Before the Hierarchs of the Chastise Church there are today set many papers, interviewees, objects, all alleged proof of sainthood. There are written pleas, arguments and threats to include certain persons, historical or otherwise, into the Church’s saintly canon, there are accounts of miracles delivered by pen and mouth, there are allegedly transmuted objects, crutches no longer needed, artworks inspired by saintly presences. It is one of the few times in the year all six of the Hierarchs will sit in the same room, as they are usually distributed in their individual churches. In seven days they may have decided on a new saint, although they probably wont have.
The last time there was an addition to the canon was 1989, when Saint Marrus the Many-Sighted, the Undaunted, the Beast Slayer gained her sainthood. At one time there might have been as many as fifteen new saints a year, but in modern times things seem to have slowed down. Not that the number of applications has at all; there are well over a hundred applications each year, and today will be no exception. Perhaps this is the reason that there have been no recent canonisations; the Hierarchs are flooded with so many stories and unverifiable ‘proofs’ that they simply cannot attend properly to each and every one, and would choose missing one over giving the Church a bad name by canonising a charlatan.
Another reason that the Church is somewhat more tentative about the creation of new saints nowadays is there is a far higher burden of proof. There were several instances in the 1960s where the ‘miracles’ that supposed saints are claimed to have performed in death were disproved (such as the prize marrow grower who was found to be using liquid fertiliser, not just the ‘tears of Saint Mrytlee’), and even an instance where the atheist magazine, Death of the Spirit, made up a convincing lie that they had received Attunement (a kind of divine understanding of the world) in the manner laid out by a fake ‘saint’ candidate, revealing all in a lengthy attack-piece later on. Gone are the days when a saint could be created with little more than a fanciful story.
Of course, the reason for this slowing down in saint creation could be that there are no more or at least very few undiscovered ways in which to achieve Attunement, uncovering a new approach being pretty much the only sure-fire way to enter the canon. Other routes to everlasting fame and worship include extreme devotion to the Church, the performance of superhuman feats, serious contribution to the knowledge of the Church (as with Saint Gilyant, who ruled out pain as a method of achieving Attunement), or posthumous miracles, especially those relating to Attunement. More than one of these ‘secondary’ criteria is necessary, usually.
Sainthood usually only comes after death, but that doesn’t stop living persons from making their claims to sainthood, telling the Hierarchs of their ‘new’ ways of Attuning, or the mystic battle they fought with the Waylayer over a person’s spirit. Usually, however, the candidates do not have the encyclopedic knowledge of past saints that the Hierarchs do, and they fail to realise that someone has Attuned in the way they have before. If they do come up with a novel method, they are interviewed extensively about the experience by the six learned theologians, who prod and poke for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in their story. Assuming they get that far, they may be asked to exhibit the feat live for the Hierarchs, teach the method to at least one other person, or exhibit lifelong devotion to the Church.
Each decision is made individually, and must have unanimity amongst the Church’s leaders, else it will be thrown out. This year a hot favourite for latter sainthood is Gabriella Monsoori, who has allegedly achieved Attunement on several occasions through the application of deep brain stimulation with electrodes, and is researching the effects of strong electromagnetic fields. These controversial and invasive techniques have the potential to bring the notoriously evasive practice of Attuning with the world to a mass audience, and the Hierarchs have necessarily been excited for the conversion opportunities. The chances are, though, that by the end of next week Buentoille will have no new saints.
Other festivals happening today:
- The Festival of the Softest Pillow
- The Raconteur’s Festival
- Middling Day