“Do not turn your back on the Light, it may be the one thing that saves you some day.”
- — High Priestess Laurena
Founded centuries ago in Lordaeron, the Church spread its faith through the Seven Kingdoms, and constructed temples, shrines, and churches throughout the far-flung human lands as places of worship, with a hierarchy of religious leaders to oversee its devoted followers.
At the time of the Second War, Archbishop Alonsus Faol gave the support of the Church to the Alliance of Lordaeron, whose followers included most of the people from all the human kingdoms combined, while its philosophy and sacred teachings also managed to spread throughout the societies of the high elves, dwarves, and gnomes.
During the Third War, the Church concentrated its efforts to contain the Plague of Undeath and cure the sick, but was wiped out when Lordaeron was destroyed by the Scourge. Eventually, the clergy reformed itself in the Cathedral of Light of Stormwind City, under the leadership of Archbishop Benedictus and his bishops.
Affiliated with the Alliance, its members are dedicated to create a world of honor and justice, striving to aid others and be good in all actions. By embodying the tenets of their religion, the Church's skilled clergy can wield holy magic called the Light. Among them, the priests who heal and restore in times of peace, protecting in times of war, and the paladins of the Knights of the Silver Hand, the martial branch who enforce its laws, protecting the weak and vanquishing the evil of the world.
- 1 History
- 2 Culture
- 3 Organization
- 4 In the RPG
- 5 Notes and trivia
- 6 Inspirations
- 7 Speculation
- 8 Gallery
- 9 References
Sacrifice and courage were among the founding principles of the Church of the Holy Light. The Church traced its origins back more than two thousand years ago, all the way to the chaos of the Troll Wars. A human general, Lordain, selflessly gave his life to hold off an overwhelming force of Amani trolls that threatened to destroy a united human army. One of the people he saved was his sister, a renowned warrior named Mereldar. When the war ended, Mereldar dedicated her life to caring for humanity's wounded veterans. It was she who first spoke to other humans about visions of the Light. In her dreams, Mereldar saw five strange forms not human, thrumming with holy power. They filled her mind with the wisdom of holiness, protection, justice, retribution, and compassion.
When she put their wordless teachings into practice, power seemed to flow through her. The patients under her care would see their wounds disappear and their illnesses vanish.
Other human priests also began having faint dreams and visions of angelic beings, geometric forms that thrummed with living light. Mereldar met with them, and together, they codified the radiant wisdom of this higher power into the written word. They did not know it, they had actually managed to commune with the naaru in the Great Dark Beyond, and through this connection, the Holy Light was introduced to the early humans for the first time. Popular among common folk, the movement flourished and sparked widespread faith in the Holy Light, becoming the predominant human religion.
Centuries later, Lordaeron's leaders codified the different Light-based traditions and belief systems. From these efforts, the Church of the Holy Light came to be. Lordaeron served as the home of this church and became a popular destination for travelers seeking healing, wisdom, and inner peace. The Church constructed temples and shrines throughout the far-flung human lands, and it created a hierarchy of religious leaders to oversee its followers. The most important places of worship were located in the verdant Eastweald.
Over the decades, devout clerics from the emergent Church of the Holy Light had ventured south from Lordaeron to spread their faith. Upon reaching Stromwind, these pious individuals founded the Holy Order of Northshire Clerics. The kingdom looked to these clerics as a source of wisdom and comfort in hard times, while the devout clerics used the powers of the Light to soothe the hearts and minds of Stormwind's citizens, and even helped the army of their kingdom fight through its life. They were known to have also healed gnolls during the Gnoll War and jungle trolls during the Gurubashi War.
The First War
- Main article: Holy Order of Northshire Clerics
During the First War, the priests of the Church known as the Clerics of Northshire were one of the great sources of hope on the battlefield. They risked their lives to heal soldiers wounded in combat, and its members accompany every Stormwind patrol and battalion into the fray, just as they had in wars past. They used their Light-given abilities to fight with the armies against the Orcish Horde, while healing and protecting the wounded and citizens of Stormwind.
A Stormwind citizen described them as: These are the holy men of our kingdom. Their spiritual leadership keeps both the people and the troops of Azeroth focused upon our mission of everlasting peace. Their ability to channel the spirit of humanity through their bodies makes them truly wondrous, and stories of their ability to heal the sick and injured, as well as being able to affect the perceptions of others, are miraculous in nature. The transgressions against Humanity by the orcs have forced them to devise ways to defend themselves, but their true path remains the healing of men's souls.
However, unlike gnolls and trolls, the orcs ruthlessly targeted every cleric they found, knowing that these healers could return a wounded human to battle. Many clerics died, without armor or weapons they could do nothing against the orc's fury, while their numbers were not great enough to change the outcome of the war, as Stormwind fell to the Horde.
The Second War
- Main article: Knights of the Silver Hand
Prior to the Second War, Archbishop Alonsus Faol was present at the Council of Seven Nations formed by the Regent Lord of Stormwind, Anduin Lothar, and the king of Lordaeron, Terenas Menethil II, with the intent of convincing the other kingdoms to band together to repel the invading Orcish Horde. The Archbishop was not a king, but a leader in his own right at the head of the Church of the Holy Light revered by humans everywhere, whose followers included most of the people from all the kingdoms combined. Not interested in control of the army, he played a moderating influence, keeping the kings focused on the fact that the Horde would come whether an army was ready to face them or not, and reminding the monarchs frequently that an army without a single leader was useless no matter its size, before announcing to Anduin Lothar that the Alliance of Lordaeron could count on the support of the Church of the Light for their war.
As the human forces amassed for the war, the Supreme Commander of the Alliance forces, Anduin Lothar, was looking for champions to unite all the armies of the human realms under his command. Among them, the armies of Lordaeron were said to be deeply religious.
The solution came from the Church of the Holy Light. Seeking to create an order that would suffer less attrition in battle, the Archbishop Alonsus Faol, who had recently learned everything that had transpired in Stormwind, including how the clerics had fared, met Anduin Lothar and offered him to create a new order that would represent the best qualities of humanity. An order that would include soldiers gifted not only in wielding the Light, but also possessing leadership qualities and mastering the arts of traditional warfare, while embodying the qualities of loyalty, bravery, and honor. With Lothar's consent, Alonsus Faol called for a meeting with Anduin Lothar and Khadgar to introduce the followers of the Church that became the first paladins of a new order: the Knights of the Silver Hand.
The first paladins were: Uther the Lightbringer, Saidan Dathrohan, Tirion Fordring, Turalyon, and Gavinrad. As their training progressed, Faol presented them a set of enchanted librams. The librams were some of the most ancient relics. Each libram represented what Faol saw as a core trait of the Silver Hand: retribution, holiness, protection, justice, and compassion. During the months following the start of the war, other knights and priests were also trained by Alonsus Faol to become paladins of the Silver Hand. Thus, some of these paladins led churches instead of devout clerics during the war, gathering inside to minister the masses. Through meditating, communing and tithing at these sanctified sites, paladins also discovered new ways to channel their healing and spiritual powers.
At the same time, Bishop Natalie Seline from Lordaeron began to delve into workings of the orc necrolytes following the First War, as she realized that to defeat the green-skinned orcs, humanity would need to study the strange powers they wielded. She closely examined their magics, and she visited battle sites where their dark arts had befouled the land. By the time of the Second War, Natalie Seline had learned how to wield shadow magic from a powerfull shadow artifact. She had taught her dangerous arts to other worshipers of the Light and rallied them against the Horde. Seline and her followers waged their war in secret, hunting down orcs across the human kingdoms. Despite her noble intentions, she became more and more obsessed with the blade and the mysteries of the Void.
The paladins were instrumental in the defeat of the Horde and were the Alliance's best defense against the Horde's death knights. After Anduin Lothar fell to Orgrim Doomhammer, Turalyon took up his broken sword and defeated Doomhammer - effectively ending the Second War.
In the aftermath of the Second War, the Alliance set out to rebuild Stormwind, and Archbishop Alonsus Faol was instrumental in reforming the Brotherhood of Northshire. The Silver Hand also began to train new paladins in Stormwind City and Ironforge, swelling the ranks of the order with a number of stout-hearted dwarves, and also with some high elves before the Third War, such as Mehlar Dawnblade, a paladin pupil of Uther the Lightbringer.
The Order also coordinated with the Church to help the Alliance move forward. They healed the sick and granted shelter to the survivors broken by the war, as in times of peace, some paladins like Uther exchange their weapons and armor for simple robes, they are present in chapels and cathedrals to treat the wounded and those in need, applying the teachings of Alonsus Faol on the dichotomy of paladins to serve humbly in devastated communities after wars; as they are both warriors and healers.
Over the years, and while at first this was done in order to provide Azeroth with the knowledge it needed to fight against such dark magic, Bishop Natalie Seline became increasingly obsessed with finding out why such dark energies existed at all, and why she began to see the ebb and flow of such energies in the world around her. And so did her companions, they were overzealous in their campaign against the orcs, putting innocent lives at risk. Some strayed too far into shadow, forsaking the Light completely. Though Seline urged her followers to use caution, preaching about the necessity of balance between dark and light, her calls were ignored and even treated with suspicion. After being finally assassinated, her books were locked away in the Kirin Tor's vaults in Dalaran.
The Third War
When the Plague of Undeath made its appearance in Lordaeron and continue to spread, local priests of the Church tried to ease the victims' suffering with holy magic and stop the spread of the disease. However, their efforts were insufficient, as healing salves and potions had little effect, and the light could only treat the infection in its earliest stages.
Despite the high elves' official departure from the Alliance, some elves still remained true to their former human and dwarven allies. The altruistic priests of Quel'Thalas refused to abandon their roles as healers and agreed to remain in Lordaeron despite the edicts from their reclusive masters in Silvermoon. The high elven priests used their Light-given powers to heal the wounded and bolster the spirits of Lordaeron's fighting elite. These high elven priests joined with Prince Arthas in investigating the plague with the goal of healing the land of its strange curse. Some of them also followed Arthas during his campaign to Northrend, in order to destroy the dreadlord Mal'Ganis. They were later killed alongside the troops of the 1st Legion by the corrupted prince.
Months later, Prince Arthas Menethil who lost his soul to the cursed runeblade Frostmourne, and became a death knight in the service of the Lich King, eventually returned to Lordaeron to assassinate his father and massacre his kingdom, destroying the Church's clergy of Lordaeron at the same time.
In consequences during the Third War, heretics, a group of wretched and fallen priests, appeared. They once counted as the most devout amongst the Church of the Holy Light. But, after years of constant war and suffering, they had lost their sense of the Holy Light and decided to spread their frustration and negativity to their fellow men and women.
Some time after the end of the Third War, the monastery in Tirisfal Glades, once a proud bastion of Lordaeron's priesthood and a center for learning and enlightenment, was taken by the newly-created Scarlet Crusade. Among its members were several original priests of Lordaeron, such as Benedictus Voss, Isillien, and Sally Whitemane.
In the meantime, some priests of the Church had joined the Human Expedition and the Kalimdor alliance to fight the Burning Legion, including high elf priests who survived the fall of Quel'Thalas. Following the victory at Mount Hyjal, the Kul Tiras navy deployed Light-wielding chaplains and their elites, under the guidance of a superior officer, to fight the Horde and defend Theramore Isle during the invasion of Durotar.
World of Warcraft
After the lands of Lordaeron were corrupted by the undead Scourge, the surviving clerics escaped to Stormwind and attempted to salvage their holy order: combining their forces with those of the clerics of Northshire, the weathered healers founded a new priesthood to guide their people in trouble times.
In his youth, Benedictus was the student of Lordaeron’s religious leader, Archbishop Alonsus Faol. Benedictus spent many years learning from his pious master and helped the Church of Light construct its most striking monument, the Cathedral. Following Faol's death, Benedictus took charge of the Church as its new Archbishop and swore to continue the work his mentor had begun so many years ago.
The Cathedral of Light now serves as the main spiritual hub for the Church of Light as well as for Stormwind, humanity, and the new Alliance. Under the Church of Light's leadership, the Knights of the Silver Hand and the Church's clergy were reformed. The Light's teachings having also spread long ago to Stormwind's dwarven and gnome allies who adopted its philosophies as well, whose priests and paladins are mainly present in the Hall of Mysteries, a temple that serves as a center of arcane and divine practice and study in Ironforge, with the highest-ranking being High Priest Rohan and Valgar Highforge.
When they have finished teaching everything they know, some priest trainers send their apprentices to the Cathedral of Light, where High Priestess Laurena met these new promising priests who have caught the attention of senior members of the Church of Light with their dedication, and who are worthy to continue their training.
Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker and Duthorian Rall are also present in the Cathedral of Light where they met new promising paladins of the Silver Hand, giving them tests to make sure they are worthy, before sending them on missions to join High Priestess MacDonnell, who was sent to Chillwind Camp in the Western Plaguelands as Commander Ashlam Valorfist's second-in-command. She has been put in charge to counter the plague cauldrons that have been placed in the Plaguelands by the Scourge.
Bishop DeLavey is present in the Petitioner's Chamber of Stormwind Keep, where he represents the Church at the King's court and handles several affairs. When he learned that a diplomat was sent to Theramore to meet Jaina Proudmoore, but never arrived, he quickly suspected the involvement of the Defias Brotherhood. As the diplomat's disappearance still eludes public attention, the bishop decided to use his own contacts to investigate, asking an adventurer to give a letter to Jorgen, in order to meet Elling Trias, an information gatherer of the SI:7.
In Alterac Valley, Commander Karl Philips received a request from the Archbishop Benedictus to take pity on the Forsaken, and to grant them swift and permanent deaths by bringing their disease ridden hearts at the Cathedral of Light, in order to be ceremoniously incinerated in the flames of the Light, and thus saving their souls. He also asked Alliance heroes to kill the lich Amnennar the Coldbringer in the Razorfen Downs. At Nethergarde Keep, clerics of the Church were present among the troops who keep watch over the Dark Portal and the rest of the Blasted Lands.
At Menethil Harbor, the dwarf priest Glorin Steelbrow sent an Alliance adventurer to the Cathedral of Stormwind, as he was unable to purify the corrupted recovered by the latter from one of the shipwrecks of the Lost Fleet in Baradin Bay, where the crews of the ships were cursed with undeath by the artifact kept locked away by its greedy commander, Captain Halyndor. Its curse affects anyone trying to locate the orb, transforming the living temporarily into an illusionary undead form and weakening their spirits. Since the artifact was created by humans of the Church, Archbishop Benedictus explained that they were created to shine bright, and that their powers can be quite dangerous if tainted after witnessing a terrible tragedy, before taking care of it and purifying it. However the curse was not lifted for the Lost Fleet and its crew. Later, Bishop Farthing sent heroes to retrieve a cargo of from the Lost Fleet, in order to create an holy artifact named the and defeat the necromancer Morbent Fel in Duskwood.
In Hillsbrad Foothills, the mysterious Purgation Isle was haunted by the ghosts of renegade priests and renegade paladins of the Church, that for some reason were condemned to be banished on the island, and since cannot find peace in death. It seems that the ogre necromancer Kormok was the cause, as it was said that he delighted in summoning forth the souls of the banished dead. Since the Cataclysm, and the death of Kormok, the ghosts of the Isle appear to have disappeared.
As high elves, several blood elves were members of the Church of the Light. Following the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas, a number of them in Quel'Thalas felt and believed that the Light had abandoned them in their darkest hour. One of the most prominent followers of this mindset was Lady Liadrin, who renounced her vows to the Light due to this supposed abandonment. A disillusioned Liadrin and many of her followers would later use the Light as a tool, forcibly taking it rather than relying on faith to wield it, thus was born the order of the Blood Knights in year 25.
The Church of the Holy Light also accepted the presence of an ambassador of the Scarlet Crusade, named Brother Crowley, present in the lower levels of the cathedral where he was known to instruct adventurers of the Alliance, in order to seek out his colleague Brother Anton in Desolace in the interests of the Scarlet Crusade.
The Burning Crusade
This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.
During the invasion of Outland, priests of the Church were present to support the forces of the Alliance, such as Brother Daniels at the Stair of Destiny in Hellfire Peninsula, where he prayed to heal the wounded soldiers of the Stormwind Army.
Wrath of the Lich King
During the Scourge Invasion, multiple necropolises appeared in the skies of Azeroth, transmitting communications and other assistance to the Scourge's ground forces. While the Forsaken dealt with curing the plague, the Church of the Holy Light pledged itself to destroy the necropolises. Using the concentration of Light energy from the naaru of Shattrath City and the shared benedictions from its faithful, the Church created holy artifacts able to strike down the flying structures.
When the Scourgewar began, priests of the Church were present among the Alliance troops in their travel to Northrend. Notably Father Levariol in Howling Fjord and Father Michaels in Grizzly Hills, while other priests joined the ranks of Highlord Bolvar Fordragon's army at Angrathar the Wrathgate. Some of them fought against the Blue dragonflight, however, they were captured and placed in blocks of ice in the Hall of Stasis, inside the Nexus.
During the Elemental Unrest that heralded the Cataclysm, Benedictus and priests of the Church protected the Cathedral Square from the raging elements. Once they were defeated, the Archbishop announced that the district was under control.
When Deathwing descended on Stormwind to burn parts of the city to the ground, but shortly vanished as quickly as he had appeared, many of Stormwind's fearful citizens sought counsel from Archbishop Benedictus at the Cathedral of Light, as for years, Benedictus' wise guidance had been instrumental in seeing humanity through bleak times. Yet beneath his apparent benevolence, he had pledged himself to his dark masters and the eradication of all life on Azeroth. Unaware that he was secretly a member of the Twilight's Hammer, the Archbishop subtly guided the citizens into the cult's embrace.
Following the Cataclysm, the Church of the Holy through High Priestess Laurena takes care of sending promising priests on missions, notably to fight the enemies of the Alliance in Blackrock Depths, and prevent the influence of the Twilight Hammer over the Dark Iron clan, in order to prevent them from recruiting more into their ranks, by burning the books that the Twilight's Hammer distributes.
Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker still takes care of sending promising paladins on missions, more particularly to fight the enemies of the Alliance in Blackrock Depths, and prevent the deaths of allies at the hands of the Dark Iron clan and the Twilight Hammer.
At the end of the war against Deathwing, the fallen Archbishop was finally killed by adventurers in the Chamber of Aspects of Wyrmrest Temple during the beginning of the Hour of Twilight. When they returned to Stormwind after his death and told Bishop Farthing that Benedictus was the Twilight Prophet and betrayed the people of Stormwind, he would not believe it, telling the adventurers that he heard another grim rumor about Bolvar Fordragon and asking them to spread their lies elsewhere.
Mists of Pandaria
While still ignorant of Benedictus's fate, the Church still supports the Alliance with pride.
During the Purge of Dalaran, a few of their clerics were seen in Dalaran among the soldiers of the Stormwind Army, fighting under Jaina's banner. They were led by Lieutenant Corwin, occasionally confronting the Sunreaver mages present in the city. They were later attacked by a Horde agent sent by Grand Magister Rommath.
Two months following the rediscovery of Pandaria, priests and priestess of the Church were present among the main Alliance forces who established their main bases of operations in Krasarang Wilds: Lion's Landing. During the Alliance assault of Domination Point, the members of the Church attacked the defenses of the Horde and could be seen resurrecting the fallen soldiers. The Champion of the Light Disha Fearwarden was also present at Lion's Landing, with others champions.
Warlords of Draenor
During the war against the Iron Horde, priests from Stormwind joined the ranks of the Alliance forces in alternate Draenor. Among them, Human Priests were notably taken out by the followers sent from the Frostwall garrison of the Horde in different regions of Draenor.
In Ashran, Nozaro was the priest leader at the Stormshield Outpost, she could be found tending to the wounded in a small tent with the help from the priestess Seldy. On the battlefield, Stormshield Priests from Ironforge were also present to fight against the Horde.
At the beginning of the third invasion of the Burning Legion, several priests participated in the Battle for Broken Shore alongside the Alliance army, following Varian Wrynn. Some of them can also be seen on the Skyfire afterwards, healing the wounded.
During the Legion invasions, Devoted Battle-Priests Stormpike Battle-Priests were present at the demonic invasion locations, where they healed and protected the wounded soldiers. They also helped the Alliance adventurers to repel the demons.
Following the battle for Broken Shore, many priests of Alliance races - that would be in the Cathedral of Light - joined the Conclave led by Archbishop Alonsus Faol. They are present in the Netherlight Temple, where they can be seen studying or chatting with priests of other races and factions. When Balnazzar launched his assault on the Netherlight Temple, they could be spotted battling hordes of demons alongside their allies of the Silver Hand.
At the same time, the bishop Farthing left Stormwind under the pretense of investigating the accusations and rumors regarding Benedictus' ties to the Twilight's Hammer. In truth he was a member of the Twilight's Hammer serving as the hand of Benedictus, and who recently claimed leadership of the remaining Twilight's Hammer. Using Xal'atath, an ancient Old God artifact, Farthing intended to resurrect Zakajz in order to restore the Twilight's Hammer to their pinnacle while also cementing his leadership of the cult. However, his efforts were halted when a shadow priest adventurer came to retrieve, as the Black Blade proceeded to kill Farthing before allowing itself to be claimed by the priest champion.
Following the end of the Argus Campaign, High Priestess Laurena was present at the ceremony at Lion's Rest, where she blessed the troubled King Anduin Wrynn before giving a speech to the gathered crowd, in the same way as the Archbishop Benedictus following the war against the Lich King. Once she was finished, King Anduin continued the speech.
Battle for Azeroth
During the Burning of Teldrassil, the priests took to wandering Stormwind City, doing what they could to tend to the hungry, exhausted, and frightened coming from Darnassus. They were also providing continual blessings to mages of the Wizard's Sanctum that kept the portals open. human and night elf refugees from Teldrassil were transported to the Cathedral of Light, overflowing it, where they were treated by Stormwind priests and Mia Greymane.
In the beginning of the Fourth War, the Church of the Holy Light mobilized its priests to support the Alliance. During the Battle for Lordaeron, some of their priests were present in the Ruins of Lordaeron, caring for wounded soldiers in the Alliance camp at the ruins of Brill. Among them, the High priest of Stormwind Brother Gareth and Melindra Quarry.
During the Battle for Stromgarde, a large number of priests and champions of the Church are present in the Arathi Highlands among the armies of the Alliance and Stromgarde. At Valorcall Pass, some Valorcall Faithful heal and protect their allies, while Veteran Priest attack the Horde troops. There were also some Stromgarde Priests present in the region, indicating that the Church of the Holy Light is once again present in the kingdom after years, with High Priest Altarite Jesse Taylor in charge of the Altar of Kings in the capital as the highest-ranking member of the Church present. In Arathi Basin, Bishop Broxast fought against Horde soldiers during the Brawl: Comp Stomp.
In Zuldazar, an escort mission took place to bring reinforcements to Mistvine Ledge after the outpost has requested healing support. The mission was successful and the healers arrived safely, among them was Father Timothy.
During the Battle of Dazar'alor, Anointed Disciples accompanied the Champion of the Light Frida Ironbellows and the Darkforged Crusader who fought against the Horde forces as the vanguard for the Alliance's assault.
At the beginning of the war against N'Zoth and his Black Empire, King Anduin Wrynn received a vision from the Old God, where the latter stood behind the Cathedral and destroyed it with his tentacles.
Following the Fourth War, priest trainers of the Church sent their apprentices to meet Patrice Lancaster in the priest section of the Training Hall, in Stormwind. As a representative of the Conclave, she takes care of sending promising priests on missions, more particularly to fight the enemies of the Alliance in Blackrock Depths, and at Shadowfang Keep to obtain materials for the creation of weapons at the height of their dedication, as High Priestess Laurena did in the past.
In Exile's Reach, the dwarf ghost Branven Hammerheart helped young priests of the Church to learn the holy spell of , in order to save the souls of the Alliance castaways on the island from being consumed by the necromantic magic of Gor'groth, who attempted to raise the dragon Ravnyr in the Darkmaul Citadel.
From their tenuous encounters with the naaru, some priests learned to harness the extraordinary healing effects of the Light, and from the teaching in these books, a religious movement formed, founded on the tenets of selflessness, justice, peace, altruistic works, and a belief that the Light dwelled in all things.
Philosophy and belief
Through the centuries, the Holy Light became a central part of all civilized human society, as their primary religion and a staple of worship, respect, and honor. Sacrifice and courage were among the founding principles of the Church of the Holy Light, and while this religion is more philosophical than theistic, its practitioners do believe their devotion connects them to a greater and mysterious force in the universe.
The general ideology of the Light is to strive to be good in all actions, but also seek to be the best of oneself, and thus continue to make the world a better place. Its teachings are depicted in the .
Valor, and all the virtues that go along with it, are like rare minerals: you must cherish them when you find them because of their value, but you must also take time to harvest them... refine them. When mixed together properly, a strong alloy is formed, sometimes unbreakable by even the most powerful blows.
This strength, your faith, your bravery, must be tested. You must learn to never lose faith and realize that with the power of the Light, you can overcome things that most others cannot.
In societies where the cult of the Light is predominant, those whose beliefs and practices are seen as contrary to the values and doctrines of the Church, are considered heretics. Thus the priesthood of the Church teaches its followers to be virtuous in life, but also to beware of dark, unholy and demonic magic, and those who practice them.
The Church of the Light preaches against the Shadow, which the orcs were once strongly perceived to be creatures of, while their priests and paladins are known to condemn their foes with such epitaphs as 'shadowspawn' and 'spawn of darkness'.
Blasphemy against the Light has never been shown to be punished by the Church, however, those who utter it attract consequently the animosity of its followers upon them. The undead embody blasphemy towards the life itself and all that is sacred, thus, they are considered to be nothing but body-stealing abominations, and are destroyed by the faithful of the Church in a will of mercy, in order to honor their memory as livings and allow their soul to rest in peace.
The Three Virtues
The philosophy of the Holy Light boils down to the three teachings, called the Three Virtues. These virtues—respect, tenacity, and compassion—are each defined into a principle and a lesson. Acting on these three tenets helps make the world a place everyone can appreciate; a world of honor and justice. These virtues are followed and applied by all members of the Church, but also by those of the Order of the Silver Hand and the Argent Crusade.
Respect is the first virtue taught to those joining the path of the Light. When looking at an enemy, one must look past the hatred that separates. There are qualities to respect and prowess to be acknowledged. Conducting oneself with honor and treating one's opponent as one wishes to be treated shows respect. Respecting one's opponents on the field is acknowledging a connection, which brings one closer to the Light.
Tenacity is the second virtue. This is the virtue of persevering through troubling times and painful experiences. In the face of despair and hatred, one must continue to stand true to their beliefs and fight on.
Compassion is the last step on the path of the Light. In times of rivalries, it is easy to see differences at every turn. The challenge is in looking beyond appearances and understanding the similarities. Through this understanding, one can feel compassion for the losses others have suffered, even if the victim bears another banner. By feeling and understanding compassion in enemy and ally alike, one reaffirms his or her connection with the world.
The Church's clergy is renowned for spreading goodness. The vocation of a priest is one of spiritual growth and contemplation. The priests heal and restore in times of peace, protect in times of war, and guide the spiritual destiny of their people. They are devoted to the spiritual, and express their unwavering faith by serving the people. They have left behind the confines of their temples and the comfort of their shrines so they can support their allies in war-torn lands, using the holy light to protect them, and their psychic powers to harm and terrify their enemies.
As the general ideology of the Light is to strive to be good in all actions, the priests and paladins must always show themselves worthy of serving the light, and never forget the virtues that make them what they are. Its teachings are depicted in the .
In all things, paladins must reflect the Light, which supplements our strength. To strive to be divine for one of our kind does not mean we strive for godhood--we strive to be good in all actions.
Although called upon to smite evil in these harsh times, you must always remember that it's aiding others that will truly set you apart from the other citizens. Compassion, patience, bravery--these things mean as much to a paladin as strength in battle.
Know this well, and never forget it.
The paladins of the Silver Hand are the martial branch of the Church and seek to be an example of the Light's teachings as well as enforce its laws. Powerful holy knights, these crusaders are called to protect the weak, to bring justice to the unjust, and to vanquish evil from the darkest corners of the world. In times of peace, some of them exchange their weapons and armor for simple robes, applying the teachings of Alonsus Faol on the dichotomy of paladins to serve humbly in devastated communities after wars; as they are both warriors and healers.
The clerics of the Brotherhood of Northshire once claimed their mission was to achieve "everlasting peace". In recent years, their priests and paladins use Northshire Abbey as a recruitment and training center for any adventurer brave enough to help keep the kingdom's peace, and ensure the training of the paladins of the Silver Hand and the priests of the clergy.
The Church members perform many activities on a daily basis. They are mainly present in places of worship, such as churches and temples, which provide a place where priests and paladins can commune with the people of the land. They take care of the sick and wounded, while seniors are also responsible for training aspiring priests and paladins.
They organize ceremonies, sermons, masses, and offices until the last call of the bells when the sun goes down, and make sure to support the society by helping and participating in charitable works. In places of worship where the citizens seeked spiritual enlightenment, the Church's clergy is dedicated to hearing the confessions of their followers in a confessional, sometimes using an invisibility spell as a tool to make the confessing of secrets that weighed heavily upon the souls of worshipers easier to speak.
Some of them make speeches by reading books to educate their followers on various subjects, while others are in charge of libraries where they classify, supervise and make copies of collections. The Church also makes sure to send its priests and paladins on missions against those who threaten the peoples of the Alliance and their allies, notably by allowing the undead and spirits to rest, either by purging them or by using a holy censer to exorcise them.
Priests and paladins are dedicated to the cause of the Church and their Order, but can also decide to travel, spreading their faith and the justice of the Light across Azeroth. Others join the ranks of the Alliance armies, such as the Stormwind Army, where they fight, protect and lead their comrades on the battlefield. Among them, veterans may join the ranks of the 7th Legion, an elite special ops regiment, where they can become inquisitors.
As its followers included most of the people from all the human kingdoms combined, and its philosophy and sacred teachings managed to spread in the societies of the high elves, dwarves, and gnomes through the centuries, the Church of the Holy Light acts as the most important and widespread religious institution within the Alliance, and therefore, has its own hierarchical structure to organize its activities and take care of its followers through Azeroth.
The Cathedral of Light serves as the main spiritual hub of the Church, and the home to the most powerful and influential holy leaders in the world. It is a sacred place for all followers of the Light from the four corners of Azeroth, having been described as an elegant and peaceful place, inviting for prayer and reflection.
The Church of the Holy Light is led by an Archbishop, the highest-ranking member of the clergy and the representative of the organization in the Alliance. They embody the faith of the Light and the power of the Church for all its followers on Azeroth, acting as a symbol of hope during dark and difficult times. Only two archbishops are known so far, Archbishop Benedictus, and his predecessor, the well-renowned Archbishop Alonsus Faol, who led the Church through the hardships of the First and Second Wars.
The bishops are the high-ranking members of the clergy entrusted with a position of authority in the Church. They do more than advise and assist the Archbishop, they also perform various functions, including the organization of ceremonies and masses, the research and study of sacred texts and other magics, and the training of their apprentices as spiritual advisor and mentor, while directing the activities and missions in which the members of the clergy are engaged. Some occupy a political role in the affairs of the kingdoms, notably in the court of the kings, while others may be at the front to repel the enemies of the Light.
The high priests are high-ranked members in the clergy, they are senior priests who act as the leaders of branches of lower-ranked priests present in other cities and realms. These church representatives are notably present at Ironforge with High Priest Rohan, and in Stromgarde with High Priest Taylor, while formerly in Quel'Thalas with the late High Priest Vandellor. As the highest authority of the Church present in these places, they are mainly concerned with ensuring the activities and organization of the priests under their jurisdiction, in order to support the population and fulfill their spiritual duties. Some of them can be found during Alliance campaigns, leading priests to heal the wounded, or countering the plague cauldrons placed in the Plaguelands by the Scourge.
Following the betrayal of Benedictus, it is unknown who replaced him and who directs the Church after the Cataclysm, although the latter's betrayal and death remain unknown to its members, despite some accusations and rumors regarding Benedictus' ties to the Twilight's Hammer. At least, High Priestess Laurena appears to be in charge of the cathedral, replacing the late Archbishop in some of his functions.
All followers of the Holy Light are welcomed by the Church. Mainly composed of humans, the Church has long welcomed dwarves and high elves, and in recent years, have started recruiting gnomes, draenei, worgen, and even Dark Iron dwarves in its ranks. To become a priest or a paladin in the ranks of the Church, it is necessary to go through education and training, which may last for several years, before being deemed worthy to join the priesthood or the Knights of the Silver Hand. Consequently, realms where the cult of the Light is predominant have their clergy, this is notably the case of Stromgarde, Ironforge, and formerly in Quel'Thalas.
In the past, priests and paladins were mainly trained in Lordaeron, notably at the Cathedral of Capital City, the former main spiritual hub of the Church before the Third War, or at the Monastery, a center for learning and enlightenment known as a proud bastion of Lordaeron's priesthood, which served as a seminary and major training ground for paladins in training. Nowadays, they are mainly trained by their seniors at the Northshire Abbey of Northshire Valley, or at the Cathedral of Light and Training Hall of Stormwind City. In Ironforge, they are trained in the Hall of Mysteries, a center of arcane and divine practice and study.
At the end of their training, priest masters test their apprentices to see if they are worthy of wearing their first robes, as a sign that the Church approves and supports them, thus denoting their place in the clergy.
Despite the Church's wishes to bolster its ranks, it understands the sacrifices needed to ensure the paladins serving it are worthy, thus requiring long training and several tests that could take their lives. After being deemed worthy, becoming a paladin and officially join the Silver Hand requires passing a ceremony of induction headed by an Archbishop, or a high member of the church, in presence of clerics of the Brotherhood of Northshire and paladins of the order. Thereafter, these new paladins continue to be trained by their master, in order to learn how to use their new holy powers.
Prior to the Second War, the influence of the Church of the Holy Light was quite significant in the political affairs of the human kingdoms, enough for Archbishop Alonsus Faol to obtain a place among the members of the Council of Seven Nations, consisting of the leaders of the seven human nations. The Archbishop gave the support of the Church to the cause of the Alliance of Lordaeron, and actively participated in their various meetings, his presence being accepted and respected by all the members of the council.
Following the Third War, the Church's clergy had reformed itself in the capital of Stormwind. Like in Lordaeron before its fall, the Church has an important place in the politics of the kingdom, with notably Bishop DeLavey at the King's court to conduct various affairs, involving relations with various organizations such as the SI:7. The Church is supported by the population, and has a great popularity which manifests during festivals like the Remembrance Day, when the crowd were eager to hear a speech from the Archbishop.
Contrary to what can be thought, the Church of the Holy Light maintains no hostility against any other religions present among the various societies and cultures of the races present within the Alliance. Like with the cult of Elune, and the worship of nature and shamanism, the Church has coexisted for a very long time with the cult of the Tidemother in Kul Tiras, without there ever being any mention of conflicts between these religions.
In fact, the Church maintains cordial relations with the other institutions, notably with the Sisterhood of Elune, as their priests accept to train night elves apprentices in the ways of the priesthood. Although they share the same faith in the Holy Light, but in different institutions, the paladins of the Church still agree to train the draenei apprentices they receive, allowing them to join the ranks of the Silver Hand since the rebirth of the order. The Church is in contact with all these organizations, so that the latters can contact their apprentices in training,  or to send them priests and paladins as reinforcements, as it is the way of the divine to help those in need, notably the Argent Crusade and the Cenarion Circle against the Scourge and the Burning Legion.
However, the Church considered the Kirin Tor and its magi as heretics for centuries, as they never have been fond of their methods, but let them continue to exist because they don't practice dark magic and are somewhere necessary. Some knights of the Silver Hand showed hostility for Rhonin and all the others wizards and mages, seeing them as damned souls, but also as an occasional and necessary evil, which they would do without at any other time. Despite this complicated relationship, Archmage Antonidas and Archbishop Alonsus Faol had good relations in the Council of Seven Nations, where they made sure to calm tensions between the kings and shared their advice and wisdom. Even Uther the Lightbringer had never been very comfortable with magi, sharing the common perception that their magic was unholy and possibly even demonic, but he had learned to accept it and even respect Khadgar during the Second War. Years later, Antonidas was present alongside Alonsus Faol during the trial of Tirion Fordring, whose presence surprised the latter, which led to his excommunication. Before the Third War, Antonidas sent his apprentice Jaina Proudmoore to accompany the paladin of the Silver Hand Arthas Menethil in his investigation of the Plague of Undeath. Recently, the Church ended up helping the Kirin Tor during the Purge of Dalaran, hunting down the Sunreavers.
The Church of the Holy Light fights against heretical cults that preach evil and seek to harm the living, such as the Cult of the Damned, the Twilight's Hammer, or the Shadow Council and its various demonic cults. Their shadow counterpart, named the Cult of Forgotten Shadows, is considered heretical. Finally, the Church opposes the Scarlet Crusade, whose extreme and corrupt fanaticism led to the death of many innocents people, despite the presence of their emissary Brother Crowley in the Cathedral of Light.
- Main article: Church of the Holy Light (category)
|Altarite Jesse Taylor||High Priest||High Priest of Stromgarde||Stromgarde Keep, Arathi Highlands||Alive|
|Arthur||Bishop||Bishop of the Church of Light||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City||Alive|
|Almyra||Sister||Gilnean priestess trainer||Temple of the Moon, Darnassus||Alive|
|Broxast||Bishop||Bishop of the Church of Light||Arathi Basin||Killable|
|Cogspin||"Doc"||Surgeon General and priest trainer||New Tinkertown, Dun Morogh||Alive|
|DeLavey||Bishop||Bishop of the Church of Light||Petitioner's Chamber, Stormwind Keep||Alive|
|Duthorian Rall||Paladin trainer of the Church||Sanctum of Light||Alive|
|Elsington||Sister||Worgen priestess of the Church||Raven Hill, Duskwood||Alive|
|Gareth||Brother||High Priest of Stormwind||Ruins of Brill, Ruins of Lordaeron||Alive|
|Grayson Shadowbreaker||Lord||Chief paladin of Stormwind||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City||Alive|
|Hallard||Inquisitor||Inquisitor of the 7th Legion||Wintergarde Keep, Dragonblight||Alive|
|Laurena||High Priestess||High-ranking member of the Church||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City||Alive|
|Lazaril||Bishop||Bishop of the Church of Light||Unknown||Alive|
|MacDonnell||High Priestess||Commander Valorfist's second||Chillwind Camp, Western Plaguelands||Alive|
|Mara Fordragon||Lady||High Clerist of Stormwind||Unknown||Deceased|
|Mercy Fairwater||Defender of Drustvar||Barrowknoll Cemetery, Drustvar||Active|
|Paxton||Brother||Caretaker of the Northshire library||Northshire Valley, Elwynn Forest||Alive|
|Revil Kost||Priest of the Church of Light||Various||Alive|
|Rohan||High Priest||High Priest of Ironforge||Hall of Mysteries, Ironforge||Alive|
|Timothy||Father||Priest of the Church of Light||Mistvine Ledge, Zuldazar||Alive|
|Vandellor||High Priest||High Priest of Quel'Thalas||Silvermoon City, Eversong Woods||Deceased|
- Alliance Cleric
- Alliance Priest
- Brother of the Light
- Champion Priest
- Champion Priest of Ironforge
- High Perch Initiate
- High Priest
- Injured Brother of the Light
- Ironforge Priest
- Lion's Faithful
- Nethergarde Cleric
- Reverent Paladin
- Reverent Priest
- Sister of the Light
- Stormwind Cleric
- Stormwind Priest
- Stromgarde Priest
- Valorcall Faithful
- Veteran Priest
- 7th Legion Cleric
- 7th Legion Lightcaller
|Alonsus Faol||Archbishop||Archbishop and Champion of the Conclave, formerly Archbishop and leader of the Church of the Light||Conclave||Netherlight Temple, Twisting Nether||Active-Undead|
|Benedictus||Twilight Father||Leader and prophet of the Twilight's Hammer, formerly Archbishop and leader of the Church of the Light||Twilight's Hammer||Wyrmrest Temple, Hour of Twilight||Deceased|
|Benedictus Voss||High Priest||High Priest of the Scarlet Crusade, formerly priest of the Church of the Holy Light||Scarlet Crusade||Scarlet Watch Post, Tirisfal Glades||Deceased|
|Farthing||Twilight Deacon||Former leader of the Twilight's Hammer, formerly Bishop of the Church of the Holy Light||Twilight's Hammer||Grave-Prison of Zakajz, Tomb of Tyr||Deceased|
|Isillien||Grand Inquisitor||Grand Inquisitor of the Scarlet Crusade, formerly member of the Church of the Holy Light||Scarlet Crusade||Hearthglen, Western Plaguelands||Deceased|
|Liadrin||Blood Matriarch||Leader of the Blood Knights, formerly High Priestess of Quel'Thalas||Blood Knights, Kingdom of Quel'Thalas||Silvermoon City, Eversong Woods||Alive|
|Natalie Seline||Leader of the Cult of Forgotten Shadows and Champion of the Conclave, formerly Bishop of the Church of Light||Cult of Forgotten Shadows, Conclave||Netherlight Temple, Twisting Nether||Alive|
|The Black Bishop||Bishop of the Twilight's Hammer, formerly priest of the Church of the Holy Light||Twilight's Hammer||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City||Deceased|
In the RPG
No one knows how the Church was founded, and no one remembers when people first discovered the Holy Light - or were discovered by it. In a time prior to the First War, humans began preaching about the Holy Light; explaining that it is a great and benevolent force that sought out mortal spirits interested in helping others and protecting life.
Because the philosophy involves a significant amount of study and contemplation, they likely built libraries before churches. As the organization grew, the places of teaching and study grew as well. Eventually, all of the individual churches began working together and formed the Church of the Holy Light.
The Church sends its people all over the world, spreading the wisdom and comfort of the Holy Light. They also do what they can to help people with more practical matters, from building homes to settling family disputes to scaring off enemies. It is all very noble, of course, but that fits with the Holy Light's teachings of making the world a better place and making oneself better by helping other people. The Church has everyone's best interests at heart, and the priest, paladins, and lay members do their best to help everyone. It is a religion that is all about making people truly happy, not to mention a religion whose practitioners show clear evidence of divine blessing.
Even those determined to doubt are forced to admit that the Light grants its followers impressive powers to combat the darkness. No one knows for sure the origin of the church. For that matter, no one knows when people first discovered the Holy Light — or were discovered by it — either. People started preaching the Light at some point, explaining how this great and benevolent force existed and sought out mortal spirits interested in helping others and protecting life in general.
The Holy Light is a strange philosophy because it doesn't involve reverence for a person — the Light is not a god, and virtuous activity in the soul is the sacrifice the Light demands of its followers, not wine or gold or such things that a being needs. There is also study and contemplation involved, particularly on how to make oneself a better person in order to commune with the Light more perfectly. The Church likely had libraries before they had temples, and the one simply grew out of the other. Eventually all those churches unified and created the Church of the Holy Light.
For a long time, the Church was the dominant human religion. The followers of the Holy Light were everywhere, supporting civilizations and building cities and founding temples and generally bringing light and hope and help to everyone. Then the First War began. And there were the members of the Church, right in the thick of things, using their Light-given gifts to hold back the Horde. It was impressive — awe-inspiring, really. Unfortunately (say some), most of the priests focused on defending people rather than taking the fight to the Horde. And there just weren’t enough priests to go around. The leader of the Holy Order of Northshire Clerics during the war was Archbishop Alonsus Faol, and his apprentice was a devout lad named Uther. After the First War, Uther knew that that the Church needed to do more when the orcs came again — its people needed to stand up and fight instead of just healing and defending. They needed to go after the darkness and actively prevent it from harming anyone, rather than waiting for it to come to them. He issued a call to all the bravest knights to join his new order, the Knights of the Silver Hand, and thus the paladins were born. They saw their first battles in the Second War and were instrumental in the Alliance’s victory.
Following the Third War, many remaining paladins who served the Silver Hand and now make their new home in Kalimdor are attempting to form a new Church, but the going is slow. As the study of the Holy Light was more of a philosophical pursuit than a faith, the destroyed Church resembled a library instead of a house of worship. Its texts were destroyed along with the Church, many of them burned, most of them buried in thousands of pounds of rubble. What with the wars, settling a new Alliance stronghold and dealing with frequent skirmishes, the remaining scholars and priests have found little time to work on transcribing old information into new books for initiates. Most young followers of the Holy Light learn by experience at the heel of a more experienced person instead of in libraries surrounded by texts.
Some self-appointed sages are taking up the mantle of rewriting the pontifications on the Holy Light, but there is no regulation or overseer. There are fresh looks at old ideas, as well as old ideas copied word for word by diligent old priests with perfect memories. As one would expect, sometimes these scholars clash when someone realizes that the texts are beginning to contradict one another. There is tension within the church: Younger priests feel the Third War gave the Holy Light a chance to renew itself just as the Alliance was renewing itself on Kalimdor, while others demand to keep to old traditions.
Secular citizens care little for the debates but prefer their rituals to remain the same. With everything around them changing, faith represents one of the few constants.
Some claim that the Third War was the best thing that could have happened to the Church, and suggest that the Church take this opportunity to rebuild itself. They claimed that the Church had strayed from the path of the Three Virtues and needed to pare back down to essentials. According to these younger priests, their elders had lost touch with the Light and it was time to reclaim that holy communion.
It is said that the Church is finally organizing again and looking at all these texts for consistency and accuracy, but it's unknown if that's true. It is known that the Church is stronger than it's been in centuries. It's rebuilding, regaining ground, and speaking out against the Scourge and other evils.
The Church has an archbishop which is in charge, and he has a council of bishops to advise him. Usually, the archbishop was a bishop himself before he was selected, and once he's been chosen he's in charge until he dies or chooses to step down. The bishops do more than advise the archbishop, of course. Each bishop has charge of a region, in some cases an entire continent. The regions are based more on population than area, so in some cases a bishop might only be responsible for a large city, while others have an entire countryside. Stormwind City has its own bishop, as does Northrend. Priests work for the bishops, and they do most of the actual community work: preaching, tending to the wounded, teaching the children, and so on. They lay priests as well, who aren't ordained and cannot preach, but handle most of the daily chores around the temples and monasteries.
The Church of the Holy Light can only get so much through donations. In order to feed the priests, the religious institution has to make money. It has farms all over the countryside, most of them housing monasteries, and the priests there raise crops and cattle and whatever else the Church needs, and sell the surplus. In some regions, the Church owns land and rents it to farmers, merchants, or businessmen. They don't keep much of the profit, though — and the Church is always giving food, clothing and tools to the poor. It also teaches people about prayer, about health and farming, and generally how to be a good person.
Before the First War, the Church had three major locations: Northshire Abbey in Azeroth's western countryside, the Temple of Light in Stratholme, and Cathedral of Light in Stormwind City. The Horde destroyed Northshire Abbey in the First War, tearing it apart and burning the rubble. The Temple of Light fell with the rest of Stratholme to the Scourge. Only the Cathedral of Light remains, and this has become the Church's headquarters. A grand structure with many wings and spires, the Cathedral houses Archbishop Benedictus, the bishop of Stormwind City, and various other priests. It also contains the Grand Chamber, a vast meeting room where the council of bishops meets with the archbishop to discuss issues and plot the Church's actions. The Northshire Abbey was later rebuilt, but is only an outpost of the Cathedral of Light.
Anyone can follow the path of the Holy Light, and anyone who follows the Holy Light is welcomed by the Church. Most of its members are human, but the Church does not discriminate. High elves and Ironforge dwarves have long been members.
Though anyone can become a member of the Church, becoming an actual priest is a long and difficult process. First come various classes, taught by lay priests, all about the Church's history, principles, and activities. If the applicant does well in class he graduates to the next level, taking personal instruction with a priest, learning prayers and other devotions. Most applicants become lay priests, working for the Church while studying. They can spend several years in instruction, until the priest feels they're ready. Then there's an audience with the bishop, and a stay in one of the Church's monasteries — several months to several years away from everyone except other faithful. During this time many of them experience true communion with the Light for the first time. If the applicant maintains his faith and still seems suitable, the monastery's head priest sponsors him for ordination. Once a priest is ordained, his life belongs to the Church. The council decides where he goes and what he will do, whether that's working a farm or preaching in a city. Most priests stay with the Church until they die, though as they get older they do more studious and clerical work and less physical labor. A few lose faith and break away, forsaking their vows. Those who do stay, and who distinguish themselves spiritually and politically, can rise through the ranks and eventually become a bishop.
After the Second War, the Church of the Holy Light had very few members — in large part because so many died in Lordaeron — and most temples had a single priest or were actually shut down. People have begun applying again since the Third War, however, and now the temples are all fully staffed again.
The council has many bishops, though naturally not all of them can attend every meeting. Many handle their own regions well but are quiet during meetings, expressing opinions with nods or frowns and voting without a word. Others are more boisterous, more aggressive, and more political. Three of these have formed their own power bases within the council, and they and the archbishop are the true powers of the Church — some might say the three bishops are the power and the archbishop dances desperately among them, attempting to prevent a schism.
|Archbishop Benedictus||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City|
|Hylan||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City|
|Leander||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City|
|Neheri||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City|
The Three Virtues
The philosophy of the Holy Light boils down to the three teachings, called the Three Virtues. These virtues — respect, tenacity and compassion — are each defined into a principle and a lesson.
The first virtue taught is respect. While the Holy Light teaches that awareness of the self and the universe is a goal, one must also see the connection between others and the universe. Destroying other's happiness and severing other's connections with the universe is not serving the world's well being, and therefore not your own. The practitioners of the Holy Light are not naive, however, and understand that trial, conflict, war, and suffering do happen; but they strive to make the universe a better place in spite of these hindrances.
The second virtue is tenacity. The adherence to this virtue is, incidentally, the part of training under the Holy Light that weeds out the unfaithful, as true dedication takes years. Fresh-faced acolytes often lose hope and the true meaning of the Holy Light when they realize that it takes a lifetime to serve the philosophy. The world is much bigger than one lone soul; and while the world can change a soul in a day, it takes much more time to change the world. Only through tenacity can a servant of the Holy Light hope to affect the universe. If some young students feel like this is an impossible task, others take heart in the realization that if you truly believe there is a connection between the self and the universe, one cannot help but affect the other, no matter the size. Affecting the world can include anything from teaching and instilling hope in others to joining with other like-minded individuals to work together to create a bigger change.
After the first two concepts are mastered, the student can take on the final virtue: compassion. The connection between the self and the universe is strong, but it still is only one connection. If a follower of the Light serves another to increase his happiness, his bond with the universe grows stronger. The happiness he receives by helping someone also strengthens himself and the universe, and he is able to affect the universe even more.
Compassion is perhaps the most powerful — and yet most dangerous — virtue.
If someone is too compassionate, he can give help where none is needed — or wanted. This oversight can hinder one's growth and happiness. For example, one may help another with a seemingly impossible quest, when such a quest is not actually out of the abilities of the one making the attempt. Thus, Compassion (however well-intentioned) has resulted in that person's inability to grow as the quest was essentially "done for them", hindering their growth and happiness.
Some helpers can be awkward and do more harm than good with their actions, increasing the suffering and unhappiness in the world. A well-meaning follower of the Light may rush to the aid of an adventurer(s) and wind up gaining too much interest of those attacking, and thus force those they try to help to rush to the follower's aid.
This is why compassion is taught last; only the wise and those fully understanding compassion may identify who is truly in need and who can grow on their own.
- Early humans may have previously had access to divine spells through worship of the Old Gods or early cults that would become the Church of the Holy Light someday.
Notes and trivia
- The churches in the Kingdom of Stormwind are built with a rare wood known as Holyoak.
- A tithe must be made to the Church of the Holy Light for the services of the Brotherhood of Northshire, in order that new clerics may be trained, and other sites made sacred.
- Many human members of the Church are wearing a and a matching hat. On the other hand, several Ironforge dwarf priests wear the same orange-colored robe, including High Priest Rohan, Toldren Deepiron, Theodrus Frostbeard, and the Ironforge Priests during the Battle for Stromgarde.
- Although they are followers of the Light, the priests of the Church use the shadow to fight and defend themselves.
- Jordan and Daphne Stilwell are known to have helped the Church greatly.
- Although draenei have their own religious institutions centered on the worship of the Holy Light of Creation, some of their anchorites may be present in the Cathedral of Light alongside other priests.
- While not barred from the Cathedral, void elves are not welcomed warmly by the Church members, they are even invited to leave as they are not considered appropriate, which is the complete opposite of the Lightforged draenei who are well received.
- Despite the cult of the Tidemother in Kul Tiras, the Church of the Light spread its faith in Drustvar where its inhabitants worship the Holy Light.
- Created on the Great Forge in Ironforge, like its twin bell for Lordaeron, as a gift from the dwarves to remind the friendship between their peoples, the bell of the Cathedral is rung by the Church to mark the hours, in times of danger to alert the citizens of Stormwind City, and as a reminder of Lordaeron's downfall.
- When they obtain their steed, members of the Church name them following the tradition of the paladins and priests, inherited from the informal tradition of the knights and nobles of Lordaeron, by a quality they admire.
- Scourges are instruments of self-flagellation, sometimes used by some of the more fringe elements of the priesthood and the paladinhood, and are meant to cleanse impurities.
- The Church of the Holy Light has under high magical protection in the Cathedral of Light a copy with ordinary ink of the runes of the , a dangerous artifact that belonged to the dreadlord Balnazzar which is now sealed at the Sanctum of Light under the watch of the Knights of the Silver Hand, in order to be able to recognize the language inside if it were to be seen written elsewhere.
- According to Chris Metzen, the Church fully supports the Argent Crusade and hates the Scarlet Crusade.
- The Scarlet Crusade also have their own version of the Church to persuade the folk to join in.
- Inspirations behind the Church of the Holy Light and paladins:
- The aesthetics of the Cathedral of Light and the Scarlet Monastery Cathedral are likely based upon the Three-spired cathedrals in the United Kingdom, being a variation of the spires used for Gothic architecture.
- While the titles used for the Church of the Light and its branches are common to all of Apostolic Christianity (e.g. Bishop), the absence of a "Pope" or "Patriarch", the highest rank being Archbishop, and the presence of women clerics lends itself to being based upon the hierarchy of Anglican ministry.
- The anti-magic sentiment of the Church previous are a reference to the witch-hunts of the Early Modern period.
- The symbol of the Church resembles the Greek letter Phi (Φ), used in Christian tradition to signify Christ as the Light of God due to the word in Greek being 'φως' (phos).
- The theme of librams as holy books gestures to the notion that holy books can be sacred and blessed objects due to the text they contain.
- The various fragmentations of the Church after its inception, attempts at reunification, or outright mutual hostility resemble the various schisms that led to Christian denominations.
- The idea that the Light grants power foremost on principles of conviction of faith and belief rather than the necessity of acts within certain lines gestures to contemporary variations of the Protestant Reformation's principle of Sola fide.
- The fact Archbishop Benedictus and Bishop Farthing were behind various Old God-aligned conspiracies may gesture to the octopus motifs used in the art of Anti-Catholic conspiracy theories.
- The notion of paladins as holy warriors comes from the mythologization/divinization of Charlemagne's paladins (originally palatine) in the centuries following his coronation as "Holy Roman Emperor" by Pope Leo III, particularly in works such as the Matter of France, in turn based upon Arthurian romance. The WoW parallel would be thus Anduin Lothar as Charlemagne, Uther as Roland, and Archbishop Alonsus as Pope Leo III.
- The codices written by Mereldar and the other human prophets might have become the five librams given to the first Knights of the Silver Hand. It is possible that the five codices were somehow condensed into the three virtues, or that two of the codices were voluntarily ignored by the modern Church.
- The Argent Dawn and its successor the Argent Crusade both have an unusually high number of undead holy men and women in their ranks compared to any other faction, including the Forsaken. They come as Clerics, Priests, Healers, Initiates and Lightbringers. As such, it is possible that these faithful of the Light are members of the Lordaeron branch of the Church of the Holy Light who were initially freed with the other undead and decided to band apart because of the tendency of the Forsaken to instead be shadow priests.
- The amount of members from the Stormwind branch of the Church who joined the Twilight's Hammer cult is quite high - Archbishop Benedictus, Bishop Farthing, the Black Bishop. It is known that the Twilight's Hammer occupied Northshire Abbey during the Second War; maybe they left behind some books (such as the Twilight Canticle) that eventually ended up in the hands of impressionable members of the Church.
Sapiency of the Light
- Main article: Light#Sapiency
The Light has been personified many times by its followers and others, believing that it had a "will", or that it made deliberate choices, or that it was "good", while the Void and other magics were "evil".
- There are human sayings such as "Light be with you".
- Others such as Revil Kost and Ambrose also believed that the Light was some kind of abstract deity that guided mortals for some benign purpose and all actions and fates were all constructs of its design.
- The general belief was that mortals were chosen to act as vessels for the Light's will.
- Tirion Fordring directly addressed the Light and asked it to grant him one last blessing--which was granted to him.
- Dansel Adams interpreted the disappearance of Naxxramas when it teleported as "a miracle of the Light".
Symbol on top of a gravestone in Arathi Basin.
A random grave at Raven Hill cemetery with the symbol on top.
A grave at Stormwind City Cemetery with the symbol.
A marker in front of the burning bodies at Aderic's Repose.
Another random grave at Stormwind City Cemetery with the symbol.
Another random grave at the Twilight Highlands.
A statue with a shield with the symbol in the Scarlet Monastery.
- Fan art
The formation of the Order of the Silver Hand, as featured in World of Warcraft Chronicle Tribute: Hourglass of Time. Artist unknown.
- ^ Priest (Warcraft III)
- ^ a b c Before the Storm, chapter 8
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2
- ^ Tides of Darkness, chapter 3
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 142
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 126
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 125
- ^ a b Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, Azeroth Army of the First War, Cleric
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 126
- ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 142
- ^ a b c d Tides of Darkness, chapter 5
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Nations of the Alliance, Lordaeron
- ^ Tides of Darkness, chapter 21
- ^ a b c Of Blood and Honor, chapter 2
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Alliance Buildings, Church
- ^ a b Word of the Conclave
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
- ^ Tides of Darkness
- ^ Alonsus Faol#Death and remembrance
- ^ WoW Character Selection Screen, pre-2.01: "Although paladins were once exclusively human, a number of stout-hearted dwarves have recently been welcomed into the Order of the Silver Hand."
- ^ a b c d Blood of the Highborne
- ^ a b Beyond the Dark Portal, chapter 5
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 4, pg. 84
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 2, pg. 35 (paperback)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 44
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, pg. 10
- ^ Ravages of the Plague
- ^ The Shores of Northrend (WC3 Human)
- ^ Frostmourne (WC3 Human)
- ^ a b Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, 82.
- ^ Alpha World of Warcraft class description, The Cutting Room Floor
- ^ World of Warcraft: Game Manual, pg. 170
- ^ Desperate Prayer (quest)
- ^ a b
- ^ Argent Emissary#Quotes
- ^ Bishop Lazaril#Quotes
- ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, chapter 6
- ^ Beginnings & Ends
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 200
- ^ Make Haste to the Cathedral
- ^ Meet with High Priestess Laurena
- ^ Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker (quest)
- ^ Meet with Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker
- ^ Farthing#Cathedral of Light
- ^ Bishop Arthur#Quotes
- ^ Shadowlord Slaghammer#Quotes
- ^ Slaghammer's Notes: The New Leader
- ^ Slaghammer's Notes: Tyr's Fall
- ^ a b Before the Storm, chapter 1
- ^ Elegy, pg. 69 - 70
- ^ Elegy, pg. 78
- ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB7DKeye3pE - Visions of N'Zoth - Intro Cinematic
- ^ Make Haste to the Cathedral
- ^ Of Blood and Honor
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, quotes from the Priest and Uther the Lightbringer.
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 11
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 26
- ^ a b c d Argent Confessor Paletress
- ^ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/class/priest
- ^ Races of World of Warcraft: Human
- ^ a b c Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, Azeroth Army of the First War, Church
- ^ Bishop (Rise of the Lich King)#Quotes
- ^ Bishop Arthur#Quotes
- ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 19
- ^ Shadows Rising, chapter 6
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Manual, 11.
- ^ Argent Confessor Paletress#Confessions
- ^ Bishop Arthur#Quotes
- ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual, Azeroth Army of the First War, Cleric Spells
- ^ Stormwind Cleric
- ^ Stormwind Priest
- ^ 7th Legion Cleric
- ^ 7th Legion Lightcaller
- ^ 7th Legion Priest (Durotar)
- ^ Inquisitor Hallard
- ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 17
- ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 17
- ^ Bishop Arthur
- ^ Bishop Seline
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Legends of the Land, Sire Uther Lightbringer
- ^ Bishop DeLavey
- ^ Bishop Lazaril
- ^ Bishop Broxast
- ^ Brother Gareth
- ^ High Priestess MacDonnell
- ^ Bishop Arthur#Quotes
- ^ Stromgarde Priest
- ^ Champion Priest of Ironforge
- ^ Ironforge Priest
- ^ Priest (Warcraft III)
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 26
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
- ^ Game Guide/World Dungeons#The Scarlet Monastery
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 62
- ^ Tides of Darkness, chapter 3
- ^ Blood of Our Fathers
- ^ Desperate Prayer (quest)
- ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall: FAQ - Races
- ^ Draenei#Faith
- ^ Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker (quest)
- ^ Meet with Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker
- ^ Road to Damnation
- ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 2
- ^ Tides of Darkness, chapter 22
- ^ Of Blood and Honor, chapter 5
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 9
- ^ Stormwind Cleric
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 4, pg. 84
- ^ a b c d e Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 152
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 169 - 170
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 152 - 153
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 49
- ^ a b Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 153
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 168 - 169
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 19
- ^ Arcane Feedback (quest)
- ^ Dark Riders
- ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall: FAQ - Races
- ^ Draenei#Faith
- ^ Brother Sarno#Quotes
- ^ Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker#Quotes
- ^ Besieged Villager says: "By the light! You can speak!" Arom exclaimed!
- ^ Lost Soul says: The Light is so warm...
- ^ - Liam says: By the light! A talking cat!
- ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 17
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 26
- ^ Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 107
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 137 - 138
- ^ Legends Volume 5: A Cleansing Fire
- ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 85
- ^ Chris Metzen on Twitter
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 154
- ^ a b Dark Riders
- ^ Lich King (tactics)