Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Church and Chapel

Church vs Chapel

In early Christianity, the Jew residing in Israel worshiped on occasion in the temple in Jerusalem which was also known as the “second temple” and also worshiped weekly in synagogues. The worship taking place in the temple was a ritual that involved a sacrifice. These sacrifices included the sacrificing of animals to atone for the sins of a worshipper and are offered up to God in Israel.

The early synagogues were institutions developed for Jewish worship during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. This is because the Jews did not have access to a temple for a sacrifice. The Jews developed a daily and weekly service of Torah reading because they were restricted from going into a temple. This practice is carried out in a house if it is small. Cases of this were common in the towns of the Diaspora. In the case of others, architectural settings are developed. These developments can involve a house being converted or a previous public building being converted. The minimum requirements for these developments is having adequate seating for the worshippers, having a case for a Torah scroll, and a raised platform for the reader.

The church expanded around the 4th century because the number of non-Israelites, also known as Gentiles, had increased. Other periods, such as the reign of Constantine I with Christianity as well as the start of the state Church of the Roman Empire also helped expand it.

The church’s common architecture is that it is shaped like a cross. These churches have domes or have a huge vault space in the interior to represent heaven. Other shapes include a circle, which represents infinity or eternity, or having an octagon shape or a cross which represents the church as a bringer of light. Several types of churches also exist such as basilicas and cathedrals. Basilicas were originally meant as a Roman public building. After the Roman Empire officially became Christian, it was referred to as a large and important church that is the special ceremonial site used by the Pope.

“Cathedral” came from the Latin word “cathedralis” which meant “the bishop’s seat.” The functions of these cathedrals were not always meant as large buildings as some of these building are small compared to the others such as the Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. But commonly, these cathedrals were the largest buildings in the region.

Chapels are the earliest Christian place of worship. These are not meant as a building but serve as a dedicated chamber within a building. In these chambers, a person or two can pray without being part of any congregation. These places are also used as a place of relaxation and peace as there are not many people moving around them. The modern term for “chapel” is now not limited to Christian terminology. An example of these usages are:

Lady chapel
Ambassador’s chapel
Bishop’s chapel
Chapel of rest
Summer chapel
Wayside chapel


1.Earlier places of worship were in the temple of Jerusalem and the synagogues.
2.Churches are buildings used for worship, and these building have shapes which represent different meanings.
3.Chapels are not meant as buildings but are dedicated chambers that are used by individuals to pray without being part of a congregation. It is also used for relaxation and peace.

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