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A cathedral (French cathédrale from Latin. cathedra, “seat” from the Greek kathedra (καθέδρα), seat, bench, from kata “down” + hedra seat, base, chair) is a Christian church which contains the seat of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of “cathedral” are specific to those Christian denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and some Lutheran and Methodist churches. Church buildings embodying the functions of a cathedral first appear in Italy, Gaul, Spain and North Africa in the 4th century, but cathedrals did not become universal within the Western Catholic Church until the 12th century; by which time they had developed architectural forms, institutional structures and legal identities distinct from parish churches, monastic churches and episcopal residences. In respect of the church buildings in the Greek Orthodox Church and Russian Orthodox Church, the English word "cathedral" commonly translates Katholikon and Sobor respectively, both terms having a meaning of "assembly"; but this title is also applied to monastic and other major churches wthout episcopal responsibilities. When the church at which an archbishop or "metropolitan" presides is specifically intended, the term kathedrikos naos (literally: “cathedral shrine”) is used. Read More 

In the pictures from left to right the cathedral names; 1) São Paulo Cathedral, a representative modern cathedral built in Neo-Gothic style. 2) Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 3) Metz Cathedral, France, 4) Chartres Cathedral, France, a famous landmark which draws both pilgrims and art lovers, 5) The cathedral of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, Cathedral of St. John Lateran, 6) St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney has a typical cruciform plan, 7) Nidaros Cathedral, Norway, became Lutheran at the Reformation, 8) The Patriarchal Cathedral of St. John Lateran, Rome, 9) Glasgow Cathedral, also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Kentigern’s or St Mungo’s Cathedral, is today a gathering of the Church of Scotland in Glasgow, 10) Cathedrals often contain a wealth of artworks. Tourists visiting the interior of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna.

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Terence Wennink