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Religious Vampire

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"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.

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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. 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).

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


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Card Games 

    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 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.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Thirst: 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.

    Jokes 
  • 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, have YOU got the wrong vampire!"

    Literature 
  • 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 god they believe in.
  • 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...
    • Carpe Jugulum: The vampire Count Magpyr has managed to rid his clan of their Classical Movie Vampire weaknesses (garlic, holy water, religious symbols...) through constant exposure to them (and being immortal, he's written several authoritative but misleading books about the weaknesses of vampires). This turns against them at the climax where their weaknesses are suddenly restored, and memorizing so many religious symbols (most of which are very simple, along the lines of two lines of different lengths intersecting at right angles) means they can see them everywhere.
  • 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.
  • The originator of the entire vampire race in The Kurtherian Gambit 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.a
  • The Mortal Instruments: After being turned into a vampire, Simon retains his Jewish faith, but is still incapable of saying the word "God".
  • 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.
  • The Followers in Oracle of Tao are Christian vampires that strictly drink the blood from the Lord, attend the Church and donate to charity. There are other kinds of vampires that break the suit, but the Followers fit this trope like a glove.
  • 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.
  • Thoth in Straight Outta Fangton 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 Twilight, Carlisle was raised the son of an Anglican pastor (that 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Reverend Behemial Far Traveller, or as he is better known Rev Brem in Andromeda is the member of the Magog, an vampire-like alien species with chiropteran traits that feasts on blood and human flesh. Despite the Magog being the most savage and barbaric race in the setting, Brem is the exception to the rule due to being a devout follower of the Way, a pacifistic religion that teaches about love and peace.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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 for some reason.
  • 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.

    Music 
  • 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:
    • 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.
  • Vampire: The Requiem: The Lancea et Sanctum vampire religion is a twisted take on this, striving to become Fully Embraced Fiends and Dark Shepherds who drive humans towards God through fear. They venerate Longinusnote  as an Embodiment of Vice who was cursed with vampirism directly by God.
  • The Blood Angels in Warhammer 40,000 are an 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.

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