I have seen plenty of people who get confused between a church, chapel, cathedral, and basilica. Not only foreigners or the people of other religions, but even some locals don’t get the exact difference between these four. Let’s not rush it and take one by one. In this article, I am going to clarify your confusion about a church and basilica. First, we should start with the generic concept of a church.
Difference Between Church and Basilica
A church is any place of worship where Christians come together and pray. A pastor or priest runs it. It is a building in which Christians perform their rituals and also attend their religious school/classes. While there are two types of basilicas. One type is known as basilica major, and the other one is basilica minor. A basilica was originally a Roman building that is made with certain architectural elements. Basilicas are commonly found around Rome. Now let us discuss some other difference Between Church And Basilica in detail.
What is Church?
People can pray and confess everything in front of their ‘Father’ and even become a member of the church’s book club. All festivals and lecture sessions related to Christianity can be celebrated in a church.
Nowadays, you will find a church in many places, especially in Christian countries. There are many grand churches across the world. However, only a magnificent architectural design does not define it. A church is known as ‘house of worship’ and can be very plain and simple. If a group of congregants gathers somewhere regularly to worship, that place can also be known as a church. It can be anything or anywhere, even without a permanent physical space. It is merely a place where religious, like-minded people meet and pray to their God.
Churches are primarily a Western concept. It is believed that initially, in the days of Jesus, there were no literal houses for worship. People just get together on a specific day and a predetermined time and just start praying. It could be anywhere – either outdoors or in the house of the pastor. Even today, some developing countries or the government that might not afford to build a church everywhere practice such sessions as the old times.
The concept of the church came into existence after Christianity grew and accepted by various governments. Today you can observe that a church has many shapes and styles. They have been constructed in the form of a Cross that may have a dome. Domes and their drawings generally stand for the heavens, and the circles inside the churches represent eternity. You can also find churches with an octagon or star shape. However, the majority of the churches do have a spire and a tower.
What is Basilica?
The basilica is designed in Roman style and cultures. These buildings are not only for praying purposes but also for a public/open facility for trading or other businesses such as court sessions and government functions.
They typically have rectangular buildings with a high transept. Sometimes, the basilica also includes colonnades, naves, and aisles. It is an essential building. Generally, it was a church that was promoted by the pope. However, after the designation, it is not an ordinary building. The pope has rewarded them because all of them carry many spiritual beliefs. Not only that, but they also carry historical and architectural significance. So, what makes a church a basilica? Well, the answer is simple – its spirituality and its history as well as architectural significance!
Major basilicas are the personal churches of the pope. They are in and around Rome. On the flip side, you can find the basilicas minor around the world. They are being designated by the pope as per their significance mentioned above. In short, any church or cathedral can be a basilica! It can be used as an additional label for the spiritual structure.
The basilica is the highest designation, and it is permanent. If I put it in the more straightforward term, it’s like once a church is named as a basilica, then it will never lose its status as a basilica or be known as a church ever again. For example, Notre Dame is a church and a basilica minor. It was designated by a pope in 1805.
So, there you have it all. Now you know the exact difference between a church and a basilica. While the four terms, including a church, chapel, cathedral, and basilica, often get used interchangeably, at least now you know the difference between the two of them! Go and impress your friends, family, and teachers with this newfound knowledge. 🙂 I hope this detailed guide helped you with what you were looking for! Stay tuned to know more.