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Temple of the Saviour Emperor

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The Temple of the Saviour Emperor was one of the many cults which grew up around the worship of the Emperor of Mankind as a god after the Horus Heresy. It went on to become the dominant religious institution in the Imperium, the Ecclesiarchy, or the Adeptus Ministorum.[1]

However, the doctrines Temple of the Saviour Emperor fell out of favour during the Age of Apostasy and were reformed by Sebastian Thor in M36.[2] Afterwards, those who continued to adhere to the "old ways" would be prosecuted as heretics.[2]


Rise to power

The Temple of the Saviour Emperor has its origins in the 30th Millennium Imperial Cult as espoused by Lorgar's Lectitio Divinitatus.[4] This belief in the Emperor's divinity was later adopted by the Remembrancer Euphrati Keeler, who oversaw the spread of Emperor-worship during the Horus Heresy.[5] An early form of the Imperial Cult were the Lightbearers.[6]

The Temple of the Saviour Emperor was based on Terra which enabled it to preach to the centre of the Imperium, the home world of humanity as well as being the resting place of the Emperor. It was led by a man who renamed himself Fatidicus, which means 'Prophet' in an ancient Terran tongue. His original name is unknown. He was once a dedicated and high ranking officer of the Imperial Army and fought in the defence of the Imperial Palace during the Horus Heresy. Fatidicus managed to gather a massive following of men from all walks of life, including adepts of the Administratum, warriors of the Imperial Guard and members of the Imperial Navy.[1]

Gradually the words of the Temple were spread throughout the galaxy; officers inducted their soldiers into the cult and missionaries moved among populations on other worlds. Fatidicus died aged 120 but by then there were billions of followers of the Temple. The Temple provided a uniting force for those who were left reeling after the terrible events of the Horus Heresy and at the same time destroyed any other cults which would or could not match their beliefs to those of the Temple.[1]

At the start of the 32nd Millennium two thirds of the Imperium worshiped with the Temple and only the Adeptus Mechanicus and Space Marines on Terra didn't follow their views, having their own belief systems already set up. Eventually by the end of the first half of the 32nd Millennium the Temple was recognised as the official religion of the Imperium and was given the title of Adeptus Ministorum. From then on the power and influence of the Ministorum would grow until it became a total part of everyday life for all the members of the Imperium.[1]

Dominance and Reformation

The Temple of the Saviour Emperor constantly struggled with the Administratum over control over the Imperium as a whole. As the Ecclesiarch was generally regarded as the voice of the Emperor, it made the position of Ecclesiarch into the effective master of the High Lords of Terra[3] and therefore unchallenged ruler of the Imperium. This allowed the ministorum absolute power to wage wars, change laws and levy massive tithes at whim.[2]

This dominance over the Imperium came to a head during the events of the Age of Apostasy. After which the Ecclesiarchy was reformed by Sebastian Thor and his "Confederation of Light". Bringing with him principles of penitence, sacrifice and humility recognisable in the religion of the modern Imperium; this would replace the "old" era of decadence and greed which was associated with the Temple.[2]

The Temple Tendency

Main article: Temple Tendency

After Vandire's downfall, the beliefs of the Temple were declared heretical.[2] Within the Ecclesiarchy, such tendencies were attributed to those who exhibit a desire for wealth or power. This has been referred to within the church as having a "tendency towards the temple" as a warning against returning to the old ways. Those who are actually found to adhere to the ways of the pre-reformation are regarded as heretics against the current Imperial Creed.[2]

However, there do exist actual secret cults that actively work against the Ecclesiarchy in the Emperor's name, in an attempt to return to the old ways, regarding the current religious belief as the heretical ones. This "Temple Tendency" slowly and secretly works to gather military and political might to use against the ministorum and are enough of a threat to be hunted by the Inquisition.[2] By M42, the Temple Tendency gained new traction as the Imperium fell into crisis after the opening of the Great Rift. In one case, a priest named Eris Bellona came to the conclusion that the return to the Temple's ways were necessary to save humanity. His views inspired the Malouri Uprising,[7a] during which rebels would declare allegiance to the "Holy Temple".[7b]


Temple of the Saviour Emperor

In its heyday, the Temple was effectively identical with the Ecclesiarchy, and later even with the Administratum.[1]

The Temple Tendency

Currently, the heretical Temple Tendency is found primarily amongst the highborn Imperial nobles and those connected to their houses. However, due to the extreme requirement of secrecy, often members of the cult do not know one another, but organise their efforts through intermediaries called the True (or Shade Priests to the Inquisition) who are members of wandering professions such as merchants or pilgrims. The Tendency hold their meetings in concealed Chantries which are ostentatious examples of the old temples; filled with precious metals and icons of the Emperor.[2]

These chantries are protected by the Chantry Guard, who are drawn from the loyal retainers of the noble families. They are surgically rendered mute, are enhanced with muscle grafts and bear arms and armour which bear the hallmarks of the Frateris Templar;[2] warriors of old which are now forbidden by the Decree Passive.