The Difference Between a Church, Chapel, Cathedral, & Basilica

Thứ sáu - 26/04/2024 23:11
Everything you need to know about labeling places of worshipYou're walking down the street when you see a sign for a church and then a chapel. They must be the same thing, right? Well, not exactly! Believe it or not, churches and chapels...
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You’re walking down the street when you see a sign for a church and then a chapel. They must be the same thing, right? Well, not exactly! Believe it or not, churches and chapels are 2 different things. Religious buildings and spaces can have many names, but they’re not interchangeable. So, if you want to learn what’s what, keep reading because we’re comparing churches, chapels, cathedrals, and basilicas.

Things You Should Know

  • Churches have a congregation and a pastor or priest, while chapels don’t.
  • Chapels are typically smaller places of worship in hospitals, airports, and schools.
  • Even with their differences, chapels and churches are both religious spaces where people go to worship.
  • Cathedrals are larger and grander churches run by a bishop, while basilicas are churches honored by a saint or bishop.
Section 1 of 6:

What is a church?

  1. A church is a place of worship with a permanent congregation.
    Churches are run by pastors or priests, and they’re considered official religious organizations.[1] The people of a church are called congregants and schedule times to gather, worship, and study religion.
    • A congregation is an assembly of people who habitually gather to worship and attend church.[2]
    • Christian churches have 3 main denominations or branches: Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Tradition. Each of these branches follows specific religious rules and policies.[3]
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Section 2 of 6:

What is a chapel?

  1. A chapel is a place of worship without a permanent congregation.
    Chapels are not run by a pastor or priest and can be any physical space where worship is done.[4] For instance, a room with pews in a hospital, airport, or school is a chapel.
Section 3 of 6:

Church & Chapel Differences

  1. Step 1 A church is a community, while a chapel is a place.
    Churches rely on congregants and a pastor or priest to give sermons. On the other hand, chapels can operate without a group of people. There are typically no set worship times in a chapel, as people can come and go as they please to pray.
    • Think of it this way: without a congregation, a church would simply be a building of worship, making it a chapel. Once you add a like-minded group of people and a leader, it becomes a church.
  2. Step 2 Chapels are usually smaller than churches.
    You’ll most likely find chapels in hospitals, airports, or schools. They’re generally rooms or basements dedicated to worship. They may have some of the same furniture and religious items as a church, but they don’t need the same amount of space as a led congregation.
    • A pastor or priest may be present at a chapel to guide visitors, but they won’t typically preach for a large group of people.
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Section 4 of 6:

How are they similar?

  1. Churches and chapels are both places of worship.
    Whether you’re with a group of people or by yourself, at the end of the day, you go to a church or chapel to praise the Lord. No place is better than the other—choose a religious space where you feel the most comfortable.
Section 5 of 6:

What is a cathedral?

  1. A cathedral is a large church run by a bishop.
    Think of cathedrals as grand churches. They have set times of worship, a large congregation, and are led by a bishop. The buildings are often very grand as well, with extravagant and towering architecture.[5]
    • Notre-Dame de Paris, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Milan Cathedral are some of the world’s most famous cathedrals.
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Section 6 of 6:

What is a basilica?

  1. Step 1 A basilica is an honor bestowed on a church.
    In the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches, a place of worship can be labeled as a basilica by a saint or pope. The title gives the church prestigious privileges, geographical jurisdiction, and international status.[6]
    • There are 2 types: basilica major and basilica minor. The basilica major is reserved for the 4 churches of the pope, whereas a basilica minor can be bestowed to any church deemed worthy.
    • The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, St. Peter’s Basilica, Basilica of St. Paul Outside of the Walls, and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore are major basilicas.
    • The Basilica of Saint Nicholas, Basilica of the Holy House, and Shrine of the Virgin of Rosary are famous minor basilicas.
  2. Step 2 A basilica is also a type of architecture.
    Before “basilica” was an honor for a church, it was a type of building. Basilica buildings were popular in ancient Rome and had large, rounded roofs with rectangular walls and 2 rows of supporting columns.[7]
    • Basilica-styled buildings were used as markets, courthouses, promenades, and meeting halls during the 1st century BC.[8]
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