Religion is as old as human civilization and people throughout history have constructed immense structures to honor and worship their deities. In the early years of Christianity, Christians constructed small churches for fear of oppression by the Roman Empire. However, as the years progressed, Christianity became more embraced and quickly became the largest religion in the world. With the popularity of Christianity, churches throughout the world have invested heavily in the construction of huge church buildings where faithful congregate in their thousands. The lengths of some of these churches span for hundreds of feet to accommodate thousands of faithful.
The Longest Churches in the World
St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City)
St. Peter’s Basilica is the longest church in the world, with a length that spans about 730 feet (221.7 meters). The iconic church which is termed as “the greatest of all churches in Christendom,” St. Peter’s Basilica is among the most recognized buildings in the world. The church is named after St. Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus and is said to have been constructed on the burial place of the disciple who is also believed to be the first Pope. More than 100 Popes have been buried within the grounds of St. Peter’s Basilica including the most recent interment of Pope John Paul II. Construction of the church was completed on November 18th, 1626 and features both Baroque Renaissance architectural styles. The church was designed by renowned 16th-century architects including Michelangelo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Giacomo Della Porta, and Donato Bramante who brought out the two architectural designs. St. Peter’s Basilica covers an area of 227,070 square feet which makes it among the largest churches in the world. The church held the title of the largest church in the world for many centuries until the construction of the Yamoussoukro Basilica in 1990.
Yamoussoukro Basilica (Cote d’Ivoire)
Yamoussoukro Basilica is a huge Catholic Church located in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire and is officially known as the “Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix” (Basilica of Our Lady of Peace). The building has a length of 640 feet, making it the second-longest church in the world. However, with the church covering an area of 320,000 square feet, Yamoussoukro Basilica is the largest church in the world. The church has a width of 490 feet and a capacity of 18,000 people. However, the church’s capacity is surpassed by the smaller St. Peter’s Basilica which has a capacity of 60,000 people. Construction of the church began in 1985 and ended in 1989, with its consecration being conducted in September 1990 by Pope John Paul II. The construction of the large church was financed by the government of Cote d’Ivoire’s to a tune of $400 million. The design of the Yamoussoukro Basilica was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica with the two resembling each other.
Liverpool Cathedral (England)
Liverpool Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool) is a large cathedral of the Church of England located in Liverpool, England. Liverpool Cathedral is the longest church in England and is the third longest in the world, with a length spanning 619 feet. The cathedral which covers an area of 104,274 square feet, is both the largest cathedral in the world as well as the largest church in England. The construction of the cathedral began in 1904 and was completed in 1978. The designer was Giles Gilbert Scott who used the Gothic Revival architectural design. The bell tower of the cathedral is one of the tallest in the world and houses the world's heaviest ringing peal of bells which weigh 16.5 tons.
Other notable churches
Other churches which are hundreds of feet in length include the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York, US, which has length of 601 feet, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil with a length of 568 feet. Another notable church is the Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, England which has a length of 558 feet.