The 5 Largest Churches in the World

St. Peters Basilica

Each month, thousands of tourists and pilgrims visit St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Today, it is considered one of the holiest of all catholic shrines in existence. Constructed at the tomb of St Peter, this church is considered a must-see for many Romans and visitors to the country.

After the first Basilica was destroyed, it took more than a century to rebuild, and some of the most famous architects of their time helped with the design. Found on Vatican Hill, this church covers 22,300 square meters requires you to climb 491 stairs to reach the top of Michelangelo’s dome. It’s important to note, a church only becomes a basilica if the pope designates this, and usually this is done because the structure is a house of sacred relics or has historic significance.

Something you may not realize is that the holy door in St Peter’s Basilica will only be opened during the Jubilee Years, which occurs once every 25 years. Usually, they are cemented shut to ensure they are never accidentally opened.

Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida

In Brazil, this location is called Our Lady Aparecida and considered the most important Marian shrine located in the country. It is also home to one of the largest Basilicas in the world. Each year, millions of pilgrims travel here to honor the Virgin Mary, and on October 12th, which is Feast Day, it is estimated that over one million pilgrims arrive here.

Our Lady of Aparecida was proclaimed the patron saint for Brazil in the year 1930. Today, it is located in a Minor Basilica, which is the second biggest Church, only coming in second to Saint Peters. According to reports, this church can house more than 45K people.

Pope John Paul II visited this shrine in 1980 and blessed it at this time. Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2007 and at this time gave the Basilica the Golden Rose.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is found close to Sao Palo and approximately 150 miles from Rio de Janeiro.

Seville Cathedral

The Seville Cathedral in Santa Maria de la Sede is the biggest Gothic cathedra in the world today. It is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Construction for this cathedral lasted more than a century, from the year 1401 to 1506. It is believed that when the plans were created, the elders made the proclamation to make a church so magnificent and beautiful that those who saw the finished work would believe they were all mad.

The central nave of the cathedral is 42 meters high and each of the 80 side chapels seem to be big and tall enough to contain a typical church. The main characteristics of this cathedral are its sheer grandeur and size; however, it is an awe-inspiring site that attracts millions of tourists and pilgrims per year.

The interplay between the parts and the rhythmic balance provide an overall simplicity and the restraint in decorations, besides the Retablo Mayor, create something that is more grandeurs than other churches and cathedrals in the world. All the ages since have left behind monuments of wealth and style, but these are restricted to just two rows of the side chapels. In the main part of the cathedral, just the choir stands out and this is what fills the central portion of the nave.

Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

This is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese in New York and is the Seat of its Bishop. It has been chartered as a house of prayer for everyone along with a unifying center of intellectual leadership and light. It serves many people from the World, Nation, City, and Diocese through an array of liturgical, civic, and cultural events, along with community and educational outreach activities; and it maintains the preservation of the great historic and architectural site that is considered its legacy.

People from all communities and faiths will worship together and services are held over 30 times per week. Each year, the soup kitchen serves more than 25K meals and social service outreach as a growing roster of programs. For example, there is a Cathedral School, which helps prepare young students to become future leaders and a preschool, afterschool, and summer program, which all offers diverse educational and nurturing experiences.

St. John the Divine is considered an Episcopal church and is the largest cathedral that is found in the world today, which means it is also a church that is the seat of a Bishop. Construction of this Cathedral started in 1892, which means it is more than 125 years old.

Milan Cathedral

Located in the Piazza del Duomo, Milan’s Duomo is considered the most impressive structure in all of Milan. This huge cathedral has seen over 600 years of history and has withstood centuries of visitors and pilgrims walking through its doors.

This is the fifth largest Christian church in the world and covers a surface of more than 109 square feet, which makes it larger than an entire city block. The size is even more impressive considering that it is the oldest of all the biggest churches in the world.

This church is also home to more statutes than any other building in the world. In fact, there are 700 figures, 135 gargoyles, and 3,400 statues decorating the Milan Duomo. You can climb up the stairs or you can take the interior lift to the roof, which will give you the opportunity to appreciate the architecture of one of the most renowned locations in the city. When on the terrazza, you will witness amazing views throughout Milan and when it is clear out, you can even see the picturesque peaks of the Alps.

What is even more interesting is that the on-site sundial is so accurate, you can set your own watch by it.