Difference Between Church and Cathedral

There is a large variety of religions and every religion has its own beliefs, ideology, a particular method for worship, etc.. For example, Christians have Church, Hindus have temples, in Islam, there is a mosque, etc.. 


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Within these religions, the places of worship which is also a sacred place for them is very peculiar and every religion has their place. These places of worship are important as they provide room for their God.

In Christianity, they have a Church, although in earlier times they did not have any particular place for worship as the religion got acceptance from the government the importance of sacred places grew.

Within Christianity the sacred place is not confined to the church rather they have different places for worship at different levels, for example, they have Church, Cathedral, basilica, etc.

These places are all meant for worshipping but still have some sort of differences.

Key Takeaways

  1. A church is a general term for a place of worship for Christians, while a cathedral is a specific type of church that serves as the central church of a diocese or bishopric.
  2. Cathedrals are often larger and more architecturally elaborate than ordinary churches, reflecting their importance within a religious hierarchy.
  3. In addition to religious services, cathedrals may serve as centres for community activities, education, and cultural events.

Church vs Cathedral

The difference between Church and Cathedral is the difference between authority and the levels they have been set up. Church and Cathedral both of them are made for worshipping God but the difference lies between them based on their authority.

Church vs Cathedral

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Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison ChurchCathedral
Number of buildingMany  One
PurposeReligious purposeAdministration purpose and religious purpose too
AuthorityPastor and priestPope and Bishop
Celebration of massEvery SundayEveryday
Types of city Small city or large cityLarge city

What is Church?

The church is a building or a place where uh got is been worshipped by people,  it is a building of Christian public worship. Search is also referred to as a religious organisation or congregation or a community meeting at a particular place or location.

Many of the churches are formally organised and are set up under the governance and law. The church is also referred to as a Christian religious community as a whole body or a community. 

The actual foundation of the Church was led by Jesus Christ, he gave the concept of the Church being a Christian religious body, thus the Church is also referred to as the body of Christ.

As he declared that he would build a Church on his own with the help of other people.

Other than serving as a place of worship for Christians, the Church has also served as a body for many guilds for their meetings, the church also served as a banquet, and sometimes even a storehouse for storage of grains.

Churches have made in many shapes the architecture always varied, some churches are in a cross-shaped with a dome, some of them are in circle shape, and so on. Every shape has its meaning which is demonstrated by the religious authority.

In religious terms, Church is not just a building but a body uniting the believers of Christ, the role of the church is to worship God,

nurture and edify and reach out to a suffering world with the message of Gospel As well as practical compassion and Mercy exemplified in Christ. 

There are many images of church as mentioned in the Bible, like; The church as the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, and The people of God. In all of them, the head of the Church is Christ.


What is the Cathedral?

Cathedral Church which has a seat for bishop in bureaucratic terms. Cathedral is only one in one City as the bishop is Responsible for an area bureaucratically.

Cathedral can be classified as a church which has administration duties as well. 

The misunderstanding is created that Cathedral is a larger space as compared to church but the reality is that the Cathedral has the administration part as well which a church does not have, this is what makes the difference between Cathedral and church. 

In Britain settlement a region which has the cathedral was known as a city, This system started when King Henry VII was in power and when he found dioceses in some towns and gave them the status of the city.

Buildings of Cathedral can be small or large, it does not necessarily have a large area, the  Episcopalian churches that changed to presbyterian still retain names of cathedrals instead of churches, even though they do not have a bishop.

Cathedral churches are of different degrees of dignities. Where there are Cathedral churches of simple diocesan bishops, of archbishop or metropolitans of primates, patriarchs, and in the Roman Catholic church of the Pope.

In Roman Catholic Church Canon law plays an important role and according to it, there is no architectural specification for the Cathedral. The only chemical requirement is that the Cathedral should be consecrated and adequately endowed.

The Pope has the right to designate the cathedral, and with choices made by the Bishop is approved by Pope only. The bishop should perform all the ordination in the cathedral and should be present in his Cathedral on all the holy occasions of Christianity.  

The Eastern Orthodox Church Cathedral is the main Church of the city and all the festivals and occasions are celebrated in the cathedral only under the Bishop and Pope. 


Main Differences Between Church and Cathedral

  1. The Church is more a religious body whereas the Cathedral plays an important role in the administration as well.
  2. There can be more than one church in an area or city but there is only one Cathedral in one City.
  3. Churches can be found in small or large cities but cathedrals are generally found in larger cities.
  4. Churches have pastors or priests on the other hand Cathedral have bishops and Pope as the authority.
  5. Most of the churches celebrate mass every Sunday whereas the Cathedral celebrates mass thrice every day.
Difference Between Church and Cathedral
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