Citizens of the Byzantine Empire worship a state religion known as Arianism, which sees the Blessed Trinity as a heirachy with God the Father, God the Son, and the lower entities that inhabit the Astral Plane. These entities are essentially smaller pieces of the deity that operate as messengers and serve as intermediaries between God and mortals. These worshippers believe that the purpose of human life is to emulate God through thoughts and deeds by following the example set by his son, the Messiah. This is done through the purification of mind and body with fasting, prayer, and living according to God's will. By being in line with the rules of the faith, one can become closer to God physically and spiritually. One of the highest achievements of any follower is the binding of a higher entity from the Astral Plane with a ritual summoning, in which the spirit willingly submits themselves to the authority of an individual who has proven themselves worthy with their faith. Through this ritual, a pact is made between the spirit and the individual, allowing a person to summon the spirit in times of need to perform a service. This is regarded as the highest honor an individual can achieve, as it shows that they have gained the favor of God.
There is a cult within the main faith that takes this logic further through the process known as theosis, or deification. This is a transformative process whoose aim is to achieve likeness to or true union with God. Only the most devoted followers of the deity would dare to attempt this ritual. To reach this state, a person must undergo intense fasting and prayer for a certain degree of time leading up to the event, as well as repeated ritual cleansing of the body to prepare themselves. At the time of theosis, the individual fuses with the spirit they have bound, with both beings becoming one in mind, body, and spirit. As the higher entity is a piece of God, the resulting being is said to exist within a hypostatic union, with the twin natures of both separate beings intertwined with each other, sharing one divine nature. These individuals are referred to as saints by the cult, for they have reached an exceptional degree of holiness, likeness, and closeness with the deity, making them deserving of higher honor and veneration.
Despite this seemingly benign act, the larger church views this as a great heresy and has declared this sect as heretical. Higher-ups within the faith feel threatened by these saints as they have begun to be more venerated among the laypersons, rivaling them in influence. Therefore, the priests wish to denounce them as heretics and traitors, causing a schism which will launch the nation into civil war. However, this is seemingly nonsensical, as people can see these living saints for themselves, making them difficult to condemn. In addition, as the cult is operating within the bounds of church doctrine, they are simply taking it a step further to its ultimate conclusion. By becoming one with a piece of God, it allows for a more intimate connection with their deity and allows them to live closer in line with his will, which should be considered honorable. This trail of thought has been accepted for generations, and simply changing course will discredit the priests rather than the ones the intend to target.
How can a religion change course in its relationship of sainthood through deification without discrediting its reputation among its people?