15 Of The World’s Most Beautiful Cathedrals

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Milan Cathedral Milan Italy

Milan Cathedral is the cathedral church of Milan, Italy. Dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Cardinal Angelo Scola. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the 5th-largest church in the world and the second largest in Italy.

Canterbury Cathedral Kent England

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Justin Welby, leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion; the archbishop, being suitably occupied with national and international matters, delegates the most of his functions as diocesan bishop to the Bishop suffragan of Dover, currently Trevor Willmott. Its formal title is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury.

Cologne Cathedral Cologne Germany

Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne, currently, since his 2014 transfer from Berlin, Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site. It is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day.

The Church Of Our Savior On Spilled Blood St. Petersburg Russia

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg, Russia. Other names include the Church on Spilled Blood, the Temple of the Savior on Spilled Blood, and the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona, Spain

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica, as distinct from a cathedral, which must be the seat of a bishop.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris, France

Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture.

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Washington National Cathedral Washington D.C. USA

The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, operated under the more familiar name of Washington National Cathedral, is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. Of Neo-Gothic design closely modeled on English Gothic style of the late fourteenth century, it is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, the second-largest in the United States, and the highest as well as the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, D.C. The cathedral is the seat of both the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Bruce Curry, and the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington, Mariann Edgar Budde. In 2009, nearly 400,000 visitors toured the structure. Average attendance at Sunday services in 2009 was 1,667, the highest of all domestic parishes in the Episcopal Church that year.

Florence Cathedral Florence, Italy

The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is the main church of Florence, Italy. Il Duomo di Firenze, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.

Las Lajas Basilica Ipiales, Columbia

Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church located in the southern Colombian Department of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales and built inside the canyon of the Guáitara River.

Hallgrimskirkja Reykjavik, Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 73 metres, it is the largest church in Iceland and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland after Longwave radio mast Hellissandur, the radio masts of the US Navy at Grindavík, Eiðar longwave transmitter and Smáratorg tower. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson, author of the Passion Hymns.

St. Peter’s Basilica Rome, Italy

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or simply St. Peter’s Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

The Crystal Cathedral Garden Grove, Ca. USA

The Crystal Cathedral is a church building in Garden Grove, Orange County, California, in the United States. The reflective glass building, designed by American architect Philip Johnson, was completed in 1981 and seats 2,736 people. The largest glass building in the world, it has one of the largest musical instruments in the world, the Hazel Wright Memorial organ.

St. Sophia Cathedral Kiev, Ukraine

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus’. The cathedral is one of the city’s best known landmarks and the first heritage site in Ukraine to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex. Aside from its main building, the cathedral includes an ensemble of supporting structures such as a bell tower and the House of Metropolitan. In 2011 the historic site was reassigned from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Regional Development of Ukraine to the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. One of the reasons for the move was the fact that both “Sofia Kyivska” and Kiev Pechersk Lavra are recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Program as one complex, while in Ukraine the two were governed by different government entities.

Reims Cathedral Reims, France

Notre-Dame de Reims is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims, where the kings of France were crowned. The cathedral replaced an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211, that was built on the site of the basilica where Clovis was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims, in AD 496. That original structure had itself been erected on the site of some Roman baths. A major tourism destination, the cathedral receives about one million visitors annually.

St. Paul’s Cathedral London, England

St Paul’s Cathedral, London, is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. The present church, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren’s lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding programme in the City after the Great Fire of London.

Final Thoughts

There are those that would feel that the cost of making these cathedrals would be better spent on other things. Maybe so. However God is the ultimate creator. Look at the beauty found in nature and creation. Since man is created in the image of God, man is a creative being. Using our creativity in bringing glory to God is just another way we follow in His footsteps.

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About the Author Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber is the Senior Pastor at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos Ca. He is an alumnus from Life Pacific College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.

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