List of largest church buildings in the world

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Seville Cathedral, the third largest church building in the world and the largest cathedral.

This article lists the largest church buildings in the world as measured by various criteria.

Scope[edit]

The term church is open to interpretation and debate. In this article, it means any building that was built for the primary purpose of Christian worship, for any recognised denomination of Christianity. This includes every cathedral (the seat of a bishop), basilica, and other type of church. It does not include temples of other religions, such as mosques, synagogues, and so on. It does include at least one building, Hagia Sophia, that was built as a church and later became a mosque (it is now a museum).

Measurements[edit]

Whilst claims are made about the relative size of churches many of these claims are not easily substantiated. "Largest" is at best a vague term, which is often not qualified by claimants. Accepted measures of largeness could include area, volume, length, width, height, and/or capacity, although the last is far more subjective. It is important to note therefore that churches may claim to be "the largest" based on only one of these measurements; and thus that there may be several churches that have equal claim to be "the largest church". Since there is no official body governing these claims, there is no generally accepted criterion for being "the largest church".

The list below attempts to rank churches by different (more-or-less) objective criteria, and thus may generate different orders depending on the measure used. Churches for which claims are made but dimensions cannot be found are not included on the below lists.

For length, width and height, there is usually a definitive statistic for each church, which can easily be compared. However, for area and volume, the situation is often more complex. It is often possible to find multiple values quoted for the area/volume of a church in references. Many values appear to be estimates or approximations (especially for volume), or may have been calculated by multiplying lengths, widths and heights. In the latter case, the exact dimensions used (internal vs. external, etc.) may give very different figures. Therefore, although area and volume are the most common 'largeness' measures, they are also apt to be the least reliable. This should be borne in mind when comparing church sizes.

Area in m² Gross volume in m³ Name Completion City Country Denomination Comment
15,160 (interior)[1][2]
20,139 (exterior)[1]
1,200,000[3] St. Peter's Basilica 1506–1626 Vatican City Vatican City Catholic
(Roman Rite)
Area can be verified on a plan printed as 205% size in 1:1000 scale to match a 41.47 m dome internal diameter
12,000 1,200,000[4] Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida 1955 Aparecida Brazil Catholic
(Roman Rite)
Dimensions of the church given as 173×168 m yielding a maximum area of 29,000 m²[5]
11,520[6] >500,000 Seville Cathedral 1520 Seville Spain Catholic
(Roman Rite)
The largest cathedral in the world
11,200[3] 480,000[7] Cathedral of Saint John the Divine 1941–present (unfinished) New York City United States Episcopal (Anglican) Unfinished, lacking transepts among other components
10,186[8] 440,000 Milan Cathedral 1386–1965 Milan Italy Catholic
(Ambrosian Rite)
According to Touring Club Italiano, 11,700 m² (earlier sources state 8,406 m²)[2][9]
10,090 300,000[10] Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń 1994–2004 Licheń Stary Poland Catholic
(Roman Rite)
9240 m², enclosed main floor includes transept and apse at 290 m², enclosed tower floor at 560 m², open tower and gallery floor at 23,000 m² (which excludes the porticos at 530 m²), total area includes all floors[10]
9,687[11] Liverpool Cathedral 1904-1978 Liverpool United Kingdom Church of England (Anglican) The largest Anglican cathedral and church in Europe
8,700[12] 130,000 Church of the Most Holy Trinity 2007 Fátima Portugal Catholic
(Roman Rite)
Area given as 12,000m²[4]
8,318[13] Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar 1681–1872 Zaragoza Spain Catholic
(Roman Rite)
8,260 190,000 Ulm Minster 1890 Ulm Germany Lutheran Tallest church in the world
8,162[14] 170,000[14] Cathedral of Saint Sava 2003 Belgrade Serbia Orthodox Largest Christian Orthodox temple and church in the world
8,000 Basilica of the Sacred Heart 1905-1970 Koekelberg (Brussels) Belgium Catholic
(Roman Rite)
8,000 Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe 1974–1976 Mexico City Mexico Catholic
(Roman Rite)
The dimensions of the basilica with its circular base is given as 102 m in diameter yielding an area of 8,167 m²[15]
8,000[16] Cathedral of Our Lady 1352–1521 Antwerp Belgium Catholic
(Roman Rite)
7,989 (interior)
30,000 (exterior)[17]
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace 1989 Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast Catholic
(Roman Rite)
The enclosed area approximately 8,000 m²[18]
7,920 San Petronio 1390–1658 Bologna Italy Catholic
(Roman Rite)
7,914 407,000[19] Cologne Cathedral 1248–1880 Cologne Germany Catholic
(Roman Rite)
Gross volume without buttresses
7,875[2] St Paul's Cathedral 1677–1708 London United Kingdom Church of England (Anglican)
7,712[20] Washington National Cathedral 1907–1990 Washington, DC United States Episcopal (Anglican)
7,700[21] 200,000 (interior only) Amiens Cathedral 1220-1270 Amiens France Catholic
(Roman Rite)
Gross volume slightly below 400,000
7,400 Hagia Sophia 537 Istanbul Turkey Orthodox Was the largest church in the world for a millennium, now a museum
7,097 (interior)
12,069 (exterior)[22]
76,396 Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 1919–1961 Washington D.C. United States Catholic
(Roman Rite)
The largest Catholic church in the United States
6,825 660,000 Saint Joseph's Oratory 1967 Montreal Canada Catholic
(Roman Rite)
The largest church in Canada
5,400 Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain Catholic
(Roman Rite)
Unfinished
4,968[23] Winchester Cathedral 1525 Winchester, Hampshire United Kingdom Church of England (Anglican) The longest Gothic Cathedral in Europe.
4,320[24] Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal) 1865 Taal, Batangas Philippines Catholic
(Roman Rite)
The largest Catholic church in Asia
4,273[25] Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire 1375 Ely United Kingdom Church of England (Anglican) Third-largest medieval Cathedral in the United Kingdom
3,822 Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, Yerevan 2001 Yerevan Armenia Armenian Apostolic Church The largest Armenian Apostolic church in the world
3,170 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral 1882 Sofia Bulgaria Orthodox The second largest Orthodox church in the world
2,800[26] Medak Cathedral 1914–1926 Medak India Church of South India The largest Cathedral church in India
2,135 64,040[27] Basilica of St. John the Baptist 1855 St. John's Canada Catholic
(Roman Rite)
The largest church in eastern Canada
1,760 32,162[28] All Saints Cathedral, Halifax 1907-1910 Halifax Regional Municipality Canada Anglican Church of Canada The largest Anglican cathedral church in Canada

By height[edit]

By length[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "St. Peter's - The Nave". Saintpetersbasilica.org. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  2. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg "Basilica of St. Peter". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  3. ^ a b Ellis, Edward Robb. The Epic of New York City: A Narrative History pg. 413
  4. ^ a b "Faith | The Times". Timesonline.co.uk. 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  5. ^ "Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida (Aparecida, 1984) | Structurae". En.structurae.de. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  6. ^ Quintero, Josephine. "Seville Cathedral, The City of Seville main sights, Andalucia, Southern Spain". Andalucia.com. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  7. ^ Ellis, Edward Robb Edgewood Apartments pg. 413
  8. ^ Paved surface of the cathedral according to the City Planning Assessor. "Corriere della sera", 3 April 2011.
  9. ^ And third largest after St. Peter and Cathedral of Seville. "Milano", Touring Club Italiano, Milano, 1985. ISBN 88-365-0004-8. Page 130.
  10. ^ a b "Sanktuarium Maryjne w Licheniu". Lichen.pl. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  11. ^ "Cathedral". Liverpool Cathedral. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  12. ^ "The New Megachurch For The Sanctuary Of Fátima" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  13. ^ "La Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar" (in Spanish). Goya.unizar.es. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  14. ^ a b "Hram Svetog Save". Hram Svetog Save. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  15. ^ "Basílica de Guadalupe | Santuario". Virgendeguadalupe.org.mx. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  16. ^ "De Kathedraal - Facts and Figures". Dekathedraal.be. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  17. ^ Open space surrounded by colonnade. Source: "The world's most extreme structures". Arts.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  18. ^ "Basilica of Our Lady of Peace Yamoussoukro | Buildings". Yamoussoukro /: Emporis. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  19. ^ "Dierk's page - Cologne Cathedral's dimensions". Anicursor.com. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ Structurae. "Structurae - International Database and Gallery of Structures". En.structurae.de. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  22. ^ "Home-National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception". Nationalshrine.com. 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  23. ^ http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20346/20346-h/20346-h.htm
  24. ^ Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal)
  25. ^ http://www.elycathedral.org/history/facts_figures.html
  26. ^ "Welcome to Medak Diocese | Church of South India". Csimedakdiocese.in. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  27. ^ "Geology of the Catholic Basilica of St. John the Baptist, St. John’s, Newfoundland Geoscience Canada 31, 1 (Mar. 2004): 1-10.". https://www.gac.ca/wp/?page_id=106. Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  28. ^ "Cathedral Church of All Saints; Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Canada". www.nspeidiocese.ca. Retrieved 2013-04-09.