What Is The Difference Between Church, Chapel, And Cathedral?

Church, chapel and cathedral are considered synonymous with each other. While this may be true on the surface, each of these terms refers to a slightly different type of religious building. Let’s understand the differences between the three.

What is a church?

A church is a general term for places of worship for Christians that have a regular congregation and are led by a priest or pastor. “Church” comes from the Old English word “ciricio“,” which is a derivation of the prehistoric Germanic word ”kirika”, meaning “meeting place reserved for Christian worship“.


The term “church” is also used to refer to the assembly of Christian believers, as well as the Christian religious community as a whole. In traditional Christian architecture, the plan view of a church resembles a Christian cross, with the bema and altar serving as the horizontal beam and the central aisle and pews as the vertical beam. This architectural arrangement symbolizes the fact that the church is a holy place, built to honor and serve God.

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What is a chapel?

A chapel is a smaller version of a church, often used as an addition to the main structure or located on the grounds of an institution.


The word chapel dates back to the 13th century and is derived from the Old French word. chapelwhich is a variant of medieval Latin cappellameaning “small cape“.

Smaller areas with their own altars within a church are often called chapels. Sometimes chapels are free-standing structures assigned to certain events, such as weddings or memorials.

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What is a cathedral?


A cathedral serves as the seat of the bishop, as well as a place of worship and mission. The main function of a cathedral is to be a place of Christian prayer. It is the main place of worship within a diocese, the geographical territory over which a bishop has power. A cathedral is not distinguished by its size; It can be larger or smaller than a church or chapel. The main factor that differentiates a cathedra from the aforementioned structures is the bishop. The cathedral is where the bishop sits.

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Difference between church, chapel and cathedral

While a church is a building for Christian worship, a chapel is not intended to be a building; rather, it is a space reserved for the prayer of individuals, and a cathedral is a church led by a bishop. The main factor that differentiates a cathedral from a church or chapel is the presence of a bishop.

Churches, chapels and cathedrals are important symbols of faith and provide a space for worship, reflection, prayer and community gatherings. While each of these three places of worship serves a different purpose, they all offer a place for people to practice their faith and find support from those who share it.

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Categories: Optical Illusion
Source: sef.edu.vn

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