Top 25 Greatest Churches in the World

Notwithstanding one’s religious affiliation, it is difficult to dispute the existence of some truly remarkable instances of church design. Many churches, particularly those of the Catholic faith, subscribe to the idea that “the bigger, the better.” Which are the biggest churches globally, then? What additional interesting details about them are there?

Stay tuned as we tally the top 25 largest churches on the planet.

25. Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica is 15,160 square meters in size.

Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica is ranked first. Given that it is the most significant church in the Roman Catholic faith, this is not all that surprising. Emperor Constantine constructed the first cathedral in 320 AD. Otto II, the Roman emperor, is among the 100 tombs in the Basilica, which has a 41-meter-tall dome constructed by Michelangelo.

24. 12,000 square meters make up the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Aparecida, Brazil.

This church was also founded in honor of the Virgin Mary. There is a tale that two fragments of a statue of Mary were hauled up by a group of fisherman. They removed it and kept it in a temple. On the site of the former shrine, the present church was constructed. At a time, it can accommodate 45,000 worshippers.

23. Seville Cathedral, 11,520 square meters; Seville, Spain

The world’s largest cathedral and third-largest church combined make up this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was erected on the site of the Almohad mosque as a tribute to the wealth and might of the city of Seville. 45 carved wooden scenes depicting events throughout Christ’s life are also present.

22. Saint John the Divine Cathedral, New York, USA – 11,200

The largest stained glass window in the United States and the fifth largest in the world may be seen in this Anglican cathedral, which is the largest in the world overall. There are forty-eight relief panels adorning the bronze main entrance.

21. Milan Cathedral, 10186 square meters, Milan, Italy

This Catholic church features 135 spires, with statues of notable Italian historical people atop each, including a 108.8-meter-tall monument of the Virgin Mary. It can hold 40,000 worshipers at a time and took five centuries to complete.

20. Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen, 10090 square meters, Konin, Poland

Completed in 2004, this striking chapel contains a rich symbolism. Its 52 doors, 12 columns, and 365 windows stand in for the days, weeks, and months of the year. In addition, the 33 steps that lead to the church symbolize the 33 years that Christ spent on Earth.

19. Liverpool Cathedral, located in Liverpool, United Kingdom

Liverpool Cathedral, located in Liverpool, United Kingdom, is a 9687 square meter structure that stretches 189 meters in length and reaches a peak elevation of 67 meters. This church’s elaborate pipe organ, which boasts 10,268 pipes, and its colorful interior are two more striking aspects.

18. Church of the Holy Trinity, 8700 square meters, Santarem, Portugal

This collection has so far shown a lot of ancient church architecture; however, this one is somewhat more recent. How recent? Indeed, it was constructed throughout the years 2004–2007. With its round layout, this church can accommodate roughly 9,000 worshippers at once. It’s Portugal’s biggest church.

17. Saint Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls, 8,515 square meters, Rome, Italy

No, Paul isn’t beyond the church gates, but it is. Although it is officially within Italian territory, Italy acknowledges that the Catholic Holy See is the rightful owner. It was established by Emperor Constantine I on top of Paul of Tarsus’s tomb.

16. Basilica of Our Lady of Pillar, 8318 square meters, Aragon, Spain

This church was the first to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary, even though she has already been mentioned a few times on the list. According to legend, the Apostle James saw her as he was sitting by the Ebro River in prayer. She visited him, of course, but she also gave him a wooden statue of herself, a pillar, and building instructions for a church. The pillar and statue are still there even though the church has grown and altered over the ages.

15. Ulm Minster, 8260 square meters, Ulm, Germany

Not only is this Lutheran church among the biggest, but it’s also the highest right now. The fact that you can ascend quite a ways to get a stunning perspective of the city and, on a clear day, the Alps, is what’s cool. To reach the summit, just ascend the 768 stairs. Although work began in 1377, it wasn’t finished until 1890. The path to heaven is symbolized by the spires.

14. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 8,167 square meters, Mexico City

This is a Catholic church devoted to the Lady of Guadalupe’s vision. About nine million people come to the sanctuary every December to celebrate Saint Mary. This is about 50% of the 20 million visits per year.

13. Cathedral of Our Lady, 8,000 square meters, Antwerp, Belgium

This Gothic-styled Catholic cathedral is well-known for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the location of numerous important paintings by Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. You can even enjoy the gardens and have a beverage in the courtyard when you visit.

12. Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, 8,000 square meters, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This cathedral’s shape, in addition to its size, is very remarkable. This Catholic structure resembles a cross between a pyramid and a beehive. When you stand inside, the striking display of Technicolor windows will catch your eye. Edgar Fonseca’s design was intended to mimic prehistoric Mayan pyramids. The windows are tinted and extend up to 200 feet above the ground. Up to 20,000 people can fit in the church (standing).

11. Sacred Heart Basilica, 8,000 square meters, Brussels, Belgium

The first stone of this Art Deco-styled Roman Catholic basilica was placed in 1905, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence. It was opened in 1970. It includes two museums with different exhibitions and is utilized for both parish and national events. It also doesn’t hurt to see Brussels in the distance.

10. 7,989 square meter Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast

At 30,000 square meters, the greatest outside area makes this church the largest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. But because of its internal layout and the fact that the villa and rectory are not truly church property, it comes in at number ten on our list.

Up to 18,000 people can fit inside, yet most liturgies only have a few hundred. When construction was finished in 1989, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of the Ivory Coast, accepted the building as a gift for the Catholic Church.

9. 7,960 square meters in Istanbul, Turkey is home to Hagia Sophia.

As a result, some of you may object to this one being on the list because it is now a mosque rather than a church. But from the time of its construction until the Ottoman Empire annexed Constantinople in 1453, it was a Greek Orthodox church.

It remained a mosque until 1935, when it was turned into a museum, and then again into a mosque in 2020.

When it was first finished, it had the greatest internal space in the world and one of the first entirely pendentive domes. It is claimed to have “modified architectural history.”

8. San Petronio Basilica, 7,920 square meters, Bologna, Italy

The Piazza Maggiore, Bologna’s largest plaza, is home to this Catholic basilica. It is devoted to Petronius, the city’s patron saint who lived in the fifth century, and has been used for both civic and religious purposes throughout history. San Petronio Basilica is incomplete despite being a significant structure in the region and one of the biggest churches in the world. When the Catholic Church shifted attention to the Archiginnasio, the University of Bologna’s first official seat, construction was put on hold in 1952.

7. Cologne Cathedral, 7,914 square meters in Cologne, Germany

The Archbishop and the Archdiocese of Cologne are housed in this Catholic cathedral, which was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996. Every day, an average of 20,000 people visit it! It includes an observation platform that is 330 feet (100 meters) above the ground and offers guests a breathtaking view over the Rhine. It is home to the Shrine of the Three Kings. It is the world’s highest church with two towering spires.

6. St. Paul’s Cathedral, 7,300 square meters, London, United Kingdom

Perched atop Ludgate Hill, the city’s highest point, this Anglican cathedral serves as the seat of the Bishop of London. The Great Fire of London destroyed most of the previous church at this location, but it was rebuilt in the English Baroque style in the late 17th century. In London, it stood as the tallest structure from 1710 until 1963.

It has hosted a number of significant events, including the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer and the funerals of Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.

Daily services are still held at the church.

5. Washington National Cathedral, 7,712 square meters, Washington, DC, USA

The sixth-largest Gothic cathedral in the world is this Episcopal church. This church continues to operate as a place of worship, hosting a number of weekly public services and events. Want to immerse yourself in the beauty but not interested in attending religious services? You can take advantage of concerts and sightseeing tours. Even though work began in 1907, the last stone wasn’t placed until 1990.

4. 7,700 square meter Santa Giustina Abbey in Padua, Italy

Although this church was first built in the sixth century, its current configuration is the result of renovations carried out in the seventeenth century. It was devoted to Christian martyrs from the fourth century, including St. Justina of Padua. Here lie the relics of both this patron saint and St. Luke the Evangelist.
Despite several earthquakes and attacks throughout its history, the buildings were given back to the Catholic Church in 1917. The government has designated the basilica and abbey as national monuments.

3. 7,500 square meter Cathedral of the Nativity in Cairo, Egypt

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, commissioned the construction of this Coptic Orthodox church, which was dedicated in 2019 following terrorist assaults that claimed the lives of 27 Coptic Egyptians. Fattah el-Sisi also dedicated the nation’s biggest mosque at the same time. Situated in the administrative capital, the mosque and the church stand for coexistence and national harmony. The Middle East’s largest church is this one.

2. Yoido Full Gospel, estimated at 7,450 square meters in Seoul, South Korea

Out of its 800,000 total members, this Pentecostal church in Seoul is a part of the Assemblies of God and has about 200,000 weekly attendees. Choi Ja-shil and David Yonggi Cho started the church in Ja-shil’s house in 1958.

1. St. Vitus Cathedral, 7,440 square meters, Prague, Czech Republic

The seat of the Prague Archbishop is this Roman Catholic church, commonly known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints, Vitus, Wenceslaus, and Adalbert. It is a superb example of Gothic architecture and is completely housed inside the Prague Castle. Several Bohemian rulers and Holy Roman Emperors are buried there as well.

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