Top 10 largest churches in the world
Top 10 largest churches in the world
Table of Content

Churches have always stood as testaments to people’s faith and belief in God. Due to this, churches are some of the largest structures ever built in history. Churches are also some of the most beautiful and ornate works of art and architecture in the world. The large churches on this list were mostly by the Roman Catholics of the past. However, not all of the churches are still under Catholic rule and the Hagia Sophia is now a museum.

Followings are 10 largest churches in the world, based on floor area covered by the building.

The list of top 10 largest churches in the world

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

9. Basilica Of Our Lady Of Pillar, Aragon, Spain, 8318 square meters

8. Church Of The Holy Trinity, Santarem, Portugal, 8700 square meters

7. Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool, United Kingdom, 9687 square meters

6. Basilica Of Our Lady Of Lichen, Konin, Poland, 10090 square meters

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

4. Cathedral Of Saint John The Divine, New York, United States, 11200 square meters

3. Seville Cathedral, Seville, Spain, 11520 square meters

2. Basilica Of The National Shrine Of Our Lady Of Aparecida, Aparecida, Brazil, 12000 square meters

1. St.Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, 15160 square meters

What are the top 10 largest churches in the world?

10. Ulm Minster


Ulm Minster (German: Ulmer Münster) is a Lutheran church located in Ulm, State of Baden-Württemberg (Germany). It is currently the tallest church in the world and will likely remain so until the eventual completion of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The church is the fifth-tallest structure built before the 20th century, with a steeple measuring 161.5 metres (530 ft).

Though it is sometimes referred to as Ulm Cathedral because of its great size, the church is not a cathedral as it has never been the episcopal see of a bishop. Though the towers and all decorative elements are of stone masonry, attracting the attention of visitors, most of the walls, including the façades of the nave and choir, actually consist of visible brick. Therefore, the building is sometimes referred to as a brick church. As such, it lays claim to the rank of second- to fourth-largest, after San Petronio Basilica in Bologna and together with Frauenkirche in Munich and St. Mary's Church in Gdańsk. The tower however was mainly built from sandstone.

Ulm Minster was begun in the Gothic architecture of the Late Middle Ages but the building was not completed until the late 19th century after a hiatus of centuries. When work ceased in the 16th century all of the church except the towers and some outer decorations were complete, unlike at Cologne Cathedral, where less than half of the work had been done before construction halted in the 15th century.

Visitors can climb the 768 steps that lead to the top of the minster's spire. At 143 m (469 ft) it gives a panoramic view of Ulm in Baden-Württemberg and Neu-Ulm in Bavaria and, in clear weather, a vista of the Alps from Säntis to the Zugspitze. The final stairwell to the top (known as the third Gallery) is a tall, spiralling staircase that has barely enough room for one person.

9. Basilica Of Our Lady Of Pillar

Photo: Spiritual Travels
Photo: Spiritual Travels

The Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar (Spanish: Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar) is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Zaragoza, Aragon (Spain). The Basilica venerates Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title Our Lady of the Pillar praised as "Mother of the Hispanic Peoples" by Pope John Paul II. It is reputed to be the first church dedicated to Mary in history.

Local traditions take the history of this basilica to the dawn of Christianity in Spain attributing to an apparition to Saint James the Great, the apostle who is believed by tradition to have brought Christianity to the country. This is the only reported apparition of Mary to have occurred before her believed Assumption.

Many of the kings of Spain, many other foreign rulers and saints have paid their devotion before this statue of Mary. Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Ávila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade are among the foremost ones. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is one of two minor basilicas in the city of Zaragoza, and is co-cathedral of the city alongside the nearby La Seo de Zaragoza. The architecture is of Baroque style, and the present building was predominantly built between 1681 and 1872.

8. Church Of The Holy Trinity


The Basilica of the Holy Trinity (Portuguese: Basílica da Santíssima Trindade) is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica in the Sanctuary of Fátima (Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima) in Cova da Iria, in the civil parish of Fátima, in the municipality of Ourém in Portugal.

In 2009 it received the Outstanding Structure Award by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering. IABSE awards the most remarkable, innovative, creative or otherwise stimulating structure completed within the last few years.

The plan of the building is marked by a gentle slope, permitting a good visibility of the altar from every angle. The interior is divided into two sectors, accomplished by a 2-metre (6.6 ft) partition: the first section has seating for 3,175 people (in addition to 58 spaces for handicapped); the second has 5,458 spaces (with 18 for handicapped). Meanwhile, the presbytery has a capacity for 100 celebrants.

The structure include several chapels: the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Portuguese: Capela do Sagrado Coração de Jesus), with 16 confessionals; the Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Portuguese: Capela do Imaculado Coração de Maria), with 12 confessionals; the Chapel of the Resurrection of Jesus (Portuguese: Capela da Ressurreição de Jesus), with space for 200 and 16 confessionals; Chapel of the Death of Jesus (Portuguese: Capela da Morte de Jesus), with space for 600; and the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament (Portuguese: Capela do Santíssimo Sacramento), dedicated for Lausperene, a maximum of 200 continuous prayer venerates.

The simple modernist design is both functional and iconographic to express its religiosity. From the main portico, the Door of Christ brings attention to the transcendence of God. It represents the themes of Father, Son and Holy Spirit with iconic imagery.

7. Liverpool Cathedral

Photo: Lonely Planet
Photo: Lonely Planet

Liverpool Cathedral is the Cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool, built on St James's Mount in Liverpool, and the seat of the Bishop of Liverpool. It may be referred to as the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool (as recorded in the Document of Consecration) or the Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ, Liverpool, being dedicated to Christ 'in especial remembrance of His most glorious Resurrection'. Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral and religious building in Britain, and the eighth largest church in the world.

The cathedral is based on a design by Giles Gilbert Scott and was constructed between 1904 and 1978. The total external length of the building, including the Lady Chapel (dedicated to the Blessed Virgin), is 207 yards (189 m) making it the longest cathedral in the world; its internal length is 160 yards (150 m). In terms of overall volume, Liverpool Cathedral ranks as the fifth-largest cathedral in the world and contests with the incomplete Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City for the title of largest Anglican church building. With a height of 331 feet (101 m) it is also one of the world's tallest non-spired church buildings and the third-tallest structure in the city of Liverpool. The cathedral is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building.

6. Basilica Of Our Lady Of Lichen

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

According to tradition, a Polish soldier named Tomasz Klossowski, a Polish soldier fightng under Napolean, was seriously injured in a battle near Leipzig. He invoked the intercession of Our Lady to not let him die in a foreign land. She appeared to him and comforted him and promised that he would recover from his wounds and return to Poland. Tomasz was told to make an image of her as she had appeared to him ( wearing a golden crown, a dark red gown, with a golden mantle, and holding a white eagle in her right hand) and to place that image in a public place so that “My people will pray before this image and shall draw many graces at My hands in the hardest times of trial”

The Basilica is the largest church in Poland and one of the largest churches in the world. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, and is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Poland. Pope John Paul II visited here in 1999.

5. Milan Cathedral

Photo: Swedish Nomad
Photo: Swedish Nomad

The Milan Cathedral, or Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Nativity of Saint Mary (Italian: Basilica cattedrale metropolitana di Santa Maria Nascente), is the cathedral church of Milan, Lombardy, Italy. Dedicated to the Nativity of St Mary (Santa Maria Nascente), it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Archbishop Mario Delpini.

The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete: construction began in 1386, and the final details were completed in 1965. It is the largest church in Italy—the larger St. Peter's Basilica is in the State of Vatican City, a sovereign state—and the second largest in Europe and the third largest in the world.

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4. Cathedral Of Saint John The Divine

Photo: Stjohndivine
Photo: Stjohndivine

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (sometimes referred to as St. John's and also nicknamed St. John the Unfinished) is the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City, between West 110th Street (also known as Cathedral Parkway) and West 113th Street.

The cathedral is an unfinished building, with only two-thirds of the proposed building completed, due to several major stylistic changes and work interruptions. The original design, in the Byzantine Revival and Romanesque Revival styles, began construction in 1892. After the opening of the crossing in 1909, the overall plan was changed to a Gothic Revival design. The completion of the nave was delayed until 1941 due to various funding shortfalls, and little progress has occurred since then, except for an addition to the tower at the nave's southwest corner. After a large fire damaged part of the cathedral in 2001, it was renovated and rededicated in 2008. The towers above the western facade, as well as the southern transept and a proposed steeple above the crossing, have not been completed.

Despite being incomplete, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the world's sixth-largest church by area and either the largest or second-largest Anglican cathedral. The floor area of St. John's is 121,000 sq ft (11,200 m2), spanning a length of 601 feet (183 m), while the roof height of the nave is 177 feet (54 m). Since the cathedral's interior is so large, it has been used for hundreds of events and art exhibitions. In addition, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine has been involved in various advocacy initiatives throughout its history.

3. Seville Cathedral

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (Spanish: Catedral de Santa María de la Sede), better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville, Andalusia, Spain. It was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the adjoining Alcázar palace complex and the General Archive of the Indies. It is the fourth-largest church in the world (its size remains a matter of debate) as well as the largest Gothic church.

After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for a thousand years. The total area occupied by the building is 11,520 square metres (124,000 sq ft). The Gothic section alone has a length of 126 m (413 ft), a width of 76 m (249 ft), and its maximum height in the center of the transept is 42 m (138 ft). The total height of the Giralda tower from the ground to the weather vane is 104.5 m (342 ft 10 in).

Seville Cathedral was the site of the baptism of Infante Juan of Aragon in 1478, only son of the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. Its royal chapel holds the remains of the city's conqueror Ferdinand III of Castile, his son and heir Alfonso the Wise and their descendant king Peter the Just. The funerary monuments for cardinals Juan de Cervantes and Pedro González de Mendoza are located among its chapels. Christopher Columbus and his son Diego are also buried in the cathedral.

2. Basilica Of The National Shrine Of Our Lady Of Aparecida

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

The Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida (Portuguese: Catedral Basílica Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora Aparecida) is a prominent Roman Catholic basilica in Aparecida, Brazil. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Aparecida as the principal Patroness of Brazil. Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida roughly translates to Our Lady of the Conception of Aparecida. It is the largest cathedral and the second largest Catholic church in the world in interior area after the St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.

According to mythology, a group of fishers got a headless statue of Virgin Mary from Paraiba river while fishing in 1717. They also haul up the head of the statue on another cast of the nets. They brought the sculpture of Virgin Mary to their home. They housed the sculpture in the shrine in 1945. It is believed to be the statue was sculptured by a Brazilian monk named Frei Agostino de Jesus.

A new church on the spot of the old shrine was built between 1834 and 1888. Today’s version of the cathedral built in the 20th century. The towers of the church rise to 102 meters and its dome are 70 meters high.

1. St.Peter’s Basilica

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), or simply Saint Peter's Basilica (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), is a church built in the Renaissance style located in Vatican City, the papal enclave that is within the city of Rome.

Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world by interior measure. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome (these equivalent titles being held by the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome), St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom".

Catholic tradition holds that the basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, chief among Jesus's apostles and also the first Bishop of Rome (Pope). Saint Peter's tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the basilica or "Altar of the Confession". For this reason, many popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period. A church has stood on this site since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Old St. Peter's Basilica dates from the 4th century AD. Construction of the present basilica began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

St. Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage and for its liturgical functions. The pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year both within the basilica or the adjoining St. Peter's Square; these liturgies draw audiences numbering from 15,000 to over 80,000 people.

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