In my initial draft of Absolution, the High Priest was named Malachi. He was supposed to be this old man, waiting to die, waiting to pass on his office to the next generation. Here's a snippet of that deleted scene:
In the middle of the Holy City stood the Great Temple, a massive stonework structure that had stood on that same spot for thousands of years. Malachi, the High Priest, stood before the altar, holding up the brazier of incense, feeling almost as old as the temple.
How long has it been, he wondered to himself. He had come to the Holy City as a boy of twelve, starting as an acolyte and finally being ordained as a priest in his twenty-fifth year. He had served through two High Priests before being elected by God as the High Priest in his sixty-fifth year—that had been nearly twenty years ago. He had spent a total of seventy-two years in the Holy City.
When is it my turn to die, O God, he silently prayed as he waved the incense in the air. When will my turn be to hand this duty over to the next priest? I am old and tired, God. Take me home soon.
Almost mechanically, he set the brazier back into its place and stepped backwards out of the inner sanctuary. He let the curtains fall back into place over the inner sanctuary before turning and making his way out slowly to the courtyard.
The old priest stopped in his tracks, making a half turn to look at the curtained area warily.
“I am here, Lord,” he said, slowly retracing his steps.
I had problems with this later on because everything was super White and there I had a main protagonist with a very local name, Tulen. So when I reworked the geography of the area and decided on three separate city-states, I decided that each city-state would have its own culture, including the type of names. The Holy City was renamed Suci (which means holy, duh) and I figured that Suci would be a blend of both the Western culture of Maha as well as the Eastern culture of Impian… and the current High Priest was most likely have Impian roots at this point of time, also for plot reasons. Thus, he became Farouk, which apparently means Discerning Truth in Arabic.
Father Farouk is a young priest during Secretkeeper, in his late twenties. By the time Absolution comes around after about a ten year gap, he has become the High Priest—at a pretty young age for the role.