Socken

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A socken (plural: socknar) is a congregation of organized members (stims) of Orkanan people. In most cases the socken also is a territorial unit in Orkanan countries, although it may go by a local name. The socken is even constituting a division within a stift.

Organization

Stims choose their affiliation with a socken, or build a socken together. Land belonging to the stims tend to form the territory of the socken, which in most Orkanan nations serves as the lowest level of government, comparable with a municipality. Even though the basic level of organization is on a religious basis, the socken tends to take care of worldly matters as well.

An example of this is local law enforcement. In most sockens of Vittmark, the appointed alf also serves as judge and usually helps to mediate cases using precedents. Originally these precedents originated from The Scriptures, but over the centuries local legislation has been added. Local law therefore can no longer be seen as religious law.

Local legislation is being formulated in a socken board, sometimes with representatives of each stim, sometimes with elected officials. Local laws are called lag in Wortsproke, which is the same word as used for "team". It is mostly a set of common rules or code of conduct of the entire group. The religious leader (alf or herde) is always part of the local board. He (or she) used to be head of the socken, but since the fall of the empire it has become more often that socken leadership rotates among värds (hosts).

The direct link between land ownership of extended families and the territorial borders of a socken has led to a scattered pattern of sockens, with many enclaves and exclaves. In Vittmark sockens tend to have 200-2000 inhabitants.

Names

Sockens can be named afer an existing placename or toponym, but many sockens get their names from the Exemplars to which the congregation is dedicated to. All kind of hybrid forms are present as well, where Exemplar Knuts Congregation builds a place of worship called Knutssala, which then becomes the indication for the entire settlement and with that a toponym. Sockens with names like Knutssala tend to be newer.

The choice between an Exemplar or toponym is a matter of individual preference or local culture. For example, all of the sockens in the Old Town of Östvallen, as well as 4 out of 5 in the New Town are named after an Exemplar. The more recently added sockens all have toponyms.

Ethymology and other languages

The word "socken" is in its origin Imperial Stoldavic, the language that was used in the northern half of the Greater Stoldavic Empire. During that time the word got spread around all of Stoldavia, Thultannia and the northern Anarian coast, which makes it the default name for the local congregations in any Orkanan or Stoldavic context. It comes from the verb söka, to seek or to search. Its meaning therefore is related to people seeking a similar affiliation.

In Vittmark the word 'socken still is in use for local congregations, but even here there are some regions where the more modern word församling (gathering) is in use. Orkanans in Aedeland and XXX tend to use the word sogn which has a similar origin. Other languages have their own words instead of socken, like chapelry (Halland), contio (Anisora), kapera (Istania), karspel (United Royal Provinces) or pfarr (Mörenburg, also the main word in Stoldish).

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