Convivo Holmiensis was founded on the Midwinter Solstice 1346 by Cornelius Beurraeus, Sten Knutsson and Olaus Gripius, three hermetic mages. It was the first real chantry in Stockholm, then more a German city than a Swedish. The original location of the chantry is not known, but is believed to have been in the eastern side of the city, near the harbour. A few years afterward the Celestial Chorus founded the order of the White Brothers who resided in the Dominican abbey, quite possibly to counteract the influence of the hermetic mages. The relations between the groups were always a bit strained, but they seem to have reached an understanding not to interfere in the business of each other.

For over 150 years everything was peaceful. The White Brothers tended to the souls of the city dwellers while the Convivo studied the arcane arts and made some decent profits from trade with the continent. Neither group cared much for politics, which was a fateful mistake. When the young noble Gustaf Vasa made a successful uprising against the Danish king, they hardly noticed. In fact, the Convivo discreetly supported him together with their German merchant contacts. But soon they began to realise something was wrong. The new king brought the Reformation to Sweden, began to centralise power to himself and administrators loyal to the king searched the lands for unpaid taxes, insurgents and mages. The technomancers had arrived.

The mages were completely surprised, and lost most of their political power and nodes before they knew what had happened, and then it was too late. The Technocracy had firmly established itself in power. The White Brothers, hard pressed by the reformators sought help from the equally desperate hermetic mages. They joined forces, and the White Brothers joined the chantry 1573. Among other useful resources, the hermetic mages had bought the house on Priests Street in 1499 to serve as an escape route and warehouse (they got it cheap. The part of the street was called Hell and had a thoroughly bad reputation due to the fact that it was north of the main church). For several decades the mages held out while the technomancers began reforming society. Finally they found and destroyed the old chantry, and the mages scattered.

For a period there were no organisation of the mages of Stockholm or Sweden at all. The Technocracy strengthened its power and went on with its business unhindered. But in 1666 Convivo Holmiensis was founded anew by the legendary Urban Hiärne. Its still not clear if he really was a hermetic mage, he seemed to have too many contacts in the Technocracy (not to mention the support of the Verbena, who he had saved from the witch-trials by scientifically demonstrating the silliness of belief in witches). The chantry managed to buy back the building on Priest Street and quickly regained power and vitality in its new incarnation.

In 1758 a great schism arose between different groups of the Swedish Sons of Ether, which had until then loyally served the Technocracy. One group, the School of Polhem remained loyal. Another group, led by the original scientist and spiritist Emmanuel Swedenborg (and thus called the School of Swedenborg) broke away after the Technocracy drove their leader into exile for his daring and heretic ideas about the spiritual world. The School of Swedenborg was severely attacked, but their founder managed to convince several prestigious chantries on the continent to demand that the Convivo Holmiensis should give them sanctuary. Pressed and not particularly keen on the project, the chantry agreed. The School of Swedenborg bought half of the building and moved in.

The relations between the School and the Convivo became more and more strained, until the night of the 5th March 1777, when a great fire almost destroyed the whole building and killed several people. It was probably arson, and both groups threw accusations on each other. But as the rebuilding took more time and money than expected, both groups had to cooperate and slowly learned to get along. On Christmas Eve 1778 the two groups formally joined together. The Convivo Holmiensis became divided into the Guild of Mercury and the Guild of Vulcanus. The chantry was led by the Alderman who lead a council of three Nämdemän from the different traditions. In essence, statutes of the chantry became the same as they are today.

The mages of the chantry were probably involved in the assassination of king Gustav III in 1792, and later the rulership of Count Karl by using their Masonic contacts. For a short while the Traditions were the power behind the throne, but they soon found out that administrating an entire nation was a too complex task and that the Technocracy was too strong, too entrenched in reality to be overturned. When the backlash came, it almost destroyed the traditions. Under the cover of civil unrest and chaos the Technocracy tracked down and destroyed those responsible, and the few survivors scattered far and wide. The chantry was placed in the hands of loyal sleepers and the mages left.

Under a long period the traditions in Sweden were scattered and disorganised. This was the true dark times of magick in Sweden. In Stockholm the Rosicrucians slowly regained structure after their total failure. However, a fraction actually changed sides and joined the Technocracy. The rest became more and more autocratic, and was more a magickal Mafia at times than true seekers of Ascension. Their last leader, Erland Staaf, demanded total loyalty of all mages in the city and surrounded himself with a court not unlike a vampire prince.

Finally the reaction came, as a cabal of young mages united all other mages in open revolt against Staaf in 1900. The leading members were the Goetic mage Tiberius de Wrang, the Chorist Oscar Krook and his wife Signe Krook, a powerful Rosicrucian. They surprised Staaf and drove him away. He promptly defected to the Technocracy and vanished without a trace. To this day, this sorry episode remains taboo and is not discussed by anybody. The mages decided to found a new chantry to protect themselves from the technocracy, and refounded the Convivo Holmiensis for the second time. The old building had passed through several hands, but the mages managed to buy it again and collect the scattered parts of most of the library.

Oscar Krook was a excellent leader, and under his leadership the chantry prospered. When he died in 1949, he was succeeded by the alchemist Ernst Prahler. Prahler had already made a name on the continent as one of the greatest modern alchemists, and it was no surprise he became new Alderman. While Krook had been a humble and discreet leader, Prahler was powerful, egocentric and extremely effective. When the Technocracy destroyed Klara, the last bastion of the Children of Bacchus (the Cult of Ecstasy) in Stockholm in 1970, he personally welcomed them to form a guild in the chantry. Despite many protests and misgivings, the Guild of Bacchus was formed and the old statutes rewritten and modernised. However, not far afterward, Prahler died under mysterious circumstances. He went out for a walk, and suddenly got a fatal heart attack on the street outside the chantry. The official explanation was a paradox backlash against his powerful longevity potions, but dark rumours circulated.

Due to the surprise of his death, the forceful Prahler was succeeded by his student Gustaf Adelswärd, a skilled alchemist but by no means a great administrator. The politics of the chantry, which had been dominated by Prahler for twenty years was in turmoil. The instability and uncertainty persists to this day, and has slowly worsened as Adelswärd sinks into disease and apathy.

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Anders Sandberg / nv91-asa@nada.kth.se