The Homeric Church, officially the Traditional Armazist Church, is the second-largest Armazist church and one of the oldest extant religious institutions in Adonia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Christos of the Akropolis, but the Patriarch of Skopelos is recognized by all as prōtos metaxỳ ísōn ("first among equals") of the christos. Homeric theology is based on Homer's scriptures and interpretation of Armazist mythology. It maintains that it practices the original Armazist faith, as passed down by holy tradition. Its patriarchates and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organization.
Theologically, Homeric Armazism is closer to the Ancient Aetolian religion than Paradosian Armazism, which was influenced and syncretized with Varkan Paganism. Although Homeric Armazism was also syncretized with Varkan religious traditions, it was not to the same extant as its Paradosian counterpart or even Orthodox Armazism.
The majority of Homeric Armazists live mainly in Wolffrea, Aetolia and other communities in the Dinarides. There are also smaller communities in the former Dinaric regions of Kaftia, the Eastern Mesogean, and in the Near East. There are also many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity, notably in former Aetolian colonies.
Homeric authorities such as DUDE have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Traditional". The official name of the Homeric Church is the "Traditional Armazist Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical texts, in official publications, and in official contexts or administrative documents. Homeric teachers refer to the church as Traditional. This name and longer variants containing "Traditional" are also recognized and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Homeric writers.
The common name of the church, "Homeric Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use. Followers of the Armazist Church are generally called "Paradosian", which comes from the Aetolian word Παραδοσιακός Paradosiakós meaning "traditional" or "conventional", which Homeric followers also use to refer to themselves. The Homeric Church often refers to Paradosian Armazists and the Armazist Church as the "Orphic Church" or "Orphic Armazists" in reference to Orpheus, due to this naming conflict.
The Homeric Church shares the same theology as other Armazists, but differ on the interpretation. They give importance to the four poets (Orpheus, Musaeus, Hesiod and Homer), but consider the newest poets' works to prevail over the older scriptures. As such, they deal with the conflicting mythology by validating Homer's interpretation over Hesiod's and so on. This contrasts with the Paradosian and Orthodox theological interpretation which does the opposite, stating the oldest scripture prevails over the newest.
Practice and culture
Like other Armazist denominations, priesthood is available to both men and women, although men widely dominate the ranks. They are selected and appointed by DUDE.
Priesthood to certain female deities (Demeter and Aphrodite especially) and also Dionysos are the most common for women. Priestesses, unlike their male counterparts, have the added restriction that they are often, but not always, selected because they are virgins or beyond menopause.
Homeric works tend to portray women in Armazist mythology as troublemakers, notably qualifying Hera's vengeances against adulterous Zeus as her "jealousy". They have also been represented as ruled only by wild passion and ecstatic emotion such as the Maenads. In contrast, the ideal chaste woman loyal to her absent husband is epitomized by Penelope in Homer's Odyssey. These representations have heavily influenced the Homeric approach to gender roles within the Church and its communities.
Like in other Armazist denominations, couples are expected to marry if they intend to procreate and conceiving a child out of wedlock is considered an insult to Hera. Homeric Armazists also have strong feelings over bastard children, but differ with other Armazist denominations on the attribution of dishonor in conceiving bastards. In Paradosian and Orthodox Aramzism, the father of a bastard is dishonored before the gods, while in Homeric Armazism, the mother is dishonored. Any woman who does not preserve the honor of the family (and so protect the legitimacy of the male line) is considered guilty of the serious crime of moicheia which leads to her being banned from practicing in public religious ceremonies.
Unlike other Armazist denominations, young women are expected to marry as a virgin. In Homeric practice, marriages can be ended on three grounds. The first and most common is repudiation by the husband (apopempsis or ekpempsis). No reason is necessary, only compensation is expected. The second termination cause is the wife leaving the family home (apoleipsis), and in this case, there is no compensation and the woman is banned from practicing in public religious ceremonies. The third ground for termination is when the bride's father asked for his daughter back (aphairesis). This last option is only possible, however, if the wife has not had children.
Relations with other Armazists
As all other Armazist groups are in indirect schism with the Homeric Church, these other groups are viewed as being Armazist, but who, to varying degrees, lack full theological and liturgical continuity with the Ancient religion. As such, all groups outside of the Homeric Church are not seen as being members of the church proper, but rather separated brethren who have failed to retain the fullness of the Armazist faith and theology. These deviations have traditionally been called heresy, but due to the term's perceived pejorative connotations, some prefer the more technical designation of the term reformed.