Cult of the Savior Emperor

“God-Emperor, oh our source of security.
Protect us from foul daemons.
Guard the wombs of our women that wee mites are not twisted into mutants.
Save us from the darkness within darkness.
Oh watch over us as we carry out your will.
Imperator hominorum, nostra salvatio!”

Reverend Henrik Farb.

The most widespread and well-established religion throughout the Imperium is the Imperial Cult. It has billions upon billions of followers throughout the Imperium, with representative cult leaders on every planet. The cult is run and controlled by the Adeptus Ministorum. The headquarters of the Adeptus Ministorum is the Ecclesiarchal Palace on Earth, where the organization’s leader, the Ecclesiarch, lives. The Adeptus Ministorum is often referred to as the Ecclesiarchy after its leader.

Beyond Earth, the Imperial Cult has its representatives throughout the Imperium. Every world forms a separate Diocese or belongs to part of a larger Diocese, administered by the Cardinals Astral. Beneath the Cardinals Astral are Pontifexes (regional leaders) and Preachers. The Preachers look after one or more shrines, each of which serves the religious needs of a small community. Most populated worlds have many thousands of shrines and almost as many preachers.

The Imperial Cult teaches that the Emperor is the divine representative of the entire human race, who needs the worship of people everywhere to remain strong so that he can protect humanity. This creed is essentially true. The loyalty and determination of all of the Imperium’s citizens is an important part of humanity’s survival. But the Imperial Cult’s teachings are also true in a literal way because the Emperor does need the spiritual energies that his worshippers create in the warp.


The worship of the Emperor varies from Diocese to Diocese. He has many aspects and not all are known by the Adeptus Ministorum. Indeed, it is impossible for them to know how the God-Emperor is worshipped due to the vastness of the Imperium.

Each sect within the Cult of the Savior Emperor has its own very strict strictures which must be adhered to by its priests. Below are just some examples of how the Emperor is worshipped throughout the Imperium.

The Emperor Protector

“Praise the Emperor who protects! Laudate imperatorem!”

The Sect of The Emperor Protector is very militant indeed. It is essentially a Diocese of witch-hunters and is widely respected, though its methods are sometimes called into question. Deviants, mutants, and psykers are despised by priests of the Emperor the Protector. They are hunted down and brought to trial. Trials seldom, if ever, give the ‘victim’ much of a chance as punishment by death is frequently mitered out. They refer to rogue psykers as ‘psyker-witches’; deviants of humanity and ‘daemon-children. Psykers of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica are tolerated because their minds have been controlled.

On some worlds of the Diocese of The Protector, the wheel is the symbol of the warp. They use it to punish psykers with the victim strapped to it. It is common practice to then have an executioner who bludgeons the psyker to death with a club as the wheel turns round. In such worlds, the wheel is outlawed so that only sleds may be used.

Mutants also suffer this same treatment although burning at the stake is often favored. Again this varies from Diocese to Diocese. Anyone found to have deviated from the norm, possessing six fingers, different colored eyes, are reported to the local temple. Then the lynch mob comes where they bring the deviant to the preacher for justice. Newborn babies found to have deviated are swiftly drowned by the overseeing priest. All this is for the preservation of humanity.


  • There must be no mercy or quarter given to deviants of humanity. Mutants and psyker-witches must be hunted down and destroyed.
  • Always lend help to a priest of the Diocese of the Emperor The Protector.
  • Always protect the interests of the Diocese of the Emperor The Protector on pain of death.
  • Always defend the interests of humanity even at one’s expense.
Horses snickered and stamped. Men patted their long knives for comfort, and the few who owned such, their rune-daubed muskets. “Destroy the deviant!” shouted one fervent voice. “Break the unhuman!” cried another.”Whack the witch!” Farb eyed the brawny, half-naked executioner who stood beside the wheel gripping a cudgel. As usual, the agent of retribution had been chosen by lot. Most townsfolk might sport wens, carbuncles, and other blemishes of their burnt skin, but few were feeble. Even if so, a puny executioner would only take the longest to perform his task to the tune of jeers and mocking cheers.”Aye,” declared Farb, “I warned you that this witch will try to slow down his punishment – stretching it out till nightfall in the vain hope of rescue.”Spittle flew from the preacher’s lips as if he was one of those mutants who could spit poison. Such a mutant had been rooted out a few months earlier, gagged, and broken in this selfsame square. The front ranks of Farb’s audience pressed closer to the ebon steps as if a drop of spray from the preacher’s lips might keep their vision clear, their humanity intact.Farb turned to the standard of the Emperor, which flanked him. The townswomen had painstakingly embroidered in precious wires an image copied from the preacher’s missal. When Farb genuflected, his audience hastily bent their knees. “God-Emperor,” chanted the preacher,” oh our source of security. Protect us from foul daemons. Guard the wombs of our women that wee mites are not twisted into mutants. Save us from the darkness within darkness. Oh, watch over us as we carry out your will. Imperator hominorum, nostra salvatio!”Farb snorted through one nostril, spat saliva at the crowd. Jomi gazed at the standard. That age-old Imperial face was a mask of wires and tubes, which the metallic embroidery persuasively evoked.”Begin!” shouted Farb.

Extract from Deathwing, GW novel.

The Emperor Militant

“In nomine Imperatis, guard our armour and our gaze;
lubricate our projectile weapons that they do not jam.
Bless and brighten the beams of our lasers; fiat lux in tenebris.”

The Emperor is a potent symbol of the warrior throughout the Imperium. The Horus Heresy and tales of the Emperor’s heroism is not lost on the billions who worship the Savior of Mankind in his warrior image. This sect is by far the largest and most important in the Imperial Cult. Newly acquired primitive worlds of war-like tribes are encouraged to worship this aspect and in doing so they merge the Emperor into their own beliefs. Where once their often obscure bestial idols stood as the pinnacle of their belief, the Warrior-Emperor now proudly stands. And this could be in many different ways. For example, tribes that worship some powerful creature would include the Emperor riding upon its back or caring for it.

The Adeptus Astartes and Imperial Guard worship the Emperor in his warrior aspect. The Space Marines always strictly observe the practices within the Diocese and many within the Imperial Guard also do the same; some regiments may worship the Emperor in other ways because of their diversity. Most officers of the Imperial Guard, like the Space Marines, favor the warrior aspect because it instills discipline and obedience in their troops.

Traditional Warrior Cults are practiced on many worlds where warfare is endemic. Not all such worlds are primitive by any means, even some of the most technically advanced worlds have warrior cultures. In some cases, this violence is highly ritualized and takes the form of arena combats and formal duels. In other cases, the fighting is restricted to certain classes or individuals so that the ordinary members of society can go about their daily lives unaffected by the gangland-style assassinations and vengeance killings that go on around them.

Although disapproved of by the Adeptus Ministorum, warrior cults are tolerated by the planetary government and the Adeptus Terra. They promote martial ideals and warrior skills which are actually very useful to their local governments and even to the Imperium itself. As many of the cults stress the noble values of conflict, such as the protection of the weak, they act as a stabilizing force in what might otherwise seem a dangerously violent society.


  • Always obey the command of a superior rank and never question it.
  • Always speak clearly and concisely to one of superior rank.
  • Never flee from the enemies of humanity even in the face of overwhelming odds. A controlled retreat is always the best form of defence so that the enemy can still see the face of humanity.
  • Always defend the interests of humanity even at one’s expense.

The Emperor Humanist

“Imperator hominorum.
Oh, God-Emperor, bless the crops of these people.
Nostra salvatio!
Blast the locust so that they will live and breathe and thrive under your guiding light.”

The Emperor is not always revered in his warrior/vengeful aspect, he can be worshipped in his humane image. Those of the Diocese of the Humanist, a much smaller Diocese than The Protector and The Warrior, believe that the weak should always be helped and protected. They believe that even those displaying minor mutations should not be rounded up, tortured, and killed. This would be a crime of the highest order on almost all the worlds of the Imperium but as the Diocese of The Humanist is within the Adeptus Ministorum, they are entitled to these views. Dangerous mutants, however, such as Beastmen, do not deserve pity, even within the Diocese of The Humanist; they know that mankind must be preserved. They know that mutation is not always influenced by the power of Chaos but can be by some terrible disease and people afflicted this way deserve pity, not persecution. 

The Humanist sects run orphanages and hospices on worlds where they are needed. The work they do is always much appreciated as the priests are not quick to denounce people as heretics or enemies of the Imperium. Humanist Missionaries often travel widely, preaching to the populations that the Emperor cares for the weak and poor, the disabled and needy.


  • Never refuse healing to someone in need of it, unless the final stricture should be broken.
  • Never refuse aid to someone in need of it.
  • Protect the weak, unless the final stricture should be broken.
  • Always promote the Diocese of The Humanist when possible.
  • Defend the interests of humanity.