No matter your religion, places of worship have a sense of wonder and grandeur all their own. The smallest church, synagogue, or temple, can somehow still manage to feel quite expansive. There is something special about the energy of a space where faith is the primary focus. Over the years, many architects have attempted to capture this energy in the physical structures of the various houses of worship. Here is a list of the 10 Biggest Churches in the World. These buildings, some of which took centuries to build, are meant to physically manifest the idea of the Holy Spirit. It's an impressive endeavor.
10. Cathedral of Saint Sava – Serbia
Built in Vracar, Belgrade, Serbia, the Cathedral of Saint Sava is the largest Orthodox church in the world. Construction was completed in 1989, and further renovations/repairs were completed in 2003. The building has an interior space of 87,855 square feet and can hold up to 10,700 people at a time.
9. Basilica – Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar – Spain
Located in Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar took many years to build. Multiple churches were built on the land, which is reportedly the resting place of Saint James, over the years. The current cathedral was constructed from 1681- 1872 and has an interior space of 86,543 square feet.
8. Basilica of the Holy Trinity – Portugal
The Basilica of the Holy Trinity is located in Fatima, Portugal. The massive building took a surprisingly short 3 years to build. It was constructed between 2004 and 2007, and features both Byzantine and Orthodox styling. It has 93,646 square feet of interior space.
7. Cathedral of Liverpool – United Kingdom
The UK is synonymous with big churches, and the Cathedral of Liverpool is a prime example. It is the second largest Anglican Church structure in the world. Construction began in 1904 and was not completed until 1978. It can hold up to 5,800 people, and sports an interior space of 104,270 square feet.
6. Shrine of Our Lady of Lichen – Poland
The Shrine of Our Lady of Lichen was built entirely via donation from area believers. Construction began in 1994 and was completed in 2004. Located in Lichen Stary, Poland, the building has a whopping 108,607 square feet of interior space.
5. Cathedral of Milan – Italy
Italy is another country famous for its churches. The Cathedral of Milan is widely considered to be the definitive Gothic church in Europe. It took almost 600 years for the building to be completed, and its interior measures 109,641 square feet.
4. Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine – United States
The largest church in the United States, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine went into construction in 1892. Over the years, the style of the Cathedral changed, so construction continued. Various wars interrupted completion, and then a large fire in 2001 necessitated further construction and restoration. The church has been nicknamed, "St. John the Unfinished", as it is still undergoing renovation and repair. The interior space currently measures just under 121,000 square feet.
3. Cathedral of Seville – Spain
The Cathedral of Santa Maria, also known as the Cathedral of Seville, was built during the 1500s. It is a World Heritage Site and the burial space of Christopher Columbus. The interior measures 124,000 square feet.
2. Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida – Brazil
Brazil has the largest population of Catholics in the world, and it is home to the largest Marian pilgrimage, as well. The Basilica, which took almost 35 years to complete, receives upwards of 10,000 visitors per year. The interior can hold up to 70,000 people at once, and measures 129,166 square feet.
1. St. Peter's Basilica – Vatican City
The church of churches, St. Peter's Basilica is the mother church of the Roman Catholic religion. It is believed that Peter, one of the apostles, is buried below the altar. The interior space measures 163,180 square feet, and can hold up to 60,000 worshippers at the same time.