From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Amandajm, by all accounts an otherwise excellent article writer, reverted a minor correction to the intro, so I just need to make a note of it here, if she reverts it again. "Cathedral" does come from Latin and French words used to indicate the seat of a bishop. However, by analogy/metonymy, the current English meaning of the word also comprises any other large Christian ecclesiastical edifice, Catholic or otherwise. That's acknowledged, but confusingly dealt with, in the discussion about Scottish & other "cathedrals" even within the current heading.

This article is not Cathedral (Catholic) and the "the seat of a bishop" is not the only valid (or even principal, depending on one's dictionary) meaning of the term in English.

That should be addressed within the article. Cheers. -LlywelynII (talk) 13:30, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

  • The matter is addressed in the article.
  • "Large grand church" is not the principal definition in any reliable dictionary.
I am very sorry to say that a rather garbled defintion is in Wikionary, as well as the correct one. it says
"1.A big church building, central place for some area."
"2.The principal church of a bishop's diocese which contains an episcopal throne."
It is plain to any informed reader that the person who wrote the first definition had only a vague idea which they have expressed incoherently as "central place for some area", presumably not knowing the word "diocese" or precisely in what way it was "central place".
This edit was hidden for months by another editor who realised that it was just a bad way of expressing the real meaning. However, someone more recently removed the formatting that hid this definition.
The result is that, although it has been questioned by at least two editors, the "primary" defintion on Wiktionary is the wrong one.
I think we'll just stick with correct defintion.
"Cathedral" does not mean "any other large Christian edifice", as stated above, except perhaps to those who only use the word very occasionally and are unaware of its proper meaning.
The notion that this is now its "primary meaning" is foolishness.
Amandajm (talk) 08:58, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
"by analogy" v. "erroneously". This is the wrong way to express it. In general, as I have pointed out to LLywelynII on their homepage, the term "cathedral" is more frequently used for a large church in error than by analogy.
The reasons are either that the speaker is ignorant of the true meaning, or else does know the meaning but does not know the ecclesiatical status of the particular building. The two buildings which cause the most confusion in this regard ar Saint Peter's Basilica and Saint Mark's, Venice]], which tourists often call St Peter's Cathedral and St Mark's Cathedral, presuming that this is their function. However neither functions as the seat of a presiding bishop.
The only church that comes immediately to mind as being called a cathedral in the "analogous" sense is Tideswell Church which has been called "the Cathedral of the Peak" on account of its beauty for a very long time, for 70 years that I know of, but I suspect from the 19th century. This "analogous" use is uncommon.
The other way in which "cathedral" is use is when people apply it metaphorically in a context that has nothing to do with churches whatsoever. This use includes phrases such as "cathedral of learning" when applied ot a university, "cathedral of commerce", when applied to a business or a stock market. The term is sometimes used descriptively of a forest, a cave or other natural feature that conjours up the appearance or atmosphere of a cathedral.
The disambig page can state this sort of thing. This page needs to be about what a "cathedral" actually is.
Amandajm (talk) 09:22, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
The above comments by Amandajm smack of POV editing and pushing a narrow viewpoint. Most Protestant denominations don't believe in the need for "bishops," but we still see the word "cathedral" used for large edifices such as the "Crystal Cathedral."

Contrary to your biased, POV editing, Amandajm, we see the dictionary state:

ca·the·dral (k-thdrl) n. 1. The principal church of a bishop's diocese, containing the episcopal throne. 2. A large, important church. 3. Something that resembles a cathedral, as in grandeur or authority. adj. 1. Of, relating to, or containing a bishop's throne: a cathedral church. 2. Relating to or issuing from a chair of office or authority; authoritative. 3. Of, relating to, or resembling a cathedral: tall trees whose branches met to form cathedral arches over the path.

As you mentioned, St. Mark's in Venice is often referred to as a "cathedral," and according to dictionary definition 2, they're right. You can't change that, it's original research. (talk) 04:55, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

The term "cathedral" has to do, specifically, with the presence of a "cathedra" and has nothing whatsoever to do with size. Modern common usage has expanded its use to include "big church", hence "Crystal Cathedral". And common usage is really not highly dependent upon the speaker being well-informed, and using words in their true sense.
Nothing will make St Mark's correctly a cathedral. To refer to this ancient building which is officially designated a basilica as a cathedral is both erroneous and confusing, (likewise St. Peter's Basilica). Neither is a cathedral by function, so, ecclesiastically speaking, they are not cathedrals, regardless of common application of the term.
However, I will leave your edit intact as it acknowledges common usage, while the article itself focuses on the function of real cathedrals, rather than those that bear the name.
To give you another example: The word "castle" is often loosely applied, like the word "cathedral". Castle Howard is not a castle. It is a country house. Sissinghurst Castle is not a castle. It's the remains of a large country house. Neither would appear in an article about castles.
Amandajm (talk) 10:00, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Re St. Mark's, Venice, as a cathedral. From The Blue Guides - Northern Italy : from the Alps to Rome, ed. Stuart Rossiter MA (C) Ernest & Benn Ltd., London (p.284) "Though the basilica has been a cathedral only since 1807 ...". From The Companion Guide to Venice, by Hugh Honour, pub. Collins, London, (c) Hugh Honour 1965, (p.29) "First of all, it is important to remember that San Marco did not become a cathedral until 1807. (The Patriarchal palace on the left dates mainly from the 1830s)". As for "Big Church", after the reformation in Scotland St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh ceased to be a cathedral because the Church of Scotland, as a Presbyterian church, does not have bishops. It became the High Kirk of Edinburgh. However, the locals were used to calling it St. Giles Cathedral and, in popular but not ecclesiastical usage, have not broken their habit. See St. Giles' own web site [1] "In 1633, King Charles I appointed Scottish Episcopal bishops in Scotland and in 1635 William Forbes became the first bishop of the new diocese of Edinburgh, with St Giles’ as its cathedral, which it remained until 1638 and again from 1661-1689. That St Giles’ is commonly called a cathedral dates from this period." I hope those quotes help. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Thank you! Yes, you are perfectly right about St Marks. Amandajm (talk) 16:20, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Eastern Orthodox Cathedrals[edit]

"The term "cathedral" is not officially used in Eastern Orthodoxy, the church of a bishop being known as "the great church", though cathedral is commonly used in English translations. The Oriental Orthodox Churches similarly do not have cathedrals as such, however some major churches like Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo are called cathedrals."

I'm going to delete this because it's actually not true. The term "cathedral" is used officially, just not very often in some languages. In the Greek Orthodox Church, the terms "kathedrikos naos" (literally: "cathedral shrine") and "metropolis" (literally "mother city") are used interchangeably to describe the same thing. "Metropolis" is more common, but both terms are officially used. If someone wants to replace it with a more accurate parapraph, that would be cool. Skyduster (talk) 00:10, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Dubuque Photo[edit]

Cathedrals are swwweeettt dude.Most of these cathedral photos are great, but what is up with Saint Raphael's Cathedral, Dubuque, Iowa? First of all, it's not a very important cathedral. But even if there is a desire for a modest example (perhaps to counter the idea that a cathedral is always towering and impressive), there could at least be a photo that doesn't look like it was taken through the trees from someone's apartment window. It's terrible. emw 16:19, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Meath, Ireland[edit]

Traces of the tribal and migratory system may still be noted in the designations of the Irish see of Meath (where the result has been that there is now no cathedral church)

Above line is disputed (but I have left it in the text for now!). Which See of Meath is it talking about? Roman Catholic or Church of Ireland? (The Ecclesiastical Titles Act meant that Roman Catholicism and the Church of England use different names for their seas. In Ireland most use the same or similar names.

The Roman Catholic diocese does have a cathedral. It used to be St. Mary's Church in Navan, Co. Meath. In the early twentieth century, it was moved to a new location, and is now The Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar. Unfortunately I don't know any details about the Church of Ireland diocese, other than (a) the Bishops used to live in Ardbraccan, outside Navan but now live in County Kildare; (b) the diocese is now known as the Diocese of Meath and Kildare. So even if Meath itself doesn't have a Church of Ireland cathedral (though centuries ago, there used to be a cathedral in Trim, Co. Meath, which may be pre-reformation - I'll have to check Dean Cogan's History of the RC diocese of Meath), Kildare might have one. Anyone out there know the answer. (In any case I'll check with the C of I if I get the chance. If they do have a diocesian cathedral, I'll axe this line. In the meantime, I am putting a strike through. JtdIrL 04:00 Mar 8, 2003 (UTC)


> A Cathedral is a (frequently but not always large) Christian church, the central church of a bishopric.

That sounds pretty clumsy. What about moving the large bit to the end -- although I can't offhand think of a graceful phrasing. The best I can do offhand is:

A Cathedral is a Christian church, the central church of a bishopric, and usually an imposing building.

Eliminating the weaselling, how is it now? Btw, I think the travelling bishops thing is a little fanciful. Like the Somerseatas: an invention of Edwardian antiquaries, were they not? Somerset, published in 1907 by G.W. Wade and J.H. Wade, (authors of Rambles in Somerset, Rambles in Devon etc) briefly features them. Are authenic "Somerseatas" mentioned in any document? Why are we taliing about Roman cathedrals in England anyway. This isn't waffle, it's marmelade... Wetman 01:12, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Lack of headings[edit]

i was just woundering if it would be better if the artical was split up into a few more headings / sub headings.


You refer to Strasbourg "and other german cities". Strasbourg may have been German (1870-1918 and 1940-45) but it is now firmly back in France. Münster: Several English cathedral are called "Minster" e.g. York Minster, as I understood it because they had been built by monks and were part of monasteries.

Byzantine cathedrals[edit]

Hey guys. Does anybody have a guide/URL to the styles/rhythms of Byzantine cathedrals? I need it for my article in the Saint Andrew cathedral in the city of patras... thanks. Project2501a 20:43, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Biggest, tallest...[edit]

Do we have a list of the "largest" cathedrals, with some appropriate measurement of "largest"? David.Monniaux 15:13, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Suprisingly not, as far as I can tell. If I can't find one, I will start one. Sylvain1972 17:24, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
OK, I've started "largest" to go with "tallest" -- List of largest cathedrals in the world Sylvain1972 17:24, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Patriarchal basilica[edit]

The use of patriarchal basilica in reference to the Lateran Basilica only refers to it belonging to the class of major basilicas in Rome, each traditionally assigned to a patriarch. It has nothing to do with its position in the hierarchy. It being the Roman cathedral is enough for it to be the chief Roman church, chief Italian church, chief Western church, and chief Ecumenical church for Roman Catholics. If being a patriarchal basilica had anything to do with hierarchial position, then Saint Peter's Basilica, the patriarchal basilica traditionally assigned to the Patriarch of Constantinople, would be the patriarchal church of the Byzantine Rite, which was never the case. Pmadrid 8 July 2005 13:07 (UTC)


Let's not forget where freemasonry stems from (people who knew the art of building cathedrals). 15:38, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

This article is not about the construction of cathedrals. Its about the history and organisation.

--Amandajm 00:56, 14 June 2007 (UTC)


I think it's a shame that all of the pictures in this article are of Roman Catholic Cathedrals. The Orthodox DO have them, even if it's not the official name. Can we get an example of an Orthodox Cathedral on this page? St. Basil's in Moscow is pretty striking, visually, but there are lots of other good ones. I'd put one on here, but I'm pretty new to the editing thing, and I'm not sure what to do to make sure a given picture is public domain. Ştefan 12:48, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

There is currently a a mixture of cathedrals from mmany different countries. They are Roman Catholic, Anglican, Episcopal, Orthodox, and I don't know what else. They have been selected to show a wide range of sizes, styles, traditions etc. They have also been selected for format and "good picture quality". But I don't know if any very significant aspect has been left out that really ought to be included. This doesn't mean that every country needs to be represented, as many people can relate to different aspects of churches in other countries as well as their own. The interior of the cathedral in the US, for example, could well be in Australia or many other countries. Amandajm 05:51, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Some additional info[edit]

"One interesting fact about the building of a cathedral, was that whenever a townsperson was about to die, a bishop or a builder would go to that person and ask him or her to donate all their belongings to the building fund of the cathedral."

The above piece of information was added, without references (like almost everything else) and was definitely in the wrong section, but could perhpas be useful. Amandajm 13:37, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Additional sections[edit]

Aero07 decided that these stubs were useless and deleted them! They have been sitting there in the article for quite a while as stubs. Why doesn't some nice person who knows about this stuff fill them out? Pleeease do! The put them back under the intro that says Functions



What are the day to day services of the cathedral? And the major festivals?


The role of the choir, the organ, associated composers


OK, what goes here?

Amandajm 13:44, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Where were there Provosts?[edit]

So the original text here said that provosts were usual "outside the British Isles", and the proposed revision says they were usual "on continential Europe." There would be no reason to worry about the change--and it would be good to make if it soothed ruffled feathers--if the terms were complements, but they aren't. There are, after all, areas which are neither part of the British Isles nor on continental Europe, and many of them have cathedrals. Important cases are cathedrals on islands (Sicily, Corsica, etc), and the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem is also relevant. Even more curious is that the article begins to speak of the term "provost" being unknown "in England." Were there large Scottish or Irish churches at the time to consult? What was their term for the senior officer? I think we should figure this out. A brief check of the Catholic Encyclopedia was not helpful, AFAICT. My concern is that the relevant question here is "where were there Provosts", not "let's pretend we know and then put in geographical terms to match." I think the editors of this article have generally really not known. Tb (talk) 14:19, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Further disastrousness. A while ago the article said "abroad" there were provosts. Obviously that had to go! One assumes it came from a British encyclopedia or some such, perhaps the old Brittanica which was the basis for many Wikipedia articles. If that's true, it means "outside England", roughly, but not in such a way as to exclude Scotland or Ireland or Wales: that is, hopelessly vaguely "generally away from here". All the more reason we should maybe try to find out the facts. Tb (talk) 14:22, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Confirmed. The language goes back to "abroad" from the 1911 encyclopedia which was then changed to "outside the British Isles" in a laudable attempt to be less location-centric. Tb (talk) 14:24, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Cologne Cathedral v. Cathedral of São Paulo[edit]

The reason why I have reversed this change by an unnamed editor, twice, is simply that the pics have been very carefully selected. The lower picture is a rare image of the interior of a cathedral in use, with a procession taking place. Wiki commons has very few pictures like that one. The upper picture, the exterior of São Paulo, was carefully selected from among the many hundreds of exterior views of cathedrals, as a visual complement to the chosen interior.

The view of Cologne Cathedral is spectacular on its own. But it does not complement the interior view in any way. The picture is of much larger proportion and makes the other picture look insignificant. An effective article needs to be well laid out and look good, as well as providing information. This is not an article about great architecture. It is an article about religious function, and to that end, the Cathedral of São Paulo is equally representative. Amandajm (talk) 14:45, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I'm really sorry for this. I changed the picture twice before and I did it again today. Then I read this post and I have to say that I agree with your reasons. I tried to change back the image and the text, but I can't remember exactly what it said, therefore it's not the same you wrote. I thought that some brazilian guy was obsessed with the new cathedral and was trying to put it on the top image of the article. On my view, Cologne Cathedral is a more representative cathedral on an historical context. Anyway, your aesthetical point of view completely justifies having Catedral da Se on top of the procession. I send you my greetings and apologies. MinosMx (talk) 17:59, 19 April 2008 (UTC)


An editor recently up and changed a bunch of the gallery images, radically reducing the geographic spread of the previous set, and mistakenly including St. Peter's Basilica (not a cathedral at all). I've reverted the changes, because there seems to be nothing wrong with the other set, and the changes were not explained at all. Tb (talk) 21:18, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

As promised, this was the gallery that I had in mind.

Massimo Catarinella (talk)

In addition to this I would love to remove some images in the article itself and replace some images.

Thanks for this nice work. These are nearly all bulk external shots; one (Chartres statues) is an exterior detail. The current article has some more variety in the gallery: some stained glass, an interior, a bell. I'd like it if we can keep those images. Also, the existing gallery has some smaller cathedrals, which is nice to show the diversity of the subject (thinking of the Dubuque one and Rejkjavik examples, say). Also, the text here is too wordy for a gallery, which in my opinion should just have the title of what's there and the location, and not the descriptions. The Brasilia example is a wonderful addition, and an exciting building to boot! Tb (talk) 20:55, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I made some changes to the gallery. I hope you like this new version more. I will also try to find some better pictures to replace the current pictures in the article with.Massimo Catarinella (talk)

The images in the text
They have been chosen to meet a couple of criteria.
  • Layout.. Wiith the exception of the bishops chair from Sydney (the only such pic I had available) they all meet the layout criteria (MY criteria, since I chose them) of being landscape format. My reasoning was that this allows for a large number of images which can all be sized the same, and all look reasonably good together..
  • Content... The lead pics are not chosen as the greatest works of architecture. They are more like the sort of catherdals that millions of people attend.. The one in the US is a rare shot of a ceremony taking place.. The two pics were chosen specifically to go together.
All the other pics in the text have been chose to illustrate the text itself.. I have no doubt that some can be improved upon, but I wanted a broad look at cathedrals, and various aspects of them, historical, present day, and how they relate to their town. Architectural grandeur was the least of the issues, because it is dealt with elsewhere, in a number of different articles.
Some of the pictures are rarer than you would think, eg, a choir performing, a congregation (leaving after the service, in this case) etc.
I also chose pics that were where possible, the most artistic shot available.
Gallery- I chose the pics initially, and included things like the stainedglass, the bell etc, to try and give a general view of things that are common to many cathedrals. I also wanted to include Catholic, Anglican, Protestant and different Orthodox cathedrals, as well as cathedrals from Europe, Africa, India, other parts of Asia, the Americas and Australasia. Many people expanded the gallery with their favourites.
I think perhaps the gallery could be reorganised, and that the criteria could be discussed here.

Amandajm (talk) 10:42, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I have just looked again at the new gallery, and I think that there is good info and the two should be combined.

But I don't like the historic image of Milan, included with the recent images. St Marks is not a cathedral. There is too much of Italy. Let's think about this some more!

Amandajm (talk) 10:49, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

My plan for the pictures in the article itself was to improve some images as I already have done. With improving I mean replacing a image of the same cathedral with a better one. I was not intending on removing or changing the images of the choir singing for example. There are however to many pictures in the article itself. So I would suggest removing the images of the same structuren, that would be in the new gallery. I will replace the Basilica di San Marco, but I thought it was a basilica and a cathedral. The article about the church also says so. Massimo Catarinella (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 11:46, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Why are there to many cathedrals from Italy in the new gallery? The country with the highest density of cathedrals is probably Italy. It is also home to a large number of famous and beautiful cathedrals. It only seems fare, that Italy receives three images in the new gallery. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Massimo Catarinella (talkcontribs) 11:51, 7 May 2008 (UTC)


  • St Mark's is definitely not a cathedral. The cathedral of Venice is Torcello Cathedral. St Peter's is also not a cathedral. Many of the finest and most famous churches of Italy are basilicas but not cathedrals. There is an historical reason why Italy has a large number of cathedrals- it is because the towns fought each other, and would not accept the rule of a bishop from a neighbouring town. In England, by comparison, there were only about 18 cathedrals (there are more now). The result of the high density of cathedrals in Italy is that many of the cathedrals are merely large churches- they not larger or more architecturally significant than the other churches around them. In Padua, for example, it is the church of St Anthony that is the most significant church, not the cathedral. The exceptions of course (in Northern Italy) are Florence, Siena, Milan, Orvieto and Pisa.
  • I think that it is better to give a world view of Christianity, than have 3 pics from one country, when there will probably be only 20 images. Remember that this is not about architecture.
  • For a major rearrangement to look good, then you have to select and arrange images exactly as if you were putting paintings on a gallery wall. It is very easy to take good images and arrange them badly.
  • When you write captions, remember that there is only a small space beneath the gallery. The caption needs to state the whereabouts, but does not need to be in a sentence. In other words, don't write a sentence that says "The Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris is one of the cathedrals in Paris France". It is quite enough to say "Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France".

Amandajm (talk) 12:26, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Ok, now I understand more what you want this gallery to be like. As for the Basilica di San Marco, my mistake. Everything else you said about Italy, I was well aware of, but thanks anyway. Do you have further suggestions for the new gallery? What picture would you like to keep from the old gallery? The new arrangement of the gallery? Massimo Catarinella (talk)

Another picture observation[edit]

I will make a talk page entry rather than edit it myself, in case I stir a hornet's nest.

There seems to be one or two too many photographs of English buildings to be truly neutral in images as well as text. Italy could perhaps lose one as well... The beneficiary I would suggest should be France, which doesn't have a single image. Antienne (talk) 03:47, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes. I agree. The reason why there are so many pics of English cathedrals is simply that someone wrote a longish section which is bbased specifically on the history and organisation of English Cathedrals. I selected the pics to illustrate the text.
There was previously a gallery which showed cathedrals from all around the world,, and which was added to frequently. Attilios swept by and took it with him. I'll see what I can do. Amandajm (talk) 04:26, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Problem fixed, I moved all the English stuff to a different page where it made a good contribution to another article. Diversified the pictures. Amandajm (talk) 00:22, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Palayamkottai.jpg[edit]

The image Image:Palayamkottai.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --04:16, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

English detail removed[edit]

I removed the section about history of English cathedrals, as it looked out of scope in an article dealing with the argumetn in general. There's the good separate entry for it. Ciao and good work. --'''Attilios''' (talk) 09:07, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

monastic cathedrals[edit]

I note the interesting statement that monastic cathedrals were common in medieval France and Germany. But this is not curretnly referenced, and so is difficult to reconcile with statements I have in recent works that such monastic chapters were rare outside England. Would it be possible to provide the specific references? TomHennell (talk) 01:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

No reply, so far as I can tell this para was lifted wholesale from the on-lin 1911 Britannica (a hazardous activity at the best of times). I have removed it TomHennell (talk) 00:37, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
When you leave a question here, you need to give more than a day to get a response. People often have lives outside Wikiepedia and don't check every article that they watch every day.
You are probably right about it coming from 1911 Britannica. However, if you are going to remove it, you need to reference the new material. Amandajm (talk) 11:37, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Specific to England; but which are the two cathdral priories that are undertood here to as not having been refoudned as secular cathedrals by Henry VIII? Coventry is clearly one; but which is the other; Bath? Better perhaps to name them. TomHennell (talk) 15:13, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

TomHennell (talk), I presume that those are the two. Can you source the information? Amandajm (talk) 03:22, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Durham Cathedral[edit]

Durham Cathedral is a spectacular Cathedral near where I live - I would advise adding some pictures of Durham Cathedral. contains some images —Preceding unsigned comment added by Benjamint05 (talkcontribs) 15:23, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

The Pro Cathedral of St Michael and All Angels, Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
Thank you for your suggestion, Bejamin. Durham is indeed a most spectacular and wonderful cathedral. However, inclusion in 'this article has nothing to do with architectural quality but purely function. The pics have been chosen to illustrate the history, the types of foundation, the way cathedrals work and their purposes in the modern world. This is why, for example, the picture chosen of Pisa Cathedral is the one with the touristy horse and buggy outside it. It is specifically illustrating the fact that many cathedrals are important tourism venues. The first pic has been chosen to show that the building of cathedrals is not a thing of the past.
As for Durham, You'll find it heading up the page Architecture of the medieval cathedrals of England and represented in Romanesque architecture. Amandajm (talk) 05:25, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

The Cathedral Building[edit]

I made some stylistic edits a while ago. They were reverted in part, and rightly so, because I misunderstood and accordingly changed the meaning of the section. But if it's really supposed to mean what it says, I think the section could use some clarification, because it seems a bit contradictory. The relevant paragraphs are:

Cathedral buildings are frequently the grandest of churches in the diocese (and country), especially those dating from Medieval and Renaissance times. The ancient cathedrals of England, of Northern France, Belgium, Spain, Germany and Sicily, as well as many other individual cathedrals from Italy and other parts of Europe are among the largest and finest buildings of the Medieval period. Many are renowned for their architecture or their decorative features such as sculpture, stained glass and frescos.

While in some countries – particularly England where medieval cathedrals are comparatively few in number – the cathedral buildings tend to be large, size and grandeur have rarely been essential requirements. Early Celtic and Saxon cathedrals tended to be of diminutive size, as is the Byzantine so-called Little Metropole Cathedral of Athens. In Italy, with a few notable exceptions such as Florence Cathedral and Milan Cathedral, cathedrals are numerous and are often similar in form and size to monastic or large parish churches. In modern times, where functionality is the foremost consideration, a cathedral church may be a modest structure.

The reason I changed "While in some" to "In other" in the second paragraph was that I felt like the statement that "size and grandeur have rarely been essential requirements" is at odds with all the statements in the first paragraph about how cathedrals are usually the biggest building in town, in the diocese, etc. So, I assumed the article was discussing different countries in the second paragraph than the first paragraph. (Specifically, I assumed that the article was saying that English churches are usually smaller and more drab than cathedrals in the other European countries mentioned because there weren't very many churches built in the Medieval period in England compared to other European countries.) Apparently I was incorrect. But I still think that whatever distinction actually is being made between these two paragraphs should be made more clear, because I really left feeling confused. (For example, maybe the article is trying to say that the Medieval period is an exception to the more general rule that cathedrals are small and not-grand, or something, but this should be stated.) I hope this is helpful. AgnosticAphid talk 05:11, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I'll see what I can do.
The key words here are "essential requirements".
The point about the English Cathedrals is exactly the opposite to the impression that you got. Because there were so few cathedrals by comparison with France and Italy, they were nearly always very large and in some cases could hold the entire population of their town and surrounding villages. Ely and Wells cathedrals are enormous buildings is villages rather than towns. The only small "ancient" cathedrals in England are the ones that have, for one reason or another, lost a substantial part of their building.
On the other hand, places which were not politically unified in the medieval period had lots and lots of Cathedrals. In Italy, there is a cathedral in almost every town and very few of them are any grander than the other large churches in the same town. In fact, if the town had a famous saint (Anhony of Padua for example) then the saint's titular church is much grander than the local cathedral which is the administrative centre, but not the main centre of pilgrimage.
I'll try to make it clearer. Amandajm (talk) 06:10, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Budolfi Church in Aalborg[edit]

I have deleted the sentence: "Some, like Budolfi Church which functions as the Lutheran cathedral of Aalborg in Denmark, are simply designated "church". Others, like Lübeck Cathedral, retain their ancient designation." It is true that the name of Aalborg Cathedral is Budolfi Church, but it is also very common to call it Aalborg Cathedral (especially outside Aalborg). So it is not correct to say that it is "simply designated 'church'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Edlef (talkcontribs) 10:47, 21 March 2012 (UTC)


I have just deleted the gallery. The addition of a gallery to that article is much more trouble than it is worth, because it means that every single person in the world wants to add their own picture of their favourite cathedral. The place for that is in Wikimedia Commons. If you look towards the bottom of the page, you will see a link to Cathedrals that shows thousands of pictures.

Every picture that is included in the text of the article has been selected to illustrate a point of the text. That is why the pics are not simply a gallery of the most grand and beautiful buildings. In the context of this article, all cathedrals are equally relevant. You will notice that every picture does not simply state the name and location. All the captions link to the text. This is why, out of all the possible pictures of Pisa Cathedral, a picture was chosen that indicated that it is a "tourist venue". Likewise the picture of Santiago de Compostela is seen from afar, as a pilgrimage destination.

  • Definition. The article is about "Cathedral" as an ecclesiastical designation. It does explain that the word "cathedral" is sometimes used by people who don't grasp the ecclesiastical meaning, to mean "big church". No-one who is actually involved in the organistation or structure of an "episcopalian" church (that means a church that has bishops and cathedrals) would ever use the word "cathedral" wrongly. But people who are not closely involved in the church, argue that the dictionary defintion has been stretched to include "a very large church". This is a bit like calling every large car a Cadillac, or every single vacuum cleaner a "Hoover".
Where this point is taking me is to the fact that you included in the gallery a picture of St Peter's Basilica. It isn't a "cathedral".
Some cathedrals do hold the title of "basilica". St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney (illustrated in the text for its typically cruciform plan) is the Cathedral Basilica of St Mary, Help of Christians. But many cathedrals are not basilicas, and many basilicas are not cathedrals. There is an article at Architecture of cathedrals and great churches.

Amandajm (talk) 01:55, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

The idea is simple, I just want to put the greatest Cathedral of the world List_of_largest_church_buildings_in_the_world, do not suppose I put my favotive ones. -- (talk) 02:05, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

On the another hand I am agree in delete the Basilicas-- (talk) 02:15, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

Adding pictures to that list would be a good idea. Try to chose pics that match each other on formatting. Horizontal pics are best when used in lists. I transferred your pic of the Basilica in Zaragazo to the Introduction of the article Architecture of cathedrals and great churches.
Amandajm (talk) 03:00, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
I think I misunderstood you. Don't add pictures here. I have given you the reasons why not. Add the pictures TO the List of largest churches. Not from the list of largest churches . They do not belong here. As I have already explained, being great or large is not important to this article. The important matter in function.
Amandajm (talk) 09:16, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Parish churches vs. cathedrals peculiar[edit]

Speaking of the various categories of cathedrals, I understand that some are parish church cathedrals (cathedrals that are also parish churches) and others are cathedrals peculiar (cathedrals that are NOT also parish churches). Does anyone want to incorporate this? J S Ayer (talk) 23:17, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

It could be added. It is the case in England. I don't know to what extent it is the case elsewhere. Amandajm (talk) 11:53, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Reason for deletion[edit]

  • The extra picture doesn't fit. It stuffs up the formatting of everything underneath it, on a horizontal laptop or desktop screen.
  • The article is not about "important" buildings architecturally. It is about what cathedrals are and how cathedrals function.
  • The two Neo-Gothic buildings have been selected as images that go well together, an inside view and an exterior.
  • The images have been selected as highly representative. There are cathedrals like that in Europe, Asia, the Orient, Australasia, Oceania and the Americas. Cologne Cathedral is not representative.

NOTE: When you made this edit the first time, I wrote a similar message at the I.P page that you were on, then. But you are on a different computer.

Amandajm (talk) 08:33, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Scope of the article[edit]

Amandajm, I can see you have put a lot of work into the look and feel of the article; but I suggest that it would benefit from a fairly thorough review and updating of the content. The problem, as I see it, is that the article as it stands is mainly about high medieval cathedrals, and their modern successors (especially Anglican and Catholic), and consequently tends to concentrate on a description of surviving cathedral buildings, on the organisation of cathedrals as institutions, and on the functions undertaken by cathedral clergy. Consequently, the article tends (in my view) to downplay those cathedral functions and activities that may precede, and succede, the existence of a formal cathedral chapter, as defined in the law and practice of these particlar episcopal churches, perhaps giving too little attention to those churches that retain the dignity and title of cathedral without the paraphenalia of canon law.

Essentially, cathedrals originated as the structure housing the familia of a bishop. From early days - certainly the Second Council of Toledo of 527 - this familia would have included oblated boys as well as adult ordained clergy; and hence would have had a function of education as well as one of liturgical worship. Furthermore, from the first a cathedral would have had the function of schola cantorum for training adults and boys in choral chant. Hence, long before cathedrals had formal clergy chapters, distinct from the household of the bishop; they had both schools - primarily for the education of boys into the clergy, and choirs. And, although most cathedrals with choirs eventually developed some form of school specifically for their choristers, the functions of choir and education remained distinct - and indeed relations between the two were always likely to break down altogether. So the catheral's function as housing learning and music precedes the high medieval development of the cathedral as a clerical institution; and in many churches, music and learning in the widest sense remain central functions of cathedrals, even those that retain the title, but have long dispensed with formal ecclesiastical structures in the Anglican/Catholic model. For example the St Magnus Festival. Some of this is discussed - with a good picture that I recommend for adding into this text, in the article on Cathedral Schools. TomHennell (talk) 22:53, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, one of the venues for the festival
The cathedral school of Trondheim, founded in 1152, is the oldest school in Norway. Today, the Katedralskole serves as secondary school.
TomHennell, very good! Would you do some work on it? The article is very short of references. It's a very old article, and was previously very biased in its content towards England. I have tried to balance that out. Incidentally, I am located in the Diocese of Sydney which is something else again. It isn't .... exactly easy to take a "broad view", and this isn't merely a matter of location. I would appreciate input from anyone who knows what they are talking about. Amandajm (talk) 08:20, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I will certainly do what I can - though I will try to check with you (and other interested editors) on this talk page before making any major changes. I am located in Manchester; and, though I have considerable experience of cathedrals in Scotland and Ireland, I cannot provide as wide a field of reference as such an important article strictly requires. On the other hand, I do have access to quite a lot of published reference materials here; that maybe are less easy to find in other parrts of the world (or on the web). The case of Scotland - to be honest - is where I came into this discussion, as the designation of 'catehdral' adopted in the article (as I read it) is at variance with the published scholarly work on Scottish cathedrals - e.g. in Anthony New; "A Guide to the Cathedrals of Britain" - and it is always problematic for a Wikipedia article, when it's systematic assumptions are clearly at cross-purposes with authoritative published scholarship. TomHennell (talk) 09:33, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
My area is architecture, which is not the scope of this article. I merely tidied this up, introduced some different aspects of what goes on, selected the pics to match the text and give a world coverage (although in some sections this is narrowed by historical context). I would tend to chose a picture of St Magnus that related closely to the festival, for this article, just as I deliberately selected a picture of Pisa that showed the tourist carriage, Vienna full of people and Santiago as a goal to be reached. There is another article Architecture of cathedrals and great churches which takes a broad look at the buildings (and has a large number of images. Amandajm (talk) 11:07, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
What I am basically saying is, correct whatever you can, and try to reference if possible. Amandajm (talk) 11:08, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I have been casting around in my books and other resources; and I find the most useful material on cathedral origins to be in Margaret Deanesly "History of the Medieval Church" (1925). This is now pretty old, so I would welcome suggstions as to more up-to-date references. There is a lot of recent work that is architectural and/or constructional; but rather less on the history and development of cathedral functions. From Deanesley I propose to take the fourfold distinction of cathedral functions; relating to the four chief functionaries of the diocese (or parochia) within the church of Late Antiquity. These four, are the bishop himself; together with his 'three pillars' the archpriest, the archdeacon, and the primicerius. The bishop stands for the function of leadership and supervision, represented in the cathedral by the episcopal throne (and by the bodies of his predecessors). Live and dead bishops together exercised authority in ordinations and synods; but the cathedra also represented the source of that authority in election, enthronement and acclamation by the laos of the diocese. The archpriest (who eventually transmogrifies into the chancellor) represents the function of education and learning, specifically that required for the training of ordained priests; and finds expression in the cathedral grammar school, and occasionally later, the university. The archdeacon eventually becomes a diocesan functionary (from the 9th century when these separate off) but at the first is primarily concerned with the financing of the cathedral and diocese, the funding of building operations, and the maintainance of charity (both almsgiving and public works). The primicerius really only enters into the scene after 595, when Gegory the Great took the function of primary responsibility for leading music and worship away from the deacons (and hence the archdeacon), creating in Rome a Schola Cantorum under the leadership of a cantor; a move rapidly followed in cathedrals throughout the Latin West. The leading cantor or primicerius (in English, the precentor), exercised responsibility for all choral worship; which from the first was primarily lead by men in minor orders, and hence acted as the reprsentative head for all those in the bishops familia who were neither priests nor deacons (which included the boy lectors of the choir, who were of neccessity too young to attend the grammar school). So this implies a functional distinction of local leadership, learning and education, construction and public works, worship and music. I hope then to be able to hang modern-day cathedral activities onto these functional pegs; ather than forcing them (artifically in my view) into the straitjacket of Catholic and Anglican canon law (which i hope to trim drastically). How does that go?
Cathedral of Torcello near Venice, the bishop's cathedra in the apse, surrounded by benches for his familia clergy
Incidentally, I hope it won't cause ructions if I insert the attached cathedra image in the place of that relating to the St John Lateran. It shows the cathedra at Torcello; but has - to my mind - the advantage of demonstrating the bishop's relationship both to the altar, and to the clergy of his familia packed into the synthronos around. TomHennell (talk) 14:17, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Oh, and I also propose to draw an explicit link between the English term 'cathedral' and its cognates in French and Spanish; and the Italian Duomo, and its cognates Dom, Domkirk, etc. From Deanesley, duomo derives from domus ecclesiae; and denoted originally the whole episcopal complex associate which the cathedral basilica; bearing in mind that many such early complexies (as at Trier) included several baslicas. TomHennell (talk) 14:42, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Two specific questions: firstly, I am aware that Catholic cathedrals in the United States are lead by 'rector' rather than by any form of cathedral chapter in classic (or indeed other) manifestation. Are there other national churches where this the case? Secondly, in relation to Irish cathedrals, I am aware of the 10th century monastic cities of Clonmacnoise and Glendalough; but are there any handy references for Irish episcopacy in the earlier period? Early cathedrals in the Latin tradition are commonly represented as a deliberate exercise in maintaining civitas and Romanitas in a world where the continuation of these values was sometimes hanging by a thread. Hence the practice of the Augustinian mission in planting new English cathedrals within ruined Roman legionary fortresses. My impression is that Irish (and Celtic) practice before the 10th century was directly contrary to this; in that bishops were housed within monasteries, with no distinct, diocsan structure, episcopal accomodation or 'Roman' dignity; and hence that the monastic cities represent a later deliberate hybrid of the Celtic and Roman traditions. Can anyone support or refute this? TomHennell (talk) 15:55, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I can answer the portion asking about rectors. Catholic cathedrals are usually administered by a rector. The pastor of the cathedral is the Bishop, but he does not usually handle day to day operations of the cathedral. The rector handles day to day operations. Some dioceses have more then one cathedral, sometimes called co-cathedrals but not always such as the Bascilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC. DC has two cathedrals the National Shrine and St. Matthews. St. Matthews is the official cathedral for the archdiocese but the National shrine is also a cathedral.Marauder40 (talk) 20:44, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
many thanks Marauder; is what you say true chiefly for Catholic cathedrals in the United States; or does in apply more generally? I think that in England at least; Catholic cathedrals have a dean in residence; but also a non-resident chapter lead by a provost. Are there other models? TomHennell (talk) 23:29, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Cathedral of Vaison-la-Romaine, the bishop's cathedra in the apse, surrounded by benches for the clergy of his familia
Bishop's baptistry atPoiters, a late Roman building converted to a baptistry in the 6th Century
Maybe this is a better image for the cathedra; from the cathedral of Vaison-la-Romaine. Also a picture of the baptistry at Poitiers. Baptistries may be separate structures from the cathedral church; but they are not separate functions. TomHennell (talk) 15:05, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

I have racast the lede, both in respect of the points discussed here; adn also to more conistent with the use of the term cathedral in other Wikipedia articles. TomHennell (talk) 11:18, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

The changes to the lede are really good. Please continue.
With regards to the photos, none of the pics of cathedras are as clear as that already there. Moreover, if yo introduce a vertical picture into that short section, then one of two things will happen. If the break remains in place, then the current break in the tex (more apparent on a wide screen than a vertical one) will become twice as big as it is now. That is a bad look. The other option is to close the Break. The effect of that will be that the vertical photo will push the image currently below it , down out of the correct section. There is a good reason why every image is of horizontal format. It is in order to fit them in. Also, they have to be clear enough to see the pertinent detail without enlarging the image, and they have to look good as a set. Amandajm (talk) 11:55, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Canterbury Cathedral, the archbishop's cathedra in the apse, behind the high altar
Thanks for the appreciation Amandajm. I very much take the point about vertical and horizontal format piccies. I still have a basic issue with the Lateran throne pic, though. It is very clear; but also highly untypical. Popes are in no sense normal bishops; and the Lateran is far from being a normal cathedral. Moreover, it isn't really a 'cathedra' in the full sense, as the Bishop of Rome is not enthroned on it at his inauguration; but commonly several days later. The problem as a picture is that it has no context; the choir stalls are only vaguely indicated, and the altar is not visible at all. May I therefore suggest the above as quite a good image of the achiepiscopal throne at Canterbury in its current (and original) location behind the high altar. Obviously, it would be even better to have a picture of the enthronement cermony itself, with all the clergy gathered around the seated archbishop; but this is better than nowt. Taking your point about vertical formats, though, it would have to displace one or another of the images alongside the lede. TomHennell (talk) 14:12, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I also agree that the pictures currently in the article are the best. This article tends to have an issue with "my favorite cathedral" pictures creeping in. We should keep the ones that are currently there. As for more explanation of Catholic cathedrals and "rector". Basically a rector is just a priest that is appointed to preside over something. It can be a Cathedral or a mission or something else, so the term rector isn't only used for heads of cathedrals. It is the common term. Technically a cathedral within the Catholic church is the primary church of a bishop. Technically they only usually have one church within their diocese and if they are a cardinal they usually also have one within Rome. Some diocese have co-cathedrals, usually involving an expansion or getting a better church. Other dioceses may have more then one Cathedral due to historical reason (i.e Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary first Cathedral in the US) or administrative reasons (Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception), patronal church for the entire US.) The actual Cathedral in both of those cases is the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen and Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle (Washington, D.C.) but in both cases the other churches still maintain a bishop's seat. I would imagine the case in Europe is similar, between diocese expansion and contraction, wars, etc. there would be many "historical" cathedrals and some administrative ones. Whether the head is called "rector" or "dean" or something like that depends on things like whether the Cathedral is attached to a university or maybe in the past was attached to one. There is no hard fast rule to it other then the fact that in order for it to be a Cathedral the pastor is a bishop/cardinal, the person that runs day to day operations is called something other then pastor.Marauder40 (talk) 12:40, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
many thanks for this explanation Marauder. If I might cut through the detail, the key point that I infer is that Catholic cathedrals in the US do not have a legal or corporate identity distinct from that of their diocesan bishop; hence the absence of any form of Cathedral chapter. Is that the case? If so, what I would like to know for the article, is whether Catholic cathedrals of recent foundation outside of Western Europe adopt more the New World or the Old World model? TomHennell (talk) 13:49, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Cathedral of Aquileia, the late 5th century Baptistery

I still reckon the article needs a good image of a baptistery; how about this one from Aquileia? The advantage is that Aquileia is probably the most accessible of excavated early (4th/5th century) cathedral sites. TomHennell (talk) 00:18, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

TomHennell, I agree that a picture of a baptistry would be good, but is doesn't need to be an ancient one. It should be one that people can relate to, if possible. A modern font would serve just as well. But it must be in the context of a cathedral not just a church. Putting it into the right section will mean rearranging the images, because currently, it will not fit another image, without stuffing up the formatting on normal desktop/laptop screens. Amandajm (talk) 06:39, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Amandajm; I suppose I am here straining a bit at the current article content; in that I propose substantially to expand the section on 'history orf catehdrals'; and accordingly trim the sections on "canon law of cathedrals' (especially if it appears that many Catholic cathedrals are dispensing with the full canon law bit). While there was no standard plan form for early cathedrals; the most common formula was (basilica * 2 + baptistery = cathedral); two (or sometimes more) basilican halls were commonly built for a cathedral to as to separate the genders in worship; with a discrete baptistery inbetween them so that both male and female catechumens could be baptised in separate sessions by total immersion without immodesty. The transition from the Early Christina domus ecclesiaeto the Late Antique domus episcopalis is essentially and explicitly a transition from gender-shared spaces to gender-separate spaces. Not the least in the person of the bishop himself and his familia. Many (perhaps most) 4th and 5th century bishops were, at enthronement, married men of the patrician class, who consequently needed a dedicated, all-boys-together, establishment to move into; as they ceased to cohabit with thir wives and family households. Which takes us a bit far along from baptisteries, but the implications of total immersion baptism may focus discussion of this key point. TomHennell (talk) 09:01, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Apologies Amandajm; I didn't notice that you had provided an image of a modern font. Looks pretty good at that place. I will get oan with the history; and leave the images to others for the present. TomHennell (talk) 15:22, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
TomHennell, Hi Tom! Going well! Can you references your additions? If you want to work on the article without interruption, then put a banner at the head of the article using the word "inuse" in paired squiggly brackets. That way, no-one will correct your spelling or ask you for references until you remove the tag. Amandajm (talk) 01:29, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Its a bit tricky to reference this stuff as we go along, as all this will certainly need to be trimmed; and quite a bit of the material I am currently entering into the text should eventually end up a footnotes in the references. Most of the more systematic stuff so far comes from Diarmaid Macculloch "A History of Christianity" pages 197ff; with the detailed architectural stuff on Dura and Aquileia from Maureen Miller "The Bishop's Palace" p 14ff and Alan Doig "Liturgy and Architecture" p11 ff (which I imagine you are already familiar with. I would welcome comments and criticisms where somehing could be better phrased; or where I may have misinterpreted the references, and missed something important.TomHennell (talk) 09:30, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Christ Enthroned, with the Empress Zoe

, mosaic in the former cathedral of Hagia Sophia Constantinople]]

Still suggesting images; I think a picture from Hagia Sophia would be a good idea; as the article at present is largely illustrated from cathedrals in the Latin Church traditions. It also shows how the mosaics of the enthroned Christ Pantocrator with saints above in the apse, originally functioned to establish the status of the bishop and his familia seated on the synthronos below. TomHennell (talk) 09:28, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

TomHennell, Tom, what you have added here is a very detailed history of the development of cathedrals, which is far more than is required by the average reader, who just wants some general and broad-scope information from what is essentially a "generic article". My suggestion is that we return the article to the form that it had, before you added the detailed history, that we put back the different types of cathedrals (Pro-cathedral, Metropolitan Cathedral) etc because that is well within the experience of the ordinary person, and the sort of thing that they might like to have explained.

Your detailed history of the development of the cathedral needs to be a separate article that is linked to this generic article. The you can take your time over it, select the illustrations that are relevant to a detailed history, rather than a broad overview, etc. The article, as it is, is becoming very top heavy. It would be impossible to deal with every section in the amount of detail that you are including in the early development. Amandajm (talk) 01:47, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Amandajm, thanks for the comments; I agree that the historic content is too great at the moment; but in general I think it is better to build a fuller article and then split it; rather than create sub articles with widely differing perpectives from different editors. In respect of "cathedrals" in general, I would propose that a general article ought to be able to provide a reliable summary of current scholarship; a. on the first cathedrals (how they came into being, what they did, and leading surviving examples); b. on high medievel cathedrals in the West (why and how they happened, and how they got to be so big); c. modern cathedrals (how they spread and their variety of forms). So far, I have done the first of these - and the section could then be summarised into a separate article - or otherwise put supporting detail into footnotes. Equally for the other two sections. On the forms of cathedrals; I suggest we only need a brief explanation of the terms pro-cathedral and metropolitan cathedral, which are the ones in common use. I am adding a para to the lede; this could be expanded in a future section c. above ; or detailed discussion could be in a separate article for each. The problem with the previous section on the subject was that it was both over-detailed and substantially misleading; for example in suggesting that the Church of Scotland regards its current cathedrals as proto-cathedrals. TomHennell (talk) 12:58, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
TomHennell, Tom, what you have added is enough material for an entire article on the establishment of early cathedrals. It is much too detailed for the generic article. It would foolish to cut down the work that you have done, when it would make an excellent article on its own. It is far to detailed a history for the general article, which needs to be a summary of several more detailed articles. So far, what you have added is about 3,700 words. I don't want to discourage you, as it is all useful. It's all good. It is just an overload of history for this particular article. Do you know how to start a new article? Amandajm (talk) 13:22, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the further points Amandajm. I originally thought that much of the 'extra' material here could go into footnotes; but it may well be better to have an article on the history and development of cathedrals as per three points a to c above. I would prefer, though, to keep the whole lot together for now as a work in progress, rather than to split it up before the full range of material becomes apparent. Apart from anything else, I would hope that other editors could chip in as well in fields where their expertise and access to scholarly sources is better than mine. The the detailed article can be summarised in the generic article.
But I also have an issue on the generic arcticle as it stood (which is where I came in). The primary objective of a Wikpedia article (as I understand it) is to direct a general reader to the current scholarly agenda on the subject in question. It is not generally the objective of a Wikpedia article to transmit the full range of current scholarship (though rather a lot of articles are seemingly tending that way); but it should nevertheless be the case that a reader should come away from reading a generic Wikipedia article with the capability of saying "When current scholars talk about cathedrals (or whatever), this is what they talk about, and these are the sorts of statements that are made". Which is where I tended to feel that the previous article was seriously deficient. It said quite a lot concerning matters that current scholars do not much talk about - like the canon law of cathedrals in the Roman Catholic Church; and much less on matters that scholars are interested in - like how all the English cathedrals came back from dissolution in the Civil War on the accession of Charles II, when the monasteries had not done so on the accession of Mary? These to me should be the basic issues of a generic arcticle; Why and when did cathedrals happen; how they came to predominate in such fields as architecture and music; and why they are still around (and apparently, still valued)? TomHennell (talk) 18:04, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia is dependent upon scholarship. But "modern scholarship" is a fickle thing. We are here to provide information of an encyclopedic type, not to reflect those aspects of a topic which scholars happen to be focussing on , at ay given time.
It's about understanding what Wikipedia is and what it isn't. It is a unique resource. If it was reliant upon "modern scholarship", then there would be no article on commercially available roofing materials, there would be no articles on beekeeping, on cheese, or on the hay-lifters used on farms in Montana. Moreover there would be no Romanesque secular and domestic architecture which was pieced together from scraps gleaned from numerous sources, and is, as far as I know, the first article to take a broad view of that subject.
In other words, we are doing far more than presenting what scholarship chooses to concentrate on.
The following information is concise, clear and explanatory to the general reader. The beginning "in the canon law of the Catholic Church" were plainly written by a Roman Catholic contributor. A Protestant would probably have chosen to say "in episcopal churches (i.e. those that have bishops)". Regardless of that, the paragraph is useful, an could be easily editted to have wider application. It isn't essentially about canon law. It is essentially stating the role of the bishop, in a simple and understandable manner. :
"In the canon law of the Catholic Church the relationship of the bishop to his cathedral is often compared to the relationship of a parish priest to the parochial church. Both are pastors over an area (the diocese for the bishop and the parish for the parish priest) and both are rectors over a building (the cathedral for the bishop and the parish church for the pastor). In view of this, canon lawyers often extend the metaphor and speak of the cathedral church as the one church of the diocese, and all others are deemed chapels in their relation to it."
The following information is also simple, and is the sort of information that those Wikipedia readers who are not scholars love to have access to:
Cathedral churches may have different degrees of dignity:
  • A parish church which was formerly a cathedral is known as a "proto-cathedral".
  • A parish church temporarily serving as the cathedral or co-cathedral of a diocese is known as a "pro-cathedral".
  • Two churches jointly serving cathedrals of a diocese are each known as "co-cathedrals".
  • The church of a diocesan bishop is known as a "cathedral". If it is not also a parish church, it is "cathedral peculiar".
  • A church to which other diocesan cathedral churches of a province are suffragan is a "metropolitan cathedral".
  • A church under which are ranged metropolitical churches and their provinces is a "primatial cathedral".
  • A church to which primatial, metropolitical, and cathedral churches alike owe allegiance is a "patriarchal cathedral".
At Least some of this information needs to go back into the article.

  • With regards to the other points that you have made about what the article should include:
  1. on the first cathedrals (how they came into being, what they did, and leading surviving examples);
  2. on high medievel cathedrals in the West (why and how they happened, and how they got to be so big);
  3. modern cathedrals (how they spread and their variety of forms).
This is going to total at least 10,000 words of solid history. That is an OK length for an article on the History and development of cathedrals. It isn't appropriate for the general article.
  • As you say "the then detailed article could be summarised in the generic article". That is exactly the point that I am making, and the reason why you should be working on this as a separate article, and not adding the lengthy history here. The three topics that you have mentioned here need one brief section each.
The article as it stood, had errors which you wanted to correct, and have done so. But despite that, the article held together well, and was concise, while covering a lot of material. It no longer is. It has become very top heavy.
This article gets generally about 500-600 views a day, with a recent spike of 1500. It needs to be maintained in good order, rather than being a work in progress. Generally, with an established article, (rather than a new article or one which is in very poor condition to start with) the editor has the option of developing the article in their sandbox.
  • Something as detailed as the reasons why the cathedrals of England came back after the Civil War comapred with the situation of monasteries under Mary really doesn't belong in an article like this. It is much too detailed and of too limited application.

Have you checked these existing articles to assess how much might be doubled up?

Amandajm (talk) 02:27, 9 June 2014 (UTC)


Can anyone explain to me what an "archcathedral" is and how this differs from a normal cathedral? I'm asking because "archcathedral" redirects to the "cathedral" page, but there is made no mention of an "archcathedral" in this page. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:40, 18 October 2015 (UTC)