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Covenant of Colchis

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The Covenant of Colchis (often simply the Covenant) was the official state church of the feudal world Colchis.[1a]


Fragments of records from the Age of Strife reproduced by the historian Carpinus in the Speculum Historiale, describe a caste of priests called the Covenant who rebuilt the planet's shattered society on the promise that a great leader would come one day to deliver them from darkness.[1a]

The Primarch Lorgar later landed on Colchis and was eventually taken in by the exiled Covenant priest Kor Phaeron.[7] Studying under Kor Phaeron Lorgar quickly became a devout preacher, his skill in oratory and the power of his charisma winning him many followers, rising to the position of Archpriest of the Godsworn.[3] However, as Lorgar grew in standing amongst the people, members of the Covenant began to grow jealous of his popularity.[1a]

Lorgar's youth was plagued by visions of a mighty warrior in gleaming bronze armour coming to Colchis, a cyclopean giant in blue robes standing beside him. At one point, the visions reached such intensity that Lorgar claimed that the prophesied return of Colchis' god was soon to occur. He began to preach this news to the people of Colchis, causing disruptions to the rule of the Covenant as people converted to his beliefs. Lorgar's enemies in the Covenant saw this as the opportunity they had been waiting for to remove the threat that Lorgar was to the status quo, declaring him a heretic.[1a]

Those who came forward to arrest Lorgar were killed by his followers. The Covenant split into two factions, and holy wars of immense proportions erupted known as the Schism Wars,[5a] eventually forcing the entire population of the world to choose a side. This war lasted six years, ending when Lorgar and his supporters stormed the temple at which the Primarch had trained, killing the monks within.[1b] Possibly as part of this conflict, or after it, one in three of Colchis were said to turn against Lorgar, and the first Great Purge was conducted by the Brotherhood, warrior-monks handpicked and indoctrinated by Lorgar, against them.[5b]

Less than a year after the victory of Lorgar's people, a landing craft carrying the Emperor and Magnus the Red, along with two Tactical Squads of Thousand Sons Space Marines descended from orbit and landed near the temple. Lorgar was said to immediately recognise these people as the ones in his visions, and swore his fealty to his father and creator.[1b]

Every facet of the Covenant's belief structure was reorganized towards the worship of the Emperor as their saviour, and the people of Colchis united behind their new god. The elaborate celebrations and displays of piety lasted for months, although it was said that the Emperor did not approve of this, wishing to rejoin the Great Crusade as soon as possible.[1c]


The Covenant's belief in a divine leader was laid out in the Canticles of the Covenant. Their strict dogma permeated every facet of daily life for the people on Colchis.[1a] The Covenant originally followed what was known as the Old Faith, which shared its roots with thousands of human cultures, across thousands of worlds. What was known in other cultures as heaven was called the empyrean on Colchis, a realm of infinite possibility.[2d]

Colchian legend also talked of great prophets, Khaane, Tezen, Slanat and Narag who made a journey to seek the home of the gods known as the Pilgrimage.[2d]

Following Lorgar's ascension to his legion and departure on the Great Crusade, the Covenant changed its belief structure to the Imperial Creed, teaching the Emperor's divinity. Speaker towers would broadcast updates of the Legion’s progress and city-wide celebrations were declared each time a Legion expedition reached compliance.[2c]


In the capital city of Vharadesh, known to the Covenant as the Holy City, the temple was known as the Spire Temple of the Covenant.[2c] Another temple was known as the Cathedral of Illumination.[3]

Before Lorgar's arrival, the Covenant was led by Kingpriests, who were anointed by rituals of a maiden’s dance and blood sacrifices.[2d]

The Covenant's priests were divided into different levels, often distinguished by the colour of their robes:

  • Ecclesiarch- dove-grey robes[2a]
  • Priest- glyph-embroidered robes[2e]
  • Deacon- white and grey robes[2d]
  • Hierarch- grey-white robes[2d]
  • Archpriest[2g]

The Covenant also had military forces who wore robes[3] and ceremonial armour.[2f]

It is not clear if the Ushmetar Kaul, or Brotherhood of the Knife, were part of the Covenant though their name is Colchisian.[6]

The Dark Heart

The Dark Heart was a sect within the Covenant that served Kor Phaeron. As he made the transition to the Word Bearers Legion, the sect continued to exist and serve him. One of its members was Bel Ashared.[4]