To be eligible for Sainthood, a Dunmer must undertake and succeed in some great task while always following the teachings of ALMSIVI. What constitutes a ‘great task’ is open to interpretation.
To be named a Saint is an incredible honor, which leads Houses to attempt to get members named Saints. However, the Temple has made a habit of elevating Indoril to sainthood with greater frequency (which can cause anger among the other Great Houses). Indeed, Grand Ascendants are essentially guaranteed sainthood.
Technically no Saints ‘outrank’ any other, but effectively some Saints are more important to Temple canon than others because their impact on Dunmer culture is more significant. Veloth and Nerevar are the most important Saints in the Temple.
To be named a Saint
- Interested parties bring claims of Sainthood forward to the Temple.
‘Advocates’ argue for the candidate’s merits. Additionally, the claim’s veracity must be definitively proved.
‘Skeptics’ argue against the claims. [Essentially a Devil’s Advocate]
Priests evaluate the claims and decide whether the candidate is worthy of sainthood. If so, the process is repeated before successively higher-ranking priests.
- The Advocates’ case is evaluated by the Alma Rula and Temple (M/P)atriarchs. Should their contribution be considered worthy of Sainthood, perhaps by popular vote, the process continues. The candidate’s title is ‘Most Holy”
- The candidate (metaphorically) ‘Enters of the House of Troubles’ where they adorn masks representing the 4 Bad Daedra and utter sacred prayers to the Three, to represent their unassailable faith. The Mask of Dung tests the wearer with horrific visions and ghastly sounds. The Mask of Rape tempts the wearer with lustful sights and riches, if they only give up worship of the Tribunal and submit to Molag Bal. The Mask of Madness tempts the wearer with heresies. The Mask of Destruction physically harms the wearer. If the proto-Saint removes any mask, or succumbs to doubt they fail the trial. [Whether the masks are merely enchanted by the Temple or if the masks actually allow the wearer to commune with the Princes themselves should be kept ambiguous.]
- The candidate is pierced with sacred blades and consumes sacred substances. The candidate is named “Most Resolute”
- The candidate is sent before the Triunes for their blessing. Only upon receiving this blessing is the candidate a true Saint.
[This is a rough idea, and I welcome ideas]