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Christianity is one of the 6 religious groups represented in Crusader Kings II, and the only group playable without paid expansions.

Common features[edit]

For all Christian religions:

Most Christian religions feature a religious head with the following interactions:

  • Excommunicate a character (100 piety), making them disliked and vulnerable to the Excommunicated Ruler CB
  • Grant divorce (100 piety)
  • Sanctioned Invasion CB, grantable against any stronger ruler or any ruler whose title you have a claim on, should the Pope not like him (1000 piety)

The concept of a character's religious head is especially important for Christians as many characters may not have the same religious head even though they follow identical religions, due to (potential) antipopes and autocephaly.

Catholic [edit]

Catholicism is the major religion of Western Europe. After each start date, it has a tendency to progress further east, and is almost always one of the most successful religions in the game.

Catholicism is one of the major instigators of the Great Schism. The Great Schism was a separation of the original Nicene Church after a prolonged rivalry between the Roman Pope and the Constantinopolan Ecumenical Patriarch, culminating in them excommunicating each other shortly before the "Stamford Bridge" game start (in 1054).

The religious head for Catholicism is the Pope, but it is not uncommon for one or more Antipopes to form throughout the game.

  • Bishops who like the Pope (or Antipope) more than their secular liege will shirk their duties as vassals. They will pay taxes to the Pope (or Antipope) and provide levies to nobody.
  • College of Cardinals, a special mechanism that determines how Popes are replaced
  • Investiture, a special crown law that determines how bishops are replaced
    • Papal Investiture halves the piety cost of religious head interactions, at the cost of not being able to appoint successors to bishoprics
    • Free Investiture improves vassal opinion, harms pope opinion, and allows appointing an antipope, as well as successors to bishoprics
  • Numerous papal favors that rulers can request
  • The only Christian denomination where crusades can be called against heretics and infidels.
  • Catholicism and its heresies become heresies of Orthodoxy when an Orthodox character mends the Great Schism.

Orthodox [edit]

Eastern Orthodoxy is the religion of the Byzantine Empire and several of its neighbors. In 1066, it is also the religion of the Rurikid rulers (Rus-Ruthenia region).

The Byzantine Empire is by far the most powerful Orthodox ruler in most start dates. However, its rule is often challenged by heresy (notably Iconoclasty in 769) and powerful Muslim rulers.

The religious head of Eastern Orthodoxy is the Ecumenical Patriarch, usually residing in Constantinople. However, he only has jurisdiction over characters and provinces not already under pentarchs and autocephalous patriarchs. More info here. Most of the time, the Ecumenical Patriarch is also the Pentarch of Constantinople, and a vassal of the Byzantine Empire.

  • At game start, the only autocephalous religion with multiple kings
  • The only religion with a dangerous heresy at any start date (Iconoclasm in 769)
  • Mend the Great Schism to re-unite the Catholic and Orthodox religions if an Orthodox ruler owns Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria as well as having the Ecumenical Patriarch as a vassal
  • If the Byzantine Empire does not exist, it can only be created by Orthodox rulers

Miaphysite [edit]

Miaphysite Christianity, sometimes known as Oriental Orthodoxy, is a religion that arose in opposition of the Council of Calcedon's decision of Christ being "of two natures". Once spreading across the Byzantine Empire's non-Greek land as well as the Kingdoms of Armenia, Nubia, and Abyssinia, its spread has been significantly hampered by the Islamic expansion and is in danger of being wiped out.

The religious head of Miaphysitism is the Coptic Pope. However, like the Ecumenical Patriarch, he only has jurisdiction over a relatively small amount of characters and land. More info here. The Coptic Pope is often also the Bishop of Alexandria, if it is controlled by Miaphysite lords.

  • Autocephaly
  • Relative minority religion, with most characters of the religion being independent counts and dukes in Eastern Africa, as well as some rulers in or near Armenia
  • Cannot mend the Great Schism

This religion was added to the game with the 1.07 patch, along with the Legacy of Rome DLC

Nestorian [edit]

Nestorianism is an extremely minority religion in isolated areas near Baghdad and in an island near Arabia, in early starts. Once, Nestorianism dominated the Eastern world. However, the rise of Islam nearly wiped the faith off the face of the planet. There are few Nestorian starts and they will most likely be wiped out by expansionist Muslims or Mongols; the Khagans of the Golden Horde and Ilkhanate follow this religion in 1255 and 1260 respectively.

The religious head of Nestorianism is the Patriarch of the East, and similar to Orthodoxy and Miaphysitism, he only has jurisdiction over a small amount of characters. More info here. In the unlikely event that Antioch gets controlled by Nestorian rulers, the Patriarch of the East will also control the Bishopric of Antioch.

  • Autocephaly
  • Minority religion, with less than 6 provinces following the religion at any time.
  • Cannot mend the Great Schism

This religion was added to the game with the 1.07 patch, along with the Legacy of Rome DLC

Unique concepts
Religion groups