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Did Zachariah just pick up Church? That cat hates everybody!

Clary about Church, City of Heavenly Fire

Church is an intelligent, immortal cat who was rescued by a Shadowhunter in 1878. He is usually a grouch, unless being petted, and usually does not let anyone carry him without some struggle. Jem is the only human Church has shown affection for and taken a true liking to.


London Institute

At some point, the Eidolon demon Mrs. Dark got hold of the cat and performed a necromantic ritual on him that made him immortal.[1] In 1878, the cat was meant to be used as a sacrifice in order for Mrs. Dark to resurrect her sister, Mrs. Black, but before she had the chance to complete the sacrifice and kill him, he was rescued by Jem Carstairs. After being rescued, Jem brought him back to the London Institute, and Charlotte Branwell agreed to keep him, saying it was good luck to have a cat in the church. The cat has since been called "Church".[2]

After Jem became a Silent Brother, Church missed him and mourned for him. Upon hearing about this from Charlotte, the warlock Magnus Bane took the cat with him to New York.[3] Magnus had traveled on a ship then, and Church suffered from seasickness on the voyage.[4]

Church returned, however, and went back to living in the London Institute.[5]

Move to New York

The cat soon came to live in the New York Institute, where the cat served as a guide, as he always seemed to know where everyone was at all times.[6]

In May 2008, Church reunited with Jem, who had recently become human again, at the wedding of Luke Garroway and Jocelyn Fray at a farmhouse in New York. To the surprise of everyone who knew Church, Jem was able to pick him up with no struggle whatsoever. Jem then took Church with him to Los Angeles, without official permission from Church's previous owners, the Lightwoods.[7]

Move to Los Angeles

Soon after the wedding, Jem left Church in a box on the doorstep of the Los Angeles Institute, intended for Emma Carstairs to find. Church came with a note from Jem, signed with his Silent Brother name Zachariah, asking Emma to take care of his cat. Not knowing what to make of this, Emma called Clary Fairchild who confirmed that the cat once lived at the New York Institute but was originally Brother Zachariah's cat. Clary told her that if she and Julian wanted to keep him, they should.

Emma agreed to care for the cat and, though she was initially worried, they soon learned that Church was not going to be a permanent resident at the Institute, because even though Church sometimes stayed at the Institute, he often left for days or weeks but always came back, so they always left dry food and fresh water for him at the Institute entryway.[8] Church was technically considered "retired" and mostly lived on the beach.[4] When Emma was fourteen, Church began coming back with little presents tied around his collar, mostly shells and sea glass, from Jem, whom Emma now knew to be a distant relative. The sea glass became a part of Julian's lucky bracelet, and Emma kept the shells on her windowsill.[8]

Physical description

As drawn by Clary in the Codex

Church is a fat, gray-furred, yellow-eyed cat with a squashed-in face and tucked-in ears. Church is of the blue Persian Longhair breed.[9][2][10]

During the wedding of Luke Garroway and Jocelyn Fray, Church was decorated with dozens of tiny silver wedding bells. For Tessa and Jem's wedding, Church wore a ribbon that said, "Happy Wedding Day!"



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When Church first came to the Institute, he was simply referred to as "the church cat." Eventually, he was just given the name "Church."


  • When dropped, Church often lays on his back with all four legs in the air, pretending to be dead in order to induce guilt in his owners.[11]
  • Jem adopted Church because of his fond memories with the cat he had growing up.[12]
  • Church is set to be back at the London Institute in The Last Hours. He will continue to terrorize the inhabitants, will invade James's room (Jem's old room), and will feel great when he occasionally sees Brother Zachariah, before breaking ornaments when he leaves.[5]
  • We are set to find out how Church wound up at the New York Institute.[13]
  • Church is one of the characters that appears in every main series.
  • In 2010, Church's soul attended the dream wedding of Tessa Gray and Jem Carstairs on Blackfriars Bridge in his dreams. Magnus Bane made him wear a bow for the same material as Tessa's dress. It is suspected that like the other attendees, the dream faded from his memory too.[14]