The Light Novel series is the source material for the adaptation of the Anime and Manga series. The information and terminology on the article will be based on the source material rather than the adaptions.
The Temple (神殿, shinden) is both a place of religious worship and the sole religious institution in Yurgenschmidt.
The people of Yurgenschmidt worship a pantheon of gods, with religious ceremonies held throughout the year as a cornerstone of daily life. Each duchy has a single dedicated temple building located in its capital city. In the duchy of Ehrenfest, the temple is located in city of Ehrenfest.
In Ehrenfest, the temple is located on the border between the Noble's Quarter and the lower city, where commoners reside. Nobles enter and exit through the main gate in the north, which can only be opened using mana. Meanwhile commoners enter and exit through the back gate in the south.
The vast majority of priests live on the temple grounds throughout most of the year, and only leave when they are required to handle religious ceremonies in provinces around the duchy, such as Spring Prayer or the Harvest Festival.
All public religious ceremonies in Ehrenfest are held in the temple's chapel, which has an altar and a dais where the High Bishop stands during ceremonies. There are no pews or seating; attendees are expected to stand. Behind the altar, statues of the Supreme Gods and the Eternal Five are carved out of white stone.
The chapel building is also home to the repentance chamber. Because violence and corporal punishment are forbidden in the temple, priests and shrine maidens are sent to reflect on their actions in the unadorned chamber. Additionally, the orphanage is adjacent to the main chapel.
With the temple increasingly becoming a place to connect nobles and commoner merchants, an additional parlor room was added for exactly such meetings, seeing it as more convenient than always using the orphanage director's chambers. It is located near the front gate and currently outfitted with the furniture that used to belong to the previous high bishop Bezewanst, which had been gathering dust in a storeroom after his family refused to claim it and none of the blue priests dared to take them for fear of political ramifications.
Most of the day-to-day work of the temple is done in the larger administrative building, located just north of the chapel and orphanage. It has three entrances: One leading to the Noble's Gate in the north, one front entrance to the east, and one set of doors leading to the chapel in the south. There is also a stairway used by temple attendants.
Blue priests and shrine maidens reside on the second and third floors of the administrative building. Their attendants typically use rooms on the first floor, so they can be available promptly when needed.
In addition to a variety of atria, meeting rooms, and waiting rooms, the administrative building contains:
- The High Bishop's chambers.
- The High Priest's chambers.
- The temple book room.
- The ceremonial hall where the Dedication Ritual is held during the winter.
The temple has a large ice house, kept cold using magic, which it uses to store perishable food such as milk. It is typically used only by attendants and those who prepare food. Water is drawn from a well located near the chapel.
Unlike the rest of the Noble's Quarter, the temple does not have toilets in all living quarters. Instead, the priests and priestesses use chamber pots which are emptied in a communal disposal area that uses toilet slime to destroy the waste.
People and Culture
The people of the temple are educated to be compliant and quiet. Everyone, even the commoner gray priests and shrine maidens, are educated in the manners and etiquette of the nobility.
At the temple it is tradition for everyone - from the lowest grey robe to the high bishop him or herself - to speak a short prayer to the gods before every meal:
“O mighty King and Queen of the endless skies who doth grace us with thousands upon thousands of lives to consume, O mighty Eternal Five who rule the mortal realm, I offer thanks and prayers to thee, and do take part in the meal so graciously provided.”
see Temple Hierarchy
"Divine gifts" (神の恵み, kami no megumi) refer to the temple's system for distributing resources among the clergy. Blue priests are expected to provide their attendants with the "divine gifts" of food, clothing, shelter, and other essential supplies such as soap.
Food distribution follows a strict protocol: blue priests eat first and cover costs related to the food (purchasing ingredients, hiring chefs). Any leftovers from their meal are then passed to their attendants, and then the leftovers from that meal are served to the gray priests in the orphanage. Finally, any remaining food is provided to the unbaptized orphans.
Due to the sudden outflow of clergy at the Ehrenfest temple, there was much less food prepared for blue priests. As a result, both gray priests and those in the orphanage suffered from having very little to eat.
Harvest Festival. The temple receives funding from the duchy as a proportion of the taxes collected by during the Harvest Festival. A portion of the tithe goes to the priest who performs the ceremony, and the remainder goes to support the general operation of the temple. Consequently, performing the Harvest Festival in prosperous provinces is a highly sought-after position.
Donations. Money donated to the temple as a gesture of goodwill (such as the ten small golds donated by Myne as a condition of becoming an apprentice priestess) is added to the temple budget. It is first used to provide for operational expenses, and the remainder is then allocated by the High Bishop among the blue priests and shrine maidens.
- At the Ehrenfest temple under Bezewanst, the largest share of donations went to himself, and the remainder was given to blue priests and shrine maidens who earned his favor.
- Under Rozemyne, the division was standardized. Although she wanted to give everyone an equal share, she eventually compromised with Ferdinand to give 25% to the High Bishop, 25% to the High Priest, and the remainder split evenly across the blue priests. She later revises this system to provide extra compensation to blue priests who assist Ferdinand with his administrative duties and paperwork.
Workshop Revenue. (Ehrenfest only.) After Myne becomes an apprentice blue priestess, 10% of the profits made by her workshop are donated to the temple. When the orphanage workshop is established, the revenue from it is also used to provide funding to the temple.
Private Income. Blue priests and shrine maidens generally have some financial support from their noble families. Additionally, they can secure further revenue by performing religious services (such as a baptism) at a noble's estate. Higher-ranking priests and shrine maidens — such as the High Bishop or High Priest — are in high demand due to the added prestige. However, their services are also proportionally more expensive.
On the temple's accounting ledgers, a variety of terms are used to refer to different forms of income and expenses:
- Divine will. As an expense, it indicates compensation paid to the High Bishop and blue robes. On the income sheets, it refers to the budget received from the archduke.
- Offerings to the gods. This comprises ceremonial expenses such as flowers, incense, and cloth.
- Flowers for the gods. This refers to clothing and fashion expenses for flower-offering (concubine) gray shrine maidens. This was originally factored in as the cost of preparing the temple for noble visitors.
- Water for the gods. This refers to hosting fees, such as wine and feasts for visiting nobles.
- Divine compassion. This refers to the expenses of maintaining the orphanage and purchasing supplies.
- Gift from the gods. This indicates any source of revenue that doesn't come from the archduke's budget. Different sources of income are then differentiated using descriptions like "Gift from X".
- In the anime, the temple building is referred to as the "cathedral," and the temple as a religious institution is called the "church."
- Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 4 Volume 5. Chapter 8: Pre-Meeting for the Dying Competition
- Ascendance of a Bookworm. Fanbook. Temple Tour by Miya Kazuki
- Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 2 Volume 2. Epilogue
- Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 4 Volume 4. Chapter 9: The Archduke Conference Approaches
- Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 2 Volume 2. Chapter 20: The End of Winter Preparations
- Ascendance of a Bookworm. Fanbook 2. Q&A with Miya Kazuki.