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- The Structure of the Church -

An image detailing the structure of the original Manichean church

Arkhegos 
 
The Arkhegos would need to be someone who has demonstrated exceptional wisdom, spiritual insight, and leadership ability, and Holiness within the church community. In a modern context, the Arkhegos might be someone who has extensive experience and knowledge of the teachings of Manichaeism and who has demonstrated the ability to lead and inspire others. They would need to be someone who is able to guide the Church in a way that is both true to the teachings of Manichaeism and relevant to the challenges and issues faced by modern society. The Arkhegos would be responsible for overseeing the overall direction and vision of the church, as well as providing guidance and support to the elect and hearers. They would also be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the teachings of Manichaeism and ensuring that the Church remains true to its core values and principles. The Arkhegos serves as the representative of the Church in its dealings with other Religions Governments and the world. It is important to note that the Arkhegos would not be a figure of absolute authority within the church. Rather, they would work in collaboration with the general church to make decisions and guide the direction of the church. The Arkhegos would be a respected and trusted leader, but their role would be one of guidance and support rather than absolute control.
 
 
12 Apostles 
 
finally, confessors and doctors, called "masters" and "apostles;' upon whom fell responsibility for the defense of doctrine, the government of the ecclesiastical provinces, and missionary policy. They would oversee their own Arch-diocese.   Spreading the Teachings: The primary role of the Twelve Apostles was to disseminate and propagate the doctrines and principles of Manichaeism. They traveled to different regions and communities, sharing the message of Mani and inviting individuals to embrace the faith.  

Establishing Communities:

The Twelve Apostles played a vital role in establishing Manichaean communities in various locations. They would gather and organize groups of followers, providing guidance and support in the practice of Manichaean rituals, ethical living, and spiritual growth.

Outreach and Missionary Work:

The Manichaean Apostle would engage in outreach and missionary efforts to share the teachings of Mani with a broader audience. They would interact with individuals and communities outside of the Manichaean fold, organizing public events, participating in interfaith dialogues, and promoting a deeper understanding of Manichaean beliefs.  

Community Leadership

The Apostle would hold a leadership position within the Manichaean community in the world. They would collaborate with other Arch bishops and the Arkhegos to provide guidance, make decisions, and oversee the operations of the Manichean community. They would foster unity, inclusivity, and engagement among the members.

Teaching and Instruction

The Apostles were responsible for teaching and instructing both the Elect and the Hearers. They would convey the cosmology, ethical principles, and spiritual practices of Manichaeism, helping individuals understand the dualistic worldview and the path to liberation from the influence of Darkness.  Interpreting Sacred Texts: The Apostles had an important role in interpreting the sacred texts of Manichaeism, including Mani's own writings. They provided explanations and elucidations to help the followers comprehend the deeper meanings and symbolism within the texts.

Assisting in Rituals and Ceremonies

The Twelve Apostles actively participated in Manichaean rituals and ceremonies. They would lead prayers, guide participants in the performance of rituals, and facilitate communal gatherings to deepen spiritual connections and promote unity among the followers. Providing

Spiritual Guidance

The Apostles served as spiritual guides for the Manichaean community, offering advice, resolving conflicts, and addressing the spiritual needs of the followers. They played a significant role in nurturing the spiritual growth and well-being of the community members. 
 
72 Bishops
 
Leadership and Administration

The Manichaean Bishop would hold a key leadership position within the Manichaean community. They would oversee the overall functioning of the regional church, providing guidance and direction to clergy and laity members. They would work collaboratively with other leaders to ensure the smooth operation of religious activities and community affairs. 

Spiritual Guidance

The Bishop would play a central role in providing spiritual guidance to the Manichean faithful and Elect within their diocese. They would facilitate larger scale events and holidays. They would provide guidance in adhering to Manichaean principles and ethical conduct in the context of modern-day challenges. Sacraments and Rituals: The Bishop would preside over important sacraments and rituals within their their Diocese of the Manichaean church. Such as overseeing Bema and other festivals and religious holidays. 

Community Engagement

The Bishop would actively engage with their diocese and represent the Manichaean church in interfaith and community initiatives. As Bishops they must respect their jurisdiction and other Bishops’ jurisdiction and report to their respective Arch-Bishop. They would foster relationships with leaders of other religious traditions, promoting dialogue, understanding, and collaboration. As well as encouraging the community to participate in good deeds, and helping others. 

Doctrinal and Ethical Oversight

The Bishop would ensure the preservation and adherence to Manichaean doctrines and ethical principles within the community. They would offer interpretations, clarify theological matters, and address questions or challenges to ensure doctrinal integrity. The Bishop would guide the community in living out Manichaean values in their daily lives and decision-making processes especially in the modern context faced with the problems and struggles of today. 
 
Education and Teaching 

The Bishop would contribute to the educational aspects of the community, offering teachings and educational resources on Manichaean beliefs, practices, and history. They would lead study groups, deliver sermons, and provide guidance on spiritual and intellectual growth for all members of the community. 

Community Building and Support 

The Bishop would foster a sense of community and belonging among the members. They would promote unity, inclusivity, and a supportive environment where individuals can connect, share experiences, and support one another in their spiritual journeys. The Bishop would organize community events, facilitate social gatherings, and encourage collaboration among the community members.

360 Presbyters 
 
Assisting Church Leadership

The 360 Presbyters would work closely with the Bishop and other leaders to assist in the administration and functioning of the Manichaean community. They would contribute their wisdom, experience, and support in decision-making processes and community affairs. 

Spiritual Support 

The Presbyters would provide spiritual support to community members. They would be available to offer guidance, counsel, and encouragement to individuals seeking assistance in their spiritual journeys. Presbyters would help address questions, doubts, and challenges related to Manichaean teachings and practices. 

Ritual Participation 

The 360 Presbyters would actively participate and lead rituals and worship ceremonies within the Manichaean church. They would contribute to the performance of prayers, rites, and sacraments, enhancing the spiritual atmosphere and facilitating meaningful experiences for the community. 

Teaching and Education 

The Presbyters would assist in teaching and educating the community on Manichaean principles, traditions, and ethics. They would support the Bishop in leading study groups, workshops, and educational programs to deepen the understanding of Manichaean teachings among the community members. 

Community Engagement 

The 360 Presbyters would actively engage with the community, promoting fellowship and unity. They would actively report to their respective Bishops. They would help organize community events, social gatherings, and initiatives to encourage participation, connection, and collaboration among the members they would be the leaders of local congregations. Ethics and Moral Guidance: The Presbyters would assist in guiding the community members in ethical conduct and moral decision-making. They would provide guidance on applying Manichaean principles to contemporary challenges and dilemmas, helping individuals align their actions with Manichaean values. 

Mentorship and Discipleship

The 360 Presbyters would offer mentorship and discipleship to individuals seeking a deeper commitment to their spiritual journey. They would support the personal growth, development, and maturation of community members, nurturing their understanding of Manichaean teachings and practices. 

Communal Celebrations and Festivals 

The Presbyters would contribute to the organization and facilitation of communal celebrations, festivals, and special events within the Manichaean community. They would help create a joyful and festive atmosphere, fostering a sense of community spirit and togetherness. Other Offices within The Manichean Church 

The Choirmaster or Cantor
 
The choirmaster is charged with selecting hymns for the annual cycle of festivals, as well as with composing new ones and determining the sequence of ceremonies. The Cantor would lead the congregation in singing in church ceremonies 
 
Scribes 
 
Scribes would be responsible for keeping track of the history of the modern church (important dates of when people served what roles, when different Manistans were founded and where, historical events etc) they would also be in charge of maintaining an online presence, writing pieces for said online presences and working closely with Deacons in the commission of new and restored Manichean art 
 
The Lector
 

Would be tasked with religious readings in ceremonies for the church.  
The Deacons

The office of the Deacons (Exclusive to Hearers) would be tasked with managing the churches funds and using them charitably for members in need and causes that raise awareness or benefit the holy religion and the world. 
 
The Elect In The Modern Day 

 
The Elect in the modern day would still adhere to the 5 commandments and the 3 seals, just slightly different to account for the modern day. A reason for the more lax rules of the church is simply because we have less light than our forefathers did centuries ago when Manichaeism was founded. As such we are inherently a weaker generation, and inversely, a weaker church than in the past. However should any of us desire to live a lifestyle similar to that of the Elect of yore; they may do so. 
 
The 5 commandments are 

1. Truthfulness 
2. Non-injury 
3. Chastity 
4. Purity of mouth  
5. Blessed poverty 


And the 3 seals are 
 
1. Seal of the hands  
2. Seal of the Mouth. 
3. Seal of the Breast.  

 
1. Truthfulness 
 
The first commandment prohibits lying. It is necessary for the Elect to be completely honest. 
 
2. Non-injury 
 
Non-injury applies to any living person, plant, or animal. Whilst accidents may happen in the world of today, it should be avoided harming any living things. This also bars one from working in many farming positions, or positions that would potentially cause you to harm a living thing. However, taking a shower, or cooking your food is not in violation, so long as you did not harm living beings to acquire the ingredients. However, the ritual meal is prepared by Hearers. Which in today’s world is straightforward to abide by.
 
3. Chastity 
 
The 3rd commandment applies to marriage, you may take a wife but you mustn’t engage in polygamy or excessively sexual behavior nor adultery. You also may not have children of your own as this would impede the light from being freed, However the Elect may adopt should they have the desire to. However the roles of Bishop or higher must remain celibate. 
 
4. Purity of mouth 
 
The 4th commandment applies to diet primarily, as well as what one says. Regarding diet, the Elect are required to adhere to vegetarianism. As well as avoiding alcoholic beverages. In regard to speech an Elect mustn’t slander any other person or to lie, blaspheme, swear, or perjure themselves. 
 
5. Blessed poverty 
 
Blessed poverty means living a minimalistic lifestyle. Avoiding greed and avarice, and the consumption of useless materialistic products. The only exceptions is the procurement of Music, literature, or art. Both in regards to making these things or acquiring them. As well as contributing to church efforts monetarily, or to other organizations that help the overall good of humanity.   
 
As for the 3 seals  

The seal of the hands is explained under the 2nd commandment 

The seal of the mouth is explained under the 1st and 4th commandments 

The seal of the breast is explained in the 3rd commandment 
 
The Hearers in the modern day 
 
The main religious requirements of the Hearers are as follows: 
 
1. Commandments  
2. Prayer  
3. Alms  
4. Fasting  
5. Confession of sins 
 
The ten commandments for Hearers are as follows: 
 
1. Renouncing idolatry 
2. Truthfulness 
3. Renouncing avarice 
4. Renouncing killing 
5. Renouncing adultery 
6. Renouncing Theft 
7. Renouncing blasphemy 
8. Renouncing double mindedness about the faith 
9. Renouncing slothfulness 
10. Renouncing the practice of magic 
 
The 1st commandment for Hearers requires one to not worship false Gods or idols. 
 
The 2nd commandment means that Hearers were to monitor the purity of the mouth by refraining from blasphemy, lying, perjury, false witness, and slander; they had always to stand up for the innocent. 
 
the 3rd commandment means that the Hearers were to come to the aid of the afflicted and refrain from all displays of greed. 
 
The 4th commandment means that the hearer was to avoid using his hands to frighten, injure, beat, torture, or kill not only human bipeds but also four-legged animals, birds, fish, and reptiles. Nor could his ten fingers cause suffering to the Living Self 
 
The 5th commandment means that The heart of the hearer was to remain faithful to the man or woman who had been taken in marriage, and hearers were to refrain from all sexual relations during fasting days. Polygamy was condemned on the same ground as adultery. 
 
The 6th commandment means that the hearer was to take care not to commit theft or fraud. 
 
The 7th commandment means that Hearers were to abstain from all inappropriate speech, especially that which was irreverent toward the prophets. 
 
The 8th commandment means that they were to take care not to obey false prophets and impostors. 
 
The 9th commandment means you must do your best to be productive. 
 
The 10th commandment means they are to refrain from all magical practices, forswearing the fabrication of charms, potions, and evil spells. 
 
Regarding religious requirements for the Hearers 
 
1. Commandments  
 
The Hearer must take care to follow the ten commandments 
 
2. Prayer 
 
Manichaeans observe daily prayers, either four for the Hearers or seven for the Elect. The times for the Hearers' prayers are noon, mid-afternoon, just after sunset and at nightfall. Al-Biruni places the prayers at noon, nightfall, dawn and sunrise. The Elect additionally pray at mid-afternoon, half an hour after nightfall and at midnight. The central prayer for both Hearers and Elect is the Prayer of the Emanations, included in this book; it is generally followed by hymnody. Prayer from out of one's own heart, in one's own words, is also encouraged. The Elects' prayer made after nightfall is especially of critical importance, because this is when the food-offering from the Hearers is admitted. The key hymns for this occasion are the Apology to the Bread and the Reflection on the Sacred Meal. Every service of prayer starts with an ablution with water. The service of prayer consists of prostrating oneself to the ground and rising again twelve times, then the Prayer of the Emanations, then a number of psalms and hymns. During the day, Manichaeans turn towards the sun and during night towards the moon. If the moon is not visible at night, then they turn towards the north. Celestial bodies are not the subject of worship themselves, but "ships" carrying the light particles of the world to the Supreme God, who cannot be seen, since He exists beyond time and space, and also the dwelling places for emanations of the supreme deity, such as Jesus the Splendor. 
 
3. Alms 
 
Almsgiving was therefore a service to the church, a communal manifestation of justice. If a hearer was prevented from obeying this rule, on account of poverty, destitution, or some other reason, he was  nonetheless bound to ask forgiveness for having failed to fulfill his duty. Typically it took the form of gifts: bread, fruits, vegetables, clothes, or sandals. It could also take other forms depending on the person's social importance: substantial aid in  rescuing distant brothers from distress; the temporary loan of a relative, or son to help the community; the endowment of various functions placed under the administrative authority of the church hierarchy; or maintenance of monastery buildings or responsibility for additions to them. As the financial lifeblood of the church, alms were an occasion of sharing and exchange: in giving a part of his possessions, the layman obtained salvation 
 
4. Fasting 
 
Like Elect, hearers were obliged to observe a cycle of fasting on both a weekly and a yearly basis. The weekly fast took place on Sunday, day of the sun. This meant having not only to abstain from food and all sexual relations but also to forgo all worldly labor. The dominical fast served to unite the church, for on this day the layman was a full-fledged member of his community, in no way different from the Elect. Yet observance of this fast was by no means universal, particularly among notables, merchants, and breeders of livestock, Manichaean populations of Upper Asia during the eighth to tenth centuries mentions managers of great estates, faced with the demands of tending to both domesticated animals and roaming herds, as well as ordinary people suffering from poverty and frail health. To miss a fast-voluntarily or involuntarily, whether through laziness or negligence-was a sin. Hearers were bound also to observe an annual fast of thirty days, which itself was preceded at regular intervals by very brief fasts associated with feast days and culminating in the celebration of the Bema festival. Fasting consists of eating one meal after dark. 
 
5. Confession 
 
Weekly confession took place on Monday, day of the moon, for hearers as well as the elect. The hearer knelt down before the Elect, his brother, and asked forgiveness for every sin of thought, word, and deed. The annual confession was collective and took place at the end of the thirty-day fast, when the community came together to celebrate the passion of the Lord, that is, to commemorate the tragic events that marked Mani's last days on earth. An officiant, acting on behalf of the hearers, recited the confessional formulas composed especially for them (to save time he could confine himself to the final formula), with the result that all the sins of the past year were pardoned, and the lay members of the church were able to enter into the celebration of the community's great festival with the innocent heart of a newborn infant. Confession now can be done by a higher ranking member of the church or member to member. (Example, any higher ranking member to another higher ranking member, hearers to an elect or other higher ranking member etc), In the modern day, one may also confess their sins directly to Mani via a small Manichean shrine in your home. 

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