The next time you encounter a cathedral, you will know what sets it apart from the rest of the churches in your neighborhood (in case you already didn’t know). In this article, you will learn more about the significance of a basilica and cathedral in the world of religious buildings.
One of the earliest types of churches associated with the Christian faith was the basilica. The Latin word was originally used to refer to a public building in Rome. It was usually situated in the forum of a Roman town with public basilicas emerging in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC. Basilicas were also buildings that were used for religious purposes.
In 1915, the remains of a nicely sized subterranean basilica was uncovered that dates back to the 1st century AD. Archeologists found this gem near the Porta Maggiore in Rome. The stuccoes on the interior vaulting have been left behind to gain an understanding of the past. After the Roman Empire had officially become a Christian land, basilicas were understood to be a large and important church that had received special ceremonial rites by the Pope.
Modern basilicas built in the 20th century have become important pilgrimage sites for Catholics. Every year, about tens of millions of people come to visit. For example, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe welcomed more than 6 million pilgrims during the Friday and Saturday that celebrated the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. These numbers set a new record.
Another famous basilica is St. Peter’s Basilica, a church built during the Late Renaissance that is found within the Vatican City. The basilica is unique because is possesses the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. It is also the burial site of St. Peter.
A cathedral is commonplace amongst Roman Catholic, Anglicans, Orthodox, as well as some Lutheran and Methodist churches. The main church found in an area is where you will locate the seat of the bishop. This Christian church offers a building for worship. Interestingly, there are varying degrees and levels upheld by the cathedrals. For example, two churches that jointly serve as cathedrals of a diocese are each referred to as co-cathedrals. A parish church that formerly served as a cathedral is called a proto-cathedral.
Examples of cathedrals in the world include:
”¢ The Aachen Cathedral in Germany was founded by Charlemagne in 800 AD, and was the coronation place of the Holy Roman Emperor.
”¢ St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney holds the title and dignity of a minor basilica, which was bestowed upon it by Pope Pius XI in 1930. This is the largest church in Australia.
”¢ The Chartres Cathedral in France offers something of interest for both pilgrims and lovers of art. The site of the cathedral dates back to the 4th century, where four other churches stood in the same place.