The architecture of these buildings are as old as the centuries old religion itself. Roman Catholic Churches are well known for their complex structural forms that display the work of what seems to be no less than very accomplished workmen. Most churches are often included in the array of finest buildings in an area.
Most people think that a church is just that, a building where sermons or masses are heard. In reality, they serve different functions. They can be cathedrals, abbey churches, and basilicas, or they can be none of these, as with the case of the greatest Protestant churches.
There are many reasons why cathedrals are just magnificently built, though. First off, this is where the bishop says his mass. It is also the location for big liturgical rites such as ordination of new priests, and it simply has to be able to house hundreds of people who will flock in to witness the said events. Another reason is that they are traditional places of pilgrimage from people all over the world. Being a building dedicated to the glory of God, it should be made the best as money and skill can possible make it to be.
A basilica, on the other hand, is fashioned after the basilica structures in the times of Ancient Romans. It follows a longitudinal plan with the center naves extending to two aisles on either sides. However, a basilica has to be chosen and named as such by the pope himself.
The Catholic religion recognizes four major basilicas. All of them are found in Europe. Three are found in Rome, Italy, while the other one is in Vatican city. In addition, there are about a thousand of other minor basilicas all over the globe. Churches are granted basilica status because they house within their halls some objects that are venerated and relics of a recognized saint.
Abbey churches are those that belong to a monastic order. These buildings are often included inside a complex which also features dormitories, refectories, libraries, and cloisters. These are often occupied by orders such as Augustinians, Franciscans, Jesuits, and many others.
They served so many functions for people back then. The abbey often served as a refuge for the locals. Abbeys turned into parish churches at the end of a monastic era.
Of course, the appearance of the church does not affect its purpose. Whether big or small, humble or intricate, they are still very special places for the faithful. This is where the religious give thanks and worship the Maker they firmly believe in.
Originally posted 2014-06-24 18:50:00.