They say you can't grow grass and flowers in Midgar. But for some reason, the flowers have no trouble blooming here. I love it here.
The Church in the Slums, also commonly referred to as Aerith's Church, is a presumably deserted church in Final Fantasy VII located is in Sector 5 of Midgar Slums. Aerith Gainsborough has succeeded in growing flowers here, a remarkable feat considering the local Mako Reactors leave the soil barren. Flowers also grow near Aerith's house, so the church is not the only place in the slums where soil is fertile. It is unknown which religion the church is part of, though the architecture appears to be based on Christian churches.
- Zack: "You don't see a lot of flowers in Midgar"
- Aerith: "They only grow here. Although, I planted some outside my house, too."
- —Zack and Aerith talking about flowers.
Zack Fair, SOLDIER First Class, falls from an unfinished section of the Sector 5 plate into the church. He awakens and meets Aerith asking to repay her with a date for saving him, although a puzzled Aerith asserts she did nothing but called out to him until he came to. Zack continues to visit the church to spend time with her up until he is sent on the mission to Nibelheim. Zack is impressed by the flowers and deems they would be seen as a luxury item in Midgar, offering to build her a flower wagon to help her sell them. After Zack's mentor Angeal Hewley passes away, a devastated Zack is comforted by Aerith in the church.
One day, Zack and Aerith witness an Angeal Copy, a winged wolf-creature, in the church defending the duo from Shinra Electric Power Company's battle robots. Deeming the creature not dangerous, Aerith and Zack let it rest in the church. It is implied the creature stayed at the church as Aerith uses it to send her final letter to Zack.
The Player Turk lost in the slums has found his/her way to Elmyra Gainsborough's house where they come across Aerith who flees. As AVALANCHE arrives Aerith returns and is protected by the Turk much to her surprise.
Hiding in the Sector 5 slums Aerith loses her White Materia, and as the Player Turk goes to retrieve it, Shears locates them and disposes of the Player Turk, taking Aerith to the Sector 5 Church where Fuhito and Elfé await. As they attempt to convince Aerith to divulge the location of the Promised Land, Aerith notes an ancient voice emanating from within Elfé is in pain. Elfé is confused by this revelation, and Fuhito becomes flustered and attempts to divert the subject. When Shears notices the Player Turk eavesdropping a fight breaks out but Aerith prevents Shears and Fuhito from killing the Turk, claiming she is defending her flower bed from further harm. During the commotion something seems to pain Elfé, who withdraws along with the rest of AVALANCHE.
As the Player Turk and Aerith leave the church, Tseng, who has been assigned for some time to capture Aerith, arrives in another attempt to convince her to work with Shinra. Misunderstanding, the Player Turk prevents Tseng from seeing Aerith as she runs back home.
Cloud falls from the Sector 5 Reactor down into the church and is found by Aeris, who remarks on Cloud's similarities with Zack. When Reno, a member of the Turks leading a group of Shinra soldiers, attempts to kidnap Aeris, she requests Cloud to be her bodyguard. In return for the favor, Cloud says he will in exchange for payment, to which Aeris replies "How about if I go out with you once?". Accepting the deal, the pair exits through an opening in the roof, as the Turks try to capture Aeris.
In Aeris's absence, two children take care of the flowers.
The church serves a pivotal role in curing the Geostigma disease. Even after Aerith's death, the flowers continue blooming thanks to the Lifestream flowing beneath the flower bed. Cloud stays at the church during his exile and search for forgiveness, and stores Materia in a chest in the church for some time before this.
Tifa engages Loz in the church when she and Marlene go looking for Cloud. She is defeated, and Cloud later finds her lying unconscious on the flower bed. Later, Aerith's Limit Break, Great Gospel, is activated in the church during Cloud's battle with Kadaj, curing Cloud's Geostigma.
Cloud demonstrates the healing powers of the water pooled in the church by curing Denzel of his Geostigma in a baptismal-like ceremony, after which several other children jump into the pool. Cloud spots Aerith crouching by some other children, similar to the aforementioned ghost. As she stands and walks to the doorway, she turns back to ensure Cloud will be alright, and steps into a white light with Zack. Cloud nods and responds he will be fine, as he is not alone anymore.
Entered from the Sector 5 Slums - Church Entrance, the Chapel contains many rows of benches leading up to a group of flowers in the center, allowed to grow thanks to a small light that shines on them due to a missile crash. Cloud also lands in this area after falling from the outside of the Sector 5 Reactor. This is the only area of the church that can be revisited.
In a room at the back, just behind the chapel, this room is mostly a set of wooden stairs, though it is in ruins after a missile crashed in the middle of it. This is the room in which Aeris must escape from Shinra. There are many wooden pillars at the very top of this room, which transition to become their own area when Aeris reaches Cloud's level.
After Aeris reaches Cloud's level, the pillars at the top become the Roof area. Here, Cloud and Aeris run across the small pillars to escape through the hole in the roof. They then access the Sector 5 Slums - Rooftops.
Escape with Aeris using barrelsEdit
As Cloud and Aeris escape the church, Aeris joins the party as a playable character. During the fight with the Shinra soldiers Cloud can push several barrels on top of the church, knocking the enemies down from above to reduce the number of enemy encounters Aeris must face. This affects Aeris's affection value with Cloud, a factor determining an outcome of an event later on in the game.
The player needs to push the barrels in the right order: The left barrel first, then top barrel second, and then the right barrel last. If the player waits too long to push a barrel, Aeris is forced into battle. If the player pushes the wrong barrel Aeris must battle an enemy anyway, and Cloud can also prompt Aeris to fight without pushing any barrels.
After coming back to Midgar in Part 2 onwards, the player can find an apparition of Aeris on the flower bed. It only appears once, and once triggered can never been seen again, but numerous glitches surround this area and can be confused with this "ghost".
- Hedgehog Pie x2
- Hedgehog Pie x3
- Hedgehog Pie x2 (Back attack)
- Hedgehog Pie x3 (Ambush)
- MP (Boss)
- Guard Hound x2 (Boss)
- MP, Guard Hound (Boss)
Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- has an entirely new arrangement, titled "The Burdened".
During the ending of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which takes place in the church, the song "Cloud Smiles" plays.
The church's flower field from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children appears as a background in a Field Music Sequence for "Cloud Smiles" from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and "A Flower Blooming in the Slums (from FFVII "Aerith's Theme")" for Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-.
It also appears as a battle background in a Battle Music Sequence.
- Final Fantasy VII
- Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-
- Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-
- In an optional dialogue sequence with Cid in Final Fantasy VII, he says, "That reminds me of a test rocket that landed in the Midgar Slums long ago. I remember how relieved I was when I heard it never blew up". The crashed rocket in the church is most likely the rocket that Cid was referring to.
- The fight sequence in the church between Loz and Tifa in Advent Children was duplicated in the music video for the Korean pop singer Ivy MV's "Temptation of Sonata", albeit with minor changes, such as small parts of the fighting choreography being altered due to the absence of Loz's Dual Hound, and Tifa's victory by snapping Loz's neck at the end. The music video was banned on TV and singer Ivy was sued by Square Enix.
- A possible real-world Christian inspiration for the church is the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, which was built after Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego nearby in December 1531 and led him to the top of Tepeyac Hill, where he found Castilian roses, which were blooming in spite of them not being native to Mexico and out of season, to take to the area's Spanish bishop, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, as proof.
- The church interior and its flowerbed were recreated for the Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary exhibition in Japan in January 2018.
- The flowers were initially portrayed as yellow, but from Advent Children onwards white flowers have been mixed into the flowerbed. The flowers resemble real world Lilium genus of flowers (true lilies), important in culture and literature in much of the world. In the Victorian language of flowers lilies portray love, ardor, and affection for loved ones. Lilies are commonly used at funerals where they signify the soul has been restored to the state of innocence. The Taiwanese lily grows near bodies of clean water, leading to beliefs that harming them damages the environment. Easter lily is a plant endemic to Taiwan and Ryukyu Islands of Japan known as such for symbolizing of the resurrection of Christ.