Types of Religious Buildings

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3 min readNov 25, 2020

Religious dogmas have inspired architects since time immemorial. Many buildings created for prayer and reflection are considered world-recognized architectural masterpieces. Places of veneration have become an indispensable part of religious art and religion overall. These magnificent buildings, striking by their stunning construction, are divided into different types based on their architectural style and function in religion.

Below you will find a short list of different types of religious buildings that have gained an outstanding place in Christianity.

1. Church

A church is a freestanding building with an altar part and an adjoining room for prayers. Each church is dedicated to a Christian feast or a saint whose memory day is called a church feast. The interior of the church is usually striking in both its beauty and its spirituality. Believers are surrounded by numerous icons of Christ, the Mother of God, and saints, many of which take their rightful place in the church iconostasis that complements the liturgical process and creates an ambiance of divine presence.

2. Basilica

A basilica is different in its structure. It is a type of a rectangular building consisting of an odd number (3 or 5) of naves of different heights and rows of pillars. The interior of the basilica is of paramount importance: it is decorated with marble, frescoes, wall and floor mosaics, and religious icon paintings. The most sacred part of the basilica — the altar — is especially emphasized.

3. Cathedral

A cathedral is the main temple in the city. There are Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant cathedrals. Unlike a typical temple, a divine service in the cathedral can be conducted only by a clergyman of the highest priesthood (bishop, archbishop, metropolitan, or patriarch). In Orthodoxy and Catholicism, the status of the cathedral is assigned to the temple once and for all and is not subject to revision.

4. Chapel

A chapel is a small sacred place for prayer, distinguished from a church. Sometimes, spaces inside the temple building, which have their own altar, are also called chapels. It is interesting that no clergy are specifically attached to the chapel.

Religious buildings are an integral part of world art and architecture. They impress with their power and beauty and allow people to approach the divine essence at the same time.



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