Finding out the largest church in the world off late has become a tricky proposition. Churches that have congregations of people in huge numbers are called “megachurches” or “gigachurches”. If one were to consider just the area it is still tough as there is conflicting information available about the layout of the building.
As the saying goes, a church is not the building, it’s the people. Many churches which are constructed all over the world represent marvelous architectural styles and there are many sacred things associated as well.
Top 10 Largest Churches In The World
Below is the list of the 10 largest churches in the world depending on the floor area covered by the building.
1. St. Peter’s Basilica: Vatican City – 15160 square meters
The largest cathedral in the world is none other than Vatican-based St.Peter’s Basilica. It has spread across 15160 meters and is approximately 186 meters in length. The central dome of the cathedral is 136 meters high. In Roman Catholicism, St.Peter’s basilica is considered to be the most important church. The vast church building has the capacity to accommodate 20000 prayers at a time.
It was initially built in the year 320 AD, however, it was later renovated and modified by Pope Nicolas V in the 15th century. There are 140 statues of various saints at the top level of the colonnade. It took almost 41 years to complete the sculpting of the statues which started in the year 1662. There are various tombs in St.Peters’s Basilica like Popes, Roman emperor Otto II and Swedish Queen Christina.
2. Basilica Of The National Shrine Of Our Lady Of Aparecida: Brazil – 12000 square meters
The second-largest church in the world is the Basilica of our lady of Aparecida in Brazil. It has a total floor area of 12000 square meters. Brazilians consider this church to be the most important Marian pilgrimage center which is located in the city of Aparecida. It has the capacity to accommodate 45000 people.
As per mythology, the headless statue of the Virgin Mary was brought by a group of fishers when they were fishing in the Paraiba river in the year 1717. They took the sculpture of the Virgin Mary to their home. It was later kept in the shrine in 1945. The old shrine was reconstructed and a new church was built between 1834 and 1888. The dome of the church is 70 meters high and the towers of the church rise to 102 meters.
3. Seville Cathedral: Seville, Spain – 11520 square meters
Seville Cathedral is located in the Seville city of Spain which is the third-largest cathedral in the world. The cathedral is spread across an area of 11520 square meters. One of the interesting facts about this church is that it is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Spain. It is believed that this church was the last resting place of great explorer Christopher Columbus.
It was constructed between 1402 and 1528 on the site which was earlier a worship place of Muslims. It was done deliberately to mark the power of the city after a series of campaigns run by Christian states to recapture territory from the Muslims. The vast interior is decorated with gold and the best attraction of the cathedral is the carving of scenes from the life of Jesus Christ in 45 wooden forms. Erstwhile Almohad Mosque’s minaret still stands just beside the cathedral.
4. Cathedral Of Saint John The Divine: New York – 11200 square meters
New York-based the Cathedral of Saint John is considered to be the largest Anglican cathedral in the world as well as the world’s fourth-largest church. It has an internal area of 11200 square meters. Work started at the cathedral in the year 1892 which took more than 20 years and was designed by two famous American architects.
New architects opted for Gothic design for the cathedral after the demise of George Heins. During World war II construction was stopped for many years. In an unfortunate accident, few parts of the cathedral were engulfed in fire in the year 2001. One can notice the Bible famous verses engraved in stone at the entrance. The main door of the church is made of bronze.
5. Milan Cathedral: Milan – 10186 square meters
Milan Cathedral located in Milan city of Italy is the fifth largest church in the world and also the second-largest Catholic cathedral. It is a classic example of Gothic architecture.
There are about 135 spires in Chuch which are crowned with statues of important people in the history of Italy. The construction of the Milan cathedral began in the year 1386 and continued for almost 500 years.
6. Basilica Of Our Lady Of Lichen: Poland – 10090 square meters
Basilica of our lady of Lichen ranks sixth in our list of the world’s largest churches. This beautiful church is located in the Konin city of Poland which took ten years to complete in 2004.
There are 33 steps that represent the early life of Jesus which leads towards the church. There are 365 windows, 52 doors, and 12 columns which represent the days, weeks, and 12 Apostles in a year respectively.
7. Liverpool Cathedral: Liverpool – 9687 square meters
The Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral in the United Kingdom and the seventh-largest in the world. It is spread across an area of 687 square meters and stretches over 189 meters in length.
The construction of the Liverpool cathedral was done in different phases which got completed finally in 1978. Its actual construction started 74 years back in 1904.
8. Church Of The Holy Trinity: Portugal – 8700 square meters
The church of the Holy Trinity is the world’s eighth-largest and also the largest church in Portugal. This Church which is dedicated to Virgin Mary is situated in the Santarem district of Portugal.
This church with an internal area of 8700 square meters can accommodate 9000 worshipers at a time. It was built recently in 2004 and took 3 years to complete.
9. Basilica Of Our Lady Of Pillar: Spain – 8318 square meters
The El Pilar basilica is the first-ever church built in Spain which is dedicated to Virgin Mary. Basilica Of Our Lady Of Pillar spread across an area of 8318 sq meters is the world’s ninth-largest church.
Today’s model of the El pilar basilica was initially built in the 17th century. It was later renovated after 100 years and the final works of pillars of the church finished in the 20th century.
10. Ulm Minster: Ulm, Germany – 8260 square meters
Ulm Minster church is the tenth-largest church in the world and it is the tallest church in the world. This church is located in the Ulm city of Germany with an area of 8260 square meters.
One can view the beautiful panoramic view of Ulm city from the top level. This protestant church construction began in 1377. Oak choir stalls of the 15th century are the center of attraction of Ulm Minster.
Hope you enjoyed reading the article.