This article tackles the largest Christian churches from many parts of the world. What is meant by “church” here, it doesn’t mean the religion itself, but the church buildings themselves. The definition of “large” is rather vague because the criteria to become one of the biggest churches are quite many: height, length, width, volume and/or capacity, although the last-mentioned criterion may be far more subjective. Here are some of the biggest Christian church buildings in the world (not in any particular order).
Built from 1904 to 1978, the Liverpool Cathedral is one of the most important landmarks in the city of Liverpool, England, United Kingdom. It has a total area of 9,687 square meters and has a total volume of over 450,000 cubic meters. It serves the Church of England (Anglican Church) and is one of the largest churches in the country.
One of the famous landmarks in Italy, the Milan Cathedral was built around the 14th century. Its 135 spires are what makes this church quite notable. It has a total area of 10,186 square meters and has a total volume of 440,000 cubic meters.
Also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, the Seville Cathedral in Seville, Spain, is the third-largest Christian church in the world, and the largest cathedral built in Gothic architectural style. It has a total area of 11,520 square meters and has a volume of over 500,000 cubic meters.
The largest church in the world, the St. Peter’s Basilica is mother church of the Roman Catholic church and the home of the Pope. Located in Vatican City, in Rome, Italy, the construction of the present-day St. Peter’s Basilica started in the early 16th century, but the foundations go all the way back in the 4th century when it was still the Old St. Peter’s Basilica, built during Constantine’s reign. Tradition states that underneath the altar lies the tomb of St. Peter, one of Christ’s disciples and who is considered to be the first pope. It has a total area of 15,160 square meters (interior) and volume of 1,200,000 cubic meters. It can accommodate up to 60,000 people.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen is located in the village of Lichen Stary (literally meaning “old Lichen”) or simply Lichen, in west-central Poland. Mostly funded by the donations from the pilgrims, construction of the church started in 1994 and ended about ten years later. It has a total area of 10,090 square meters and volume of 300,000 cubic meters, making it the biggest church in Poland and one of the largest in the world.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is located in the city of Zaragoza (Saragossa), Spain. Existing since the 1st or 2nd century A.D., this church is believed to be the first church built in honor of the Virgin Mary. It has a total area of 8,318 square meters. The current church was built in the Baroque architectural style from the late 17th century to mid-18th century. The church can be seen by the Ebro River.
The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls is one of Rome’s earliest major basilicas, founded under Constantine’s rule. Since then it has undergone remarkable extensions and modifications. An accidental fire in 1823 almost destroyed the basilica but it was eventually reconstructed. It has a total area of 8,515 square meters.
Many people know about the biggest church in the world, but very few know about the second biggest, which is actually located in the Americas. Built from 1955 to 1980, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is located in the municipality of Aparecida, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Consecrated in 1980, is dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida, a statue in the form of the Immaculate Conception which is widely venerated by the Catholic faithful in Brazil. It has a total area of 12,000 square meters and volume of 1,200,000 cubic meters. It also has a maximum capacity of 45,000 faithful.
The size of Cathedral of St. John the Divine in the USA rivals that of the Liverpool Cathedral in England, leading to a debate on which one of them is the biggest Anglican Church in the world. It might be partly because the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is just partially finished, with the construction and repairs still ongoing. Located in Manhattan in New York City, New York, it has a total area of 9,687 square meters and has a volume of over 450,000. Construction began in 1892 but the completion has been halted for a variety of reasons, including interruption by the two World Wars and a massive accidental fire in December 2001 that led to its closure and subsequent restoration. Because of the church’s status, it is also known as St. John the Unfinished.
The Florence Cathedral, formally known in English as Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers, is located in Florence, Italy (of course). Its construction began in 1296 and was completed in 1436, the year the cathedral was also consecrated. It contains the largest dome in the world made entirely of brick which is 114.5 meters tall. The cathedral has a total area of 8,300 square meters.