8 oldest cathedrals in the world - Oldest.org (2023)

There is something about entering a cathedral that has stood for so many centuries that one cannot help but marvel at the architecture and wonder how such craftsmanship and stone carvings were possible. Questions arise including the era in which the cathedral was built, how many hands built it, who were the builders and is the structure original or have any renovations been done? We cannot help but wonder how many services have been held in these cathedrals and how many more will be held in the future. While these are all great questions, they are best answered when you visit these cathedrals and experience the history that awaits. Visitors can take tours of the oldest cathedrals in the world and attend services in some places. But until then, let's take a look at the six oldest cathedrals in the world.

8. Etchmiadzin Cathedral (c. 301 AD - present)

Alter:1,717 years
Location:Etchmiadzin, Armenia
Notable fact:It functions as the headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

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Located in the first Christian country in the world, ArmeniaEtchmiadzin CathedralIt is the oldest government-built cathedral in the world. It was built between 301 and 303 AD. by Saint Gregory the Illuminator and is still in use today. This cathedral functions as the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

It has an Armenian style known for its emphasis on stone materials, height and beautifully pointed domes. It is said that Saint Gregory got the idea for the site from a vision in which Christ used a golden hammer to strike the ground. Echmiadzin's translation is "the place where the Only Begotten descended".

7. Hagia Sophia (c. 537 AD - present)

Alter:1,481 years
Location:Istanbul, Turkey
Notable fact:Hagia Sophia was the largest Christian cathedral to exist for over 1,000 years.

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Built between 532 and 537 AD, theHagia Sophiais a Christian cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian I built this cathedral and since then it has undergone many renovations and changes. For example, it started out as a Christian church.

During its lifetime it was also a Greek Orthodox Cathedral, an Imperial Mosque and a Roman Catholic Cathedral. Although Hagia Sophia is no longer a church, it still stands today as a museum. Those visiting Istanbul can take guided tours of the museum, and an estimated 10,000 visitors visit the museum every day.

6. Basilica of San Lorenzo (c. AD 364 - present)

Alter:899 years
Notable fact:At the beginning of its construction, this cathedral was the most significant project that any part of the world had seen.

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construction in thebasilica of san lorenzobegan in AD 364. Still in use, this Roman Catholic church in Milan, Italy is one of the oldest buildings in the city. When completed, it became the largest circular cathedral in the world.

The Basilica of San Lorenzo became an inspiration for the construction of Hagia Sophia. Although this cathedral is still fully functional over the years, some of its original features have been preserved and most have been renovated.

5. Santa Maria in Trastevere (ca. 340 n. Chr.)

Alter:875 years
Location:Rome, Italy
Notable fact:They are the first cathedrals in which Christians publicly celebrated mass.

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IsSanta Maria in TrastevereBuilt in AD 340, it is considered one of the oldest cathedrals in Rome, Italy. The reason it was built was in honor of Jesus' mother, Mary. The golden mosaics on the facade and the 12th-century bell tower stand out.

Although there are beautiful altarpieces, visitors cannot help but notice the golden mosaics in the apse. Today it still has the same Romanesque architecture.

4. Trier Cathedral (c. 340 AD - today)

Alter:875 years
Location:Trier, Germany
Notable fact:The most notable relic is the so-called "Seamless Robe of Jesus".

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Built in 340 AD C., this beautiful Roman Catholic cathedral, located in Trier, Germany, is still fully functional. It is considered one of the oldest preserved cathedrals in GermanyTrier CathedralConstruction began on a Roman site in the late 3rd century. Its relics make this cathedral incredibly interesting. While not the most notable relic, this cathedral has one of the Holy Nails said to have supported Jesus on the cross during crucifixion.

The most notable relic is the so-called "Seamless Robe of Jesus". It is what Jesus is said to have worn just before his crucifixion. Although these relics are rarely open to the public, she had an exhibition in 2012

3. St. Peter's Basilica (c. 333 AD)

Alter:512 years
Location:Vatican City
Notable fact:The place is considered one of the holiest places in the world by the Catholic religion.

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Built in 333 AD,Basilika St. Peterattracts millions of visitors to Vatican City, Italy each year. The place is considered one of the holiest places in the world by the Catholic religion. One of the main reasons for this is that it is located directly above Saint Peter's tomb. During the 15th century, this cathedral underwent a major renovation that changed much of its appearance.

It is not uncommon for visitors to come to experience this cathedral not only for the religious aspects but also to see its intricate designs. Bernini and Michelangelo were two of the art legends who designed this Renaissance architecture. One of Michelangelo's most famous works, the Pietà, is housed in this cathedral. Visitors come from all over the world to see this and many other famous works of art.

2 Mar Sarkis (c. AD 325 - present)

Alter:1,685 years
Location:Malula, Syria
Notable fact:This monastery is considered to be the oldest in all of Christianity.

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IsMar SarkasThe cathedral was built before the year 325 AD. C. and still serves today as a monastery and church. Although the exact date of its construction is not known, the fact is that this monastery is the oldest in all of Christendom. The local monastery still houses many old icons, including some from the 4th century.

There are a few nuns in the community who speak English and will take visitors on tours if requested. Various festivals are held annually throughout the year on the grounds of this cathedral, including the Sarkis Mar Festival.

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1. Church of the Nativity (c. AD 325 - present)

Alter:1,685 years
Location:Bethlehem, Palestine
Notable fact:Many believe that Jesus was born here, and this belief dates back to the 2nd century AD.

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build for themChurch of the NativityIt began in AD 325, and today this cathedral is still under construction and is one of the oldest cathedrals in the world. Many denominations have settled within these walls since their inception. Today, however, it houses four monastic communities, including those of the Armenian Apostolic, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Syriac Orthodox Churches. Because there are many clashes between these communities, this cathedral is often in the news.

Many believe that Jesus was born here, and this belief dates back to the 2nd century AD. It is not uncommon for many believers to make the annual pilgrimage to see where their Savior was born and to join in prayer.

final thoughts

While it is not uncommon for parishioners or religious groups to visit cathedrals to have fellowship or socialize, they may also engage in discussions about forms or services such as charity work or the achievement of goals. When wars break out, many will turn to churches for safety and protection.

Although many of the world's oldest cathedrals still stand, many of them have been remodeled for other uses. Because of their beautiful architecture, it would be a shame to leave these structures empty so visitors can't enjoy their beauty. It is amazing that these buildings have survived earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes and other natural disasters throughout their history. It is therefore important that they are preserved for many years to come.

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