Prelate was the title given to the woman who was the leader of the Sisters of the Light.
Annalina Aldurren was the Prelate of the Sisters of the Light for nearly eight hundred years, until she faked her death, along with Nathan Rahl. She was named Prelate in 750 BCB, following the death of her predecessor. Both Ann and Nathan were given a special funeral rite that was normally held in honor of the Prelate. After the funeral rite,Verna Sauventreen became the Prelate, though Ann continued to advise Verna.
For a time, Verna was detained and accused of being a Sister of the Dark. At this time, Sister Ulicia, the true leader of the Sisters of the Dark, was made Prelate. Ulicia was the "false Prelate" mentioned in prophecy and it was she who reigned over the death of the Palace of the Prophets. However, Richard returned the Prelate's ring of office to Verna when she freed herself and Ulicia had sworn loyalty to him.
Verna, as the Prelate, continued in her capacity as the supreme authority over the Sister's lives. She was seen as a woman of authority among the troops, as well as the Sisters. Verna was one of the chief advisers to the head of the D'Haran Army in matters of the war, providing valuable gifted insight.
The criteria on how the Prelate was selected was quite straight forward. She was usually one of the more senior Sisters, so as to have a great deal of experience, however this rule was not binding. The Sister chosen to be Prelate however, was always a sorceress of great power; one who was very powerful in the gift. Generally, several of the more senior Sisters of the Light gathered supporters around them, often courting certain influential Sisters to join their campaign so as to entice others to the fold. The Sisters then apparently held an election, with the winner being named Prelate. However, the former Prelate was able to chose her successor. If this occurred, all Sisters were expected to bow to this decision and no election would be held. The Prelates choice of successor was a binding decision.
Powers and functions
The Prelate was the supreme authority over the Sisters of the Light and ran the Palace of the Prophets, where the Sisters resided. The Prelate handled all financial expenditures of the Palace and the Sisters, and also chose who was to have the honor to go on journeys to discover young wizards who were in need of the Sisters' help.
The Prelate had her own office, quarters and private garden. She also had the right to employ two Sisters in the high-ranking position as her administrators. The Prelate would often delegate her authority to approve transactions between the Palace and people in its employ to her administrators.
There was no restrictions to the Prelate's power and she had access to all books of prophecy kept in the vaults and all knowledge held by the Sisters. The Prelate served for life, there was no possibility of abdication, and could only be removed from office if it was proven that she had committed crimes against the Creator.