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 and includes every cathedral (the seat of a bishop) and basilica. It may however not include (all) modern megachurch buildings, many of which are larger in area and volume than many of the "classic" church buildings listed here. The list does include at least one building, the Hagia Sophia, that was originally a church but later became a mosque - and is now a museum.

Measurements[edit]

Relative size of churches

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 (m²) Gross volume (m³) Name Built City Country Denomination Comment
15,160 (interior)[1][2]
21,095 (exterior)[1]
5,000,000[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 1955-1980 Aparecida  Brazil Catholic (Roman Rite) Church dimensions 173×168 m yielding a maximum area of 29,000 m²[5]
11,520[6] 500,000 + Seville Cathedral 1401-1528 Seville  Spain Catholic (Roman Rite) The largest Gothic cathedral in the world[7]
11,200[3] 480,000[8] Cathedral of Saint John the Divine 1892–present (unfinished) New York City  United States Episcopal (Anglican) Unfinished, lacking transepts among other components
10,186[9] 440,000 Milan Cathedral 1386–1965 Milan  Italy Catholic (Ambrosian Rite) Touring Club Italiano claims 11,700 m² (earlier sources state 8,406 m²)[2][10]
10,090 300,000[11] Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń 1994–2004 Licheń Stary  Poland Catholic (Roman Rite) 9,240 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[11]
9,687[12] 450,000 + Liverpool Cathedral 1904-1978 Liverpool  United Kingdom Church of England (Anglican)
8,700[13] 130,000 Church of the Most Holy Trinity 2004-2007 Fátima  Portugal Catholic (Roman Rite) Area given as 12,000m²[4]
8,515 Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls IV-1823 Rome  Italy Catholic (Roman Rite)
8,318[14] Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar 1681–1872 Zaragoza  Spain Catholic (Roman Rite)
8,300 Florence Cathedral 1296-1436 Florence  Italy Catholic (Roman Rite)
8,260 190,000 Ulm Minster 1377-1890 Ulm  Germany Lutheran Tallest 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 1985-1989 Yamoussoukro  Ivory Coast Catholic (Roman Rite) The enclosed area approximately 8,000 m²[18]
7,960 255,800 [19] Hagia Sophia 532-537 Istanbul  Turkey Orthodox Was the largest church in the world for a millennium, now a museum
7,920 270,000 San Petronio Basilica[20] 1390–1479 Bologna  Italy Catholic (Roman Rite) World's largest Gothic brick church
7,914 407,000[21] 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[22] Washington National Cathedral 1907–1990 Washington, DC  United States Episcopal (Anglican)
7,700[23] 200,000 (interior only) Amiens Cathedral 1220-1270 Amiens  France Catholic (Roman Rite) Gross volume slightly below 400,000
7,097 (interior)
12,069 (exterior)[24]
76,396 Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 1919–1961 Washington, DC  United States Catholic (Roman Rite) interior decoration remains unfinished
6,825 660,000 Saint Joseph's Oratory 1904-1967 Montreal  Canada Catholic (Roman Rite)
6,650 Reims Cathedral 1211-1275 Reims  France Catholic (Roman Rite) The longest church in France
6,044 Strasbourg Cathedral 1015-1439 Strasbourg  France Catholic (Roman Rite)
6,038 Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels 1998-2002 Los Angeles  United States Catholic (Roman Rite)
6,020[25] 43,300 De Hoeksteen, Barneveld 2007-2008 Barneveld  Netherlands Protestant
5,600 Esztergom Basilica 1822-1869 Esztergom  Hungary Catholic (Roman Rite)
5,500 Notre Dame de Paris 1163-1345 Paris  France Catholic (Roman Rite)
5,400 Sagrada Familia 1882–present Barcelona  Spain Catholic (Roman Rite) Unfinished
5,170 New Cathedral, Linz 1862-1924 Linz  Austria Catholic (Roman Rite)
5,017 Westminster Cathedral 1895-1910 London  United Kingdom Catholic (Roman Rite)
5,000 155,000 St. Mary's Church[26] 1343–1502 Gdańsk  Poland Catholic (Roman Rite)
5,000 Holy Trinity Cathedral 1995-2004 Tbilisi  Georgia Orthodox The overall area of the cathedral, including its large narthex, is 5,000 square meters and the volume it occupies is 137 cubic meters. The interior of the church measures 56 metres by 44 metres, with an interior area of 2,380 square metres. The height of the cathedral from the ground to the top of the cross is 105,5 metres. The underground chapel occupies 35,550 cubic metres. The height is 13 metres.
4,968[27] Winchester Cathedral 1079-1525 Winchester  United Kingdom Church of England (Anglican) The longest Gothic Cathedral in Europe.
4,320[28] Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal) 1856-1878 Taal, Batangas  Philippines Catholic (Roman Rite)
4,273[29] Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire 1083–1375 Ely  United Kingdom Church of England (Anglican) Third-largest medieval Cathedral in the United Kingdom
4,188 217,000 Frauenkirche[30] 1468–1525 Munich  Germany Catholic (Roman Rite) The largest Gothic brick church north of the Alps and the largest hall church
3,822 Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, Yerevan 1997-2001 Yerevan  Armenia Armenian Apostolic Church
3,650[31] 170,000[31] Cathedral of Saint Sava 1935-2003 Belgrade  Serbia Orthodox
3,170 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral 1882-1912 Sofia  Bulgaria Orthodox
2,800[32] Medak Cathedral 1914–1926 Medak  India Church of South India
2,135 64,040[33] Basilica of St. John the Baptist 1839-1855 St. John's  Canada Catholic (Roman Rite) The largest church in eastern Canada
1,760 32,162[34] All Saints Cathedral, Halifax 1907-1910 Halifax  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. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. 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 (21 December 2004). The Epic of New York City: A Narrative History. Basic Books. p. 413. ISBN 978-0786714360. Retrieved 2015-05-29. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ a b "Faith". The Times. 13 March 2012. Archived from the original on 30 August 2008. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  5. ^ "Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida". Structurae. Retrieved 2015-06-08. 
  6. ^ Quintero, Josephine. "Seville Cathedral, The City of Seville main sights, Andalucia, Southern Spain". Andalucia.com. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  7. ^ "Seville Cathedral". seville-traveller.com. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Ellis, Edward Robb Edgewood Apartments pg. 413
  9. ^ Paved surface of the cathedral according to the City Planning Assessor. "Corriere della sera", 3 April 2011.
  10. ^ And third largest after St. Peter and Cathedral of Seville. "Milano", Touring Club Italiano, Milano, 1985. ISBN 88-365-0004-8. Page 130.
  11. ^ a b "Sanktuarium Maryjne w Licheniu". Lichen.pl. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  12. ^ "Cathedral". Liverpool Cathedral. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  13. ^ Carvalho, António P. O.; Freitas, Diamantino (10 July 2003). "The New Megachurch For The Sanctuary Of Fátima" (PDF). Tenth International Congress on Sound and Vibration. Stockholm: University of Porto. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  14. ^ "La Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar" (in Spanish). Goya.unizar.es. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  15. ^ "Basílica de Guadalupe | Santuario". Virgendeguadalupe.org.mx. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  16. ^ "Art & Architecture: Facts and Figures". Dekathedraal.be. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  17. ^ "The world's most extreme structures". The Guardian. 17 June 2004. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  18. ^ "Basilica of Our Lady of Peace Yamoussoukro". Emporis: Buildings. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  19. ^ Woszczyk, Wieslaw (27 January 2014). "Aural Architecture: Music, Acoustics, and Ritual" (PDF). Onassis Seminar on music acoustics and ritual. Stanford University. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  20. ^ data from http://www.bolognawelcome.com, Basilica di San Petronio plus calculations as follows:
    • San Petronio de Bologna: The footplan of the building is a simple rectangle
      • Area = length of the building x width of the building = 132 m x 60 m
    • The volume, without the roofs, can be calculated as a sum of five cuboids, one single (the central nave) and two pairs (the aisles and the files of chapels). The sum each of the pairs can be calculated as one cuboid of double width. Knowing the height of the central nave and the width of the building, the measures of the sections can be calculated by measuring an orthograde photo of the facade.
      • Volume = (traverse section of the central nave [width = 22 m, height = 44.27 m] + sum of the traverse sections of the two aisles [width = 20 m, height = 29.06 m] + sum of the traverse sections of the two files of chapels [width = 18 m, height = 22.38 m]) x length of the building [132 m]
      • (973.94 + 581.2 + 402.84) x 132 = 1,957.98 x 132 = 258,453.36
  21. ^ "The Cathedral's dimensions". Dierk's page. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  22. ^ "Architectural History". Washington National Cathedral. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  23. ^ Structurae. "Structurae - International Database and Gallery of Structures". En.structurae.de. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  24. ^ "Histsory: Architecture". National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Retrieved 2015-06-08. 
  25. ^ http://www.vanbeijnumarch.nl/projecten/kerken/ggin-barneveld/
  26. ^ http://structurae.net/structures/saint-marys-church
  27. ^ Sergeant, Philip W. (1899). Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Winchester. London: George Bell & Sons. 
  28. ^ Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal)
  29. ^ "Facts & Figures". Ely Cathedral. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  30. ^ data from www.muenchen.de Frauenkirche (Dom Zu Unserer Lieben Frau) plus calculations as follows: Munich Frauenkirche is a hall church without a transept, but with an ambulatory ao full height around the choir. Therefore the volume of the hall can simply be calculated as the sum of a cubiod and half of a cylindre of the same height. With a length of 109 m and a width of 40 m and a height of the interior of 37 m, that makes
    • (89 m x 40 m + π x 20 m x 20 m ÷ 2) x 37 m = 4,188 m² x 37 m = 154,956 m³.
    The ridge is 58 m above the ground, that is 21 m above the tops aof the vaults:
    • roof above the cuboid: (58 m – 37 m) x 40 m x 98 m ÷ 2 = 21 m x 40 m x 49 m = 41.160 m³
    • roof above the hemi-cylindre: 20 m x 20 m x 21 m x π ÷ 6 = 4396 m³
    • sum of the roof = 45,556
    • sum of nave and roof = 200.512
    • estimated volume of the towers (98 m) above the roof 2 x 13 m x 13 m x ( 98 m - 48 m) = 16.900 m³
  31. ^ a b "Димензије и архитектонске карактеристике Храм Светог Саве гатара" [Dimensions and Architectural Features] (in Serbian). Hram Svetog Save. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  32. ^ "Welcome to Medak Diocese | Church of South India". Csimedakdiocese.in. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  33. ^ "Geology of the Catholic Basilica of St. John the Baptist, St. John’s, Newfoundland" (PDF). Geoscience Canada (Geological Association of Canada) 31 (1): 1–10. March 2004. Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  34. ^ "Welcome". Cathedral Church of All Saints. Retrieved 2015-05-29.