Cult of Sigmar

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The sign of the Twin-Tailed Comet
The Imperial Cross, featuring Ghal Maraz and Griffons

The Cult of Sigmar is the formal religious organization dedicated to the worship of Sigmar. It is the largest religion in The Empire.

Overview

The Cult was established within the Empire in the years following Sigmar's abdication and disappearance. The cult quickly grew into a fully-fledged religion, venerating Sigmar as the founder of The Empire. Also known as the Sigmarite Church, the cult was officially organised in IC 73 by the first Grand Theogonist Johann Helsturm. It is now the foremost religion in the Empire and is inextricably intertwined with the political, cultural, and national identity of the Empire and its people. As a god, Sigmar is worshiped as a unifier of mankind, and a protector of the weak and innocent against the insidious threat of Chaos and dark magic.

There is some political conflict between the leaders of the Cults of Sigmar and Ulric - the northern god of winter, wolves, and war - but within the armies of the Empire followers of both cults are often found fighting side by side. Temples of Sigmar can be found throughout the Empire, with the largest, the Great Temple of Sigmar, located in Altdorf. Another temple of Sigmar is located in Black Fire Pass, the site where Sigmar made his historic pact with the Dwarfs and achieved his equally historic victory over the orcs.

Many faithful Sigmarites are deeply concerned with the role of the Sigmarite cult in politics. They feel that the political dimension of the Sigmar religion impairs their personal beliefs. Thus, they seek other ways to express their piety, abdicating personal goods and riches to live as eremites or beggar monks or sign up in the armies to spread their god's word. However, generals usually don't like to have religious zealots amongst their ranks, so these people often form their own war parties or even become Flagellants.

Organisation

The head of the Cult of Sigmar is the Grand Theogonist, who is assisted by two Arch Lectors of Sigmar, who act as the Grand Theogonist's surrogates, and each of these positions holds a vote in the Electoral Council to determine a new Emperor.

Iconography

  • The Twin-tailed Comet: The sign that appeared in the heavens on the night of Sigmar's birth, it has become a universal symbol of his cult. The twin-tailed comet has appeared two other times in Imperial history
    • In IC 1999 over the capital of Ostermark, Mordheim, which appearance destroyed the city by crashing in the middle, destroying most of the civic structures and killing a substantial portion of the population. That particular comet was given the name 'Sigmar's Hammer,' since it was looked on as a herald of Sigmar's will, and since Mordheim was considered the capital of sinners, gamblers, drinkers, whores, and criminals. Since that time, the comet has also become an icon of imminent Sigmarite judgment.
    • A twin-tailed comet also attended the appearance of Valten of Lachenbad in IC 2522, and he bore the image of the heavenly icon on his chest.
  • Ghal Maraz: The legendary hammer of Sigmar (Khazalid, 'Skull-splitter'), forged by the Dwarf ancestors, is a symbol of Imperial unity, and the defence of humankind and the Empire. Along with the Twin-tailed Comet, it is the primary sign of Sigmar employed by the Church. In remembrance and honour of Ghal Maraz, the martial arm of the Sigmarite cult, the Order of the Silver Hammer, use warhammers in battle. It is a sign of particular balefulness to Orcs and Goblins, as the greenskin races are believed to hold an ancestral memory of the danger and death that Ghal Maraz has meted out to their kind in the past.
  • Griffon: following the reign of Emperor Magnus the Pious, whose personal heraldry adopted the Griffon, succeeding Emperors did likewise (the so-called 'Griffon Emperors' of Reikland); the Griffon has been adopted to some degree by the Sigmarite cult as well, particularly in the form of the Jade Griffon, a magical artefact worn by the Grand Theogonists to protect them in battle. The fact that such an important figure as the head of the Sigmarite church would wear Magnus' symbol so prominently also speaks favourably of the hero-Emperor's impending canonization. The Jade Griffon itself was recently destroyed during the death of former Grand Theogonist Volkmar von Hindenstern ('the Grim') in 2521 in Kislev at the hands of Archaon the Everchosen, Lord of the End Times. It is unknown whether or not the Church of Sigmar has recovered the Jade Griffon, although it is possible that it has been recovered due to Volkmar's escape at Middenheim and subsequent reinstatement as the Grand Theogonist.
  • Imperial Cross - A long-standing symbol of Imperial unity, the top three arms stand for the northern, western, and eastern tribes of the ancient Empire, and the bottom refers to the Dwarfs, the Empire's oldest and staunchest allies. It has connotations of unity and oaths fulfilled.

Sources