The Witch Cult has existed for over 400 years since the times when the Witches were alive and active. It is shrouded in secrecy and mystery thus little is known of the organizational structure and other specifics like their doctrine beyond rumours as a result. They are evil enough that knights are ordered to annihilate them immediately should they appear. Followers are elusive. Their means of hiding are unknown, allowing them to survive until the current time. Their purpose is rumoured to be the resurrection of the Witch of Envy, however, some Sin Archbishops have disputed that notion.
100 years ago, the Witch Cult consisted of a moderate side, led by Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti, and a radical side, led by Regulus Corneas. The two factions seemed to have been at odds with each other as they engaged in an all-out combat during the attack on the Elior Forest.
The Witch Cult is a secret organisation in the world, shrouded in utmost secrecy and ambiguity. It has existed for well over 400 years, originating from the times when the Witches were freely roaming around the world. They seemingly operate at random, appearing out of thin air and causing damage of catastrophic proportions. They're always seen wearing jet black clerical robes with triangular hoods which have two red cut-outs for the eyes and a large red symbol resembling an eye, located on their forehead. Each individual can also be seen wearing the Cult's coat of arms around their neck which takes the shape of twin gold swords crossing each other on a red background, surrounded by a gold circle. They rarely speak and show just the bare minimum of movements, effectively giving off a sense of distortion and abnormality; almost like a group of walking dolls. Furthermore, the Cultists following Sloth were shown to obey every and all commands given to them by the madman and at times, they even mimicked his behaviour, as could be seen when the entire group started banging their hands on solid stone, shattering their bones, just like Petelgeuse did in one of Subaru's failed loops of the 3rd Arc. Additionally, there were some cases when regular members of the Cult made their appearances as normal citizens or merchants, such as what was observed in the case of Ketty Muttart.
Their numbers are unknown, just like their ultimate goal. They usually launch attacks in smaller groups, resorting to ambushes rather than outright announcing their attacks, which allows them to quickly dispatch several times larger and more skilled groups than theirs, with relative ease and minimum causalities; that being said, normal members of the Witch Cult are as expendable as the lowest ranking members of the Imperial Army. They often employ suicidal tactics, lunging themselves towards an enemy just so one would manage to avoid the incoming attacks and land a single killing blow. Furthermore, in face of captivity, regular cult members will commit suicide without fail, by using mana stones embedded in their bodies to trigger poisons, in order to keep information about the cult from leaking out. Petelgeuse's fingers are an exception as they have an explosion ritual embedded in their bodies instead, that only activates when they kill themselves in an effort to take out all nearby enemies with them when Petelgeuse needs to swap to a different body. As opposed to their leaders, the Sin Archbishops, regular members also don't appear to be as mentally damaged and unstable, in some cases even showing some prejudice and fear when being subjected to tantrums and outbursts of anger from the likes of Sloth and Greed. While we don't know if there are designated groups working under each of the Sin Archbishops (apart from Sloth), they do acknowledge them with the highest level of respect and are very often employed by them, even used as sacrificial pawns. Furthermore, in a Q&A, the author had confirmed the existence of Witch Cult members among Regulus Corneas' wives, stating that some of them were low-ranking members of the organisation.
As mentioned above, Petelgeuse was the only known Sin Archbishop who organised and led a larger force, totalling a couple hundred members. To keep their element of surprise, the Cultists were split into ten groups, each harbouring about twelve members with "a finger" or ringleader being put in charge of the group. These so-called fingers were physically stronger than normal Witch Cult members, being capable of taking on Rem solo-handed and fighting on pretty much equal grounds. The fingers' main purpose, however, was to serve as spare bodies for Sloth, in case his main body was slain. Accordingly, all 10 fingers had to be Spirit Arts users and were given a small part of the Witch Factor of Sloth through a complex ritual which allowed Petelgeuse to continue using his Authority of Sloth when in their bodies. After the events of the 3rd arc, all surviving fingers were slaughtered and "opened up" by Sirius who was searching for Petelgeuse's spirit, effectively marking the end of Petelgeuse's faction.
The Cult is made up of followers at the bottom and a group of members at the top known as Sin Archbishops (大罪司教). The Sin Archbishops each govern over one of the Seven Deadly Sins other than Envy just like how centuries and centuries ago, individuals known as Witches of Sin were said to represent the Seven Deadly Sins. They are selected based on whether they are compatible with Witch Factors, and currently the representatives for Pride, Sloth and Greed are vacant. Also, each member of the Witch Cult owns a book known as the Witch Cult's Gospel (魔女教徒の福音), which shows them a route to a future they desire through vague details. These books can only be read by the holder and appear to be incomprehensible to others, though it should be mentioned that in the web novel, Subaru was able to read Petelgeuse's Gospel after his first meeting with the Witch of Greed (the scene was unfortunately omitted from the Light Novels, rendering it non-canon). Despite their recent appearances in the Dragon Kingdom of Lugnica, the Witch Cult is actually active throughout the world with members spread out across various countries. According to Petelgeuse, during the events of Arc 3, Wrath was situated in another country, hence she was unable to provide him support.
The Witch Cult is led by the Sin Archbishops who each represent one of the seven deadly sins with the exception of Envy itself. At the time of Subaru's arrival, only the sin of Pride remained unrepresented by an Archbishop. Interestingly, most of the Sin Archbishops didn't feel any fealty towards the Witch of Envy, instead possessing their own reasons for working with the Witch Cult. Following Petelgeuse's death, no Sin Archbishop exists that would prioritise the resurrection of the Witch over their personal goals. Each Sin Archbishop possesses a mysterious source of power known as a Witch Factor that corelates to their respective sin. The Witch Factor would eventually blossom into a powerful ability known as an Authority which allows its wielder to do various things depending on their individual ideals, goals and personalities. For the most part, the Sin Archbishops despise one another and rarely, if ever, worked together. Each Archbishop is allowed to command lesser members of the Cult, although most of them choose to operate without support instead relying on their Authorities in battle. The membership of the rank of Sin Archbishops includes Capella Emerada Lugnica representing Lust, Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti representing Sloth, Regulus Corneas representing Greed and Sirius representing Wrath. Gluttony was represented by three siblings who each took on a different aspect of Gluttony: Louis Arneb represented Satiation, Lye Batenkaitos represented Gourmet, and Roy Alphard represented Bizarre Eating. Pride was allegedly possessed by the Vollachia Empire nobleman Stride Vollachia, although his Authority was never demonstrated and he perished around forty years ago at the hands of the Evil Dragon Valgren.
Sin Archbishop of Wrath, Sirius
- Main article: Sirius
The current Sin Archbishop of Wrath who is the most physically formidable of the Sin Archbishops. Her Authority of Wrath allows her to manipulate the emotions and sensations of others, meaning she can amplify a person's hostility level and distribute damage dealt across multiple people. Alongside Petelgeuse and Regulus, Sirius is one of the three Sin Archbishops to have inhuman longevity. Although her past is wrapped in mystery, Sirius claimed that her hometown was destroyed by Witch Hunters. She was obsessively infatuated with Petelgeuse, making her the only known Sin Archbishop to view another amicably (with the exception of the Gluttony siblings). She spent a large part of her time stalking Petelgeuse and trying to earn his affection, although he seemed to never reciprocate her feelings. Like Petelgeuse, Sirius appeared to be completely insane and barely held a grasp on reality. She viewed the Witch of Envy as a hated love rival rather than a deific figure.
During the attack on Priestella, Sirius met Subaru after he had killed Petelgeuse and absorbed the Witch Factor of Sloth. As she knew of Petelgeuse's nature as a spirit, Sirius, who could smell the Witch Factor's scent on Subaru, presumed Subaru was her beloved's latest body and refused to accept his attempts to deny her claim. She was later captured by Priscilla Barielle and Liliana Masquerade during the attack. During a subsequent interrogation with Subaru, Sirius finally understood that he was not Petelgeuse, although she still believed that Sloth lived within Subaru and was waiting to emerge.
Sin Archbishop of Lust, Capella Emerada Lugnica
- Main article: Capella Emerada Lugnica
The current Sin Archbishop of Lust and the holder of the Lust Witch Factor. Her Authority of Lust allows her to transform herself into seemingly any creature or being – she has used this power to transform into a giant black dragon with golden horns, a small girl, a well endowed woman, an honest looking village girl, a multitude of field mice, an innocent looking young girl with a lewd smile, and she even morphed into Emilia with a crazed smile. She can also use this power defensively in order to regenerate by transforming the parts of her that are damaged into undamaged parts; she was able to heal during her battle with Al despite him "cutting off her head" and "crushing her heart". Furthermore her Authority can be used offensively by turning anyone she touches into what she desires. Capella has used this ability to transform people into various creatures and at worst, nothing but unrecognizable lumps of flesh with no consciousness. Similarly to most of the other Archbishops her past is clouded with mystery and there is very little information about her. Although she has a popular standard appearance, with signature gold hair and red eyes, there is no confirmation that this is her actual form due to the nature of her Authority, meaning there is no hint towards her age, height or other key characteristics. Capella is shown to have the worst personality amongst the Archbishops and even responds to her fellow cultists with insults and degrading nicknames. Capella permanently speaks in an insulting tone to all of those around her and believes that all of the love in the world should be directed towards her and her alone.
Capella is also known as "Mother" and is the leader of an Assassin Organization, a organization that operates in all Four Great Nations. She appeared alongside her fellow Sin Archbishops during the attack on Priestella, causing havoc in her famous Black Dragon form - until she ultimately duelled Al and fled after the Witch Cult's defeat. However, she caused severe damage with the use of her Authority before leaving, causing many civilians to be stuck in forms of giant flies, chunks of meat or worse; one has been seemingly permanently transformed into a giant black dragon.
Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, Roy Alphard
- Main article: Roy Alphard
One of the three Sin Archbishops who were jointly the most recent representatives of Gluttony, with Roy representing the bizarre eating aspect. Unlike his brother Lye, Roy doesn't care about what he eats, nor does he place any special emphasis on who he eats with like his sister Louis. As bizarre eating, his approach towards his meals is much more casual when compared to that of his older brother and younger sister, emphasizing quantity over quality as seen when he ate Julius Juukulius despite admitting he had a bland taste. As described by his brother, he simply wants to eat without any thought or preparation put into it, for which he was repeatedly criticized by his siblings. He isn't as close to Louis as Lye is, but is nonetheless devoted and caring towards her.
In combat, Roy strives to exploit his opponents' weaknesses, unlike his brother who likes to give his opponents a chance to compete with him. He views combat as nothing more than a violent way of getting his meals.
During the events of Arc 5, he ate Julius' name, causing everyone but Subaru to forget about him. In Arc 6, however, he made a big mistake when he tried to devour Reid Astrea, only to have his body taken over. While he regained control of his body after Reid's soul shattered due to it being incompatible with Roy's body, the fatal wound rendered him unconscious and he was sealed away with the usage of Yin Magic.
Sin Archbishop of Pride, Stride Vollachia
- Main article: Stride Vollachia
The most recent Sin Archbishop of Pride, Stride Vollachia was a man, hailing from the Sacred Empire of Vollachia. Unlike all other Sin Archbishops, Stride never demonstrated an Authority, meaning that it was unknown if he had possessed one. Instead, he tended to fight using a set of Ten Cursed Rings which he used to inflict curses on people, and often utilised his subordinates; the Vollachian War God Kurgan, the twin Shinobi Shasuke and Raizo, and his wife Melinda, a surviving member of the Evil-Eye Tribe. Stride was the son of the Emperor of the Vollachia Empire and was supposed to succeed him on the throne, however he was betrayed and poisoned by his own father. He survived the assassination and eventually joined the Witch Cult. Befitting his identity as the Archbishop of Pride, Stride held excessive pride in himself and always looked down on others. Like most Archbishops, he didn't care about the Witch of Envy, only joining the cult to further his own goals.
Four decades before Natsuki Subaru was transported to the Dragon Kingdom of Lugnica, Stride led several campaigns in the heart of the Kingdom, wanting to destroy its covenant with the Divine Dragon Volcanica and topple the entire country. During these attacks, Stride found an archenemy in the Sword Demon Wilhelm van Astrea, a nigh-unparalleled warrior and the strongest swordsman of his era. Eventually, Stride summoned the Black Dragon Valgren in the Regional Capital of Picouttate, hoping the dreadful beast would decimate the entire Kingdom. However, Valgren ironically devoured Stride and was defeated by the Volcanica shortly thereafter. Since his death, the seat of Pride has been vacant for many years. The status of the Witch Factor of Pride that presumably resided within Stride remains unknown.
Sin Archbishop of Sloth, Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti
- Main article: Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti
The most recent Sin Archishop of Sloth, one of the founders of the Witch Cult, and the Leader of the Moderate Faction. As a co-founder of the Witch Cult, Petelgeuse spent four centuries acting as one of its highest ranking members and worked tirelessly to fulfil the goals of the Witch Cult, and was even appointed the title of an Archbishop despite not occupying any of the Seats until three centuries following the supposed creation of the Witch Cult. Dubbed as "Geuse" by his friends and people dear to him, Petelgeuse was a kind-hearted spirit, well respected by everyone save for the other Sin Archbishops. It was stated that he was even acquainted with the Witch of Greed and acted as Beatrice's teacher when Echidna was too busy.
His contributions to the Cult led to him being given the title of an Archbishop, though not entrusted with a Sin as he was incompatible with the one he was entrusted with by Flugel–the Witch Factor of Sloth. Roughly a century before the start of the main story, Petelgeuse carried out different tasks relating to the elves located in the Elior Forest–something that was very dear to him, as the Guardian of the Seal he was regularly sent to monitor, was someone he was deeply familiar with and cherished above anyone else. Not long after, however, the forest was suddenly besieged by another two Witch Cult members–Greed and Vainglory, the former leading the Radical Faction of the Cult and the latter leading one of the Three Great Demon Beasts, Kurohebi. As push came to shove, Petelgeuse was forced to forcefully take in the Witch Factor of Sloth, gaining the Authority of Sloth in the process, which allowed him to stall the intruders, though to not much avail as he was overpowered relatively quickly. In the following events of the fight, the Witch of Vainglory used her Authority of Vainglory to influence Petelgeuse into slaughtering Fortuna, the very woman he loved. The unbearable pain caused by his actions caused Petelgeuse's mind to completely shatter, leaving him in a permanent state of madness.
In the following century, Petelgeuse had accepted the seat of Sloth, and joined the Radical Faction of the Cult. He became notorious for his cruelty, frequently slaughtering entire towns and villages, acting strictly according to his Gospel's writ. He was finally countered and defeated by the Sloth Subjugation Force consisting of Natsuki Subaru, Sword Demon Wilhelm van Astrea, Royal Guards Julius Juukulius and Felix Argyle, and the Fang of Iron. After Julius destroyed his body, Subaru later destroyed his spirit, marking the end of Sloth. The Witch Factor of Sloth was inherited by Natsuki Subaru.
His remains were later collected by Wrath, who cremated them in an unknown location.
Sin Archbishop of Greed, Regulus Corneas
- Main article: Regulus Corneas
The most recent Sin Archbishop of Greed who was considered the most powerful known Sin Archbishop and one of the most powerful character from the entire series. His Authority of Greed, which he gained after absorbing the Witch Factor of Greed from a box similar to Petelgeuse's, allowed him to stop time in and around his body, making him utterly invincible against any kind of physical attack regardless of its raw strength. Because his body was in a sort of permanent temporal stasis, Regulus never aged and lived over a hundred years.
Regulus was a man who cared little for people around him and firmly believed that he was in the right no matter what he did. He rarely tolerated people acting in contradiction to his twisted will, often murdering or mutilating innocent people as soon as they dissatisfied him in the slightest. Despite his egotistical attitude, Regulus followed the commands of the Gospel unquestionably. He also showed respect towards Pandora and followed her orders if they didn't contradict his own will too much. Of the Sin Archbishops, Regulus was the most infamous alongside Sloth for the sheer magnitude of the few atrocities he committed. Among his attacks were the incursion into the elven village of Elior Forest that led to the freezing of the entire area and the desolation of the Vollachian Fortress City of Garkla that resulted in the deaths of thousands of soldiers and the Vollachian War God Kurgan. It was Regulus' actions in Garkla that single-handedly taught the world to fear the Witch Cult.
During the attack on Elior Forest, Regulus acted as the Leader of a Radical Faction that existed within the Witch Cult. He led the Cult and the Witch of Vainglory to the forest, despite making a mutual agreement with Petelgeuse, that the latter will be the only one to have access to the elven village and the seal they were guarding. Having made short work of Petelgeuse, Regulus – after the situations gravely escalated due to things not going the way he would have liked – turned his back on the Witch, killing her. However, due to her Authority of Vainglory, she was able to erase the time of her death and erase his existence from the forest, making it so that he effectively never visited Elior Forest in the first place, reverting all of his damage done to the surrounding nature and Petelgeuse's body.
Roughly a month after Subaru's arrival, Regulus made his appearance at the Leafaus Highway, intercepting the dragon carriage convoy transporting the wounded, Crusch Karsten and Rem. After decimating a good portion of the convoy and crippling Crusch by cutting her arm off, Regulus – now accompanied by the fellow Sin Archbishop of Gluttony Lye Batenkaitos – introduced himself and in the following short battle, helped defeat Rem.
Regulus was finally defeated a bit over a year following his initial debut in the story, during the events of Arc 5. After arriving in the Water Gate City of Priestella, causing havoc in the city streets, and kidnapping Emilia, Regulus was confronted by the Greed Subjugation Force consisting of Natsuki Subaru and Reinhard van Astrea. After a tough and arduous battle, the team managed to decipher his Authority and give Reinhard a chance to deliver the finishing blow. By lunging him high above the city and batting him down into the streets, Regulus – whose invincibility now had a five second timer – was utterly shredded by the sheer speed and force of his body digging through dirt and rocks underground. After his hole was flooded by a nearby water canal, Regulus drowned deep underneath the city streets. The Witch Factor of Greed was inherited by Natsuki Subaru.
Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, Lye Batenkaitos
- Main article: Lye Batenkaitos
One of the three Sin Archbishops who were jointly the most recent representatives of Gluttony, with Lye representing the gourmet aspect. Like his little sister Louis, Lye was addicted to the consumption of human names and memories and cared little about the people his Authority hurt. His Authority of Gluttony functioned identically to his sister's, and although he wasn't incredibly powerful like Regulus Corneas, Batenkaitos made up for his shortcomings with his versatile fighting style and unpredictable arsenal; he was at one point noted by the Author as the most skilled martial artist among all the Sin Archbishops. Until his swan song, Lye was hesitant to use the aspect of his Authority that allowed him to transform into his victims and use their skills to their fullest capacity, as he believed doing so harmed his individuality. Upon finally overcoming his fear, Lye Batenkaitos started morphing his body into an amalgamation of numerous victims he had eaten, which greatly amplified his stolen skills' strength, effectively making him the ultimate martial artist, the likes of the world had never seen and will never see. With his Authority, Gluttony could control one of the Three Great Demon Beasts known as the Hakugei and occasionally used it in his schemes. He was fond enough of the Whale to consider it a pet. Out of the three Sin Archbishops, Lye was the one who cared the most for his siblings. Although not too fond of Roy, he cared deeply for his younger sister Louis whom he genuinely sought to protect from harm.
Although his exact age and the amount of time he spent as a Sin Archbishop are unknown, Lye had the appearance and immature attitude of a youth in his mid teens. After devouring the name and memories of Rem, Lye garnered an obsession with the man she loved, Natsuki Subaru, hoping to one day devour his name and memories as well. On the other hand, Subaru saw Batenkaitos as a mortal foe due to his actions against Rem. However, Batenkaitos was never able to experience the feast he sought. During an incursion into the Pleiades Watchtower, Lye was confronted by Rem's elder twin sister, Ram, who proceeded to face him in a desperate and brutal battle. Eventually, Lye was beheaded by Ram, though it is not known if any of his victims were able to receive back their names and memories.
Sin Archbishop of Gluttony, Louis Arneb
- Main article: Louis Arneb
One of the three Sin Archbishops who were jointly the most recent representatives of Gluttony, with Louis representing the satiation aspect. She is a spiritual being, born without a body and trapped inside the Corridor of Memories since birth. Like her big brother Lye, Louis was addicted to the consumption of human names and memories and cared little about the people her Authority hurt. Her Authority of Gluttony functioned identically to her brothers Lye's and Roy's. Louis didn't care much about what she ate, putting more emphasis on who she ate. Similar to the Great Rabbit, Louis could split and create a copy of herself whenever she separated her Witch Factor of Gluttony into multiple pieces, often using this ability to keep her original self within the Corridor of Memories while her copy possessed the body of someone else.
Being the youngest sibling, Louis initially gave off the impression of being respectful and loving towards her brothers, but later revealed that she found them idiotic for blindly eating lives for her just because she was unable to exit the Corridor of Memories. Louis believed that life is unfair and is like a conveyor belt, without having the ability to choose the family, environment and future to be born into. Advocating her actions and beliefs as a way to search for happiness, she mentioned that she is making an effort to find the life that will satisfy her and let her live with her head held high, and believed that Subaru's life will provide her that fulfilment, as he is able to Return by Death, which would effectively render her the only living being who would have experience of death itself.
Learning of Return by Death, she ate Subaru's memories and latched onto him to gain the knowledge and "taste" of death. However, Subaru ultimately managed to defeat her and left her for dead, though she is later revealed to have survived but now has amnesia herself. After experiencing Return by Death, the Louis that had entered Subaru's soul as a Witch Factor became traumatized and got into a fight with the Louis within the Corridor of Memories, who retained her original personality. The end result of this confrontation was that Louis became mind-broken, regressing into an infant-like state. She was transported along with Rem and Subaru to Vollachia and is currently accompanying Subaru around the Empire as she's strangely tracked to him. Though her original personality has seemingly vanished, Louis retains her Authority, making her relation to the cult currently unclear.
- Stride Vollachia (pride) (deceased)
- Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti (sloth) (co-founder, leader of the Moderate Faction) (deceased)
- Regulus Corneas (greed) (leader of the Radical Faction) (deceased)
- Lye Batenkaitos (gluttony/gourmet) (deceased)
- Louis Arneb (gluttony/satiation)
- Natsuki Subaru (pride) (in Ayamatsu IF)
- Faust (deceased)
- Sergei (deceased)
- Fogg (deceased)
- Sado (deceased)
- Ketty Muttart (arrested)
- Dorkell (expelled)
- Louis described the Witch Cult as "a gathering of people loathed by the world" and the Sin Archbishops as "a gathering of people loathed by the world who are called differently, but they're the same as the Witch.
- Louis also pointed out that the nature of the Witch of Envy is worse than that of the Sin Archbishops so they dislike being lumped together with her. In every other way however, the Sin Archbishops are the same as the Witch, only just being "good-for-nothings" compatible with the Witch Factors who are given different titles due to the different era and positions.
- Out of all the Sin Archbishops, Regulus is by far the strongest in all out combat and possesses the most powerful Authority while Sirius is noted to have the highest physical strength and Lye Batenkaitos is one of the most skilled in hard-to-hand combat.
- Regulus, Sirius, and Petelgeuse are among the oldest Sin Archbishops; two of them being confirmed to have been occupying their positions for at least a century, those being Regulus and Petelgeuse who governed over Greed and Sloth respectively.
- According to the author's very own words, the Sin Archbishops were created to be the biggest and the most irredeemable scums in the series.
- According to Petelgeuse, the Sin Archbishops hold some kind of meetings in Church.
- The Sin Archbishops themselves are not very fond of killing for various reasons, hence they'll avoid doing it, if given the chance to.
- Pandora and the Sin Archbishops, with the exception of Stride Vollachia, all share their names with a real life celestial body. Interestingly, Stride was also the only Witch Factor user to not display use of his Authority. These facts coupled together may imply that Stride was not actually the holder of the Pride Witch Factor.
- The star names of the Gluttony siblings were each linked to the Three Great Demon beast created by the Witch of Gluttony Daphne four hundred years ago. Louis (hare) represented the Great Rabbit, Lye (sea monster) represented the White Whale, and Roy (hydra) represented the Black Serpent.
- Tappei once thought of writing an Interlude about the Sin Archbishops having an emergency meeting after Petelgeuse's death, but after realising it would just be Sirius uncontrollably crying and other Sin Archbishops scornfully laughing at her, he decided not to write it.
- Wrath and Lust paired together could form the worst possible combo, according to the author.