Places of worship

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Believers gathering to Saint Spyridon Church of Bucharest, around 1860. Watercolor by Carol Pop de Szatmary.

A place of worship or house of worship is a building or other location where a group of people (a congregation) comes to offer acts of religious praise, honour, or devotion. The form and function of religious architecture has evolved over thousands of years of both changing beliefs and architectural styles. The term temple is often used as a general term for any house of worship; but churches and mosques are not generally called temples.

Names used for places of worship

Different religions have different names for their places of worship:

  • Buddhist templeBuddhism
  • ChurchChristianity
    • In Western Christianity, some "private" temples are called chapels, while major public ones are designated by a term reflecting its ecclesiastical status, such as cathedral (seat of a diocesan bishop), basilica, or minster, and/or proper to a cultural tradition, including kirk (Scottish–cognate with church) or dom.
    • In Orthodox Christianity (both Eastern and Oriental) an Orthodox temple is a church with base shaped like Greek cross.
    • Protestant denominations installed in France in the early modern era use the word temple (as opposed to church, supposed to be Roman Catholic); some more recently built temples are called church.
    • Mormons use both church and temple to denote different types of buildings. Normal worship services are held in churches (sometimes also called ward meetinghouses) while Mormon Temple are reserved for special ordinances.
    • Jehovah's Witnesses use the term Kingdom Hall to identify their places of worship, and seldom, if ever, use the word 'church' to describe any building in use by them for the purpose of such assembly.
  • GurdwaraSikhism
  • MandirHinduism
    • Variously called a mandir' (Hindi), a koyil (Tamil), and an gudi/devalayam/kovela (Telugu).
  • MosqueIslam (also referred to by its Arabic name: Masjid).
  • SynagogueJudaism
    • Some synagogues, especially Reform synagogues, are called temples, but Orthodox Judaism considers this inappropriate as they do not consider synagogues a replacement for the Temple in Jerusalem. Some Orthodox Jewish congregations use the term 'shul' to describe their place of worship.

See also