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Religious Vampire

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Art by Ahmed Omar. Used with permission.

"I might be a vampire, but I was raised a good Catholic."
Raphael Santiago, Shadowhunters

Everyone knows that vampires and religious artifacts don't get along with each other, particularly crosses. Even though vampire legends exist all around the world (such as the jiang shi from China) with a diversity of weaknesses, this particular association traces all the way back to Eastern European and Slavic superstitions which were influenced by Christianity, and believed crosses, holy water and genuine faith could repel evil spirits and The Undead in general. This in turn served as basis for Bram Stoker's Dracula, the work that popularized vampire fiction.

Occasionally to subvert expectations, some vampires are featured as genuinely religious in spite of their nature or perhaps even part of The Church. Sometimes, this is hand waved by these vampires not being affected by crosses, holy water and the usual suspects which explains why they can carry out their pious duties, but it's not always the case — sometimes they are immune to sunlight too for good measure. Other times they're not immune to the typical vampire weaknesses to crosses and holy water, and simply endure the pain caused by performing their priestly duties because their faith requires it. Possibly as penance for evil they committed before finding God. It's a good opportunity to combine vampires with crosses and other related imagery as they all seem "gothic", specially in Japanese fiction. Christianity is the most common example because of its prevalence in fiction, but any traditional religion can qualify including Crystal Dragon Jesus ones. On the other hand, demonic faiths do not count for this trope, since it's generally assumed that vampires will be inclined towards evil anyways rather than being rejected by it like normal religions. Having said that, this trope covers both good and evil examples: heroic vampires will have a tendency to be self-loathing monsters which is why they seek religion in search for comfort, self-control and/or atonement, while evil vampires qualify as Churchgoing Villains or Sinister Ministers (though pretending to be one doesn't count, they have to believe it).

Compare with Ascended Demon, Real Men Love Jesus and Religious Bruiser. Can be considered a type of Oxymoronic Being.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Played with in Hellsing: While blessed artifacts do definitely harm vampires, Alucard and Seras Victoria belong to an Protestant organization that hunts other vampires. Their relationship with God is muddy: it's established that Alucard was a Christian as Vlad the Impaler, but turned his back on God after becoming a vampire and is loyal only to Integra Hellsing, it's ambiguous in the manga/OVA whether or not Seras is genuinely a believer, though the GONZO anime definitely shows her making an Anglican prayer.
  • In Space Adventure Cobra, "Magic Doll", Cobra meets with Dracula III, a descendant of Count Dracula, who's unmoved when Cobra puts his arms in a cross, since the vampire is Catholic (proven by the crucifix he's wearing). Further subverting expectations, he's also a dark-skinned, blond Daywalking Vampire and his coffin doubles as a UV tanning bed.
    Cobra: A Catholic vampire doing UV tanning.... No respect for traditions!
  • Trinity Blood:

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Legion of Dusk of the Ixalan block, which is composed almost entirely of vampire crusaders led by clerics in a theocracy. They generally resemble Undead Spanish conquistadors, complete with Spanish galleons that have elements of a Haunted Castle. They treat vampirism like a sacrament known as Rite of Redemption, the thirst for blood as an form of martyrdom and their immortality as a gift to continue their service. They were founded by a female crusader, Elenda the Dusk Rose, that was the first one to undergo this transformation through magical means and is revered as their patron saint.
    • Notably, the Legion is divided between those who truly believe in Elenda's message, and those who only pay lip service while reveling in the power their vampirism gives them over mortals. Mavren Fein is very much the former, while his compatriot Vona is the latter. Once Elenda is inadvertently awakened from her tomb in Orazca, she's pissed to learn about what the Legion has done in her name, and goes mith Mavren and Vona back to their homeland to tell them so. Later lore entries imply that her return marked a religious schism between those who listened, and those who like the status quo.
    • On Ravnica, most vampires who join a Guild either join the Orzhov Syndicate or House Dimir; the former are usually this, though the Orzhov are a very Corrupt Church.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: The Confessor was a young priest that was turned into a vampire and became a superhero as form of penance. His uniform is styled with a cross on his chest that causes him constant pain to prevent him from giving into the temptation to drink blood and reminds him of his mission to defend justice.
    • Notably, after he is exposed as a vampire and then destroyed, his (non-vampiric) sidekick encounters the Crossbreed, a team of Christian superheroes. He assumes they'll be just as horrified that he was a vampire as the public is, but they reveal that they always knew what he was and didn't hold it against him, because he was "doing the Lord's work."
  • Blade had one obscure villain named Draconis, an vampire priest/assassin who overcame the typical weaknesses like sunlight, holy water and the crucifix through a combination of Acquired Poison Immunity, feeding on other vampires and more importantly, unshakable faith and becoming a match for the Daywalker.
  • Crimson: Joe is an Mexican vampire that still remains Catholic, since he believes in the existence of God and His Plan, and occasionally swears by the Virgin Mary.
  • Non-Christian example in I, Vampire with Master Shoju, a Taoist monk who was turned by Mary, the Queen of Blood, and yet managed to live in harmony with his new condition thanks to his spiritual training. Sadly, he commit Suicide by Sunlight when he feels his natural existence has come to an end.
  • Jack Chick made a comic featuring a coven of Satan-worshiping vampires who conspire in the birth of one who will have powers greater than all of them combined. When their intended Antichrist tries to make a born-again Christian his first victim, she convinces him to instead accept Jesus as his savior. Subverted in that he apparently stops being a vampire once he converts, losing his fangs by the time he sees the coven again.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight has a twisted take on this trope: The Masters of Infinity are venerated as the vampires' state religion and incorporate Creepy Catholicism to the extreme: they preside over mass in their own cathedrals, they have their own order of vampire nuns whose job is to protect Count Dracula's harem of concubines, and their vampire knights serve as "holy warriors" that adorn their faces with cross tattoos and fight against their "heretical" enemies, the Lords of Limbo and their followers. Ironically, werewolves are the ones that practiced human religions, since they were fanatics in life such as Tomás de Torquemada and still keep their faith after being reincarnated as monsters in Resurrection.
  • Lachryma, a one shot Marvel 2099 character, was a vampire whose sire, Sister Lucia, was a member of an entire nunnery of Friendly Neighbourhood Vampires called the Sisterhood of Tears.
  • One of the stories from the Buffyverse comic Tales of the Vampires involves a vampire who was a priest before he was turned. Afterward the vampire preyed on priests, still maintained a twisted quasi-faith, doing things like cutting cross shapes into his body even though it caused him constant pain. When he thinks he's just had an encounter with God in human form, and "God" commands him to commit Suicide by Sunlight, he obediently does it.
  • The second storyarc of Baltimore feactures of a convent of nuns who succumbed to the vampiric plague. They burn crosses into their skin as a sign of devotion, but are helping an Occultist commit vile atrocities in exchange for a promised cure for their affliction. At the end of the storyarc, Baltimore makes it clear that there is no cure and that the Occultist has been lying, and they kill him rather bloodily. They then commit Suicide by Sunlight, asking lord Baltimore to pray for them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blood of the Tribades: Most of the vampires seem to be religious, having a religion based on Bathor, a Christ-like figure whom they believe will come again.
  • Father Uffizi in the Dracula 2000 sequels Ascension and Legacy is an Vampire Refugee example, being a Vatican-sanctioned hunter that was infected with vampirism after being scratched with a fang in a previous hunt, and each day he has to expose himself to the sun to clear out the infection. He completes his transformation towards the climax of the third movie and defeats Count Dracula in battle as a vampire himself just before he finally "forgives" him.
  • Dracula Untold: Vlad remains a Christian even after becoming a vampire. When a priest figures out his true nature, he confronts him with a cross though it has no effect on him since he hasn't consumed any blood yet. He is later seen attending the church praying for resilience and fortitude.
  • Perfect Creature: The plot revolves around an all-male vampire clergy known as the Brothers that practically govern society and are treated as a Superior Species to mankind since they are closer to God. Despite this, they consider themselves guides and defenders of humanity and they live in perfect harmony where the faithful willingly donate their blood as sustenance to the Brothers.
  • Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat: Mardulak, the leader of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire colony, and many of his people believe in God (although considering how Holy Burns Evil in this movie they do have some reason to) and strive to earn his forgiveness by abstaining from human blood and in the end, they receive it.
  • Thirst (2009): Sang-hyun is a Catholic priest turned vampire following an infection and a blood transfusion. While he clings to his humanity through his faith and upbringing, his newfound condition puts it to the test until he suffers a Crisis of Faith, drives his flock away because he doesn't want to be a subject of worship and ultimately commits Suicide by Sunlight alongside his progeny, the woman he loved who became a monster after he turned her.

  • A nun is traveling in Transylvania when a vampire jumps out and attacks her. Thinking quickly, she brandishes her cross. The vampire starts laughing and goes, "Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire!" (A similar setup appears in The Fearless Vampire Killers.) Alternatively, the vampire brandishes their own, differently shaped cross and attacks the nun for belonging to a Christian sect opposed by that of the vampire's own.
  • Relatedly, what do you call an Israeli vampire? Benjamin Nosferatu.

  • In The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, the Knights of Esthrane are a chivalric order that takes its name from one of the primary deities of the setting's pagan pantheon. They have many vampires (called talishte in the series) serving openly in their ranks.
  • In the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, vampires worship the Scribe Virgin, an benevolent pagan goddess that created them and serves as their patron. While very much real and serving as Big Good to their race, she has been AWOL for some time and the vampires were lost without her.
  • In Tanya Huff's Blood Books, vampire Henry Fitzroy is still a practicing Catholic centuries after his transformation in the 16th century, and still expresses disapproval of his biological father Henry VIII Tudor's schism. And he likes looking at crucifixes.
  • In Blood Ninja, vampires are immune to holy artifacts and there is nothing preventing them from being religious, as some may pray to the Buddha or whatever deity they believe in.
  • In The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump, when David is attacked by a vampire, he wards it off with a kabbalistic amulet. He notes a cross would probably have been useless even if he were Christian, since most vampires in the Confederated Provinces are Balkan Muslims.
  • Discworld:
    • Feet of Clay has a Running Gag about a vampire who complains he's discriminated against by his workplaces where he keeps crumbling to dust. While it culminates with him working in the holy water section of a religious supplies shop, we also learn he's worked as a stake sharpener, a sunglasses tester, stacking garlic in a vegetable market...
    • Arthur Winkings, Count Notfaroutoe, in Reaper Man isn't very religious, but he's been going to the same temple for thirty years because "it was something to do on a Wednesday", and is a bit annoyed that he's no longer welcome there, and gets a pain in his leg if he even thinks about entering anyway.
  • The version of Dracula in The Dracula Tape (a Perspective Flip of Stoker's original novel) is a somewhat lapsed Traditional Catholic, but a Catholic nonetheless. As a result when Van Helsing comes up with his idea of using Communion Hosts as a weapon he's downright pissed at the sacrilege of it. Furthermore, he spends some time gleefully pointing out Van Helsing's fallacious religious arguments showing he is knowledgeable about it himself.
  • In The First Law these are the default kind of vampires. The setting is consumed by a worldwide proxy war between Bayaz, First of the Magi, and Khalul, formerly the Second of the Magi but now better known as the Prophet for a Crystal Dragon Jesus version of Islam. Khalul has broken the Second Law of magic: it is forbidden to eat the flesh of man. Vampires are called Eaters, and must consume human flesh to survive, with several aside references implying that normal human food either doesn't nourish them or disgusts them after breaking the Second Law. In return, they gain a small portfolio of supernatural powers and are universally hell on wheels in combat (Eater powers shown include Bullet Time, super strength, and Kill It with Fire). Eaters within Khalul's church are very high ranking members, considered to be blessed by the Prophet and by God, with their meals presented to them either from their conquered enemies or willing sacrifices among the faithful. In the climax of the original trilogy, Khalul's Hundred Words, a small army of elite Eaters, descend upon the Union capital to the dismay of all still within it.
    • The Eater Shenkt has a significant amount of time as a viewpoint character in Best Served Cold. Though he is not currently affiliated with Khalul, it is heavily implied that he once was, particularly when he refuses to kneel for Grand Duke Orso, insisting that he no longer has a master and does not kneel. This implies that simply practicing cannibalism isn't enough to become an Eater and that they are all created in some fashion by Khalul.
  • The Kurtherian Gambit: The originator of the entire vampire race is a very devout Christian and makes a point when searching for a successor that he or she must likewise be so. Said successor, main protagonist Bethany Anne, is said to be a devout Christian when she's introduced, but her faith doesn't really come up otherwise.
  • Morganville Vampires: Dr. Theo Goldman and his family are vampires and devoted Jews. The vile vampire Bishop, out of a mix of bigotry and hatred of Theo and his family's happy life and devotion, had them turned into vampires as a way to mock and break their faith. However, to Bishop's annoyance, this didn't work and they stayed together and are still faithful even in the present.
  • The Mortal Instruments:
    • After being turned into a vampire, Simon retains his Jewish faith, but is still incapable of saying the word "God". Simon eventually does figure out how to say the word "God," in the Latin translation, Deus. Clary suggests to him that it's because he no longer believes that he's damned.
    • Raphael Santiago remained Catholic after he got turned and even wears a cross that left a scar on his chest. Religious symbols only hurt vampires if they believe in the religion the symbol belongs to.
  • Played with in Sabina Kane: Vampires are explained to dislike (not be hurt by) crucifixes because their own mythology has them descended from a union between Cain and Lilith, which puts them in theological opposition to traditional Christianity.
  • Nathaniel Cade, protagonist of the President's Vampire series, was a devoted Calvinist around the time he was turned, and firmly believes he's a cursed monster doomed to hell as a result of his vampirism.
  • Straight Outta Fangton:
    • Thoth is a Voodoo priest despite the fact vampires are explicitly harmed by religious symbols and invocations. Thoth explains that he is fully aware of the contradiction and that it is why it is doubly important to feel that way. He later mentions a Noodle Incident where he escaped hell thanks to his patrons.
    • Main character Melissa also maintains her Southern Baptist faith (she's a former vampire hunter too).
  • In The Twilight Saga, Carlisle was raised the son of an Anglican pastor (who also happened to be a Vampire Hunter), and it is his continued faith that drives him to help people as a doctor.
  • Vampire Academy has Orthodox Christianity as the predominant religion of the Moroi (good, mortal vampires) in contrast to the Strigoi (evil, undead vampires that are harmed by religious symbols). The titular academy is named after St. Vladimir (Vladimir the Great, who is strongly implied to be a vampire too), most students attend the church and are mentioned to be religious with the exception of the main protagonist who is agnostic. The movie adaptation also features a Greek Orthodox vampire priest.
  • On of the Anita Blake novel features a vampire who is a devout Christian. He also is a pyrokinetic and is resistant to the normal weaknesses against sunlight and crosses. He ends up committing Murder-Suicide with his fire powers in the book's climax against the vampire who originally turned and enslaved him when he realized that she could no longer control him, as he had actually become stronger than her a long time ago but she had been suppressing his power, which came back when she had loosened her hold on him.
  • The Vampire Chronicles: Anne Rice has her vampires doing things like going into churches and cathedrals and praying — trying to work out their inner conflicts as to whether they are genuinely evil, or if any good remains, or if they have advanced beyond human dichotomies such as the good-evil thing. In the Rice universe, her vampires can handle crucifixes and holy water without ill-effects and can even encounter Angels and not be adversely affected.
  • In the first chapter of the first Kitty Norville novel, Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty is talking to a vampire who was (and still is, or would be if he could go to church) Catholic, and feels that his soul is lost. She finds a very strong, simple way to convince him otherwise.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in The Armstrong and Miller Show with one sketch Pharius and Horschstadt, an old-fashioned vampire duo who tries to seduce-talk some girls into joining a group of evangelical Christians.
  • Blood Ties (2007): The local Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Henry Fitzroy has no problem with religious artifacts, carries his own crucifix and attends the Catholic Church.
  • Preacher: Proinsias Cassidy is a vampire that attends a sermon and even drinks ceremonial church wine for All Saints Congregational in his introduction. It helps he is immune to things like holy water.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Armand is a vampire and a practicing Muslim. In episode 4, Daniel Molloy snarkily asks him, "How does Muhammad feel about vampires?", but he refuses to engage.
  • Midnight Mass (2021) is a Religious Horror series that draws clear parallels between the Christian rite of communion and vampirism. The plot is kicked off by an elderly priest stumbling upon an ancient vampiric creature on a pilgrimage to the Middle East and being rejuvenated after ingesting some of its blood. Believing the creature to be an angel sent by God, he then smuggles it back to his secluded, deeply Catholic island community in New England so that it can "bless" his congregation with eternal life. By the final episode, most of the churchgoers have willingly embraced vampirism and, seeing themselves as the apostles of a new gospel, attempt to spread it to the mainland in a combination of bloodlust and religious mania.
  • Shadowhunters:
    • Raphael Santiago is the leader of the New York clan and explicitly Catholic. In fact, Catholicism makes up a big part of his upbringing and morals since he makes the sign of the cross over Simon's body and asks for God's forgiveness before biting Isabelle.
    • Simon was raised Jewish before being turned into a vampire. He's not particularly religious but he does still go home to his family for Yom Kippur in "Day of Atonement" (and brings his werewolf girlfriend Maia). He manages to conceal the fact that he can't eat human food anymore (though the fact that blood isn't kosher doesn't come up).
  • True Blood: Violet Mazurski self-identifies as a Catholic due to her Polish upbringing, though she makes a point about her beliefs differing from modern Catholicism which she describes as "bullshit" since she was turned during the Medieval Age.

  • German metal band Powerwolf's main shtick is a Catholic Church that is run by vampires and werewolves.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Jander Sunstar is a priest of Lathander, a Good-aligned sun god from the Forgotten Realms setting, who destroyed his vampire progenitor and took sanctuary in a sacred grove. He ended up getting swept into Ravenloft's Demiplane of Dread, where he became bitter enemies with the vampire Count Strahd and ultimately became a vampire hunter himself.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade:
    • Depending on what edition you play, any vampire can take the True Faith merit at character creation, but it requires starting with 9 Humanity, which means pouring all your Virtue points into Conscience and Self-Control, and you'll lose it if your Humanity ever drops by even a single point — not an easy balance to maintain in a game that runs on Black-and-Gray Morality at the best of times.
    • Saulot was one of the Antidilluvians and considered the Cainite most pious and faithful to God. He developed the Road of Light, a path that allows vampires to tame the Inner Beast through religious devotion.
    • On the more sinister end of this trope are the Lasombra, who infiltrated themselves with the Catholic Church to serve their own means and has inquisitors, crusaders and genuine faithful in their numbers. The biggest example of this trope is Archbishop Ambrosio Luis Monçada, who viewed his Embrace as a gift from God and was one of the few vampires in the world capable of wielding True Faith.
    • The Giovanni are an strange example. Their members are nominally Roman Catholic due to being Italian in origin and declaring themselves atheists is grounds for excommunication, even if all they do is pay lip service to the trappings of the faith.
    • Maria Assuncion, the last surviving Cappadocian was a nun and kept her faith after being turned.
    • Ferox the Gargoyle converted to Christianity during Rome's last days before being turned, and after his Embrace and subsequent conversion to a Gargoyle, all of his memories were stripped except for his Christian faith and he came to see himself as a Fallen Angel driven to destroy all Cainites, whom he views as the spawns of Satan though he is willing to show leniency for any penitent vampire.
    • For a different take, the Followers of Set are equal parts Clan and religion, believing that their antediluvian Set is an actual god and all these other vampires are really wilding out with this whole "Caine" thing. Their worship is through a Gnostic lens, believing that Set has charged them to diminish the "Aeons" that blind the world with righteousness and stricture by seducing people into corruption and indulgence. Even their "heretics," the Serpents of the Light, are devout voodoo practitioners who worship Damballah-Wedo alongside Caine, believing Set and the other antediluvians are petty loa given to endlessly tearing at each others' throats.
    • The Ashirra of the Middle East are an entire sect of Muslim Kindred united by the belief that Muhammad received a revelation declaring that Kindred could one day be redeemed of their condition through devotion to Allah.
  • Vampire: The Requiem has the Lancea et Sanctum, a group of Abrahamic vampires, some of whom only come into the faith after having died. You'd think their faith might make them kinder, but nope. They see themselves as playing the black hats in God's plan, punishing humanity and basically being the "stick" to keep people good. Basically every negative organized religion trope applies, except for the organist ones. Those are taken up by the Circle of the Crone, the bloody cult following vampires. Among their few redeeming traits is they do at least try to encourage piety and faith in mortals, but they tend to get too dogmatic or cruel over the decades.
  • The Blood Angels in Warhammer 40,000 are a Space Marine chapter that resembles vampires closely with their rituals involving blood, sleeping in coffins, being eternally youthful and cursed with the Red Thirst. And yet like the Loyalist Chapters, they are fiercely faithful to the Emperor. In addition, their Primarch Sanguinius was the closest thing to an literal angel in this setting and is somewhat like a Jesus figure himself who he is deeply honored by the Blood Angels...though it must be noted that despite their zeal to the Emperor, most Space Marines regard the Emperor as just the pinnacle of humanity rather than a god.

    Video Games 

  • Subverted in The Order of the Stick: When dwarven cleric Durkon is initially vampirized, it seems as if he continues to serve his original Good deity, qualifying him for this trope, but it is later revealed to be a sham, as not only does he now serve the evil church of Hel instead, but he's not even really Durkon.
  • Trapped: Yunsu regularly goes to Mass on Sundays, although whether he’s actually religious is left up in the air; it could just be part of his disguise.