The Imperial Divine is the leader of the Imperial Chantry based out of the Argent Spire in Minrathous, capital of the Tevinter Imperium. The Imperial Divine is always male.[note] The Andrastian Chantry has its own Divine, a woman housed in the Grand Cathedral in Val Royeaux, capital of Orlais. Neither Divine recognizes the existence of the other. In the south, the Imperial Divine is informally known as the "Black Divine", a name considered sacrilegious in Tevinter, where he is instead called the "True Divine." By contrast, the Andrastian Divine is informally known as the "White Divine."
There had been tensions between the Tevinter Chantry and the Orlesian Chantry since Emperor Kordillus Drakon I decreed Divine Justinia I head of the Andrastian religion in 1:1 Divine. In an effort to appease Orlais, the Tevinter Chantry transferred authority over the faith from the Archon to the grand clerics. However, despite repeated petitions, the Orlesian Chantry refused to recognize the grand clerics of Tevinter, on the grounds that they admitted men into the priesthood.
In 3:87 Towers, when the Andrastian Chantry realized that the Tevinter Chantry had been preaching that magic best served man by ruling over him, Divine Joyous II demanded that the Tevinter Chant of Light be revised to conform to the Orlesian Chant, which states that "magic must serve man, and not rule over him." When the clerics of Tevinter refused, she declared them all heretics. In response, the Archon appointed Grand Cleric Valhail, a man and a prominent member of one of Tevinter's Circle of Magi, as Divine of the Tevinter Chantry. Outside of Tevinter, Divine Valhail was widely reviled and dubbed the Black Divine.
The Imperial Divine celebrated Divine Joyous II's death in 3:99 by declaring a holiday. The newly appointed Divine, Beatrix I, retaliated by naming the next age the Black Age and calling for retribution against the false Black Divine. As most nations were still recovering from the Third Blight, it took decades for this retribution to materialize. Eventually, the Andrastian Chantry called four Exalted Marches against the Imperial Chantry between 4:40 Black and 5:10 Exalted, which did little more than solidify the schism between the two. The beginning of the Fourth Blight put an end to the Exalted Marches against the Imperial Chantry.
In 9:27 Dragon, with the help of several high-ranking magisters, a select group of Imperial Templars, and Ser Lambert van Reeves, at the time Seeker liaison to the Imperium, Magister Urian Nihalias arrested the Imperial Divine and five of the highest-ranking magisters in Minrathous. After the resulting trial, Magister Urian assumed the role of Imperial Divine and led a violent purge of the Imperial Chantry. The Imperial Divine clashed with Aurelian Titus as he gained power in Tevinter, a confrontation which Titus appeared to be winning until his disappearance in 9:40.
As in the Andrastian Chantry, the Imperial Divine is elected by the grand clerics, usually from within their ranks, but whereas the Andrastian Divine is chosen through a unanimous vote at the Grand Consensus, the Imperial Divine is elected by simple majority. The Archon casts the deciding vote in case of a tie. Like the grand clerics, the Imperial Divine occupies a seat on the Magisterium.
Since Archon Nomaran lifted the rules prohibiting mages from participating in politics in the Storm Age, the Imperial Divine has always been drawn from within the ranks of the first enchanters, and as such also operates as Grand Enchanter. The Imperial Divine is always male, a fact that has caused frustration among some female magisters.
Known Imperial Divines
- Valhail I – first Imperial Divine. Appointed by the Archon in 3:87 Towers
- Urian Nihalias – A magister who became Divine in 9:27 Dragon after staging a coup against his predecessor
- While Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume 1 states that the majority of Imperial Divines have been male, other sources, such as Dorian Pavus, state that the Imperial Divine has always been male.
- According to dialogue with Dorian Pavus.
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 125
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 89
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 17
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 203
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 44
- Codex entry: The Imperial Chantry