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Parliament declares Austenasia a Christian country

The Christian “Chi Ro” sign, already used on state symbols from the national coat of arms to the ensign of the Imperial Air Force.

At 7:40 am this morning, Imperial Consent was given to an Act of Parliament establishing Christianity as the state religion of the Empire.

Christians make up the majority of the Empire’s population, and much of Austenasia’s symbolism and ceremonies have been inspired by Christianity. For example, the Chi-Ro holds a prominent place on the Empire’s coat of arms, and Emperor Jonathan I made his coronation oaths while holding a Bible.

The Act of Parliament has reaffirmed the provisions included in the Constitution that all have the right to choose and practice their own religion without discrimination or persecution. The Emperor has announced that he will consider the creation of an ombudsman-like position to ensure that no religious discrimination takes place.

No particular denomination has been specified as Austenasia’s state religion, but rather Trinitarian Christianity as a whole.

Austenasia has never before had an official religion, but since its founding the largest religion in the Empire has always been Christianity, which has influenced many of its laws and national symbols.

Several Christian feast days have been made national public holidays, and local authorities have been given the right to declare a local public holiday on the feast day of the patron saint of their town or territory.

Three towns dissolved in unprecedented Act of Parliament

Thanasia (L) and Porthbokon (R), two of the Towns which were yesterday ceded back to the United Kingdom.

At 9:00 am Wrythe time yesterday morning, an Act of Parliament was passed ceding the Towns of Zephyria, Thanasia and Porthbokon back to the United Kingdom.

Zephyria, which was the first inhabited territory to join the Empire outside of Wrythe, was annexed in April 2009. As the residential property of which it is comprised is soon to be rented out by the Town’s residents – the family of Lord Marshal William – while they move to another property, it was considered best that it no longer be part of Austenasia. However, Zephyria’s former population of three have retained their status as Austenasian subjects.

Thanasia and Porthbokon have both been ceded absolutely, with their populations also having lost their Austenasian nationality. Thanasia was ceded by the request of its population, whereas Porthbokon was ceded unilaterally by the government due to it having been unable to contact its Representative, Lady Evren, for over a year.

Two non-residential subjects, contactable only via Thanasia, have also had their status as such revoked.

Speaking earlier to Parliament, Prime Minister Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy stated that the cessions “should not be misinterpreted as a sign of the Empire stagnating. The Government is working on a series of reforms that will soon be presented, and first among those reforms is guaranteeing that the House of Representatives will be comprised of active Representatives who will actually partake in the governance of our beloved Empire.”

The House of Representatives now has six instead of nine members. The three towns which have been ceded rarely voted, meaning that legislation required near unanimity of all voting rather than a simple majority; with the three less active towns gone, the legislature should become far more efficient.

Despite one third of the Empire’s Towns having been ceded, less than a tenth – 9.75% – of Austenasia’s population has been lost. Of even less magnitude has been the effect on the Empire’s land area, with Zephyria, Thanasia and Porthbokon together having comprised a mere 0.21% of Austenasian territory.

One demographic effect of this has been to push the proportion of Christians in the Austenasian population into the majority, from 49% to 54%, with both Thanasia and Porthbokon having been entirely atheist.

The total population of the Empire now stands at seventy four people, including thirteen non-residential subjects.

 

 

Emperor and Prime Minister swap Cabinet positions

HIM Emperor Jonathan I (left) and Prime Minister HIH Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy (right)

His Imperial Majesty the Emperor and Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy have swapped their positions of Home Secretary and Minister for Culture, respectively.

Emperor Jonathan I made the announcement of the partial Cabinet reshuffle earlier this evening.

The position of Home Secretary, which had been held by the Emperor himself since October 2014, is responsible for overseeing many of the internal affairs of Austenasia, including border controls, environmental protection, and policing.

The position of Minister for Culture, which had been held by Prime Minister Kennedy since May 2015, is responsible for the promotion of Austenasian culture, and includes duties such as the maintenance of public monuments and the appointing of Artists Laureate.

The Austenasian Cabinet is comprised of seven such offices, appointed by the Monarch with the consent of the Prime Minister.

IGS Expedition to Warlingham

The expedition traverses a suburban area, heading out towards farmland.

The Imperial Geographical Society has conducted a successful expedition of exploration through woods, farmland and suburbs in and north of the British town of Warlingham.

The expedition was led by John of Zephyria, and was comprised of fifteen people, the largest number of people to have been on an IGS Expedition since 2011.

Emperor Jonathan I and Emperor Mother Margaret were amongst those taking part, with the other members of the expedition being from Carshalton Methodist Church, at which the walk was advertised.

The expedition encountered several areas of interest, including a disused chalk quarry and a beautiful patch of bluebell woods.

A steep hill near the start/end point of the expedition has been named Hyerdunscar Hill by the IGS, in memory of the recently deceased Edd (Hyerdunscar being the kennel that bred him).

Photographs and videos were taken of the expedition, and a short film narrated by the Emperor will be uploaded soon.

Edd’s ashes buried in Wrythe

Edd’s grave in Wrythe Pet Cemetery.

An urn containing the ashes of Edd has been buried in Wrythe Pet Cemetery after a short ceremony.

Edd, Mascot of the Order of the Bullmastiff and pet of the immediate Imperial Family, passed away earlier this month from a stroke.

This evening, a ceremony was held in Wrythe Public Park during which the urn containing Edd’s ashes was buried in the pet cemetery. The ceremony was attended by Emperor Jonathan I, Princess Consort Hannah, Emperor Father Terry and Emperor Mother Margaret.

Jonathan I and the Emperor Father buried the urn while the Emperor Mother recited a poem. The Princess Consort then passed the Emperor the gravemarker, which was placed on top. The gravemarker is made from an old chew-bone of Edd’s, which will be used to mark the place of burial until a permanent plaque is obtained.

The ashes were buried next to where those of Rose, Edd’s predecessor as Mascot, were buried in 2014.

Order of St Constantine completes charity project

Example of items donated to charity shops by Project Melania

The Order of Saint Constantine has completed its first major philanthropic project, over the course of which it has donated over two hundred items to charity shops.

The Order was founded by Emperor Jonathan I in May last year as a Christian philanthropic order of chivalry.

On 8 June the following month, the Order of Saint Constantine launched Project Melania, with the aim of supplying charity shops with good quality but unwanted items given away for free at the end of large car boot sales.

Every Wednesday, members of the Order would go to a car boot sale in Wimbledon and collect unsold items given away for free at the end. These items would then be given to various charity shops throughout the London Boroughs of Sutton and of Merton.

The long-running weekly car boot sales from which these items were sourced came to an end on Wednesday 12th, and the last of the collected items were donated earlier this morning, bringing Project Melania to a close.

In total, Project Melania donated ninety three books, seventy CDs, forty four DVDs, and nineteen items of bric-a-brac (ornaments, crockery, etc) to charity shops supporting four different charities: Oxfam, Hospices of Hope, St Raphael’s Hospice, and Marie Curie.

The Order of Saint Constantine is now looking for new ideas of ways to support charitable causes.

Easter celebrated by the Imperial Family

Easter was yesterday celebrated by the Imperial Family, and across the Empire.

At the Easter midnight service at the Church of Ss. Constantine and Helen, the Rev. Father George blesses the congregation.

Austenasia recognises both Western Easter and Orthodox Easter as public holidays, which this year fell on the same date.

Emperor Jonathan I attended a midnight service on Saturday evening at his church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Ss. Constantine and Helen, whereas the rest of the Imperial Family joined the population of Zephyria at a morning service at Carshalton Methodist Church.

On Sunday afternoon, Jonathan I and Princess Consort Hannah were hosted with the rest of the Imperial Family at the residence of the Boxalls, the maternal relatives of the Emperor. An evening buffet was enjoyed, and board games played.

Western Easter is calculated by the Gregorian calendar and observed by Protestants and Roman Catholics, whereas Orthodox Easter is calculated by the Julian calendar and observed by the Orthodox Church.

The two Easters are therefore usually observed separately, but sometimes – as on this year – fall on the same date. This last happened in 2014, and will not occur again until 2025.