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20 Largest Churches in the World

These magnificent buildings are the 20 largest churches in the world. Some 50 million plus people visit these churches on a yearly basis.

These are the twenty largest churches in the world by square footage. The list is churches only and mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship are not included on this list except for the Hagia Sophia which was built as a church but also served as a mosque for many years. Some of the churches on the list often dispute which ones are the largest and each one can come up with different figures depending upon what is measured and the measurements listed here are very rough approximations. But all of these churches are simply magnificent structures and each one should be appreciated for its own beauty.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City - 164,000 square feet

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Ironically the largest church in the world is located in the smallest country in the world as St. Peter's Basilica is in Vatican City which is considered its own country. St. Peter's Basilica is a magnificent structure built from 1506-1626 by a number of different architects including Michelangelo who designed the dome. St. Peter's is a Roman Catholic church and can hold some 60,000 people. It is certainly one of the most famous buildings in the world and one of the most visited by tourists and worshipers.

Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil - 129,000 square feet

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is also a Roman Catholic church and is located in Aparecida, Brazil. It was originally built in the late 1700's but due to the popularity of Our Lady of Aparecida it was greatly expanded beginning in 1955. Our Lady of Aparecida is the Patron Saint of Brazil and many Brazilians pray to her every day especially laborers. The basilica can hold over 45,000 people.

Cathedral of Seville in Spain - 124,000 square feet

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The Cathedral of Seville is a Catholic Church located in southern Spain in the city of Seville. It is also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See. The church was built in Gothic style from 1402-1511 and twice since then the dome has been replaced once due to an earthquake. Inside the massive Cathedral of Seville are 80 chapels and as many as 500 masses have been said on a daily basis. Christopher Columbus is buried on the church grounds.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City - 121,000 square feet

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The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located at 1047 Amsterdam Ave in Upper Manhattan, New York City, New York. The inside of this huge Episcopal church takes up half a city block. The cathedral was begun in 1892 and built in Gothic style and many people joke the church is still not finished as it is almost continually being renovated.

Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen in Poland - 109,000 square feet

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The Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen is a Roman Catholic church located in the city of Lichen Stary in Poland. It is a modern church having being built from 1994-2004 from donations from pilgrims and honors Our Lady of Lichen also known as Our Lady of Sorrows.

Liverpool Cathedral in England - 104,000 square feet

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Liverpool Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral located right off Hope Street on St. James Mount in downtown Liverpool, England. It was built beginning in 1904 in Gothic Revival style using designs by architect Giles Gilbert Scott and considered finished in 1978. The massive cathedral tower is 331 feet high.

Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Portugal - 94,000 square feet

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The Church of the Most Holy Trinity is a Roman Catholic church located at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal. This church is modern having being built from 2004-2007 at a cost of 80 million euros. The Church of the Most Holy Trinity has a seating capacity of around 9,000.

Milan Cathedral in Italy - 91,000 square feet

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Milan Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in the northern Italian city of Milan. This massive Gothic cathedral was built from 1386-1558. On top of the tallest spire is a baroque gilded bronze statue entitled "Madoninna". Tourists are allowed to climb up to the roof where they can view many sculptures.

Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Spain - 90,000 square feet

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The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is a Roman Catholic church located in the city of Zaragoza, Spain. It was built in the Baroque style of architecture from 1681-1872. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar was built to honor the Virgin Mary who appeared before the Apostle James as he prayed by the banks of the Ebro River in Spain and she gave him a pillar of jasper and asked him to build a church for her in 40 AD. James built a small chapel for Mary near the spot which was destroyed after James was executed in 44 AD but the pillar was saved and preserved and placed in subsequent churches built on the spot including the present day basilica.

Cathedral of Saint Sava in Serbia - 88,000 square feet

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The Cathedral of Saint Sava is an Orthodox church located on the Vracar plateau in the capital city of Belgrade, Serbia. Construction of the church began in 1935 and it was mostly finished by 2003. The church honors Saint Sava who founded the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1219 and is today the patron saint of education and medicine in Serbia.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico - 88,000 square feet

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The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church located on top of Tepeyac Hill in the northern part of Mexico City, Mexico. There are actually two basilicas on top of the hill with the same name with the newer one being much larger and having been built from 1974-1976. The older one is much prettier to look at but also much smaller in size. The new Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe can seat some 10,000 people.

Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in the Ivory Coast - 86,000 square feet

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The Basilica if Our Lady of Peace is a Roman Catholic church located in the capital city of Yamoussoukro in the West African nation of Côte d'Ivoire or the Ivory Coast in English. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace was built from 1985 to 1990 at a cost of roughly 300 million dollars.It was roughly modeled after St. Peter's Basilica and the Guinness Book of World Records lists the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace as the largest church in the world but that counts a lot of open space and whether that should count or not is debatable. St. Peter's Basilica can hold 60,000 visitors while the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace holds 18,000.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Belgium - 85,000 square feet

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The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic church located in Elizabeth Park on Koekelberg Hill in Brussels, Belgium. Due to its location the church is often called the Koekelberg Basilica. The basilica was built from 1905-1969. The original design was for a Neo-gothic church but after WW I the design was changed to a Art Deco and today the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is the largest Art Deco building in the world. Though primarily a church this massive building also has a restaurant, a theater and two museums.

San Petrino Basilica in Bologna - 85,000 square feet

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San Petrino Basilica is a Roman Catholic church that is the centerpiece of the beautiful Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy. Dedicated to Saint Petronius the patron saint of Bologna the basilica was built from 1390-1658 and can hold some 28,000 people.

Cologne Cathedral in Germany - 85,000 square feet

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The Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in Cologne, Germany. It was built from 1248-1880 in Gothic architectural style and has the second tallest church spires in the world. Some 20,000 people visit Cologne Cathedral every day.

St. Paul's Cathedral in London - 85,000 square feet

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St. Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican church located on Ludgate Hill in London, England. St. Paul's Cathedral was built from 1677-1708 by famed architect Sir Christopher Wren.Tthis incredibly beautiful building is one of the most famous buildings in London and is a huge tourist attraction today.

Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC - 83,000 square feet

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Washington National Cathedral is a huge Episcopal church located at Wisconsin Avenue NW in Washington, DC. It was built from 1907-1990 in Gothic Revival style using designs from famed architect George Frederick Bodley and his pupil Henry Vaughn. This magnificent building is a popular tourist attraction in Washington, DC today and visitors with the stamina can climb the 333 steps to the top of the great central tower some 300 feet above the ground for fantastic views of the capital city.

Amiens Cathedral in France - 83,000 square feet

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Amiens Cathedral or Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens in French is a Roman Catholic church located 30 Notre Dame Place in Amiens, France. Due to fires that destroyed the records it is not exactly known when construction on Amiens Cathedral began but it was probably around 1220 with most of the work being completed by 1270 though much has been added over the years. Displayed inside Amiens Cathedral is the religious relic the head of St. John the Baptist which was supposedly brought here from Constantinople after one of the Crusades. Who knows if it is real but it is mummified and looks old and donations by pilgrims visiting the religious relic provided the main funding for building the magnificent Amiens Cathedral which one of the largest churches in the world today.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - 80,000 square feet

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Hagia Sophia was an Orthodox Basilica church that was built from 532-537 by Byzantine Emperor Justinian and served as a church for hundreds of years before it became a mosque from 1453 to 1934. In 1935 the Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum and today this magnificent building is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC - 76,000 square feet

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic Church located at 400 Michigan Avenue NE in Washington, DC. Built from 1919-1961 in Byzantine style today the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic Church in the United States. Over 1 million people visit the basilica on a yearly basis making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington, DC today.

For more see 10 Largest Homes in the United States

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12 Beautiful Famous Castles in Canada

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_church_buildings_in_the_world

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Comments (51)

Stunning pics Joe !

Beautiful churches!

Excellent work

Good information!

kate smedley

Some beautiful choices Joe, I've only been to St Paul's but it is absolutely stunning. I may just take a trip to Liverpool Cathedral too now.

Beautifully put together. I love the one in Seville. I have not been to Spain but hope to get there someday.

Shannon Larratt

I know it's not as pretty or traditional, but what about US megachurches like Lakewood Church or Second Baptist Church (both in Houston) that's something like a million square feet when you add it all up?

They are pretty big Sharon but I don't think either one is big enough to make this list though a lot depends upon what is actually being measured.

Shannon Larratt

Well, I think they're both easily large enough in terms of volume/floorspace and in terms of seating -- the places are practically stadiums... And since you've got the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Portugal on the list, which is sort of the same style of building, I figure it makes sense to include the big American uberchurches --- although I agree that even if their raw numbers are bigger they lack a great deal when you compare them with traditional Cathedrals.

Shannon do you know the actual square footage of the Lakewood Church or Second Baptist Church? Just the square footage of the actual church part not the school parts. And is Lakewood still in the old basketball arena that it converted to a church?

Shannon Larratt

I had a lot of trouble tracking down the exact numbers -- everyone wants to promote their massive overall numbers (although I think some of the above might be the same) -- so I don't have that answer for you. As to your second question, I'd guess yes, but I don't know for sure. If you ever post a megachurch list I will read it with curiosity.

Thanks for your work on this site, I always enjoy it.

Thanks Shannon. Might do a largest churches in the USA article which would include the mega-churches.

I enjoyed this and hope you find out the square footage of the Lakewood Chruch by Joel Osteen

Very nicely written article and presentation.

Pastor Tosan Fregene

am surprise that you guys did not list any church building in Africa as part of the 20 most largest churches in the world. Please go and do your research very well and you find some especially the famous Faith Tabernacle Ota, in Nigeria a 50,400 seater auditorium. What about it.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is listed and it is in Africa in the Ivory Coast.

Jallal zakaria

My i think i like the churchs.my name is jallal.i am from Ghana.am 18years old boy.I will be more happy if someone will help me complete my Education as i was out from school after i lost my Parent.Please if you are Interested to help me further my Education here is my email Jallal.baba@gmail.com

Festus oduware

The largest church is faith terbanacle. A.K.A winner chapel 50,000 seater without inside pillar

Fadayo

There is a new big auditorium with over 80,000 siter in nigeria

I have often been to Milan Cathedral, but never knew it was one of the largest in the world.

I have only visited St Paul's from the above. Some of the others look amazing. My father will love this article, I will forward it to him. Great post.

toritseju odonghanro

My name is toju,no name of churches in nigeria was listed among the 20 biggest churches without pillar in d world it will b very good if churches in nigeria are noted 4 us in nigeria 2 know

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Kolusade segun

What about winner's chapel in niger and its no.?

Kolusade segun

What about winner's chapel in niger and its no.?

Khalid Masih

I want to visit the most beautiful churches in the world

PROFESSOR EMMANUEL

DEAR

GOOD DAY

AM EMMANUEL I NEED A GIRL FROM THE CHURCH TO MARRY

Ana Maria

Hello , dear everyone!

I'm happy to announce that I need a man to marry!

With God 's blessing! In the curch!

And afterwords in infinit love !

Thanks!

shobande aduraleke tunde

it lovely and am so happy because am a catholic person

Samuel

Ds researches are not tru in nigeria,d redeem christian church head quaters can seat a total of 120000 people like wise deeper life and mountain of fire in nigeria...so i tink all ds researches are biased to africans and nigeria

Samuel, give me a link to this church in Nigeria, and I will add it if it's large enough.

ken

I'm a nigerian and I also understand what my countrymen are saying. But unfortunately it states ''Biggest Church'' What was considered here is the building and that's how biggest churches are rated. Not when you zink 100 hecters of land without a sigle style. Can you compare your camp with any of the above structures?

kelvin

Dear brethren!when taking account of biggest and largest church in the world(planet Earth),u need to carefully and righfully collate ur fact/info by moving round all the continent and administer questionaire through internet.You haven't got fact yet...

kelvin

Dear brethren!when taking account of biggest and largest church in the world(planet Earth),u need to carefully and righfully collate ur fact/info by moving round all the continent and administer questionaire through internet.You haven't got fact yet...

kelvin

Dear brethren!when taking account of biggest and largest church in the world(planet Earth),u need to carefully and righfully collate ur fact/info by moving round all the continent and administer questionaire through internet.You haven't got fact yet...

kelvin

Dear brethren!when taking account of biggest and largest church in the world(planet Earth),u need to carefully and righfully collate ur fact/info by moving round all the continent and administer questionaire through internet.You haven't got fact yet...

Oriyomi oluwafemi taiwo

Wat number is winners chapel

Graet, well written and illustrated presentation.the designs very inspiring...thanksare

Excellent!!!!

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Olosunde Praise

How about Living faith church, winners chapel in Nigeria reported to have a 50,000 capacity setter and a 250,000 wide over flow.

Elijah adeyemo

Wat of T.A.C LAWNA NATIONAL temple sitted at lagos just completed and been bless by nigeria CAN president, pastor ayo oristajafor, that has sitting capacity of 100,000 people at a time, at olorunda ketu lagos nigeria as the world largest church and temple.

Elijah adeyemo

Wat of T.A.C LAWNA NATIONAL temple sitted at lagos just completed and been bless by nigeria CAN president, pastor ayo oristajafor, that has sitting capacity of 100,000 people at a time, at olorunda ketu lagos nigeria as the world largest church and temple.

Elijah adeyemo

This is so cool.....i'll visit the South America one day!

Stephen

Is well

Kenny adeniken

Faith terbanacle,ota, nigeria still world largest church auditorium

Lakewood church is 700000 square feet

Revisiting Joe. A good job on this one, tweeted

nice church . its very gud.. we have christian ngo in India and we r seeking donations for our project like education, health, environment etc. for women, children... pls help us... u can check everything about us thru papers/personally/gazzate notifications of the indian govt... hoping for your positive reply... pls mail to me christianngoctrust@yahoo.com or call +91 9724226741

so!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wonderful indeed! wish to visit any of those places someday.....

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