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“And so I have done as all mortals must, and looked to the words of His prophet for answers.”

Justinia I, born Olessa of Montsimmard, was the first Divine of the Chantry.


According to Chantry writings, Olessa of Montsimmard was the only female general in Emperor Kordillus Drakon I's armies during his campaigns to spread the word the Chant of Light and unite the disparate cults of the Maker. For her military prowess and her devotion to Andraste, Olessa became known as "the Warrior-Priest." In -3 Ancient, Drakon completed the construction of a great temple to the Maker and declared Andrastianism the official religion of the newly formed Orlesian empire. The search for a suitable leader took four years. Eventually, Drakon appointed Olessa as Divine, as he believed her dual role as warrior and spiritual leader best embodied Andraste. She took on the name of "Justinia" in honor of one of the first Disciples of Andraste. Her appointment marked the beginning of the Chantry Calendar and of the Divine Age.[1][2] While it was celebrated with a full year of festivities in Orlais, it caused great consternation in Tevinter, which had been organizing the Andrastian religion for over a century while Orlais was nothing but a fragmented land of scattered tribes. In an effort to appease the Orlesian Chantry, the Archon's role was reduced to a ceremonial role while authority over the faith was given to the grand clerics.

The contemporary Chantry definition of maleficarum mostly seems based on the sermons of Justinia I, who defined them as people who use their magic to dominate hearts and minds, and who fuel their magic by spilling the blood of others.[3]

Justinia I is also known for compiling the Orlesian Chantry's interpretation of the Chant of Light. Her version of the Chant has survived to the modern day with few alterations. The Canticle of Threnodies is often believed to have been written by Justinia I between - 31 and -11 Ancient, though modern researchers now believe that Justinia merely transcribed and translated an older Tevinter text, possibly "The Slave Dirge" mentioned as far back as -182 Ancient, from Tevene into Ciriane, then the language of Orlais.[4] In 1:8 Divine, Justinia also ordered the transcription of the Canticle of Shartan, an ancient elven folktale which had been preserved through oral tradition.[5] Emperor Drakon is said to have rewritten the Canticle of Exaltations, first written in -12 Ancient, many times before allowing Justinia to include it in the Chant of Light.[6]

Justinia I died sometime between 1:8 and 1:20 Divine.[7]

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: The Founding of the Chantry Codex entry: The Founding of the Chantry
Codex entry: Maleficarum Codex entry: Maleficarum