Are you involved in architecture and now you are curious about the biggest churches in the world? We were interested in it too, so we prepared this article. As for me who am a Protestant theologian, churches are always an interesting subject to study, read and speak about it. Nevertheless, so far I haven’t known too much about the largest churches in the world myself either, so it was a pretty nice experience for me, too. Actually, when we say ‘church’, it means a Christian building, as speaking about other religions we use the terms such as mosque, synagogue, etc. It is important to mention that many times when we consider biggest churches or churches at all in the world, we think of only medieval buildings or older ones. But as a matter of fact, there are modern churches built nowadays as well, and what is really surprising is that they are kind of big! Not only chapels or something like that but huge churches like Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Portugal which was finished only ten years ago!
If you would like to know more about the different types of religions you can do it by reading 11 Most Popular Religions in the World. Humans’ life has always been related to religions as at the very beginning people could explain natural things that happened with supernatural powers committed by different gods. Nowadays we can observe the vivid diversity of religions.
Our methodology was to find the measures of the churches in the world and compare them with each other. Comparing itself was not an easy task as an accepted measure of largeness can include volume, area, height, width, and capacity but this latter is rather a subjective aspect. So we do emphasize that one church can be declared to be the largest concerning one point of view (for example area as we made the comparison) but on the other hand, regarding another aspect, there can be a much larger one. We can find churches that have equal claim to be the largest but so far official body governing hasn’t been set up over this issue, and general criterion hasn’t been declared – consequently any kind of comparison you can find is pretty subjective. Now you can read ours as we investigated which are the biggest churches in the world regarding their area. At first, we checked the thirty largest churches in the world on Guinness Records then we narrowed the number for only 15 by listing them by the area. For narrowing, we used the sites of each church to gain all the necessary data and also got useful information about Medieval Churches In The World. Now you can see the churches ranked more or less objectively, but what is sure if you are fond of architecture you will enjoy this list!
15. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico
This church got the fifteenth place in our list with its large measure of 8,167 m2, but if you feel that is extremely big you will be shown much-much bigger ones now! It was built from 1974 to 1976 and its diameter is amazing 102 m! Roman Catholic believers go here to adore the Lord.
14. Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Koekelberg (Brussels), Belgium, Europe
It is quite a modern church as it was built from 1905 to 1970 and its area is 8,000 m2. It’s usually called Kurchesoekelberg Basilica. This massive brick church has two spectacular thin towers and a green dome made of copper – that rises 89 meters from the ground – giving an amazing view of the Brussels skyline day and night. The denomination is Roman Catholic.
13. Ulm Minster, Ulm, Germany, Europe
It is the world’s tallest and one of the largest churches made of brick. Its area is 8,260 m2 and it was built from 1377 to 1890 (for 513 years). Ulm Minster was originally devoted to the Roman Catholic Church that’s why its construction began in 1377. But later, in 1530/31 the citizens of Ulm declared in a referendum to convert it to Protestantism during the Reformation.
12. Florence Cathedral, Florence, Italy, Europe
With its 8,300 m2 of the area, it is the twelfth biggest church in the world on our list of biggest churches in the world. Its construction started in 1296 and ended in 1436, so it lasted for 140 years! As we can see the incredible year of beginning, we can claim that this church is the oldest one in our list, but not the oldest one in the world. With its early starting, it is the tenth most ancient one. The world’s largest brick and mortar dome belongs to it.
11. Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar, Zaragoza, Spain, Europe
It is a Roman Catholic church with an area of 8,318 m2 and was built for 191 years, from 1681 to 1872. It has a unique point of interest as several churches have been built on this site: at first, the church was Romanesque, then it was transformed into Gothic later into Mudejar style.
10. Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy, Europe
Up next on our list of biggest churches in the world is Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls is one of the most famous churches in the world. Millions of tourists go to see it and admire its awe-inspiring architecture and measures. It has an area of 8,515 m2, and it is denominated to Roman Catholic religion. The most interesting thing about it is having one nave and four aisles by eighty columns.
9. Church of the Holy Trinity, Fátima, Portugal, Europe
If we think of the biggest churches in the world, we often think that they must be very old buildings and that nowadays monumental churches aren’t built anymore. But, that is not true! This church that occupies an area of amazing 8,700 m2 was built from 2004 to 2007. As we are in Portugal the religion of this fold is Roman Catholic.
8. Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool, United Kingdom
The UK can be proud of the eighth biggest church in the Christian world. Its area is 9,687 m2 and was built from 1904 to 1978. It belongs to Church of England.
7. Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen, Lichen Stary, Poland, Europe
Its area is a controversial question as some sources say 10,090 m2 while others mention “only” 9,240 m2. Whether is bigger whether is smaller, we really admire its architecture. It is denominated to the Roman Catholic Church. This amazing church is also among the youngest on our list as its construction ended in 2004.
6. Abbey of Santa Giustina, Padua, Italy, Europe
We are continuing our list of biggest churches in the world with Padua that is not only famous for its centuries-old university but for its abbey too. Its area is 9,717 m2 and was built for 105 years, from 1501 to 606. As it is in Italy denomination is Roman Catholic, naturalmente (naturally) – as an Italian would say!
5. Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York City, United States
This huge Episcopal Church lies on 11,200 m2 of area and has a long-standing period of building as the construction itself began in 1892 and it hasn’t ended yet! The transepts are still missing among other components but we can admire its beauty nevertheless.
4. Seville Cathedral Seville, Spain, Europe
This is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with its enormous size: 11,520 m2; it was built for the Roman Catholic believers from 1401 to 1528.
3. Milan Cathedral, Milan, Italy, Europe
Milan Cathedral, the next one on our list of biggest churches in the world can boast about an area of 11,700 m2. What amazes the most is the fact that it was built for 579 years, from 1386 to 1965. Being in Italy, naturally, the denomination is Catholic as well.
2. Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Aparecida, Brazil, South-America
This church also has outstanding measures but they were enough for only the second place on our list of biggest churches in the world. The interior area is 12,000 m2, and the church was built from 1955 to 1980, so we can say it’s quite young a church comparing the other ones on our list. The denomination is Roman Catholic.
1. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Vatican City, Europe
Who hasn’t heard of the most famous Basilica in the world? Without a shadow of a doubt, the most monumental church in the world is St. Peter’s Basilica. Its interior area covers 15,160 m2; it was built from 1506 to 1626. The heart of the Roman Catholic Church, as it is often called, is visited by millions of tourists every year. For those who follow the Catholic religion this church is much more than a tourist site considering the fact that St. Peter (one of Jesus’ Apostles and also the first Pope) was buried here.
These were the biggest churches in the world! We hope you have enjoyed this architectural and historical show as much as we did while writing it.