstronomicaAdeptus ArbitesAdeptus CustodesQuestor Imperialis (House Guard) • Adeptus FidiciusSynopticon
Adeptus Mechanicus Cult MechanicusCollegia TitanicaLegiones SkitariiQuestor Mechanicus (House Guard) • Centurio OrdinatusOrdo ReductorLegio CyberneticaAuxilia MyrmidonPrefecture MagisteriumBasilikon AstraDivisio LinguisticaExploratorSect Missionarius MechanicusCollegiate ExtremisAstynomia
Adeptus Ministorum Holy SynodAdepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle) • Schola ProgeniumMissionarius GalaxiaCreed TemporalFrateris Militia
Inquisition Ordo MalleusOrdo HereticusOrdo XenosOrdo Minoris