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Religions in Zitravgrad | Secularism Act

Photo @ St. Petersburg by me

Religions in Zitravgrad

Silenced, tamed and tazed, religions in Zitravgrad are now more or less controlled under the Act of Secularism which was enacted in 2011, which forbade and/or monitored several activities such as public gatherings, donations, constructions and religious education. While it ensures that religious "extremism" is under control, it also brings normal religious activities behind the doors of the houses of worship and barely outside. Nonetheless, the majority of the population are more or less affected by the culture is that heavily influenced by Eastern Orthodoxy and most of public holidays on the state calendar are in fact Eastern Orthodox holidays. However, other confirmed religious holidays are allowed in certain workplaces within both public and private sectors.

Percentage of Religious Population (This information is merely taken from the census -- there is no real indicator of how the population abide by their religious belief.

    - 54% Eastern Orthodoxy
    - 28% Atheism/Agnostic
    - 7% Catholicism
    - 5% Protestantism
    - 3% Islam
    - 3% Other Religions

An old church in Providenska
Photo @ Moscow by me

Within 'Other Religions' are the following:

    - Freemasonry
    - Cult of Black Providence
    - Church of Reason
    - Doomsday Order
    - Church of Analytic Engine (Preset religion of sentient AI population)
    - Zoroastrianism
    - Slavic Paganism

Act No. 553 -- Secularism Act

Hereby laws will be in use from 16 December 2011:
1. The government cannot persecute citizens who hold belief in any religion or lack of religion.
2. The law enforcement cannot investigate citizens' activities which concern religion, or lack of religion.
3. The education department cannot vilify any religion or lack of religion.
4. The propaganda supporting religion or lack of religion is illegal.
5. The population must be treated equally regardless of their religion or lack of religion.
6. The worship, ritual and ceremony concerning religion or lack of religion must be held in private or designated place.
7. The cancellation of 'Immigrant Screening' will be enacted.
8. The citizens cannot hold protest or gathering concerning religion or lack of religion in public, in compliance to Zitravgradian former laws.

Unconventional Religions

Zitravgrad has been a cold and shattered nation, and such hard times allowed the concept of strong piety under Eastern Orthodox Church to be challenged. But the peak of the rivalry between the Church and the Zitravgradian government was in 2015 -- when Act of Atheism was passed and all houses of worship were closed down. It was the high time of these pseudo-religions, which are in practicality schools of political, economical and social philosophy. These three were never classified by the government as "religion" and have always been free to conduct their so-called rituals and meetings.

Cult of Black Providence

Unlike the other two items on this list, Cult of Black Providence claims to have their own deity. The Black Cultists are in no way fully atheists -- only some kind of revisionist agnostics. Called Black Providence, their deity is an "All-Seeing Eye", a Lovecraftian god that holds the infinite and the forbidden knowledge of the universes. The Cultists are not benevolent by nature, but rather equipped with a sense of superiority. Their sacred duties are to educate and to enlighten the world, but their own views of the world are dark and cynical. For them, humans are merely blank slate until they acquire knowledge of the universes through any means, and there are only a few who can achieve the Forbidden Knowledge -- the truths of the creation of all the universes and the meanings of their existence.

Being Black Cultist means one automatically recognizes the existence of all deities and religions in existence but does not necessarily mean that the Cultist should hold high regards for them. In fact, a Black Cultist considers himself a great enemy of Heaven and Hell, thanks to their belief in "The Void" -- a state of afterlife in which there is nothing but empty, black space where the illusion of life has ceased to control a human's mind.

The Cult seems to have evolved from Freemasonry or might be Freemasonry with Zitravgradian characteristics, but the process of such transition is not very well-known. The members of the Cult often keep their involvement a secret and tend to become the "unseen hands" pulling the strings.

Church of Reason

Originated during the Fracianne Revolution in the late 18th century, Church of Reason is an early example of a state-sponsored atheistic religion, caused by the waves of anti-clericalism and socio-economic reasons, and created with the main objectives to replace and debunk the teaching of the Catholic Church.

"Considerable debate has always persisted about the religiosity of the Cult of Reason. It was a hodgepodge of ideas and activities, a "multifarious phenomenon, marked by disorderliness". The Cult encompassed various elements of anticlericalism, including subordination of priests to secular authority, wealth confiscation from the Church, and doctrinal heresies both petty and profound. It was atheistic, but celebrated different core principles according to locale and leadership: most famous was Reason, but others were Liberty, Nature, and the victory of the Revolution." LinkSource

It was long abandoned after it had passed its peak in 1800s, but picked up again by the socialist revolutionaries of the Serezlavia Union in 1910s. This time, it came with a more stern and cynical character and had evolved into an antitheist sect focused upon eliminating the influence of any religion. They celebrated holidays according to change of seasons and their rites and rituals were simpler than those of any religion. It met with such outrages during the Second War of the World, and eventually was erased from the face of the earth once more.

In 1990s, it resurfaced as a less radical and more friendly secular humanist group. Despite the post-war state of the world, the followers of the 3d wave Church of Reason are positivists, holding dear the three sacred aims of "Altruism, Order and Progress". Nonetheless, here is not to say that they are any less atheist than they were back in the days.

Doomsday Order

After the creation of atomic bombs by United Commonwealth of Atlanzia, Autonomous Region of Anglician Empire, the Bulletins of Atomic Scientists was created along with the iconic, but often ignored Doomsday Clock which is is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. The clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as "midnight" and The Bulletin's opinion on how close the world is to a global catastrophe as a number of "minutes" to midnight. Its original setting in 1947 was seven minutes to midnight. It has been set backward and forward many times since then. LinkSource In 1994, when the over 8 nuclear strikes were made over 5 nations, the Doomsday Clock was already "midnight", and the world soon cowered at the possibility of a global apocalypse. However, in 1996, it was set back to 2 minutes before midnight and had been as such until 2005, after which it was only 1 minute before midnight.

In Imperial Zitravia after 1995, the Doomsday Order appeared seemingly out of nowhere. The first group were mostly war veterans and people heavily affected by the nuclear war. They demanded that the government disarmed their nuclear weapons, as well as the more dangerous hydrogen bombs (and eventually the post-modern antimatter bombs.) But as time passed, the "Order" would come to include young students of political science and other related branches. Here is not to say that they are completely pacifists -- they are more concerned with the use and storage of superweapons with the potential to cause a global disaster for most cases.

Doomsday Order has their own pilgrimages, which involve visiting the sites of nuclear bombings inside the country or even abroad and living short stays in the zones, as to remind them the difficulty of life after a nuclear war. Also, they tend to raise funds for projects or organizations that research health and environmental issues. More often than not, the Order also protests against the construction of nuclear/antimatter power reactors.

Patron Saint of Zitravgrad

St. Yeruslan of Zitravia
Edited Photo / Original Photo is from (Linkhere)

"Long Before Time and Tide Were Recorded
There was a Man Whose Eye was Granted by God
He Sees All, He Hears All, He Knows All
Father of Knowledge, Patron of Wise Men, Providence of our Motherland"

St. Yeruslan is the patron saint of Zitravgrad, the capital city of Providenska, universities, academics and technocrats. His biography is, however, unclear and largely based on myths. This is due to the fact that St. Yeruslan is in fact a conversion from Slavic pagan god of scribes and runes. Legends have it that he lost his left eye in hellfire in his journey to seek the Forbidden Knowledge, hence his symbol is a large open eye, usually on a cross.

Despite the Orthodox Church being against people desecrating his image as a purely Christian saint, there is a cult-like following around St. Yeruslan and his supposed relics and pilgrimage. This might or might not involve a huge collection of icons, pilgrimage across Zitravia, specific sets of prayers and sacrifices... Other symbols of St. Yeruslan are raven, book and quill and lilies and the most common depiction of him is a hooded figure with his left eye obscured.

St. Yeruslan's Cross on Mosaic, Also used as the Coat of Arms of Providenska