In the heart of Arescod, the Sapientia Divina, known officially as The Grand Church of Divine Wisdom, looms majestically over the cityscape, an imposing edifice visible from afar, even to those who journey upstream along the Bakavis river. Crafted primarily from ashlar and brick sourced directly from the quarries and stonemasons of Ascalon, this awe-inspiring structure draws countless Western tourists and pilgrims to its hallowed halls.
A fusion of eclectic architectural influences, the Sapientia Divina's design remains deeply inspired by the Asrian style, featuring a symmetrical central plan that takes the form of the revered Asrian-cross-plan. A grand square central mass is flanked by four arms of equal length, and an impressive fully pendentive dome adorned with a single crown spire reaches towards the heavens. The plaza before the church, purposefully designed to accommodate an entire legion, adds to the sense of grandeur that surrounds the holy site.
Within the sacred confines of the church, the interior unfolds in a splendor of opulence. Marble columns and intricate inlays line the vast space, while mosaics of saints and ornate gold coffered ceilings add to the celestial atmosphere. In the heart of the nave lies a peculiar marble section referred to as "the axis of the universe." An ancient Asrian tradition imbues it with symbolism, believed to depict the sun and the solar system orbiting it, though its true meaning remains an enigma. The central nave mosaics, however, offer a glimpse into The mythology of Ascalon, portraying figures believed to represent the gods of Change, Preservation, and Destruction beneath the watchful gaze of Aeternum Solis. The Abbreviation of Aeternum Solis' name emblazoned above the image is accompanied by the epithet, "The Heavenly Sun, The Metamorphosis, The Continuity, The Renewal," hinting at a potential attempt at syncretism with worshippers of the holy trinity.
In addition to its spiritual significance, the Sapientia Divina houses essential facilities to serve both its religious function and the needs of its clergy. The church includes separate bathhouses for clergy, divided by gender, featuring pools of brick and gypsum, their floors adorned with religious mosaics. The second floor holds The Ecclesia Scholae, a modest space where the clergy instruct and educate future members and potential converts.
Descending to the lower levels of the church, one finds a somber mausoleum reserved for the nobility of Arescod, currently unoccupied. Crafted from red Porphyry, each Sarcophagus is intricately engraved with scenes from the War in Heaven, while mosaics of angels grace the walls, and bronze-painted statues of Ascalon's nobility stand as solemn sentinels.
Apart from the main church building, a separate structure constructed primarily from Ashlar and brick serves as the Hospice. Centered around a fountain fed by a well, the Hospice offers sanctuary and care for all, regardless of their creed. Rooms are designated for victims of slumber blight, while additional spaces cater to the clergy's residence. The traversable roof, crowned by the protective Crown Spire, houses an open-lit brazier at its center, providing a space for sacred rituals and respite for the clergy.
History: Commissioned by Solar Ecclesiarch Helia I and consecrated in the year 38, The Grand Church of Divine Wisdom stands as a testament to the devotion of the Asrian people. Discussions between Solar Ecclesiarch Helia I and the then-regent of Ascalon, Adrienne Lévesque, led to its construction at a central location near Arescod's bustling Market district. The collaboration between geometers and Architects from Caorran and Provincia Asrania, brought from the Western Confederation, culminated in the creation of this magnificent sanctuary, meant to inspire piety and awe for generations to come.