This post lists the 30 largest church buildings in the world. Whilst claims are made about the relative size of churches many of these claims are not easily substantiated. “Largest” is at best a vague term, which is often not qualified by claimants. Accepted measures of largeness could include area, volume, length, width, height, and/or capacity, although the last is far more subjective. It is important to note therefore that churches may claim to be “the largest” based on only one of these measurements; and thus that there may be several churches that have claims to be “the largest church”. Since there is no official body governing these claims, there is no generally accepted criterion for being “the largest church”.
The list below attempts to rank churches by different (more-or-less) objective criteria, and thus may generate different orders depending on the measure used. Churches for which claims are made but dimensions cannot be found are not included on the below lists. (wikipedia)
1- St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City)
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, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people (wikipedia).
2- Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida (Brazil)
The Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida is a prominent Roman Rite Catholic basilica in Aparecida, Brazil. It is the second largest church in the world, after St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (wikipedia).
3- Seville Cathedral (Spain)
Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville, Spain. It was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is the third-largest church in the world as well as the largest Gothic church (wikipedia).
4- Milan Cathedral (Italy)
Milan Cathedral is the cathedral church of Milan, Lombardy, Italy. The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the largest church in Italy (wikipedia).
5- Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (New York)
The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The largest Episcopal cathedral in the world. It is located in New York City on Amsterdam Avenue between West 110th Street and 113th Street in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood (wikipedia).
6- Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen (Poland)
Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen is a Roman Catholic church located at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland, in the village of Lichen Stary near Konin in the Greater Poland Voivodeship in Poland. It was designed by Barbara Bielecka and built between 1994 and 2004 (wikipedia).
7- Liverpool Cathedral
Liverpool Cathedral is the Church of England Cathedral of the Diocese of Liverpool, built on St James’s Mount in Liverpool and is the seat of the Bishop of Liverpool (wikipedia).
8- Basilica of the Holy Trinity (Portugal)
The Basilica of the Holy Trinity is a Roman Catholic church in Fatima, 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 (wikipedia).
9- Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (Italy)
The Basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of St. Paul, where it was said that, after the Apostle’s execution, his followers erected a memorial, called a cella memoriae. The Basilica which was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324 (wikipedia).
10- Florence Cathedral (Italy)
Florence Cathedral, formally the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral of Florence, Italy. It was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to a design of Arnolfo di Cambio and was structurally completed by 1436, with the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (wikipedia).
11- Ulm Minster (Germany)
Ulm Minster is a Lutheran church located in Ulm, State of Baden-Württemberg (Germany). Until the eventual completion of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, it will remain the tallest church in the world and the 5th tallest structure built before the 20th century with a steeple measuring 161.5 metres (530 ft) (wikipedia).
12- Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Brussels (Belgium)
The National Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic Minor Basilica and parish church in Brussels, Belgium. The church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart, inspired by the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur in Paris. Symbolically, King Leopold II laid the first stone of the basilica in 1905 during the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence (wikipedia).
13- Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico)
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church, basilica and National shrine of Mexico in the north of Mexico City. The shrine was built near the hill of Tepeyac where Our Lady of Guadalupe is believed to have appeared to Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. This site is also known as La Villa de Guadalupe or, in a more popular sense, simply La Villa, as it has several churches and related buildings (wikipedia).
14- The Cathedral of Our Lady (Belgium)
The Cathedral of Our Lady is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium. Today’s see of the Diocese of Antwerp started in 1352 and, although the first stage of construction was ended in 1521, has never been ‘completed’. In Gothic style, its architects were Jan and Pieter Appelmans. It contains a number of significant works by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, as well as paintings by artists such as Otto van Veen, Jacob de Backer and Marten de Vos (wikipedia).
15- Rio de Janeiro Cathedral (Brazil)
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian better known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro. The cathedral is the See of the Metropolitan Archbishops of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The church is dedicated to Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro (wikipedia).
16- Basilica of Our Lady of Peace (Ivory Coast)
The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is a Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital of Ivory Coast. The basilica was constructed between 1985 and 1989 with different cost estimates given by various groups. Some stated that it cost US$175 million, US$300 million, or US$400 million, ranging as high as US$600 million. The designs of the dome and encircled plaza are clearly inspired by the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican City (wikipedia).
17- Hagia Sophia (Turkey)
Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica (church), later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey (wikipedia).
18- San Petronio Basilica (Italy)
The Basilica of San Petronio is the main church of Bologna, Emilia Romagna, northern Italy. It dominates Piazza Maggiore. It is the tenth-largest church in the world by volume, 132 metres long and 66 metres wide, while the vault reaches 45 metres inside and 51 metres in the facade. With its volume of 258,000 m³, it is the largest (Gothic or otherwise) church built of bricks in the world (wikipedia).
19- Cologne Cathedral (Germany)
Cologne Cathedral is a Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. It is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day, and currently the tallest twin-spired church at 157 m (515 ft) tall (wikipedia).
20- St Paul’s Cathedral (England)
St Paul’s Cathedral, London, is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London and is a Grade I listed building. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604 (wikipedia).
21- Washington National Cathedral (USA)
The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, commonly known as Washington National Cathedral, is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The structure is of Neo-Gothic design closely modeled on English Gothic style of the late fourteenth century. It is both the second-largest church building in the United States, and the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, D.C (wikipedia).
22- Amiens Cathedral (France)
Amiens Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic church. The cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Amiens (currently Jean-Luc Bouilleret). It is situated on a slight ridge overlooking the River Somme in Amiens, the administrative capital of the Picardy region of France, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Paris. It is the 19th largest church in the world (wikipedia).
23- Abbey of Santa Giustina (Italy)
The Abbey of Santa Giustina is a Benedictine abbey in the center of the City of Padua, facing the Prato della Valle, which dates from the 10th century. The abbey is attached to the Basilica of Santa Giustina, which was built in the 6th century. Its present shape derives from construction in the 17th century (wikipedia).
24- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (USA)
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a prominent Roman Catholic basilica and national shrine located in Washington, D.C., United States of America.
The shrine is the largest Catholic church in the United States and second largest in North America, and the tallest habitable building in Washington, D.C (wikipedia).
25- The Cathedral of La Plata (Argentina)
The Cathedral of La Plata in La Plata, Argentina, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, is the 58th tallest church in the world. This Neogothic edifice is located in the geographical center of the city, facing the central square, Plaza Moreno, and the City Hall (wikipedia).
26- Saint Joseph’s Oratory (Canada)
Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine on Mount Royal’s Westmount Summit in Montreal, Quebec. It is Canada’s largest church and claims to have one of the largest domes in the world (wikipedia).
27- Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral (Mexico)
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heavens is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico. It is situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor on the northern side of the Plaza de la Constitucion in Downtown Mexico City. The cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 around the original church that was constructed soon after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan, eventually replacing it entirely (wikipedia).
28- Palma Cathedral (Spain)
The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (Cathedral of St. Mary of Palma) is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral located in Palma, Majorca, Spain.
Built by the Crown of Aragon on the site of a Moorish-era mosque, the cathedral is 121 metres long, 55 metres wide and its nave is 44 metres tall. By way of comparison, the height of the central nave reaches 33m in Notre Dame de Paris, 38m in Reims, 42m in Notre-Dame d’Amiens and 48m in Saint-Pierre de Beauvais, the highest of all Gothic cathedrals (wikipedia).
29- Reims Cathedral (France)
Reims Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Reims, France, built in the High Gothic style. The cathedral replaced an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211, that was built on the site of the basilica where Clovis I was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims in 496. That original structure had itself been erected on the site of some Roman baths (wikipedia).
30- Strasbourg Cathedral (France)
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Strasbourg, Alsace, France. Although considerable parts of it are still in Romanesque architecture, it is widely considered to be among the finest examples of high, or late, Gothic architecture. Erwin von Steinbach is credited for major contributions from 1277 to his death in 1318 (wikipedia).